tv Book TV CSPAN May 2, 2011 7:00am-8:00am EDT
>> thank you. that, by the way, was a speech. the unitary executive theory is kind of a curious animal. it was really invasion out of whole cloth during the reagan years by a group sitting around in the office of legal counsel who saw this opportunity to expand the president's power over particularly independent regulatory agencies. they obviously are some budgetary controls that have been there. i have very broad reading of the constitution which does not strike me as original as some, but rather a living constitution if there ever was one to come up with this concept, it was to expand presidential powers in a fashion that would have certainly made richard nixon set up and smile. [laughter] it is very easy for presidents
to expand their power, particularly in the national security area. this reaches domestic policy as well as foreign affairs. it is very difficult for them to give those powers up. there have not been the rash of signing statements where there has been a reference to the unitary executive theory that we are cranked out under the bush-cheney presidency. there have been states in this presidency, the obama one, but nowhere near what happened during the bush years. i don't see it as a problem. you know, it is a theory. it is an explanation. there is some truth to the power of the presidency, particularly his ability to remove a lesser officials and to have control over the policy in that regard, but it really isn't something that the modern white house, the democrats i've noticed don't sit around and think about how they can expand these powers.
so i don't see it as a lasting concept. it has been sort of a concept to use to deal with situations that the republicans have decided they wanted to employ. >> i think we have time for about one more. >> the failure of justice thomas to disclose his wife having worked for citizens united, is this an ethics violation? >> he filled out of form and incorrectly stated his wife's income. supreme court justice this foremast and to state his wife's income. he checked the box saying none. he had acquired large income. this instructed on how to fill out the form. i don't get it.
[laughter] clarence thomas is a very strict on the court when litigants ms. filing deadlines. no fault of their own, i think that this is really a serious thing that he has now corrected. though there is nothing to be done about it, nothing to do except impeachment. this for me is really something that was quite egregious. he had over a 6-figure income. the other thing you need to remember is the supreme court justices are the only justice, and the judges in the entire country that it to make decisions on their own. there are basically no standards for them, and they come from the decisions that came out of the anti-war movement. it is just basically, the supreme court resolves lawless. >> well, -- [laughter]
[applause] [applause] [applause] [applause] >> i just want to remind all of you that there is a signing area think immediately following this. i hope you enjoy the rest of the festival, and thank you all for being here. [applause] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
[inaud [inaudible conversations] >> that concludes our coverage of los angeles times festival of books. >> out the next myra gutin recounts barbara bush's four years as first lady. she says measures bush was more politically astute and successful than her husband and details the former first ladies understanding of public relations. this is about 45 minutes. >> thank you. good afternoon, everyone. thank you for being here. i was listening to something that someone said as i was coming in. i've been teaching about first ladies for 30 years.
and i occasionally will teach a semester long course, but i also teach to various groups in my community and other communities. and i just wanted to share one quick anecdote with you. one morning, i came into a room and barbara bush was prominently featured in this. and a woman said to me, i'm wondering, i see that you're going to talk about first ladies. i can hardly wait to see what you have to say about princess diana. [laughter] and i said, well, actually she's not someone that i'm going to talk about. she's part of the british royal family. and this woman looked at me like i had perpetrated some crime, and picked herself up and left the room. and i never saw her again. so she never got to hear about barbara bush or anyone else for that matter. but this afternoon my topic very
happily is the woman that was known during her time here in washington as the silver fox, and has always been known to her family as barb. and that is barbara pierce bush. i started to work on the barbara bush look. it seems eons ago, probably as the beginning of the 2000s, and the book was finally published in 2008. i was very, very fortunate mrs. bush was kind enough to see me. she made access to every member of her staff available, so i do feel that what i was able to share in the book is a pretty balanced interpretation of her time, both in the public eye and in the white house. our time is limited this afternoon, and what i'd like to do is share with you some basic biographical information, just a little bit. and if you have questions about
that, or anything else, i more than happy to address them during a question and answer period. but we'll have a quick look at her biography. then i'd like to share with you some thoughts about her advocacy of literacy, her great success as public indicator. and, finally, her role and her reactions to the campaign of 1992, which for her in many ways was a watershed. as i was preparing for this i thought there were three questions that i really wanted to answer for you. one was, what may barbara bush different. second, what made her special, and finally, what was her legacy. generally speaking, barbara bush is perhaps one of our best ever liked first ladies. and perhaps you see that as an achievement, perhaps you don't. i would share with you that the fact that she was so popular made it possible for her to
achieve the things that she did. think of her predecessor, nancy reagan, a very polarizing first lady. tank of her successor, hillary rodham clinton. arbor of bush's sort of the still water as these things move along. such a tremendous popularity. she was seen as straight talking, down-to-earth, grandmotherly, at least that was the public persona. the private persona was a little bit different. i found her to be a political realist, to be tough, to be smart and savvy. and she always said her husband's back. still does. the public never saw any of that come and that certainly okay. as i said, her great popularity helped people to ensure program come and to buy her books among other things.
