tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC April 17, 2018 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
that's it for me. i'll see you back tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. eastern. "hardball" with chris matthews starts now. >> high anxiety for president trump and his inner circle. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm steve kornacki. president trump spent the day at mar-a-lago with the prime minister of japan. according to reports, he is tewing over the raid of michael cohen. according to "associated press," trump and allies hit a new level of anxiety after the raid on his personal attorney's office. fearful of deeper exposure for
trump, his inner circle and adult children and more than concerned they don't know what is in the record and devices seized last week. he's reportedly worried cohen may strike a deal with prosecutors out of concern about his prospects. a person told axios, the guys that know trump best are the most worried. people are very, very worried because it's michael iffin' kobe who knows what he's done. michael avenatti predicted that cohen will eventually flip. >> i think the amount of information that was obtained is significant from what i've heard from, what i've seen, there's no question that michael cohen is going to be charged. it's a question of when and i think it will happen within the next 90 days. based on my experience innocence white collar criminal investigations and prosecutions, the likelihood of him not rolling over is very, very slim. >> this comes after yesterday's
stunning courtroom drama. a federal judge ordering cohen to reveal one of his three clients was fox news host sean hannity. he addressed that bombshell on his show. >> let me set the record straight. here's the truth. michael cohen never represented me in any legal matter. i never retained his services. i never received an invoice. i never paid him for legal fees. i did have occasional brief conversations with michael cohen. he's a great attorney about legal questions i had. my discussions with michael cohen never rose to any level i needed to tell anyone that i was asking him questions. >> hannity who spent the prior week attacking the raid on cohen's office never disclosed his relationship with the lawyer. fox putting out a statement today that said while fox news was unaware of sean hannity's informal relationship with michael cohen and surprised by the announcement in court yesterday, we have reviewed the matter and spoken to sean. he continues to have our full
support. i'm joined by. >> you jeanne robinson, phillip bump, also with the "washington post," carol and daniel gold ma. phillip, i'll start with you because you were in the courtroom yesterday. it the status of all of the material that the government got from that raid on cohen's office was up in the air, sort of the purpose yesterday. where does that stand? you've got trump's side that wants at it, the government wants at it. what emerge from the hearing yesterday. >> >> the important factor is less wgi gas control of the documents than who gets to determine which things are subject to attorney/client privilege. that's what the two days of hearings have been about so far. essentially where we ended yesterday, the judge kem ba wood determined the material in possession of the government should be shared with cope's attorneys. they were taken from his office. the government seemed to be
under the impression he still had copies. it turned out he didn't. all that material will be shared so all sides can go through and give an estimate of how much stuff they think is going to be privileged. so basically it slows down the process for a few weeks while cohen's people get access once again to the things that were taken from them last monday. everyone can start going through it and figuring out how much of this stuff, because michael cohen is an attorney, needs set aside so the government can't look at it. >> in terms of what this means, daniel, how do you look at this? was this a victory for the trump side is, the government? who made out better here? >> i think that the trump cohen side made out much better here. what they wanted was unprecedented which is essentially to convert a search warrant into a subpoena. second best is to get access to the materials which they got. once you get access to the materials, then the cat's out of the bag. there will be litigation about
this. they have access, and will continue to file motions. even if the judge were to say now, i'm going to go back to the usual process and let the government go through their filter team and decide what's privileged and what's not. cohen's team has the documents and they will be peppering the judge. it will be very difficult for any judge to disregard an application that something is printed without weighing in on it. it's both going to delay the process significantly and i think ultimately, this was not ruled on yesterday but reading the tea leaves where this is going, it will ultimately allow michael cohen and donald trump through michael cohen to make an application to the judge to keep documents away from the government and away from this investigation. >> wow. >> let me try not to knock that over. carolyn, he's saying trump got the better end of this yesterday. >> i agree with dan in some sense. if you call it a victory, it was a victory in that look, the government has already raided
