tv QA Robert Dallek CSPAN April 7, 2019 5:01pm-6:04pm EDT
possible for them to sleep and eat. it is a map of a modern underground railroad. black bodies at a place would look like encounter insults to their dignity or worse. the green book ceased publication in 1966 but to this day there are cities and towns in this country in which the perils inherent in traveling black have not subsided. john was not ignorant of the roost of my father's anxiety but the danger presented by the flat tire took precedence over any other type of danger. interest between the clarity of his focus and the complexity of my father's anxiety, perhaps lies the difference between living black and living white in america. that there is a difference is indisputable, how deep the difference runs is impossible to ascertain. i see the difference. mostly i despise it. so my belief that difference can engender pleasure as well as
pain maded possible for me to mary a white -- marry a white man. >> while he served less than three years in office, john f. kennedy consistently ranks near the top in most presidential rankings. including c-span's three surveys of leading historians. in our 2017 survey outans ranked jfk as number eight overall in leadership skills. coming up we'd like to you the enter that forms the basie for our chap ore on john f. kennedy. robert dallek's 2014 interview but his book, come lot court, inside the kennedy white house. here's the interview. c-span: you recent book, camelot's court,ed in kent white house, the last paragraph of your entire book, i cannot
resist saying thank you to president barack obama, who has great-ly hosted four daneer for prostitutal historians, where i had a closeup look at what a president hoped he could learn from history, providing a glimpse other into how a president enter aberdeen with men and women trying to offer useful judgments on problems earlier presidents faced hampdown insight into president barack obama because of four dinners with him? >> guest: well, he's highly intelligent man. he is keenly interested in history. and the way in which the presidential institution has evolved, and what he could take away from past presidential performances to make his a more compelling and more successful administration. i wish we had some extraordinary answers to provide him, but of course the nature of history is
that it's an imperfect humanistic enterprise and he understood this, but we talked a great variety of things in those interviews or in those dinners and there were roughly 12 historians. i wasn't the only one there, and some of his principle aides, including each time one of is principle speechride es. for me it was a fascinating experience to be able to at one point sit right next to the president at dinner and have this kind of exchange with him. in many ways it felt like a academic seminar. he is a-someone who has been a professor of law, and was like being in a seminar with colleagues is the way why characterize is. c-span: did you leave there writing things down to remind
yourself -- >> guest: yes. c-span: you give us an example. >> well, when we're done with this, which i think will have more dinners with him and one of my colleagues at the dinners and i talked a little bit about writing a piece called "dinners with obama" but i think it will be a very positive piece because he listens. he wasn't intent on giving us instruction or lobbying us or anything in particular except that at the first dinner he wanted to know how presidents achieved the transformative presidency. how did franklin roost do it, athlete door roosevelt, woodrow wilson, ronald reagan with his reagan revolution. at the second dinner because that's was in 2010, he was slipping somewhat in the polls
and did not have the continuing hold on the public's imagination that he had at the start of his first term. of course that's not unusual. once presidents their for a while their limitations and flaws are going to be evidenced but we talk but how to reconnect to the public, and i told him the anecdote about how after franklin roosevelt died, his body was being transplanted transported to georgia to hyde park. some man stood by the wail railway tracks sobbing and somebody said did you'll know the president? he said, no, but he knew me and i related that anecdote to the president. and he nodded. he understood that making that kind of connection to ordinary folks was essential for presidential success. the third dinner was in 2011, and we talk about the coming
election and he was a little more verbal at that point with us, and essentially he said he wasn't concerned about any of the republicans he was facing, in fact he said this fellow, romney, has twisted himself interest a pretzel, which proved to be an accurate expression of his candidacy in 2012. and then he talked about the fact that his opponent in the election was the economy. that's what he saw. the last time we had dinner with him was january of 2013, and almost a year ago, just a year ago now, and he was very upbeat. he had just won re-election. he talked about his state of the union message, his inaugural speech he would be giving, compare sons to other inaugural addresses, especially at second terms, start of second terms.