just very quickly then, she was born in rhyme, new york, in 1925. she was the daughter of a gentleman who at that point was the assistant to the editor of mccall's magazine. later on in barber's like you become the president of mccall's magazine, and she really enjoyed a life of affluence. she went to the private right country day school. when she got to high school she went to ashley hall in south carolina. and that brings us to an important moment in her life. advance at the round tree country club. during christmas break of her junior year. she was introduced to a young george poppy bush. that was his nickname. and she said that when he was interview is so tall and attractive that she could hardly breathe.
later on i found this wonderful quote. she said, when i tell my kids that george bush was the first band i ever kisco they just about throw up. [laughter] -- i ever kissed, they just about throw up. this is very typical of barbara bush. she is the master of self-deprecating humor. she has never bided pointing out herself, making herself the butt of her own jokes. but she was smitten with young bush. they were married in 1946 when he returned from his service in world war ii. he had been a fighter pilot. mrs. bush always thought that she's going to be settling down with an investment banker in new york. but much george bryce george bush said to her, no, i think i would like to accrue in a gas and oil business. we're going to texas.
interestingly, so it went to texas. it was 1948, i think. 1949. and mrs. bush's mother was so appalled that they were going there, and she was so convinced that texas and 1949 was just a frontier town that she used to send barber packages that contain ivory soap and tissues. because she wasn't convinced that they had stores that sold those things. they did. however, being in the oil and gas business in odessa and midland, texas, in the early '50s, maybe was not so much removed from the reality of a frontier town. george w. bush had been born. he was their oldest child. he was born before they went to texas, and when they were in texas they unfortunately experienced great sadness. following george w. bush, their
son jeb was born. than a daughter named robin. and it was found that robin had leukemia. and there is a wonderful interview with -- it's generally about barbara bush, but one part of the interview is george bush, and he says we were told by the pediatrician to come and talk to her. and she said to us, this child has leukemia. and he said, and according to record, we did not what the hell she was talking about. in the early 1950s, what was leukemia. and he said the pediatrician said, well, your daughter is not going to live very much longer. and they made a decision to take her to new york where she was treated with an experimental protocol, but she died about nine months later. and barbara bush, to no one's surprise at all, had a very, very difficult time with it. she dealt with depression for a while. and then eventually emerged from
the. the two of the bush children were born, two other boys, and then finally much to the families great happiness, dorothy bush, known as doro, their only daughter and i was born in 1959. mr. bush went into politics. barbara became the political wife. it was observed by reporters at the time that if there were slight against mr. bush would be lost her race, barbara took a more socially than george bush did. that's always been the case. barber has been devastated when mr. bush has been rejected by the voters. so without going into too much of the detail, and again i'm happy to answer your questions later, in 1980, mr. bush was poised for a run for the presidency. now, just before this, mrs. bush said she realized since mr. bush
was going to actually make this run, she better have in mind a project for this national campaign, whatever it was going to be. and she took hard on something that lady bird johnson had said years before, and i'm going to quote here from my book. lady bird johnson had said about the white house, it would be sad to pass up such a bully pulpit. it's a fleeting chance to do something for your country that makes your heart sing. and if your project is useful and people notice it, and that reflects well on your husband, athens, that's one of your biggest role in life. and measures bush says, i could have never guessed i could end up with such a chance to be useful in such an enormous return on a relatively modest effort. she investigated a number of possibilities for her project,