cohen's home, office and hotel room. they have a substantial level of evidence to even get that search warrant. so the question is, what did they need in do they need corroborating evidence from the documents they'll get? they already have a pretty solid case against michael cohen. otherwise they wouldn't vin received this extraordinary by all accounts measure of getting the search warrant, getting a federal magistrate, an independent body, rod rosenstein signing off to go forward. michael avenatti has been pretty pressure yent in his predictions. i think this is coming fast and furious. >> let me bring eugene robinson. we say we have it in the opening and everybody's been hearing this is the one, the trump team is particularly worried about. michael cohen, the southern district of new york not necessarily that this mueller thing per se politically, this
is an administration that really almost before it took office, there's been all of this sort of controversy, the sort of cloud over it. does this one politically feel any different to you. >> well, potentially. potentially. i think right now, it doesn't politically feel different yet to me in that don't this is for example, eroding away the trump base or anything like that. the opponents to trump are fired up enough and don't need there to motivate them. so it doesn't have that political impact. but you know, who was donald trump before he ran for president? he ran the trump organization. by all accounts, the trump organization played fast and loose. played you know, they were not sort of a buttoned down by the book kind of firm. them have hundreds of shell companies and moving money here and there. that sort of thing. donald trump jr. said they were
getting a lot of russian money at one point. so when you start looking back and looking into michael cohen's records, one understands why the president would be nervous because there's going to be stuff in there. and probably stuff that's chargeable it seems to me. i'm not a lawyer, but you know, i know who donald trump was. so i think there's probably stuff in there. >> caroline mentioned this a minute ago. you got avenatti, stormy daniels lawyer saying i think cohen's going to flip. he's not exactly a neutral bystander in all this. but dan, what do you make of the idea that cohen hon sometimes when you read about him, he's supposedly one of the closest guys to trump telling folks i'll never turn on this guy. when you hear avenatti say i think he's going to flip, what's your reaction to that? >> in part, this is where cohen and trump's interests diverge a little bit. caroline's right. there's already a good case the government has against michael
cohen. remember they already obtained his e-mails through a prior search warrant. they represented there were no e-mails with trump in that. i think trump is right that this raid is of more concern to him. cohen, there's already a case against him likely. there's already an investigation. so then it gets to the timing of it. avenatti is probably right he's going to get indicted. that's particularly with this ruling. i don't think the government's going forward till they're able to be go through this information. the key that i would pay attention to with michael cohen is the number of times that he references how difficult this is for his family. and when in my experience, when defendants start worrying about their family, they are thinking about how do i protect my family, and the best way to protect your family is to cooperate because it's going to significantly reduce your sentence. so that concern is a valid concern. >> we also have the news of donald trump communicating with
michael cohen right now, which i'm a layman, but every lawyer says you should never be that. but he is apparently. >> you give advice to trump and he does the opposite. i do want to pull out one thing. you spoke with eugene about the politics of this. there's an aspect worth highlighting which is that donald trump, in cohen's also letter yesterday, he made a pointed reference to the toxic political atmosphere which surrounds this and how the government itself, americans would be skeptical of the government weighing in and evaluating this information on their own which is an argument that trump himself made and. court yesterday, assistant u.s. attorney said there are only two parties that were raising there issue after the raid and that was cohen and trump essentially. but it seemed as though thaech argument carried weight with judge wood and she said i'm not committed to having this third party come and review this stuff but because i want to preserve
the appearance of fairness, because of that toxic political atmosphere, she was leaning toward giving essentially a victory to cohen and trump's teams which is a fascinating that bealways talk about trump's tweets and what effect do they have. this was etangible effecting that happened that we saw in the court. >> in terms of legal strategy right now for trump, for his team, what is the best legal advice they could get how to handle the situation? what is the best end game for them? we're talking about the possibility of somebody closer to him than just about anybody else feeling the kind of pressure that dan is describing. what do you do if you're trump's legal team? >> we saw him give a pardon to scooter libby last week. a lot of people are intimating that may have been a signal to michael cohen. if you're his legal team, you're happy about this ruling, you're getting a sense of the universe of documents that the government has and you're building your case to make an attorney/client privilege argument. i will say the crime fraud
