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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  April 28, 2016 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

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. >> rose: welcome to the program. we begin this evening with politics. we talk to michael barbaro of "the new york times" and bob livering the message, there were a number of, you could diplomatically call them paradoxes. could you less politely call them contradictions in the speech such as we're going to get out of the business of nation building but we're going to build a stronger, safer world, those two things are related as we found in the past few years and decades. he argued that there are too many weapons in the world. then he later said i want to develop some newer weapons. and he talked about the need to be unpredictable while arguing that he was going to create stronger, more reliable alliances. one of the things that make alliances work that allow foreign companies to have confidence in the united states is predict ability. >> rose: we conclude with william leuchtenburg, his book
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is quawld "the american president from teddy roosevelt to bill clinton" he's interviewed by my colleague jeff glor. >> i was asked by the annanberg foundation if i would write a history of the american presidency. and having written 14 books almost all of which dealt with the president, you were mentioned fdr, eight books on him, it seemed like a perfect invitation to write a capstone what i had been doing all my life. >> rose: politics and history when we continue. funding for charlie rose is provided by the following: >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications
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from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: we begin this evening with our continuing coverage of election 2016. hillary clinton won four out of five democratic primaries on tuesday. republican trump triumphed in all five. in a speech today he lay out his vision for foreign policy. >> i will view as president the world through the clear lens of american interests. i will be america's greatest defender and most loyal champion. we will not apologize for becoming successful again. but will instead embrace the unique heritage that makes us who we are. >> rose: also ted cruz announced that carly fiorina would be his running mate. >> this is a choice that you are telling the american people this is an individual who i trust.
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and even more importantly, this is an individual you can trust to lead this country no matter what might happen. >> rose: joining me now from washington, bob woodward. an associate editor of "the washington post" here in new york, michael barbaro of "the new york times." bob, let me go with you first and his foreign policy speech. tell me what was it that you saw there, and what is the quality of trump's foreign policy vision? >> well, first it was a plausible speech in a kind of standard piece through strength. i think part of the really, what was important about this speech is what was not there. he didn't talk about the wall with mexico that he has previously promised that he's going to build. he did not talk about excluded muslims from coming into the united states. i think he elevated deplom see and said very clearly it's
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possible we can negotiate with russia and china. and he also very much elevated the idea of not telegraphing what we're going to do. being unpredictable. >> rose: well, that's one of his key strengths, people say, because they don't really know the unpredict ability adds some drama to the election if he is, in fact, the nominee. >> but i think the speech also had some weaknesses. for instance, he said about president obama, if president obama actually intended to weaken america, he couldn't do a better job. now that's a gross overstatement. and you can criticize obama for things he's done in foreign policy and elsewhere, but to say that his intent is to weaken america makes no sense. i think also where he said trump
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referred to the faults-- false song of globalization, that it is only going to focus on american interests, well, we live in a world of globalization. you can't ignore it. also in terms of isis, the islamic state, he said very directly he is going to do away with them very quickly. i think as soon as he gets intelligence briefings as a candidate, or president, he's going to realize as george w. bush and barack obama could tell him these things would not go very quickly. >> rose: what did you think of the speech. >> i think the fact of the speech is what made it interesting. he does not give policy speeches. >> rose: the only one i knew of before is he is writing lobbyists. >> that's right. this is the second time he gave a real speech of substance that was planned ahead as a presentation of agenda.
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i thought he looked a little uncomfortable in the role of a policy pronouncer. notice that his mouth was really dry and he was stumbling over some of the words. but when it got around to delivering the message there were a number of of, you could diplomatically call them paradoxes, less politely call them contradictions such as we're going to gept out of the business of nation building but build a stronger, safer world. those two things are some what related as we found over the past few years and decades. he argued that there are too many weapons in the world and he later said i want to develop some newer weapons. and he talked about the need to be unpredictable while arguing that he was going to create stronger, more reliable alliances. one of the things that make alliances work that allow foreign countries to have confidence in the united states is predict ability. so there are some real issues for people in the foreign policy community who are sceptical of him to latch on to. >> rose: so what went into the speech. do we know how he set about to make the speech.