and she decided that she's going to focus on letters he. there are some people who have suggested that the reason that she did pick a letter states was her son neil was dyslexic. i asked her about it at the time that i interviewed her, and she said no, that really was not correct. she was a lifelong reader, a lover of reading, and she just felt, and here i'm going to quote from her again, that if people could read she felt everything else was going to be able to be improved, there would be less drug use, less teenage pregnancy. she just felt that it was really important. so, literacy was going to be her project. this to bush was getting ready for the presidential campaign, and was in this presidential campaign in 1980, and barbara bush got on a plane to go to
milwaukee on a campaign stop. she gets off the plane and she goes to a college in milwaukee, and the president of the college runs up to her and says, mrs. bush, we're so glad you're here. i have 40 of our states top leaders to experts here to hear you. and mrs. bush says i was panicked because at that point i didn't know anything. so thinking quickly, when they all sat down, barbara bush said to them, well, tell me, the fewer married to the president of the united states, what would you do? and they went around the room and she said before our time, our time is up and a half of them had spoken, and i was rescued. she said, but i took copious notes and i learned a lot that day and i continued to learn. because mr. bush did not win the presidential nomination that
year, he did when the vice presidential nomination, on the ticket with ronald reagan, she decided she was going to continue following up in this area because she thought it was a very solid project, and one that would benefit the country. with her own money she hired two people to help her develop this as an area of expertise. she had breakfast where she invited expert to the vice president's residence. she spoke and read -- she spoke with experts. she read extensively. enduring her time as the wife of the vice president, she was involved in 537 letters events -- literacy events. my count at the bush library cover letters he speeches during the vice presidency was 225,
which is a fair amount of speaking about the topic. by the way, i want to apologize. i've been a touring passing around some photos -- i will pull this up, of mrs. bush announced his pass them around. i will invite you to have a look at them as things move along. thank you. and one of the photos you will see there is mrs. bush reading to young children, which she did many, many times. coming a little bit on the heels of learning about this was mrs. bush's own for a into writing about -- well, try to help with the literacy effort in becoming a writer in her own right. she wrote a book in 1984 called see fred's story. c. fred was her dog. and you may think it's pretty odd, but actually it was a dogs
eye view of what went on in the life of the vice president and the second lady, mrs. bush. and that the book aren't about to our thousand dollars which mrs. bush was able to earmark for various literacy organizations. everything though would really intensifies which became first lady. she led at one know which is on the campaign trail in 1988, that is mr. bush was elected to the white house her particular project was going to be literacy. and she made good on that promise. in march of 1989 chief of the barbara bush foundation for family literacy. it continues to exist to this day. the foundation began to publish materials. it gave out grants. of the time i wrote the book in
2008, they've given away $16 million in literacy grants. and mrs. bush said to me, i have nothing to do with the grant selection process. she said they are nice enough to keep me up-to-date and let me know what's going on. and interestingly, one of the first grants by the literacy foundation was to a literacy project in little rock, arkansas, being run by hillary clinton. so, interesting that this sort of intersect there. during her time in the white house about 18% of mrs. bush's speeches were devoted to literacy. she was a voice for the program. a friend who is very much involved in curriculum and development said to me, she put a human face on literacy. she talked about an issue that
at the time no one was really very interested in addressing, this whole idea of intergenerational letters he. mrs. bush did talk about. she traveled to school, she traveled to places where students were receiving ged degrees you're sure to to project headstart outlets. she showed up on oprah and spoke about it there. she wrote articles. and we know for sure that she affected both the national literacy act, the adult education act and the youth start act. this is from a woman by the way who said even when i met her, i really had no effect on legislation. i would always argue, she put that particular issue on, made it a part of the national conversation. seems to me it was pretty successful. one of the thing particularly stands out. in september 1990, mrs. bush began to read stories on the radio to young children.