exception eviscerates the attorney/client privilege. to the extent there it is any wheel room in there, if there's fraud being xwhied they're not going to get the coverage of the privilege. the ship may have sailed in terms of legal advice at this point. >> we mentioned that news yesterday, eugene, about sean hannity, the fox news host who was mystery client. we got that statement. so fox news puts out their statement today and say we didn't know the about this either. we've reviewed it. we're okay. he's back. no problem on our end. let me run the defense of that. alander -- witz said he should have disclosed it, but with shanahanity you know what you're getting a guy who is going to trump and the administration no matter it, defend michael cohen no matter what. he should have disclosed it, but no big deal. what's your reaction to that defense? >> back up for a second. he is client number three,
right? according to mike cohen, shanahanity was his client, one of his three clients. he can count to three. he had only three. so it seems to me, cohen is alleging a more sort of definitive real relationship than sean han sit acknowledging. any sort of relationship between the two the clearly should have been disclosed. sean hannity is a commentator, he's a political actor. none oflestheless he appears on television every night and talks about cohen and trump and so we all knew he was friends with donald trump. but nobody knew that he was being represented or at least had some legal relationship with michael cohen. that should have been disclosed. if you actually read that fox news statement, i mean it seems that fox is also saying it should have been disclosed to us. now they give him their full
support. by pointing out they were surprised by this. instead, indicates to me at least they're not thrilled that this was sort of pulled on them liking this. >> let me -- phillip, let me ask you, what do we actually know about what that relationship was, hannity and cohen? he's downplaying it as up as he can on his show. do we know anything what it was? >> it seems clear it was an attorney/client relationship. for the legal thing, the fight under way right now, that's the important thing. han at this time on his radio show yesterday four times i think said this was an attorney/client thing. if i essentially asked him to make sure this was kept quiet. we know that there was this relationship. hannity said he was asking real estate questions. we're not sure at this point. i will say to the fox news statement, i was sitting in the courtroom when the name was read. in front of me was a woman from fox news and as soon as it was
read, she was out of the courtroom. >> sometimes you want cameras in the courtroom. eugene, daniel, carolyn, thank you all. one day after his u.n. ambassador announced new sanctions against russia, president trump rejected them. he wants a good relationship with moscow and isn't ready to approve those sanctions. that move is raising more questions why he is resistant to punishing vladimir putin. plus it is the biggest demographic divide of the trump era. the suburbs is versus blue collar. as we head into the midterm elections, our nbc poll shows their enthusiasm has flipped since the last midterm four years ago. i'm going to head over to the big board and show you all the numbers. and james comey is fighting back against trump's suggestion that comey belongs behind barpz how much is comey risking by getting into the mud with trump. finally the roundtable with three things you might not know
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during a meeting with the japanese prime minister earlier today, president trump confirmed that the u.s. has had high level direct talks with north korea. that news comes ahead of a planned summit between trump and kim jong-un. earlier today, trump said those talks would probably take place in early june but it's also possible a meeting will never occur. >> we will probably be, depending on various meetings and conversations can, we'll be having meetings with kim jong-un very soon. it will be -- that will be taking place probably in early june or before that. assuming things go well. it's possible things won't go well and we won't have the meetings and just continue to go along this strong path we've taken. but we will see what happens. >> we go from that picture earlier today to a live picture.
this is at mar-a-lago in palm beach. >> you're see ath president, his wife on the side of the screen and the japanese prime minister shinzo abe visiting mar-a-lago. they are greeting each other before taking what we are told is called a friendship walk together. they'll take a walk tooth. after that later on, the two of them are going to have dinner there. jeff and susan are heading into retirement. and market volatility isn't top of mind. that's because they have a shield annuity from brighthouse financial,
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really? and these kids, and these guys, him, ah. oh hello. that lady, these houses! yes, yes and yes. and don't forget about them. uh huh, sure. still yes! xfinity delivers gig speed to more homes than anyone. now you can get it, too. welcome to the party. >> you will see that russian sanctions will be coming down. secretary mnuchin will be announcing those on monday if he hasn't already. they will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to assad and chemical weapons use. >> welcome back to "hardball." that was u.s. ambassador to the united nations nikki hayley promising sunday that the trump administration would implement another round of sanctions against russia for support of the assad regime in many syria.