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what his goal was. was it simply sto appear presidential so that he would suggest to people that you can see me as a commander in chief. >> it coinsided with the arrival of paul manafor who is a new figure in his campaign who seems to be voferred in something of a tug of war with his original campaign manager. as they attempt to figure out what kind of presentation will be compelling to get him to be the nominee and of course to get him to be a serious contender. >> rose: how do those views differ. >> since paul has arrived, there have been-- there was a speech he gave at the republican national committee which he said this is something of an act. i think that you can draw a line from that to the need to give a serious policy speech. there seems to be an argument inside the campaign it's time to become a more serious candidate. >> rose: more presidential. >> more traditional. it's not necessarily prevailing but you can see bits and pieces of it. >> rose: do you think paul has had a real impact on trump not only in terms of sort of tactics but also in terms of how he
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approaches the rest of the campaign and perhaps a general election campaign. >> yes and no. trump is still trump. and we heard last night where he was saying things about hillary clinton f she wasn't a woman, she would get five percent of the vote. i mean something like that. should not be thought let alone said. now what michael was saying about contradictions in this foreign policy speech, if you look at any president's foreign policy, reagans or either of the bushes or obama's, there are those contradictions all the time. so as -- this was something new. it was coherent and i want to go back to the point, he did not talk about the wall or excluding muslims. and that's been kind of a pilar of his campaign and he probably
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will say he hasn't changed his mind. but i think in this kind of blue print that he's laid out it is significant that didn't come up. >> rose: what about the decision by ted cruz to announce his running mate carly fiorina. >> most likely it is going to be irrelevant. not make any difference. i think it's pretty much agreed that the republican nomination is over and as people say, and they're not wild about talking about this, but whatever number trump gets to, to not give him the nomination, there has to be a very clear reason, rational for doing it. and-- i don't see it. and certainly the cruz campaign. >> rose: so whatever ted cruz does in terms of maybe telegraphing who his nominee would be, vice president in order to do well in california where she's from, will have no impact because trump's got this.
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>> yeah. i can't figure out what the real strategic benefit to it is. in the absence of it really changing his campaign, it is kind of a brilliant distracting ploi. and ted cruz has a reputation for being a pretty calculating and kunning political guy. and what he has done here is he said to the remaining primary states, if you have reservations about donald trump and you're willing to take me to the convention, and that messy process that could possibly result in a contested convention, this is what my nominee ticket would like like. and it would be a fairly gender balanced ticket with a figure who is well-known. karmy fiorina but who is also controversy. >> rose: do we know what is on the short list for donald trump. he suggested i think paul ryan, people like that his list was pretty much. >> i would be pretty shocked if paul ryan said that. >> rose: i would too. but trump suggests at one point the kind of people he would look for and they were pretty much
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washington establishment types. >> yes. when we interviewed him. >> rose: you and bob costa. >> yeah, he made it really clear he's going to go for somebody who is washington establishment. he specifically said somebody who has been around for 25 years can go to the senate and know nose senators, knows the players. now if he sticks to that, as we know, he doesn't necessarily stick to things he says. so i suspect in his mind he's got a short list of one for who he would like to pick. as his running mate. and he may blurt it out some day or they may actually hold it close and they may actually go through a rigorous process. i suspect everything we know about trump, he's kind of
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instinctive, as george bush said about himself, he's a gut player and trump definitely is. >> rose: gut player. so therefore you think he has one person, a specific person or the idea of one person? >> don't know. obviously. but he-- you know, i think he thinks in personnel in terms of personalities, you were asking the question about him when you-- interview what struck both bob costa and myself is he's a master at measuring the reaction to himself. and in a very odd way he does, when you interview him he doesn't disagree with much cuz he's kind of looking for a path of some sort of agreement. and then as my, the person who transcribed the tape, my assistant evelyn duffy said, she listened to this and she said, you know, there's a tipoff. he'll say something and then he'll say, by the way, and then
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he'll give his real opinion. >> rose: bob, do you think he's going to be, if he is indeed the nominee a stronger candidate than we might imagine. that show because of unpredict ability and the fact that he did so well suggesting he has appeal within the republican party, that that might translate to some quote reagan democrats. >> yeah, i think almost anything can happen here. and i think the debate is going to be will he do some of these things he's talked about. or is he going to change. and one of the tipoffs to the possibility that he is going to be much more reasonable and sound reasonable is this speech today. no wall, no lus muslims. michael, were you surprised? i thought for sure that was going to get dropped in. it was not. >> yeah, i mean he can't of course erase those proposals for the wall and for the temporary