it was 50 minutes every sunday night, and the particular program was called mrs. bush's storytime, the wal-mart company was very interested in this. they ended up taping the various stories that should read and put them on sale. you can still buy them at wal-mart, and all of the money goes to the barbara bush foundation for family literacy. highly highly successful first lady project. as first lady projects go. moving into another area that i wanted to share with you our her efforts as a public communicator, and i suppose this warms my heart because i am a professor of communication. i would have to say generally looking at barbara bush that she was active, but she was also cautious as a first lady. she never wanted to put herself into the position where it was
going to take george bush's political capital to clean up her mess, and that was the way she explained it to me. she also wanted to say early on that she was barbara bush and she was not made see reagan. -- not made see reagan. there's always something i always loved come in the weeks leading up to the inauguration she was doing an event in washington and mrs. bush says my mail tells me there's a lot of that white-haired ladies that are tickled pink, that i'm going to be first lady. and she also got a great kick out of the fact that her image showed up on the side of the d.c. bus for an i.t. going to add that i said nancy reagan style at barbara bush price. what's really funny about this is that barbara bush was always really very wealthy, very aristocratic.
she probably was more affluent and nancy reagan, but no one seemed to necessary react to that. but as i mentioned, she was really quite an excellent public communicator. she is the last first lady who did not have to deal with 24/7 coverage. that begins with hillary clinton, because cnn really begins legitimate covering the persian gulf war in 1991 and they are off to the races. not only that but there were no blogs, there was no social media, so it really still was a different time. the first thing that mrs. bush did, and i thought it was brilliant, and i believe in this regard and perhaps next week barbara perry will speak about this, is that they looked at the
tour of the white house that jacqueline kennedy gave in 1962, and they realized that it had really warmed her up. people really liked her much more after that. so, both of the bushes, both barbara and george, gave a primetime tour of the white house, on a program on abc. it was a tour of the family level of the white house. and it was very enduring, and sam donaldson was one of the reporters who was going on this tour. and he says to barbara bush at one point, i understand that during world war ii winston churchill used to visit the white house and he would walk around in the altogether. if you're first lady, would you permit it? and mrs. bush said i would definitely permit it, but i wouldn't look. and then later on, she goes out
onto the white house, to the balcony that have been built by harry truman, and sam donaldson says to her, you know, mrs. bush, this particular balcony was built by mr. truman. and barbara siskin isn't that interesting? i wouldn't know. i wasn't born been. so she had a good time with it, it really warmed up both of the bushes it george bush by the way walked to one side of the river and he showed a toy chest were all the kids kept their toys when they came to the white house. it was just very humanizing. when she became first lady, mrs. bush selected anna perez who had had a long history already working on capitol hill to be her press secretary, and she gave her this advice. she said to her, if i said it, i said it. which meant if i said something, do me a favor, don't interpret
what i'm saying. i meant it. and if someone needs to interpret it, i will be the one to do it, but please don't do it for me. and that's an interesting approach to first lady press relations. you know, many first ladies have many people who will spend things -- spend things in the way they wanted them. mrs. bush felt very strong she is going to represent herself. there were no regular press conferences, but your press opportunities. mrs. bush got along well with the press, but i found something in her memoir where she said something that everyone in public life has to understand, and she is this in quotes, the press has the last word. she held a occasional press in the family court of the white house. people would be inviting. she would talk to the. everything was on the record. the reporters had mixed feelings about her. sometimes they founder very