despite that, no new sanctions were rolled out yesterday. instead the white house saying nothing decision had been reached. this up morning, larry kudlow told reporters "she got ahead of the curve. he's done a great job. he's a very effective ambassador. there might have been some momentary confusion." ambassadors haley responded with all due respect, i don't get confused. kudlow has now reportedly apologized tonight telling it "the new york times" account policy was changed and she wasn't told about it. she was in a box. this comes as "the new york times" reports that the president rejected new sanctions on russia for now describing it as a course change that underscored the skrix between the president and his national security team. they reports he was annoyed with ms. hail will he for getting out in front that have policy. eric swalwell of california sits on the house intel committee. congressman, i'll start with
you. we got lint of one policy, we got a statement of one policy essentially from the ambassador. now we have a different policy from this administration towards russia when it comes to sanctions here. what do you make what we've heard over the last 48 hours? >> the ambassador is correct, we should put sanctions in place against russia. if you have involved in the trump russia investigation and looking for a quid pro quo, this is what a quo looks like, a president who is incapable of coming down on putin. he says flattering things about him all the time. talks about diminishing the role that nato would play in the world against russia. he can't impose congressionally passed sanctions against russia. what do the russians have on this president? our country would benefit if he would just state clearly that our policy is to counter russian aggression here and abroad and to an receive that, he will directly confront vladimir
putin. >> do you believe that the change we've seen in the last 48 hours is because, you're saying the russians have something on trump? >> i believe the reason the president cannot clearly articulate a policy towards russia is because he has been so invested in them over the years. they're invested in him. they helped hip in the last presidential election. it seems obvious to me that he can't tell us where he stands on russia. it's likely because of how close he has drawn our country and himself to a foreign adversary. >> elise, you have been inside government. take us through this. do you have any sense looking at this from the outside what haley says sunday, what the administration then does, back and forth with kudlow. how in an decision something like that could happen. >> within the trump administration, chaos rules the day. sometimes the staffing process doesn't seem like the normal process that would be implemented from the national
security council and across inner agencies of government. however, nikki haley is very careful and anybody rat when she speaks publicly. i have no doubt this was discussed and agreed upon as part of the toolbox that president trump was using to attack syria. she came out. these the rnc distributed talking points that said new sanctions were part of this response as reported by ileana johnson in politico. it shows the confusion of the trump administration if they send out a cabinet official, ambassador to the u.n. with incorrect information. >> i don't mean to interrupt. i just want to take -- live quickly the president having dinner. >> we have had talks at the highest level. it's going very well. we'll see what happens. >> thank you everyone. >> thank you. >> thank you, everybody. >> let's go.
make your way out. >> getting a very quick listen at the end there. the president is sitting down to dinner you see with shinzo abe, the prime minister of japan. that's at mar-a-lago happening live. elise, if you're nikki haley, what do you do now? it looks like you've been undercut? >> what he has been masterful. you consider how many high ranking individuals have come into this administration, rex tillerson, titan of industry, his reputation destroyed. she is politically savvy and sharp on the job and managed to raise her profile. it will be interesting to watch how she navigates this. she has -- she's really been able to navigate the chaos so well throughout the course of her tenure. you have to wonder at what point is enough enough. she thinks we should it be stronger when it comes to our posture toward russia but out of step with the president who the
congressman just mentioned is unable to discern whether he has interests with russia driving p our motion right now. >> the pattern of not being able to be take action of russia. a defender of the administration might say there are some things that happened here, for instance, arming ukraine, anti-tank missiles, a step the previous administration wasn't willing to take. the military action taken in syria not something welcome in russia. the idea he might be reluctant on the sanctions or unwilling, but it's not like there's nothing. what would you say to that? >> it fees like it's a he loves me, he loves me not policy. there's a lot of questions swirling around about how close he has drawn us to russia. here and there, he will support tougher stances on russia and then start to back away from them. again, we need a consistent
policy. he should directly confront putin. use the sanctions that congress has passed and unite the country in allowing investigations to take place what the russians did so we can have a better shield at the ballot box and deter them in this upcoming election. >> elise in, terms of syria right now, we've had he these strikes now. what is next? >> of president trump doesn't hesitate it out launch an infectule strike that isn't changing the battlefield rhythm at all that hasn't made real impact. he hesitates when it comes to russia financial sanctions. you're still seeing where president trump is personally hesitant for anything that is going to affect the economic interests of the leadership of russia. >> congressman eric schwallwell, elise jordan, thank you. i teased it earlier. we're heading back over to the big board and look at the demographic group that was key to trump's victory and we'll ask
the question, what about their enthusiasm this time around. some interesting numbers you want to see. this is "hardball" where the action is. dear foremothers, your society was led by a woman, who governed thousands... commanded armies... yielded to no one. when i found you in my dna, i learned where my strength comes from. my name is courtney mckinney, and this is my ancestrydna story. now with 5 times more detail than other dna tests. order your kit at ancestrydna.com but prevagen helps your brain detaiwith an ingredientests. originally discovered... in jellyfish. in clinical trials, prevagen has been shown to improve short-term memory. prevagen. the name to remember.