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ban. they will be used against him powerfully by a potential hillary clinton democratic nominee if she is the nominee as i think she will be. but i'm sure he left them out for the simple reason that he hopes people will start to forget about them and will put some distance between himself and those reasonable hurtful remarks to a growing population of general election voters. >> but then last night he made that comment about hillary clinton. i mean what an engraved invitation to pushback and say by the way, i am looking out for women. and this isn't a gender race. >> we debate this sometimes inside "the new york times." there is a proclivity, there is a tendency towards self-sabotage with donald trump that is almost without equal in american politics. you can actually argue it goes back very far am his life to the way he conducted some of his personal life, to some of the decisions he made as a developer and especially since he entered
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the campaign it is as if the moment es a he on a kus paragraph of real progress in the campaign he fines a way to do something that will reignite an old debate or offend a group of people. >> rose: on the other hand you could flip it and say he has done things that everybody else thought would destroy a campaign and its did not destroy his campaign. >> that's true, so far in a primary. but some. self-inflicted wounds will have real power in a general election. and if you looked on tuesday at the polling that was done of people, exit polling, people who left the polls, one quarter of the republicans who were asked in maryland, connecticut and pennsylvania, one quarter of republicans said that they could not envision voting for donald trump as the nominee. >> rose: those numbers i saw were up to 40%. >> the comparative numbers for hillary clinton are significantly lower, that is really problematic. >> rose: bob. >> first of all i think those exit polls are interesting and kind of nifty but i'm not sure people tell the truth when they're exiting the polls
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because they know, hey, you know, who is going to know about this. charlie, last fall you gave-- you did that interryu with putin. >> rose: right. >> i i found astonishing when you asked him about the kgb. you were in the kgb, so there is a saying that once are you in the kgb you're always in the kgb. and his answer was something alonged lines, every stage of our life leads leaves a trace. >> exactly. >> and i thought what an interesting way to say yes. and what an important point about every stage of your life leaves a trace. and trump, hillary clinton f it gets down-- our job is going to be sto excavate every stage of their life. because as michael suggests, sometimes these things are connected to things in childhood
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or plane, many years earlier. >> rose: so what do you want to know about donald trump you don't know. >> everything, i think the whole-- issue of money jeff bezos, the amazon c.e.o. who bought "the washington post" a number of years ago, i was at one of his conferences talking about nixon. and he said could we have known about nixon before he became president. and i said i don't know. and then he said you know, now we have to make sure we do a full series and inquirery into who these people are. and this was raising the bar very high. so no one will go in to the polls in november and say gee, it wasn't available to me to find occupant every stage of these candidates life, what their values are, how they make
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decisions and you know, we know personality, character, his biography. >> rose: you and i have always bleeferred in that analysis of what motivates people and shaped by the influences of their life. speak to the same point in terms of trump. i mean you have thought about this. you have thought about him as a candidate. >> i want to know everything and then some on donald trump too. and we're going to put the same resources, hopefully a little bit more competitively. i would jokingly say, in to excavating who he is. and i want to know his relationship with his parents. i want to know what kind of a negotiator he-- . >> rose: i would ask the following question. you have been covering him for eight months. why don't we know more about that you say i want to know. how much do we know and how much should we have known. and that's the test of jeff bezos question. >> we know a great deal. but there's a tremendous amount that we still don't know because there's a public tale that donald trump has told. and
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there is the tabloid story of donald trump that has been told. there say political story that has been told. there are still chapters of his life as there are with anybody in public life that remain unexamed. i don't know much about his childhood growing up, for example. and i don't really know what it was like to be in a room with him when he was, as he would say, brilliantly negotiating these deals. >> rose: you mean were they brilliant. >> was he an ethical negotiator, an unethical negotiator. and the new york military academy years when he was in an all-boys school and very much shaped by the severe culture around him. i don't want to give all my ideas away to bob woodward of all people but there are big and fascinating and meaty chapters of his life that are yet unexamed. >> rose: bob? >> and because he's a real estate developer, particularly in new york city, somebody said to me, it's easier to find out what's going on in the cia than to really find out how these deals are done, how they are