outgoing and very helpful. especially with regard to literacy. at times they founder of the hard to deal with because she was not willing to open up quite as much as he would have liked, but he think i'm safe in saying that's probably been the complaint about first ladies going back to martha washington. so nothing new there. during her time as first lady, mrs. bush gave 449 speeches. again, a fair amount of the public discourse. she did not come easily or naturally to being a public speaker. she worked very hard at it. early on when it comes to washington, she had developed slideshows. she had once about the gardens of washington. when they got home from china she had one about china. she would coordinate the speech with the slideshow, worked around or will. and also gave her confidence as a public speaker. she did have speech writers but
she also had significant input into what ever was being said. and this leads me really to one of the really funny moments of her time in the white house. she was invited to be the commencement speaker at wellesley college in june of 1990. shortly after it was announced, 150 of the 600 soon-to-be graduating wellesley undergrads signed a petition saying they did not want her as their speaker. they felt that she was coming as mrs. george bush instead of barbara bush, that she hadn't had any really significant accomplishments on her own, and that they had been taught to do something quite the opposite. mrs. bush reacted with, really, very good humor. she said welcome even i was 21 once.
they are looking at things a certain way and i'm looking at them under the. there's some the stories you feel that maybe this reaction camouflage irritation, but i did not get that sense at all when i interviewed mrs. bush. mrs. bush also said to me when this whole hubbub occurred, there were many wealthy graduates who said they would never again give money to the college. and she said we wrote hundreds of letters saying please, don't stop giving. unit, this is just the opinion of some. in fact, overtime as the issue was discussed, things began to turn, and i just want to quickly share with you a quote from parma bomb back from that time, the humor columnist, who wrote a very serious column about the wealthiest -- wellesley speech. and she wrote if they can imagine what barbara bush could contribute to the education,
imagined her own mother. to deny them a voice is to suggest have not achieved anything of any importance. they gave you a voice and a seat at the commencement. how important is that? so slowly things turned around. the young woman who had opposed her began to recognize that maybe she had something to tell them. and i time she flew up to wellesley on the day of the commencement address, they were solidly in her corner. and i just want to very quickly share something that she said through the end of the speech. she exhorted the wellesley women to make three choices in life. to try to get involved in something that was bigger than themselves, and she said in her case it was literacy. to make sure that life had joy. and she said in a case that was marrying george bush. and also not to miss the joy of
human connections. and i always thought that the this little passage was really very nice and very well put. and i know from six different versions that i saw this speech, that barbara bush had significant input into this. she said for several years the importance to your career of dedication and hard work. this is true, but as important are your obligations, your obligations as a doctor, a lawyer or business leader will be. you are a human being first, and of human connections with spouses, with children, with friends or the most important investment you will ever make. at the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more do. you will regret very much time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child or a parent. and at the end, came the piece
of resistance which ended up on page one of every newspaper in the country. and she said and who knows, sitting out there, and who knows consumer out there in this audience may be someone who will one day follow in my footsteps and preside over the white house as the president's spouse. and i wish him well. [laughter] so she was a very good speaker, she told me that she never made changes in her speech text when she got to the podium, but i found that to be not the case because i saw lots of comments that she must have penciled in, so she certainly made them. which also speaks to a very confident speaker. by the way, that wellesley speech is the most anthologized
first ladies beach of all. and that even includes eleanor roosevelt's discourse. and so i believe that as a public communicator she was a great success. as i say, she was very careful about what she said and how she said it. and this brings me to the last topic that i'd like to discuss with you this afternoon before we have a chance to chat. and that is the campaign of 1992. in 1988, barbara bush's role was not the same as 92. her popularity proved -- improved immensely in the white house. so in 88 she did give some speeches. she certainly spoke to groups, but 1992 again was different ballgame. the president had experience a precipitous drop in his popularity. at the height of the persian gulf war i think his approval ratings were in the high '80s.