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♪go your own way get your first prescription free at anoro.com. all right, folks. maybe you heard we got an election coming up this fall. the midterm elections 2018. the big question, can the republicans hang onto the house majority? do the democrats have a shot of taking back the senate? we got a brand-new "wall street
journal" poll. we want to go deep inside the numbers. the real big question, the enthusiasm factor. who is interested in the election and who show up in election. let's take it through in a couple different steps. let's look at different groups and how they view donald trump. this is our new nbc "wall street journal" poll. this is the group white noncollege he did well with these voters won by 40 points in 2016. his highest approval with these vote persons 52% in the new poll. white college graus suburbanites is white collar professionals this of the big gaap gap in the 2016 election. continues to be a big gap there now. only 36% approval. latino, african-american voters much, much lower. this is pretty consistent with what we saw in the 2016 campaign. the question becomes of these different groups of voters, who is the most motivated right now? the most likely to turn out, the least motivated and least likely
to turn out. we had a very interesting question. let me explain how this worked. we asked folks in this poll on a scale of zero being not interested at all to ten being very interested, how interested are you right now in these midterm elections coming up in november. so we took a look here at the ones who answered nine in ten. the one who's gave the highest level of interesting, nine or ten. look at those groups again. who was the most interested and who is the least interested in this year's midterms. look at this. remember, this is the group white noncollege does the best with. 52% of them said nine or ten. the group he doesn't do quite, as well with, that big gap, white college, more motivated. latinos at 50%. african-american voters at 61%. the group he's at 10% with by way of comparison, back to 2014, the last time we had a midterm
election, republicans did great in 2014. at this same point, if you asked the same question of black voters the score was 20 points lower. big difference in intensity. a gap for trump in terms of the two the groups. we know his approval rating is shaky. who actually shows up more than who doesn't show up? interesting findings here. anyway be back here.many times between now and november. much more ahead on this show on "hardball" tonight. former fbi director james comey hitting back at president trump's suggestion he should be tossed in jail. comey continues terror counterpunch. is he at risk of hurting his own image by jumping in the mud with trump? you're watching "hardball." and belly pain talk to your doctor and say yesss! to linzess. ♪ yesss! linzess treats adults with ibs with constipation or chronic constipation. linzess can help relieve your belly pain, and lets you have more frequent and complete bowel movements.
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that is rooted in his personal experience. i don't know whether that's the business about the activity in a moscow hotel room or finances or something else. again, i don't want to overstate it. i'm not saying it's likely. to be honest with you, i have to say it's possible. >> welcome back. that was former fbi director james comey offering his assessment of trump's potential exposure with russia. his new book is officially in stores today. his attacks on the president have driven trump's fury in recent days. trump suggesting the former fbi director should be jailed. comey responded to that today. >> he says you should go to jail. >> that is not normal. that is not okay. first of all, he's making stuff up. most importantly, the president of the united states is calling for the imprisonment of a private citizen as he's done for a whole lot of people who criticize him. that is not acceptable in this country. we wake up in the morning and
see the president is accusing of people of crimes without evidence and pronouncing them guilty and saying they should be in jail. that should wake all of us up with a start. there's been so much that we're numb and that's dangerousing. > the "hardball" roundtable, michelle goldberg, john pod her rets, and beth fewy senior politics editor for nbc news. thanks for being here. michelle, i'm trying to figure out how comey is being received by the public. we put this poll up the other day. if you asked a year ago after the election, all the democrats hated him. trump fired him, all the republicans hated him. he seems to fancy himself as a nonpartisan truth teller. is he coming across that way or as a guy getting in the mud with trump? >> he comes across that way to me. he comes across as an honorable person to me even though i remain furious what he did in the 2016 election. but i think his actions in the
2016 election stem from his sense of himself as this upright nonpartisan you know, defiantly kind of sen trust person. i think he was overly affected by either noise on the right, you know, noise from kind of pro-trump people in the new york fbi office or fear that if the hillary clinton investigation or the reopening of the hillary clinton investigation came out after the election that the right was going to go nuts and there would be endsless hearings like benghazi. to me, his greatest fault is that he was so susceptible to sort of right wing mowmowing. there is no equivalent force on the left. obama beak comforted him after the election unsatisfied of reaming him. in some ways he's a tragic person. it's the same flaws. >> i'm sorry, i need to break in. we have very sad news we need to report. the former first lady of the