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made and to use that famous line, follow the money. all of those deals inevitably are about money. and sometimes it is masked intentionally masked what people are you up to, so this is a hard and necessary target in so much of his life. in you think about it, in the case of hillary clinton and donald trump, you couldn't pick two people who have longer diographys that go back decades and decades. >> more time spent in the public eyewitnesses and in a meaningful and sometimes not in a public way. i mean there are all kinds of-- there's a lot of work to be done. and i think it's important that it be competitive. and i think it's important that every one sets their sights very
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high on this. >> well, i'm sure boft you will. >> it was said by john dikerson on the morning program that he thinks it's going to be a dirts ian mean campaign and a rush to the bottom. >> crooked hiltry, for example, that's donald, we were all debating what the term would be. what the nickname would be. >> i think it would to some degree demand that she hover above this. and the way that the clintons have talked about the 1990st and what they believe they were sushted to, during his presidency, the partisanship, the nasdaqiness, the personal attacks, they have made such a cause of mall ianing that behavior and that conduct, and trying to stand apart from that in politics that i think you're going to see her try to make that case and attempt to keep this a substantive as possible. and that will no doubt guide her selection of a vice presidential candidate or running mate because she will need someone
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who can operate at a different level, perhaps as an attack dog. by the way, that is one of the things carlry fiorina does skillfully. she was very creative and articulate in her krilt eke of hillary clinton, you remember one of her favorite lines was hillary clinton has evaded prosecution only more than el chapo. >> she was a dynamic presence on the debate stage. she has a set of skills that hillary clinton does not have on a stage. you're going to see hillary clinton is capable if not operating on trump's level, then finding a way to neutralize it. >> bob? >> okay, but here's the variable here. and i think michael's quite right that the aspiration on the part of hillary clinton and her campaign might be to take and live on the high road. but if it doesn't work, if trump's presumably attacks really are taking hold, then
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everything changes. >> exactly. >> because in a campaign like this, it will be about outcomes. and it will be is it working. and you know, these campaigns think they have a way of testing if, all the time. almost on a daily, certainly a weekly basis. so the high road may be, there is too much evidence and it's a drariy thought but this evidence exists that in politics when you take the attack road, the low road, that does work. >> bob, thank you so much. great to you have. >> thank you. michael, good to have you here. >> thank you, back in a moment. stay with us. >> good evening, i'm jeff glor. filling in for charlie rose who is off tonight. >> william leuchtenburg is here. is he the william rand keenan
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sunnier emeritus professor hea not north chapel hill, his new book is called the maryb president, the "boston globe" calls it an inviting triumph. we are cleeseed to have bill leuchtenburg at this table. professor, welcome. >> thank you very much. >> so nice to you have here. >> nice to be here. >> interesting because this is a hundred year long-- much of your past has been in documenting fdr's ride and triumphs. this say broader look at many more presidents. why this, why now? >> i was asked by the annanburg foundation if i would write a history of the american presidency. and having written 14 books almost all of which diselt with the president, you were mentioning fdr, eight books on
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him. it seemed like a perfect invitation to write a capstone of what i had been doing all my life. and i had earlier easyitied a vofl theodore roosevelt, written a book on the 1920st, written a book on the impact of franklin roosevelt on successes, all the way through barack obama. and it was an nice assignment to be asked to take on. >> you were born during the harding administration. >> that is correct. >> you are still writing in the second term of barack obama. >> yes. >> on the subject of theodore roosevelt, and franklin roosevelt, you initially thought decades ago the modern presidency was created or defined under fdr. you have now come to believe that it was,-- that this happened during theodore of roosevelt, why. >> i not only thought that, i wrote it.
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so i am-- . >> rose: i know. >> i'm there for readers to find. and that's a fairly common view that the modern presidency begins with franklin roosevelt. as i wrote this book, i started out with that assumption. and then came to the conclusion that the big change in america takes place under tr. that the presidency was so remarkably weak particularly in the late 19th century, and all of a sudden he bursts on the scene. and in both foreign affair, domestic policy, he's a man who makes a big difference. >> do you deal with mckinley a little bit in this book. was that his, one of his great gifts was picking z thee door roosevelt? >> it would be generous to say
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that-- yes, i just got closer to it. teddy roosevelt was strongly disliked by the-- by political powers in new york state when he was governor. and they thought the way to get rid of him was too put him in the vice presidential position where nobody would ever hear of him again hz a a famous story of the industrialist mark hanna saying don't you realize that you just one life between that man, men and the white house. and then turned to mckinley and said now it's up to you to live. as we know, that's not what happened. thee door roosevelt bursts on the scene and then hanna says now ta damn cowboy is president of the united states.