by the time to 1992 campaign began that were probably around the '40s. in 1992 did not begin well, and this is also kind of great barbara bush story. they had gone to japan to talk to the japanese who i know i very much in our minds right now, about trade agreements. and the afternoon that they were there, the first afternoon, just as a social event, get together, the president and our american ambassador had played tennis with the crown prince of japan and the emperor. and they were badly beaten. well, that night there was a state dinner in honor of the bushes, and mr. bush on the way over said to barbara, i'm really not feeling well. and she said, you think we should go back? and he said no.
you know, i think i can do it. and they got there and he got on the receiving line, and said to her, i really don't feel good. they sat down. he was sitting next to the japanese prime minister, and promptly vomited in the man's lap and passed out. he had a bad intestinal flu. he was taken out by his doctors, and the doctor said to barbara, he's going to be fine. it's nothing serious. but the prime minister said to barbara, would you like to say something? so, she said, you know, i can't explain what happened to george because it's never happened before. but i'm beginning to think it's the ambassadors fall. he and george play the emperor and crown prince in tennis today, and they were badly beaten. and we bushes are not used to the. so he felt much worse than i thought. so she really did save the date. but from that point on their
questions through the whole 92 campaign about president bush's health. something else also that i refer to surface a very early on in the 92 campaign, and that was that barbara bush was way more popular than her husband. some of you may recall that was a campaign button back in the time of day forward, and it said i am voting for betty's husband. all of a sudden there were buttons that said i am voting for barbara's husband. and as the campaign continued on, mr. bush was using phrases like barbara and i think, or barber and i believe. and by the way, that's a strategy that other presidents have used as well. when he eventually got the republican nomination, barbara was worried, they had already to surmount primary challenges, patrick began in and h. ross
perot. and they're also taking a fair amount of heat for mr. bush's appointment to the supreme court, clarence thomas your so she had a certain amount of concern. but then came the clintons. and things with the clintons started out on kind of a strange floating. a magazine concocted what became known as the great cookie controversy. some of you i can see nodding your head's. you remember this. the question of who baked the bread chocolate chip cookies? was a barbara bush or was it hillary clinton. and hillary clinton sort of dismissed this and said, i'm too busy to bake cookies, your, let's forget about this. and mrs. bush said she thought the whole thing was forgotten. and then a few months later the same magazine ran a story saying that any taste test people like
hillary clinton's cookies better. and barbara bush said well, that's interesting because that's not my recipe. well, i mention it because even though it seems like a silly thing perhaps, it garnered all of a sudden very serious comments from reporters and columnists. and this also gave mrs. bush a certain amount of growing disease with what she saw developing here. she gave a very much heralded speech at the republican national convention. she talked about her husband as the most dedicated, mancini. she brought out her family, and then after that she took to the campaign trail. during that campaign she gave 61 for most beaches, but she was busy with phone banks and she
was chewing on volunteers. she was involved in the rally in texas. she said to people, we need george bush's texas. as you all know, the country did not agree. and on that particular to state in november, they send george bush back to texas, and they left barbara bush with a very, very sour taste in her mouth. she felt that the country had not really given him a chance, and that he had earned certainly a second term as president. so, it had to be a rather bitter day actually when she left the white house in january 1993. she did enjoy retirement, much to her surprise. she wrote her biography, a
memoir, "barbara bush." and another book. she became more active with her literacy initiative. and then she saw her two oldest sons, george dubya and jeb go into politics. jeb first being elected the governor of florida and george w. bush the governor of texas. she told george w. bush he should not run for governor. she was really worried about it. she was worried about the press treatment of both of her sons. but she must've had tremendous happiness when mr. bush was elected president. so, today she shares a distinction with abigail atoms, and that is she was both the wife of the president and the mother of the president. the bushes continued to live happily. mr. bush is still jumping out of airplanes on his birthday. mrs. bush has had some health