united states barbara bush has passed away according to a statement from the bush family. barbara the wife of the 41st president george herbert walker bush, the mother of george w. bush. nbc's peter alexander has more on the life of barbara bush. >> barbara bush, the former first lady was always known to be candid and caring. with his white hair and signature pearls she was often thought of as the nation's favorite grandmothers. aides called her the national treasure, the treasure for short. >> i've been the luckiest woman in the world truthfully. and i know it. >> it was her husband who saw her as matter of fact of fact and direct, lovingly call her miss frank. >> she earned and won the respect of a lot of american people because they saw her for what she is, down to earth, loving mother and setting an example. >> but she saw herself more in the role of family enforcer, something her granddaughter jen
man barb bush haiger teased her about. >> why do we call you the enforcer. >> because i enforce. >> she had quite a bit, self-deprecating and wickedly funny. on sarah pail. >> and i sat next to her once and thought she was beautiful and i think she's happy in alaska and i hope she stays there. >> on the "today" show months before jeb announced a presidential run, she said she didn't want another reason to go g back to the white house. >> we've hess enough bushes. >> mrs. bush already had a place in history. the only women since abigail adams. >> president of the united states. >> to marry one president. >> i george walker bush. >> and give birth to another. >> they used to say he's got his daddy's eyes but his mother's mouth. which means i'm about to talk a lot. >> reporter: born barbara pierce
she grew up in rye, new york, her father marvin pierce a distant relative of franklin pierce. she met george bush when she was 16 at a christmas dance from round hill club in greenwich, connecticut. >> i could hardly breathe i thought he was so beautiful. >> they were secretly engaged and three years later married when he was home on leave from the naf. admitting she married the first person she ever kissed. >> strange i admit. >> still staying with your story. >> after the war they headed for texas, raising six children. while her husband built his oil business, barbara was very much in charge at home but she was changed forever when her 3-year-old daughter robin died of leukemia. >> after she died, it was a terrible time in our life. and george put his arms around me and did not let me step away. >> cancer became a family cause and throughout her political
service, barbara bush played a critical role on causes ranging from aids to illiteracy. >> you've got two choices in life, you can like what you can do or you can dislike what you do. i've chosen to like what i do. i think i'm the luckiest woman in the world. >> the bushes were dog people. barbara broughtnaire springer spaniel millie to the white house describing how she might have seen the day in the life after brez and the white house. when she drew criticism from feminist who's found her message too old fashions she responded offering this advice. >> at the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. you will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend, or a parent. >> barbara bush a woman of strong opinions ultimately left politics to her husband and sons. she's remembered for her maternal per seasonna, yankee frugality and maining her role
as ferocious protector of the bush family name. peter alexander, nbc news. >> again cache the breaking news barbara bush passed away at the age of 82. jon meacham wrote a biography of george h.w. bush. he joins us by phone. thank you for taking a few minutes. that start, if you would, just describing that marriage. that relationship. it goes back so far, connecticut to texas. all the way to the top in washington, all the way to the year 2018. >> it's one of the great love stories in american politics you. they met not quite three weeks after pearl harbor in december of 1941. mrs. bush was -- barbara pierce of rye, new york was 16 ran george h.w. bush who was known as poppy bush was 17. he had wonderfully the moment he heard the news of pearl harbor, he wanted to be.
he was told he had to wait till he was 18. he went home for the christmas holiday and there was a pretty girl across the room in a red and green holiday dress. and he asked an aquantititance from rye, the bushes were from greenwich to introduce him. the friend said you mean you want to meet her? the 41st president said yeah, that's the general idea. and that was really it. neither really looked back from that very moment. as mrs. bush would say, she married the first man she ever kissed. and her children would as she put it, want to throw up when they heard that. but they married in january of 1945. at a point really when she didn't know and he didn't know whether he would survive the year because, of course, the war in the pacific was still going. and there could have been an invasion of the home islands that he would have been part of.