we talk but the issue of the second term curse. which obviously given how many difficulties he has struggled with during the course of 2013, one could say, well, you know, there it is again. i don't believe in curses. i don't believe in jinxes or anything like that. and i think it's just inevitable that presidents in second terms is going to have more difficult time than at the start of a first term, bus presidents come to office initially on a wave of enthusiasm, excitement, even if they've only won by the anyway narrowist of margins which us was true of john kennedy. he won by a sliver, and yet very quickly he gained a kind of popularity, kind of approval from the publication, but by the start thief second term, people see the fact that a president doesn't walk on water, he's not a miracle worker, as some people
like to think at the start of a presidential administration. and it's more difficult for him, and especially if he is dealing with an opposition congress, as this president has had to teal with. >> the subtitle of the book, you just wrote, inside the kennedy white house, and you talk but the individuals there. there are still folks we're talking about today, everybody knows their name, that follows history. there is anybody in this administration who will be talking but 50 years from now? >> guest: that's an interesting question. i think valerie jarrett, after all, she has been there through the five years, and there's every rope to -- every reason to believe she will be there another three years, so i think some historian will want to get her papers, interviews with her if possible, since she among all the insiders at the white house
probably has been closer to president president obama than any other adviser. so think she certainly one name that will register on historians. >> a fellow you write pruitt, from 1996. here for a become notes. let watch it. >> john kennedy intended to writes his own history with my help, and more than once he would refer to me -- he would say in talking to me, refer to that book we're going to write. and i always said to him, the book you're going to write, mr. president. i didn't have any intention of hanging around his life forever. when he was suddenly gone and could not write that book, i felt i had some obligation to do it. c-span: how did he fit in the kennedy white house? he was at the resident's worthsmith, a brilliant speech
writer but he and kennedy had a kind of sim beotic relationship. don't mean they were friends. i don't mean they socialized because sorenson said they didn't have that kind of relationship but there was kind of intellectual exchange between them and a kind of intuitive understanding of where this president wanted to go in his administration. what he wanted to say. and southernson had the gift -- sorensen had the gift of being age to translate that into language that is memorable, because after all, that -- some of kennedy's speeches are going to last, going to be remembered. what i find so interesting is that win john kennedy, recent poll asked people to assess the last nine presidents from kennedy to george w. bush. kennedy came out on top with 85%. during this recent memory of his
assassination, the commemoration. 90% approval rating. the only one close to him was ronald reagan and the question any historian has to ask is why is this the case after all? he was there only a thousand days the seventh briefest presidency in american history. and the answer i think is that on the one hand, people don't much like his successyears. johnson with vietnam, nixon with watergate. ford's truncated presidency. jimmy carter's presidency which people see as essentially failure. the only one is reagan the two bushes don't register that powerful by. c-span: what about bill clinton. >> yes, but he that the monica affair torches president to have been impeached.