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>> can i just ask you about mckinley, did mckinley get a bad rap? >> mckinley was regarded as someone who had brought about some of the evil aspects of american empire, had plunged the united states needilessly into the spanish american war. not many historians think that any more. and some even think that the modern presidency has its origins in some of the initiatives that mckinley takes. i wouldn't go that far. >> you wouldn't go that far. >> i wouldn't go that far. >> so thee door roosevelt bursts on to the scene unexpectedly. >> yeah. >> well, perhaps not. given his past. but what did he do in your estimation than to define the modern president see z.
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>> in foreign affairs, there was probably never an american president who loved war more. and yet no one ever dies in a war started by teddy roosevelt. everybody is surprised he's the first american to win the nobel peace prize. but he does greatly expand the imperial reach of the united states. and much of the america today as a world power starts in the teddy roosevelt years. in domestic policy, he is the first president to intervene on behalf of workers to resolve a strike. he defies the house of morgan by launching an antitrust suit against a major railroad
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combine. he is a figure who for the first time establishes the president as a mediator between capital and labor. but beyond all of this, he has a personality that is so large, one commentator said that he simply exhausts all the energy in the room by the way that he cultivated the press, made the president somebody who the american people wanted to read about in the morning newspapers every day. >> he couldn't help it, sucking all that oxygen. >> exactly. >> couldn't help it. >> so following thee door roose velts, then, you write about some of the president's in the 1920st. harding. we mentioned harding before, harding cool i believe hoover,
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with the execs pangs of the presidency all but ground to a halt. >> yes. it's very hard to find. now of course in between thee door roosevelt in the 20st is the presidency wilbur wilson who expands the role of teddy roosevelt in numbers of ways in the presidency. and then there is this drop back for those 12 years of harding cool i believe and hoover. the budget bureau is started under warren harding. cool i believe intervenes in latin america. herbert hoover took steps that presidents in the past had not taken in order to deal with the great depression. and yet when all of that is said, the presidency is not nearly as strong an institution
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when hoover steps down as it was under teddy roosevelt and under woodrow wilson. >> and then there is this enormous leap forward with fdr. >> yes. >> who occupies the office for, as we know, a great deal of time. >> yes, that's right. no president before or after has served so long. he defies the taboo against a third term. and then gets elected to a fourth term too. and shortly after he dies, congress puts through a constitutional amendment which is then ratified limiting a president henceforth to two terms. so probably no president from-- to all eternity will ever have served more than two terms and in that respect alone franklin roosevelt will be unique. >> did roosevelt fascinate you when you were a child? >> very much so. >> in the same way. >> very much so.
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i was a boy in a clag room in the early 1930st. and an important figure, the board of education came to our assembly hall. and asked who, what is the first name of the roosevelt who is governor of our state. and who people are talking about as the next president. silence. then thee door. teddy, shook his head in dismay. and finally total silence. and then when i heard the name, franklin roosevelt, i thought i better keep that name in my head because i'm likely to hear more of it. and then when i was ten years old my parents let me stay up late into the night listening to the democratic con vengs from chicago. and just as i kept the box scores of the world series the year before, i kept ballot by
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ballot the count of the then 48 states of the results of the 1932 disem krattic convention. that results in franklin roosevelt's nomination. >> so as he redefined the presidency in his four terms, he changes what that office is. because you said in the 19th century the best and the brightest were not drawn to the idea of running for president. >> no. >> why was that? >> it was regarded as an office that wasn't very quengsal. the cons quengsal. great british scientist lord bries wrote a book, classic, the american commonwealth, that had an essay in it, why great men are not chosen president. in america.