she worked -- she was kind of a rosie the riveter, worked on an assembly line during world war ii. then in 1948, they moved to texas. odessa, texas, way out in west texas. her mother who was a rye matron, used to send them boxes of so and detergent because she wasn't sure they had those kinds of things in texas. they moved to california. they moved to midland. they moved to houston. back and forth to washington. to new york for the united nations. washington for congress. beijing, of course, where he was the u.s. envoy. came back, he ran the cia and then they really hit the campaign trail for the 1980 presidential nomination. and it came down to the last minute in detroit at the republican national convention in 1980.
when ronald reagan called george bush at the last possible moment to ask him to join the ticket. and that the moment, much of our political history was set because as both presidents bush have said, they don't think either one of thome with have been president if they hadn't gotten that call, and the wonderful detail about that week which shapes so much of our lives was the next morning, the thursday morning after george bush went on the ticket with ronald reagan and they had been opponents. they had sort of a peace pipe meeting. at the end of it, there was still tension. at the end of it barbara bush walked up to ronald reagan and said governor, don't worry. we're going to work our tails off for you. at that moment, all the tension evaporated and that set a course for all the political history that's unfolded since. >> and in 1988, after two terms as vice president, george h.w. bush wins the white house on his
own. barbara bush is the first lady from 1989 to 1993. i thought one of the interesting things was you heard it in that obituary from peter alexander there that sort of behind the scenes she had a reputation she could be an aenforcer. but publicly as first lady, she was wildly popular. i remember at the 1992 republican convention, they gave her a primetime speaking spot. >> she was far more popular than her husband was by the time the 1992 campaign came along. and in fact, there were buttons re-elect barbara's lus for a long time. her popularity as first lady was based and three things i think. one was she was a very relatable figure, that is she didn't dye her hair. she told it like it was. i think a lot of people, despite the obvious differences, she had grown up in a printed
background. they felt they knew someone like barbara bush and felt they could sit down with her. not that many people home didn't know presidential bush personally felt that way about him. that was important. secondly, she was a tireless worker for charitable causes. that sounds almost trite. but you have to remember, in the culture of politics, the late 1980s, for instance, hiv/aids was very misunderstood, was stigmatized. she got up one morning at the white house, went topher logan circle to a home for hiv infected infants and hugged the babies in front of the cameras, lugged an adult man who was ip fected. those pictures went around the world. mrs. bush to the last years of her life would hear from people who said how much that meant to them. and i think that the third is she was with a kind of wink and a nod more socially moderate than the republican party was
then and certainly is now. and so she was able to make it okay i think to some extent for voters 0 who might be uncomfortable with the orthsdody of the party to say these are good people. i think i can trust them. >> the year after she and her husband left the white house she wrote she was pro-choice on the issue of abortion. john, you wrote a book about the bush administration. >> when you think about the fact they got married in 1945 and hustled when they're barely out of their teens. these are people, this is a type we do not have at the sort of in the leadership positions in the united states anymore. these are people who were never young in the sense that we understand youth. they didn't have periods of self-reflection and self-discovery. they got married. they went off to make their own way in texas. by the time george h.w. bush
became president, these were dignified people who were always older than anybody younger. when '92 came around and it was bush versus clinton, there was a real sense of generational change because clinton was sort of the anti-bush in na sense. he didn't go off to war. he struggled with his identity. he and his wife had this new kind of modern marriage. a real generational transition and we're still in that period in which we can't really look, even though we have a 72-year-old president, we can't look to the presidency and say, that is a paternal figure, that is sort of like the kind of person you're supposed to grow into. and that very much was a sense that you had from presidencies even jimmy carter who was a man in his 40s when he became president seemed much older than 40-year-old people seem today. >> it does seem that union of
reagan and reagan represented that grassroots conservatism in the south. in the west, christian conservatism. the bushes especially the 19 0 version, bush and their wife and the family stories represented, we don't think of it as the republican party anymore, the he protestant air an stockcracy. >> when i think about george bush the father, he was reagan's vice president, one of of the things i think about when it comes to barbara is what an edge she had and how that came out in the run against ferraro and mondale. suddenly vice president bush was running against a potential woman vice president, geraldine ferraro and there were all sorts of pitfalls and traps hard for him to navigate around. it was an unprecedented situation. it would have been hard for anybody. barbara bush stepped into it at one point and said i don't know what to call her but it rhymes with rich. that stuck out she was sticking