a black mark against his record. kennedy, of course, dying so young at the age of 46, having only been there for a thousand days, it's a blank slate on which you can write anything, and he was so young, and the country identifies with that. and they have a sense of loss over -- to to this day, i think, over his assassination, but bute gives people hope and what they remember are his words. ask not what your country can do for you, and what you can do for your country. his famous peace speech at american university in june of 1963. he said we need to think anew about the soviet union. he and khrushchev came out the cuban missile cries, nuclear war. they were terrified bit they experience and as a consequence,
kennedy wanted to move towards some kind of detente with the soviet union, and khrushchev was receptive to that. that's how you got in the nuclear test ban treaty signed in the summer of 1963. happened very quickly. they had been hassling over that for years and suddenly it occurred. it was spinoff from that cuban missile crisis, the terror they faced over that. think if kennedy lived we would have seen detente with the soviet union more quickly than it came about with richard nixon. c-span: he spend time talking about the individual around him and people like mr. sorenson and here was the view of jackie kennedy in march to june when they did the interviewed with arthur lessenner. here's what she said about mr. sorenson. >> i know one thing about the legislative breck tsa that larry
opine told me. larry couldn't stance his answer so one night he was telling me -- they were obviously the irishmen were gelus of the sons -- jealous and he said so many times larry would eave prepared an agenda for at the breakfast and just before they were but to start, ted would ask to see it and change one or two sentences, and then initial it tcs, and pass its around that way. and you'll see that heavy hand of ted sorenson in more places and -- you know, wanted his. present on so many things. told you but the profiles in courage theme and doing to it larry o'bryan, everyone. that's just sneaky. >> a little better in the white house, wasn't he? >> oh, yes. >> such a petty thing to -- >> someone said he left
himself -- he loved one other person which was jack and had such a crush on jack. i, when he first started to try to speak like him or dare to call him jack. he sore of blushed -- sort of blushed and wanted to be easy all the ways jack was easy. stood by the side of jack, be easy, and dinners or galas like -- because he knew he wasn't quite that way in the beginning and almost intent a sort of resent. it very mixed fun -- a big inferiority come mix, you can see the things that have gone back and forth. never saw him very much in the white house. c-span: critical. said he was in love with himself. talked about profiles in courage. only interested in himself. is that fair? >> guest: i think it's an exaggeration. there's no question that ted
sorenson was a keeper of the flame. after my personaller and wednesday with him, after he reveals the kennedy medical records, he was the one who signed off -- there was a -- three-man committee that controlled those medical records, and two of the members signed off, and sorenson was reluctant to do it. i went to see him in new york met with him in his residences, his apartment, and persuaded him to let me have access to the records. he didn't know what was in there when the records came out and "the new york times" ran a front page story but my findings, the atlantic magazine published an article out of my book on these -- ken's medical history. sorenson was angry. and when he would see me, which was a few times after that , he said there was in coverup. of course there was.
they were hiding from the public the extent of kennedy's medical history and difficulties. if people knew how many medical health problems kennedy had i don't think he would have been elected in 1960. however unfair that may be. he acquitted himself brilliantly during the presidency. i sent his medical records down alongside of the cuban missile crisis with the tapes we had, and there were no concessions to his medical difficulties during that crisis. was the medications that helped him i think get through it without stumbles, but -- anyway, to get back to your point about sorenson, he was somewhat prickly character, very defensive but kennedy, as if he were the keeper of the flame. but i don't in the why
jacqueline kennedy was so critical of him. i in the sense that sorenson was a total loyalist and he served kennedy's needs and desires and wishes to the nn't deeing -- degree he, he didn't make claims to having published profiles in courage. c-span: did he or dead hi not write profiles in courage. >> » -l that's a complicated story. he did write part of it. others contributed. my research told me because kennedy would listen to the tapes of the transcripts of the chapters, and he would edit them. it would be unfair to say that kennedy was the author -- the sole author of profiles in courage. on the other hand it would be unfire say didn't have nothing do with it or had a glows writer
because he was -- a ghost writer because he was involved, so it was a combined effort, but i think mrs. kennedy was a bit jealous of sorenson, maybe trying to take too much thunder and too much credit, and -- but these are complex relationships that spring up in these white houses. c-span: you write on page two, health problems, including addison's disease, possible fatal malfunctioning of the adrenal gland. chronic back pain, colitis, and a allergies, head added greatly to normal strain of the nationwide campaign. you say in this book that ted kennedy found out about all of his brother's health problems from your book. >> guest: not all of them. the knew that his brother had a medical history and had health