issues, but she is still pretty well. and i'd like to conclude my comments by actually reading this last paragraph from the book. so i said, barbara pierce bush remains an enigma, but few would argue with a celebrity or popular or her influence. that she used her considerable energies to improve a lot of americans in the area of literacy is a testament to her white house tenure, and she has certainly earned the title first lady of literacy. she became the public face of the george h. w. administration with constant travel, participation at ceremonial events, and speeches. she used the white house putting effectively to articulate our views and concerns. she was a perceptive politician who knew how to work a crowd, or pendant arm if necessary. during her busy public life, she rated number of comments that might tarnish her issues that her image, but her good work more than restored machine. barbara bush lived a busy life
to service the george h.w. bush and her family, her friends and her country. while there has been an epic flow to events, or has been a life well lived benefiting many. and i thank you very much. [applause] >> if you have any questions i would more than happy to answer them. yes, ma'am. [inaudible] was that the time she had mrs. gorbachev with her? >> yes. she accompanied her to was fully -- wellesley that day. she introduced mrs. gorbachev, and mrs. gorbachev also spoke to the graduates. and that, too, offered an interesting counterpoint to nancy reagan, because nancy reagan and mrs. gorbachev did not get along at all. so it was quite a bit different.
>> the comment i was waiting for you to talk about was the rhymes with witch comment. could you put that in context? >> i certainly could. unit, i just ran out of time out of time to answer, i did have it here. the comment that this gentleman is referring to came about in 1984. mr. bush was running for reelection as vice president, and he had a debate with geraldine ferrero, the democratic nominee for vice president. and in the debate for our of said -- had no idea what normal people who are going through because his wealth insulated him from a normal life, if you will. so mrs. bush was on the campaign trail -- the campaign airplane the next day, and she was talking to reporters.
and she was obviously really unhappy about that comment, and she said, well, you know, geraldine ferrero and her husband, they probably have more money than george bush. they could probably buy and sell george bush. and then she said, and i can't say what that woman is, but it rhymes with witch. no, i'm sorry. i can't say what that woman is but it rhymes with rich, okay? of the reporter thought, sort of look at each other and then i'm sure win for the telephones. by the time they landed the comment was all over. and it happened to be halloween, so the reporters said to her when she landed at her next stop, did you mean, you know, that it rhymes with rich, and she said i would never say that geraldine ferraro is and which.
dash is a witch. as a poster that some of the reporters that i spoke to disasters -- spoke two years after they said they thought it was a preconceived comment, that it had been planned that mrs. bush was too much of a political professional to say something like that, to reporters. and not understand its implications. they thought she meant to get in a jacket she got in the jeb but then she had something to retreat into, so that was the comment. but interestingly it follows her to this day. yes, ma'am. >> how was she as a mother, especially to laura bush? >> how is she as a mother law, especially to laura bush. okay, let's see, i think that
she's trying to have cordial relations with all of her children. i've been told from time to time that the two of them have a respectful but somewhat distant relationship. i cannot attest to that myself. there's a story, and again, i don't know if it is apocryphal or true, apocryphal or not, that when laura bush was first brought up to kennebunkport to meet the extended family, she met george's grandmother, so dorothy bush, the first president bush's mother, and the first president bush's mother said to her, so what do you do? you know, what's your story? and supposedly laura bush was supposed to have responded, well, i read and i smoke.
so then they were how well did that go down with barbara bush? no one's really ever said it i think it's probably fair to characterize it as maybe, maybe distant, maybe more cordial. certainly barbara bush's relationship with her grandchildren, very warm. she sees them a lot. >> i seem to remember that when barbara bush first became first lady some reporter asked her a question involving the name of eleanor reed dashed of eleanor roosevelt, you want to be like her, to which barbara bush replied something like, don't talk to me about eleanor roosevelt, my family -- and i forgot and the rest of the.
i'm kind of wondered what her family had against other roosevelt, although i have my own opinion. >> well, probably the fact that her father and maybe the whole family were not fans of any of roosevelt social or economic policies. but i did hear mrs. bush at one point talked about the fact that her mother had detested eleanor roosevelt. she thought she was a busy body, she was running around the country. until she met her. and then she really did reverse her opinion. and i think that over time, maybe barbara bush also reversed her opinion. but i remember her comment as well. yes, ma'am. >> difficult for bush -- first lady bush to do with her husband's failures, did she comment about her son, george bush, president and his successes or failures?