the shib into ferraro. perhaps it was a function of what was going on at that time. nobody really knew how to run against a woman candidate. but she is he -- as the vice president's wife played a role in that dynamic that was unusual. >> the interesting 20, 25 years late ter geraldine went up to keyny bunk port and had a nice tim imtime with them. >> president clinton reconciled with president bush. >> a statement coming in from barbara bush's, george w. bush, the 43rd president. my dear mother has passed on. lawyer we're sad but our souls are settled because we know hers was. she was a fabulous first lady and a woman unlike any other who brought leb vit and love to millions. to us, she was so much more. mom kept us on our toes and kept
cuss laughing till the end. i'm a lucky man she was my mother. we thank you all for your prayers and good wishes. one startling fact about her is there are indeed their eldest child robin got leukemia and died at the age of 3. in the months as she nursed, as she nursed robin to her death, her hair turned white. and she did not i think in part as a tribute to robin, she never colored it. >> talking about these transitions, michelle, i'm remembering the 1992 election that john's talking about and that contrast between hillary clinton who became the first lady and went to a political career of her own. bush bra bush her career was the career of her husband and family. there was a moment in the transition when the clintons first visited the white house in december of '92 when barbara bush and hillary clinton bonded. it was picked up by the president where barbara bush
warned her about the president. barbara bush thought they were too intrusive and thought the worst of people. and hillary clinton said don't i know it. >> hillary clinton certainly hates the press. hillary clinton is a lot more traditional i think than people realize. and so you know, hot as those divisions seemed at the time, you know, they actually are kind of more at peace than this new group of people that we have in the white house now. >> do we still have jon meacham with us, by the way? >> i'm here. let me ask you, was she ready for -- this was a marriage of prominent families there in new england. george h.w. bush's father was prescott bush who was a u.s. senator. did she expect the political life? >> she never knew what you to expect with george bush except it was going to be a great occur. in fact, there's a wonderful detail. in the spring of 1948, they game
infatuated with the idea of going out to the midwest and farming of all things. they very much wanted to break out of the new england world you're talking about. i talked to both of them about this a lot over the years. because we all know people good and noble people who give that led great lives who went to andover who, went 0 ashley hall, who went to yale and smith who, stayed in that world. it would be very easy to see george h.w. bush at brown brothers herryman, his pare's investment bank. living in greenwich, ride rooth train in, you know, he would have been at the council on foreign relations and played tennis at the river club. everybody would have absolutely understood what that world looked like. but both george and barbara
bush, though they came from that universe, wanted to do something on their own. they wanted as the president used to say to have adventures to do something outside the family shadow. and one of the most moving moments i worked on the book about the president for on and off for twlom decades, was i asked him, i said did you ever think that harbor pierce from rye was going to be this resilient to have 27 moves in 73 years. to survive the loss of a daughter robin to leukemia, to raise those five children while he was off building a business and a political career and ultimately to preside over the most intense fish bowl, if you will, in the white house. and he started to cry. he said no. i wasn't sure. couldn't vin known. you know, debutante from rye, strong. but she was always there, always
there for me, always there for the kids. and what president bush 43 will tell you and the other children is george bush is the hero of that family. george h.w. bush is a remarkable figure but it was barbara bush who raised that family. >> you know, the other -- another point that gets lost is the bushes moved to texas. bush was the first republican to be elected in texas any -- john would know better than i, was it 100 years. >> first house seat in houston, yeah. >> they brought sort of connecticut values to texas in some sense. but george w and george h.w. bush and barbara opened the door for the republican party in that area of the south that was solid democratic and did it in a way that was not what we think of, which is he didn't go in as a hard right winger or a christian or anything like that. he went in and made a route and
the republican party in texas slowly began to become a force and she played a role in that. he played a role in that. the republicanization of texas is a key fact in american political history. >> to this day, we just had the news it was a bush grandson running for office and surviving a republican primary in texas so that bush family name carries on. john, thank you, michelle goldberg, beth fuohy, the breaking news at this hour, the former first lady barbara bush passed away at the age of 92. >> barbara bush has died at the age of 92. first lady of the united states from 1989 to 1993. she was the wife of one president george herbert walker bush, the mother of the second president bush. one of the most remarkable lives in american