problems, but i don't think he knew the full extent because he -- he was very admiring of my biography, an unfinished life and told me was, arthur lesser jury was as well. he said it was the best entry agoography of kept. what both of them concluded was my description of kennedy's health problems enhanced rather than undermined his public standing, his reputation, in history, because how he managed to rise above his health difficulties and be an effective president was a very impressive achievement, and so they would -- ted did not know the full extent of his brother's health problems and it's the measure of much they hated -- how much joe kennedy, bobby kennedy, the president himself, jackie, they were the ones who
knew, but it was largely hidden from the world. c-span: another person that gets mention. george ball. >> 66. i was tired and broke. i'd been there too long, and it was a very exhausting job, believe me. dean rusk destroyed his health by staying there are nor balance of the johnson term. i wanted to get out. it was not -- just vietnam, although vietnam contributed because it wasn't that i wasn't making getting anywhere in my protests, but -- which is true, but i couldn't get the president and the people around him interested in any other part of the world. c-span: outspoken critic of vietnam, although you say hi was backing what they wanted to do
in vietnam in the early years. can you explain that? >> guest: well, he was a loyalist. c-span: what did he do. >> guest: the undersecretary of state and replaced chester bowles, who kennedy didn't like having around at all and was trying to get rid of and had to sort of send him on a mission around the world or make him a kind of international diplomat or i dip plate. he replaced him with george ball because ball was much more of a team player. on the other hand, behind the scenes, ball was candid with kennedy about vietnam in particular, and he told him at one point, mr. president, if you put 200,000, 300,000 ground troops into the jungle odd vietnam you'll never hear from them again, and kennedy said, you're crazy as hell. meaning, i believe, that i'm
enough going to do that. of course we'll never know exactly what kennedy would have done but vietnam, but on the other hand, when ball was told to defend the administration, speak for it, that was his job. say like a vice president. you don't go out on the -- give speeches that are in contradiction with what a president is saying, and so he pretty much defended -- but behind the scenes he was candid with expend was of those who was a early critic, they warned ken -- i don't think kennedy ever would have done what lynn didn't johnson did in vamp don't the he would have put in 540,000 troops contracts crazy audio recording of john kennedy, right before he was assassinated,
talking about hsieh see the coup. >> monday, november 4, 1963. the- -- over he weekend the coup saigon took place. a conversation over the coup, a conversation which divided the government here and in saigon. opposed to the coup was general taylor, the attorney general, secretary mcnamara, to a somewhat let degree, john macomb, partly because of an old hostility which causes him to lack confidence in lodge's judgment, partly to -- as a result of a new hostility because lodge shifted his station chief. in favor of the coups was the
state led by averill hari machine, george ball. i feel that we must bear good deal of responsible for it, beginning with our cable of early august which we suggested the coupe, which in any judgment that was badly drafted, should never have been sent on a saturday. should not have d my consent to it without a roundtable conference in which mcnamara and taylor could have presented their views. c-span: what did the utah united states do in relation to -- >> guest: no question but they facility dated the coup but kennedy's recollections here, what is omitted a discussion of the fact that he was assassinated, was killed and the
generals in vietnam said, well, he committed suicide, and kennedy didn't believe that for a moment because he was a good catholic and kennedy said he never -- privately said he never would have done that. i think kennedy felt a certain amount of guilt over the fact that zien was assassinated because he said precipitationly, whatever his failings he had led his country for quite a few years and done constructive things and was a bulwark against a communist takeover. he was reflecting on his own recrimination for having aloud the coupe and the concern that united states would have to take great are responsibility for vietnam than in the past and kennedy was keen to get out of there. and he had a conversation with mike for for staal, the day before he went to dallas, texas,
and when he return, he wanted there to be a full scale review but vietnam, including the possible of getting out. he -- i don't think he ever would have put in those massive numbers on ground troops. i don't the himself new what he would have done. i learn the anecdote that when he first became -- was first elected, our their -- beeny kennedy schooling arthur hi would like to be a&m booster, he said i would like to be at the white house. and a few days late are he saw the president-elect and kennedy said, so, arthur, i hear you're come thing to the white house. he same, i what will die? kennedy said, don't know, i don't know what i'm going to do but we'll both be busy eight hours a day. the pointes he in other words that being president was not a set piece affair.