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and woodrow wilson then a young political scientist agreed with that. it was congress, not the president, that was the dominant political institution. >> how could the office of the presidency not be cons quengs any time in our history? >> largely because it had suffered such a relapse under andrew johnson with the, with his impeachment an with the determination of congress that if would never allow a strong figure to arise again. in addition, most of the issues that had roiled the country for the previous generation of slavery and is he session had been resolved. and the new issues of industrial
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america, of the trusts, of conservation, had not yet arisen. so it's a shallow period in the late 19th century. >> the impeachment of andrew johnson in your judgement was the low point for the american presidency. >> oh yes, i think so. at least the low point in the 19th century. we have yet to see whether the 21s century will bring us a lower point. >> what was the low point in the 209 century? >> i would think that if we're talking about power of a president, then the two low points would be the 19 tost and to a lesser degree, the '70s in the period of frank-- of ford and of carter. if you think of the low point with respect to the ime javier of american presidents it would
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almost certainly be that of richard nixon and the actions that resulted in being descrif enfrom office. >>ed office was inquengs from a hundred years ago t has become more conis he quengs. >> clearly, i suppose the single answer that would be most compelling is the fact that the president of the united states has his finger on the new clear button-- nuclear button. but it is more than that. the president now sendses budget messages to congress, pieces of legislation are drafted, less on the hill than they are in the white house. the president has an impact on the american economy as he never
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had in the past. >> is there a trait that whether they are republican, democrat, that all presidenting--s share in your opinion or that you saw that runs through all of the men we read about in this book? >> well, none of the presidents can be said to be shy. they all have a strong sense of themselves, of wanting pe to have an impact on public affairs. to have make a place in history for themselves. they're all very aware of their predecessor the. sne have a place for themselves in the history books. >> is the current president shy? >> is the current president shy? >> the current president is
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reticent in a manner. he is a president who thinks before he speaks, he is someone who has been often said to need to be more forceful. i think we're already missing approximate barack obama. and i think we're going to his mim more in the years to come, in part for that very quality. >> what do you make of the current primary season and those who would be next president? >> i think it is extraordinarily disstressing. and i am hardly alone in holding that view the phenomenon of this year is of course donald trump.
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and if one asks, has there ever been anybody before nominated by a major party who in he is nominated by a major party, who has had no office holding experience, no experience in dealing with legislatures, the answer is that there has been nobody since wendel wilkie's nomination in 1940, a utility eck tiff. the curious thing about wilkie is that he did have a bit of political experience. he was a committeeman for hall. wilkie ran as the republican an dat-- candidate, the tamine machine of the democratic party was his only previous experience
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something which distressed some republicans in 1940 greatly. one of them said i'm all for the church converting a whore but i don't want her leading the church service the first sunday morning. and that aspect of wilkie caused considerable division within the republican party. but if you say has there been anyone like donald trump before who had no previous political experience and who was-- who aroused anger against a particular ethnic groups, no. i think this is a-- unique phenomenon. a uniquely disturbing phenomenon. >> there have been anti-establishment candidates
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who had been nominated before. gold water, mcgovern. but in-- this is different, are you saying. >> this is different. i think this is different. the closest one can get is that barry gold water voted against the civil rights act of 1964. and as a result, his only states in the electoral college that year other than his own, arizona, were all in the-- were all in the deep south. gold water never deliberately used racist rhetoric or deliberately sought to arouse animosity against any group in the country. >> what is it that you find so endlessly fascinating about the presidency, about those who occupy this office. >> i suppose it's a little boy's view of what i-- first found in
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the history books and clearly kument vaited by the experience-- cultivated of the experience living with the presidency, franklin del a no roosevelt. i was ten years old when he was nominated. i was 22 at the time that he died and all the form tiff years, i had this sense of this interesting figure in the white house. >> how could he and should he inform the modern day presidency or the modern day campaign season. >> i think that they-- the shadow that franklin roosevelt cast affected all of the president's after it clearly is-- the success of truman but
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right on through barack obama who talks about fdr and inn his memoir. what would one hope most of all is they recognition of the degree to which franklin roosevelt expandedded notion of what america was. before fdr, the government was largely the preserve of white anglo saxon protestant men in the roosevelt era, his two most memorable advisors were tomorrowee cochran and ben cone, the irish katd lick and the jew. and although racial discrimination increases under-- not increases but
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persists in the 1930st, roosevelt names so many african-americans to high places that there is talk even of a black cabinet. and perhaps most important of all, particularly in this year, is the expansion of the rights of women. we went through, it's hard to believe, but about a century and a half of the republic without a single woman holding a cabinet post. in 1933, he hardly has taken office, his very first week when he names francis perkins secretary of labor. and eleanor roosevelt becomes a model for the significance of women in public affairs. >> you mentioned his advisors, i was going to mention eleanor as well. >> very much so. the generalization was that she was his arms and legs. she traveled everywhere.