that it evolved, and the grew in that office. that in many ways was hi greatest strength. he grew in the office. c-span: i want to read back what you wrote in chapter 8. after 18 months with the counsels he had diminished confidence in most of the men advising him on policy with the exception of bobby who was principally a sounding board and an instrument for together ideas on others and thought it best to rely less on hi so-s and more on himself for the hard decisions he seemed to be conferencing all the time. neither rusk, dean rusk, secretary of state, nor mcna marry los angeles secretary of difference, nor bundy, his national security adviser, no -- bundy -- >> guest: rostoy was under bundy, rotow as -- >> host: nor taylor, meaning maxwell taylor the general, impressed him as all that masterful about any of the big issues that faced -- he has
fades in cuba, berlin or vietnam. a strong indictment. >> guest: he was someone as i say who grew in the office. he was badly burned by the cuban by a of pigs experience. he listened to the experts. cia, join chiefs of staff and he said -- he went to see degaulle in france, did that trip in may, unof of 61. and degaulle said 0 to him, you should surround yourself with the smartest possible people. ...
here's what the experts have to say more what they were telling him that he was going to make the judgment. and you see that, that was abundantly clear when you listen and read the transcripts during the missile crisis. he was his own man and making his own mind. they had at arms length and they wanted to invade and he wouldn't do it. >> in your book whether you thought he liked maxwell tear or dinner, you said he did not like the chiefs at all. it was very critical of the chiefs. >> they all seem to hate the military. >> well he began with the cachet that untrue because he was attending his guys and the joint chiefs, but over time the fact
that taylor reflected with the joint chiefs during the missile crisis and subsequently about cuba as well that kennedy became skeptical of him. and i don't know that he would've lasted that longer into a second term. after the missile crisis was ending kennedy held at arms length and brings the men and they say to him, mr. president you have been hired, they're hiding the missiles and caves. and if the white house leaks this then a written note saying i don't live in the caveman age. the joint chiefs talk about the need to plan bombing innovation and kennedy says go ahead, make plans because you never know what will happen. and they make contingency plans. part of the plan was to drop a
nuclear weapon and he thought this is crazy. they said, the collateral damage could be contained. but what was done to the south coast of florida would've turned into a pile of rubble and he thought they were kind of mad. given then, one has to recall the joint chiefs became a world war ii. they remember fighting hitler, mola lenghi, the japanese military, who would fall to the bigger and in the attitude was going back to the stone age which they did in germany and japan, tokyo, the bombings of tokyo, the hiroshima and nagasaki atomic bombings. this was her attitude who comes
power the head of apples and says what is all the concern about nuclear weapons. this is the end of the war of the soviet union and three americans left into soviets, we won. >> what you make of bobby kennedy had 11 children, one of his children named matthew, maxwell, taylor kennedy. >> i think bobby kennedy had great regards for maxwell taylor. and they raised a military figure and someone they admired because he had resigned from his military position during the eisenhower presidency because he disagreed with the eisenhower idea of retaliation. and he was the one who spoke for the idea of building up ground forces to combat or counter any soviet threat. that is why they brought him in to the white house in the first
place because he had an opposing view to the idea of massive retaliation. they appreciated that. over time, the fact that he was reflecting that she was in a difficult position. was he going to come to the white house and say the joint chiefs are wet and what they are revising is not -- some more than not he reflected what they were saying and i don't take kennedy found that appealing at all. >> another man that gets a lot of attention, robert mcnamara, this is recorded in 1996 on book notes. he went on to serve lyndon johnson. let's assume that this and put him into perspective. >> november 65 i said would be a long war. so what can i say that, we were losing. and by the way, my report to the president, which i said in
december of 65 to him. was only one in three chance, best of wanted to chance. and he said you mean to say you don't think we can win militarily. and i said yes. should i have said that public publicly, what do you think? what is your audience think. this is a terrible dilemma. and particularly so i want to tell you that i was in a small bernard and i don't want to say i was right, many people thought then and today that we were winning and as i suggested some people think we're winning then, that is baloney. >> your book is full of american leaders and generals going to vietnam and coming back and saying we're winning, we're winning and we are winning. and no one came back and said we are not winning. what do you think of that.
>> i moved him a couple of times in the first time i interviewed him he said i could talk about that. it was prior to 1998 when i was working on the fledging. but in 15 minutes all he could talk about was vietnam. he is profoundly conflicted about vietnam. and during the kidney presidency he was the biggest advocate of exercising muscle in vietnam. of authority and power. the journalist who raise questions with him, he was dismissive of them even contentious. sure he eventually came to the proposition that this was a military no-win situation in vietnam but he had been so arrogant about reading as into
the work and i think that is what agitated him so much and where he says do you think i could say in public that he only had one in three chance of winning. the point is, he eventually got out of the johnson administration because johnson saw him, instead of having a collapse over his struggle over vietnam and they sent him off to be the president of the world bank. but he was profoundly conflicted over time he was one of the architects of expansion of war in vietnam. in kim johnson's national security was already talking about bombing and putting ground troops in there. he never gave up on that war. they talk to him and i knew him when i would go to the johnson
library in texas and we give them time to develop. that was his rationale. we give them time to develop. >> page three on 29. there is a position in one paragraph, it gives back to the image of the president and whether or not we are known as he was out sick if you have been elected. this is another one that if we'd known what we thought. jackie kennedy reflected the depths and fears when she told her husband she and the children wanted to die with them. this was during the missile crisis. if it came to that, despite reluctance to leave, he was sending her out to the country or someplace away from the white house. he sent her and the children away to the safety of a bomb shelter.
he then invited mimi beardsley to spend the night on october the 27th on the white house and his expression engine aerial tone that i'd rather my children be red than dead. in mimi beardsley was in 19, 20-year-old intern who was having an affair with in the summer of 1962 and he had a sustained affair relationship with her to the end of his life. she saw him the week -- sh she describes in her book that she saw in the week before and he said he wished she could take her to dallas but of course he couldn't because jackie kennedy was going on the trip with him.
and he had this relationship with her in which they were tied to one another in a way that was curious business. and there was something bizarre almost about this. after all, he is a 45-year-old man, the president of the united states, he had relationships with women galore. why did he have to seduce this 19 or 20-year-old kid. it doesn't complain in the book about this. in fact, she wrote me a note saying she thanked me for having brought this information forward in my first book in 2003 because she had carried this as a secret in her book is called once upon a secret. and she said also in her no,
that is how she met her second husband because the story coming out and i never met her but we corresponded and we had -- she was a nice intelligent woman. >> how did you find the story in 2003. >> well, i had read in the kennedy library and all history by a woman named deborah, she is a press secretary of the kennedy white house. and i met her at a cocktail party in washington. i said, i just read the history in the pages and she agreed to let me in. while when i read them, this is what she revealed. the kennedy had an affair with the 19, 20-year-old and then all i had was 38 words, two lines in my biography about this issue.
and i was not intent on making a big deal out of this but interested me was the fact that i've interviewed a number of journalists for the biography and i asked him do you know why he was womanizing and they said yes. while we suspected. why didn't you write about it? we didn't do it in the 1960s, you do not intrude on the president's life in that way. it was hidden from the public. when i brought this forward to prescott on and a reporter called me up and i didn't know who she was and barbara didn't tell me and i trust what barbara was telling me and said and i didn't want to know. i said this woman must be in her 60s, leave her alone. she doesn't want to bring it out why should i. anyway they found out who she was, did investigative journalisjournalism you could s.