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nobody knew where she would turn up next. one of the cartoons is a new yorker where coal minors in the depths of the earth one says to another, my gosh, here comes mrs. roose velts. and admiral bird in the south pole, it was said, always said two set two place force dinner in against eleanor roosevelt would drop in. she was enormously effective, influential on civil rights and on the rights of young people was there a president after fdr and you covered them all, up until bill clinton in this book whrorks is more misunderstood than they should be. >> i think i'm not sure about misunderstood but neglected not appreciated enough as harry
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trueman. >> for things like influence on foreign affair, the tru man doctrine, the berlin airlift the foreign aid if one thinks of his impact on civil rights, the appointing of the siferl rights commission, the civil rights mission and particularly the desegregation of the armed forces, his program of the fair deal and most importantly, asking for federal action on behalf of medical care, which provides the background for the medicare and medicaid of will lyndon johnson's great society. >> and is there a president after fdr then who might receive
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more due or more credit than you believe they might deserve? >> well, maybe more than one. but certainly i would sigh dwight eisenhower. it is said that he-- that he succeeded in making great strides in civil rights by sending troops into little rock at the time of the dispute with governor orville. in fact, eisenhower did very, very little on behalf of civil rights. it said that by refusing to engage joe mccarthy, he wrote brought about the end of mccarthiism, of excessive
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attacks on innocent people who were called sub versives. in fact, the eisenhower administration largely went along with mccarthy and with others without brought him down. so i think its reputation of eisenhower today which is very considerably better than it was among historians in the early periods, i think that is overblown. >> this covers from 1901 to 2001. but this is actually the second part of a two-part work. you wrote the second part of the two-part work first. >> i did. i did. >> because? >> because i know more about the period. i started out writing from 1787 on. and found that it was going to be a very, very long book. i wrote a few hundred pages on the 18th and 19th
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century. and i realized this was going to be hopelessly long. there are some people who think that's a long book. and but i am now going back to 1787 and hope that i can write a companion volume so that the entire history of the presidency or at least history up to 2001 is covered in two volumes. >> then you have to deal with 2001 plus after that. >> that time will come, i hope. >> how do we-- how do you immediately assess the presidency's of these years the last 16 years, or nearly 16 years it would be now. >> well, it would be very hard to say that the second george bush's presidency was a successful one. and in two respects at least
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it's an unfortunate one. one the-- the reasons in iraq, the other, disastrous economic policies of the bush administration. >> the with bar ak obama we've still got some months to go. but i think think he will be remembered for not having involved the country in disastrous engagement abroad. and i think he will be thought well of because the economy has done considerably better than it did under his pred
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seses it-- predecessor. and perhaps most important, controversy though it is, because he has succeeded in putting through a health-care program which has benefited closes to 20 million people. >> from a historian's perspective, how long do you need, how long does that person need to be removed from the office for you to properly assess what they did and what their impact was? z do you need a koip el decades, less, more. >> a little different with each president. for most of american presidents, i have been through the archives, worked in the presidential papers. and other, for other presidents. and i would feel more comfortable not only if i, but if a lot of other colleagues,
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number of journalists had been to the papers of the more recently president. and that has not been possible yet. it will be very, very soon. >> you need at least. >> 20, 25 years, probably before you have a chance to sort this out. with fdr it was a little different because he created the first presidential library. he died in 1945. by 1950, people like myself were already there. the other archives have taken longer to open and it's not been possible to get that kind of long-range perspective. >> are you still tempted to revisit fdr. i know you have a project under way covering the first hundred some odd years. and you've written so much about fdr. in such fascinating ways but is
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there more you want to explore? is there more you can explore. >> i think so, yes. it was, though, the hardest chapter to write in the book. because having written, i think i said, eight books or edited on fdr, to try to say something new and to bring to it the same gusto that one brings to presidents, one doesn't know as well, that was a tough assignment. but since he is endlessly fascinating, it worked out in the end, i think. >> it's a fascinating book. the american mt from teddy roosevelt to bill clinton. bill leuchtenburg sheer. thank you so much. >> thank you very much. >> for more about this program and earlier episodes, visionity us online at and charlie captioning sponsored by
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rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh
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>> on the next charlry rose, a conversation with the attorney general of the united staith by my colleague al hunt. funding fer charlie rose sproid by the following: and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. >> on tomorrow's pbs newshour, a look at the business backlash against laws in north carolina that many say discriminate against the lgbt community.
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the following kqed production was produced in high definition. and their buns are something i have yet to find anywhere else. >> i'm not inviting you to my house for dinner. >> breaded and fried and gooey and lovely. >> in the words of arnold schwarzenegger, i'll be back. >> they knew i had to ward off some


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