and she was all over the place in the new york daily news for two days in a row went front-page stories about kennedy's monica lewinsky business in the first day they had the story on page three that a picture of monica lewinsky and of me. and i said i've never even met the woman. >> here is the interview with mimi beardsley. >> the last room that we went into was a veteran. it was jackie kennedy's bedroom. i learned later it was mrs. kennedy's bedroom. i was pale blue, i thought the president getting closer and closer to me. lift and him looking me in the eyes and he then put his hands on my shoulders and guided me to
the edge of the bed, the corner of the bed. and i think he may have said is is all right, are you okay is this okay, i don't think i knew what he was talking about. i thought is what okay? i didn't know what was going to happen. and then what happened was i lost my virginity. right there. then i think i went a little bit into shock. >> why do you think she wrote the book and goes into all details about the relationship over the 18 month period include around the country available to him at the end of the day. it's interesting because. >> when i published my book in the spring story came out about her in the daily news revealed her name and who she was i heard on the grapevine that a publisher offered a million dollars to write her memoir and
it wasn't until eight years later that she finally did it. so i never asked her, i note know why she did it maybe she needed money. i suspect they were still willing to pay because it was a tell-all book and some of the details are somewhat shocking. >> go back when i read the two paragraphs, jackie kennedy has great periods by her husband and she must keep the children and herself around them and kiss a guy in the next page, on octobeo her bedroom jackie kennedy's bed with this 19, 18-year-old or whatever she was. this is really not matter as a public? >> two ways you can look at this. on one hand, doesn't have an
impact on his conduct of presidency. as far as i can tell no. was he going to be impeached, in 1962, 1963 as i said, the press did not write about a president at least the mainstream press did not write about the president's private life and that way. but, it says something about the man's character and about his personality. and the fact that there is some kind of deep felt easiness that this man had in an induced nest of a 19 or 20-year-old woman and it's not just that. but her description of some of the things that went on, oral, and how he encouraged her to give oral sex. and his brother but she resisted when he suggested she performed oral on te sex on tank kennedy..
>> after the presidency he was a historian and he said this is what he knew about jfk. >> the currents seems to be that everyone in washington knew about the bimbos in the white house and they covered up because they like kennedy or because the rules deflected. ben bradley was kennedy's closest friend in the press and the head of the bureau in the newsgathering. ben bradley did not know about
these things. i was not aware of any kind of anything that would interfere with the conduct of business. >> the journals i talked to including bob novak said they suspected. they had clues. they thought there were lots of women coming and going from the white house. in fact, in my first biography journalist told me, the story that when kennedy was on the campaign trail in 1960 in northern california there were pom-pom girls from a local college and kennedy pointed to one of them and went up to the woman and said the senator for that to seal in his hotel room. she went up there and the journalist told me, how he knows is i don't know, but the young woman told him the journalist
told me that kennedy said to the young woman and looked at his watch and said we have 15 minutes. and whatever happened after that she didn't say. but sure, they suspected. >> the important point, you said earlier, whether this president or any president is whether or not had an impact on the presidency. >> i think that certainly is a central proposition. this is between him and his wife as to what the relationship is like in the president is a philanderer or not. but in this day and age it seems that rb lawless for president to try and do this because it's a different world than it was in
the 1960s. so it will be brought forward and all over the press, television and destroy the man's presidency. but it was a different time in the 1960s, i am not justifying it. i think it was terribly excessive as to what he did with this young woman and on the other hand i'm not sure and not saying that my god he should've just been loyal to jackie, that was between them. she knew about this and she knew he was a philanderer in the antidote after canada. there is military aides standing next and she said in french, is not enough, i come to canada and stand in line and one of the bimbos was in line to shake her hand as she was furious at this
situation. and who can blame her. >> dean roscoe secretary of state, and you have a quote and i want to give you background on this. >> she debated cautious and steady president and he described as trying to keep the group from moving too far or too fast. bobby kennedy described him as playing the role of the dumb dodo for this region. did he think he was a dumb dodo? i don't think is a dumb dodo but his personality was such that he was differential to the president on making for policy. but i think this is mixed because this is what kennedy wanted. he did not want a secretary of state who is going to compete with him on making
foreign-policy. but the kennedy administration was a far policy and administration. kennedy was not the interested initially in domestic affairs and so to speak kicking and screaming and dealing with civil rights. and he dealt with it and it was quite courageous of him to the civil rights bill before the congress in 1963 because it could have jeopardized his reelection since he knew he was an alienating southern state and southern voters. so it was courageous of him to do that. he felt and grew in office and he was a foreign-policy president and i don't think he wanted a secretary of state who is going to be aggressive about challenging what he wanted to do. what kennedy complained about is that he did not have ideas and
he was not someone thinking forward with suggestions that kennedy might've used in little imagination and dealing with the foreign-policy. i think that was a legitimate complaint. >> your first trip was 1991 when you wrote a book on linda johnson and here you are in 1991, a number of years ago. >> some of the things i found as presidency is that they're using the fbi to get journalist against the movie actor who's advocating johnson's impeachment in 1967 over vietnam. and doctor was getting the fbi to go after paul to see what they can fight to use against him. he was ruthless and i suspected these things were known at the time and he could have been impeached and driven from office. >> how many books on linda johnson? >> two volumes. i did it for oxford and oxford
university and compressed one volume. two big volumes of one star rising and four giant, 91 and 1998 was the second volume. >> the question, i'm not sure you're allowed to ask these questions. what's the difference between your take on linda johnson and robert caro's. >> i think my attempt in johnson work was to describe the balance. i feel that way still about johnson. they were excited before where they have an 85% approval and johnson has only 49% approval rating. he stood on the bottom. but coming up to the anniversary of poverty, great society, he did extraordinarily constructive
things to this country. sure we did not abolish poverty as he wanted to but he is the plight of people and took a step forward from where the new deal were illuminating the american industrial system. i think that is to be admired and applauded. he was run by vietnam. and that's a shadow that continues to hang over his reputation. i don't know that he is going to say about the johnson presidency. he is just reaching the point in fighting about the johnson presidency. i think he is involved in time over his picture of johnson and in the beginning there were critical writing about johnson, particularly when he ran against stephenson in 1948 the senate campaign. and i think he has become -- and
another word to use. receptive or gentle in his criticism. and of course, it's volumes that are beautifully written and are a model of how to engage a general audience. but i'll be curious to see what his presidential volumes will turn out to be. >> he went to the university of illinois to get your undergraduate degree in history, phd and masters from columbia. i wrote down the place that you talk in your life, boston university, columbia, oxford, ucla for how many years? >> thirty year. >> on campus? >> yes. >> caltech, now teaching at stanford. >> a teacher stanford university of washington. i teach a seminar. i looked at the picture, who is that handsome young fella you had a camera.
>> twenty-three years ago. >> son matt, what did he do? he has a bachelors degree from berkeley, phd in latin american political history from columbia and he became a speechwriter for two and half years. currently he is a full-time faculty member to the university of california in washington in the center of rhode island to have it. he teaches full-time for them. he published an excellent book on ronald reagan called the right moment and he is finishing a book and he will call it eat or, sleep or, thank were, it's about civil war in 1940 to 1944. where did you meet jerry? >> in california. >> how long have you been married. >> forty-nine years this year. >> what did she do when you met her? she became a health policy
analyst and she headed the nonprofit in los angeles called the center of healthcare rights with medicare and medicaid. when we moved to washington it was because of her job offer. she worked for families usa with policy department and then she went to an institute at georgetown where they did health policy analysis. she had a long career in the health policy. >> you had 14 major works in the one we been talk about as well. of all of those, which one of these did you have the most fun writing christmas. >> i think it's somebody was the worst one was kennedy.
because i didn't into such interesting new information. franklin roosevelt i found fascinating because he is a fascinating character and i am now when you go back to fdr and going to invite the penguin press to write a volume life of fdr. i am 79 years old, my health is good, and i told my back you have to keep me going for four or five major years so i can get fdr done. >> when you intend to finish christmas. >> hopefully no more than four or five year. >> which of these books, was the hardest right? >> the early ones. the first book, i did know if i could write it.
and then doing the fdr book, if i were going back to the original fdr which i did and for policy, i would've done it in different ways. i would've taken some of the details out. >> are the books still print? >> yes. >> if you read these by your question, would you learn something in addition to that if they read your dissertation on william? >> yes because only takes it through the first year end a half in mind goes through the whole ambassadorship. of course he has a great deal about the daughter and i didn't focus on the daughter. >> we been talking about a book, our guest and professor robert, we thank you for joining us. >> you're watching historian robert dallek in his biography
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