>> she said almost nothing for publication. i do know that some things that i've read that she was very concerned about our involvement in iraq. and had real concerns about us going in and what was going to happen. but beyond that she really hasn't said very much about this presidency. you all may remember there was that one incident early in his presidency where, this is george w. bush, was eating a pretzel and he started to choke on it. and she said that was payback for his having criticized her cooking. but no, she's not said very much about it. >> we've heard a little bit about nancy reagan circle of friends but i don't recall ever
hearing anything about barbara bush's friends. >> i think she had a fair number who came to the white house, but i think she was very careful about it and kept it very quiet. she certainly has a group of friends that she's had for a long time, and i'm blanking on the name of one of them in particular. but, you know, they certainly -- they didn't have the glitz and glamour of any of nancy reagan's friends. but she was supported by numerous friends, and, of course, family. well, once again i thank you very much. it's been my pleasure. [applause] >> is there a nonfiction author a book you'd like to see featured on booktv? send us an e-mail at email@example.com. or tweet us at twitter.com/booktv.
>> thanks did look so bright in new york city. when i was a kid growing up here in the 1970s it looked as if not just president ford but history itself is to new york to drop dead. the city seemed mired in crime and disorder, the decline of the garment industry itself had left the city essentially unmourned. that situation was not unusual for new york because what new york was going through was a process of de- industrialization, common to all of america's older cities. one of the themes of this book is that the american dream doesn't have to lie behind a white picket fence in the suburbs. and that cities have been as as an intrinsic to the american as it myself. the very birth of america has its roots in boston in the 1770s between john hancock who badly wanted the political change that could be created by a mob, and set and select many
purveyors of flickr not to conjure a mob. and their connections as graded by the city of boston changed america, created, helped create this great country of ours. in 19th century, the great problem was making the wealth of the american interior accessible to the markets. cities make that happen. it was a great transportation network that enables the rich dark soil of iowa to become productive. if you go back to 1816 it causes much to move goods 32 miles overland as it did to ship them across "the atlantic." it was enormously difficult to access all the wealth in the american hinterland. cities grew up of this great transportation network. the chicago, chicago which was, start off when the canal create a great canal. grails only supplemented that transportation network was initially based on water.
every one of the 20 largest cities in america in 1900 was on a major waterway from new york and boston which were typically where the river meets the sea to the newest from minneapolis. industry than grew up around those transportation modes. new york's three greatest industry and the 19th century were sugar refiner, printing and publishing, and garment production. sugar refinery of course because nick was part of a great triangle trade they are there was plenty of raw sugar, into new york which is how the founder of fdr's family fortune got involved in the sugar refinery business. he also was an anti-bridges agitated because british mercantilists interfered with his sugar triggered printing and publishing is one of my favorite stores because the big money and 19th century was in printing hybrid english novels that had come up with the latest dickens or the latest walter scott and get it out first.
new york make that happen. the thing that made the harper brothers was the fact they could get the latest walter scott's novel, they could get them faster than the philadelphia competitors because there in new york, in this great port that got the books first and that enabled them to print first and dominate the market. chicago as well. chicago's greatest industry, the stockyards of course grew up around israelis are. they were right next to rail. and in detroit, even more remarkable, and the rights of its automated veal industry and shows the ability of cities reform for often mundane risen to great these chains of innovation that creates some of human space endeavors. if you go back to the mid-19th century detroit, the city of small firms can smart people and connections to the outside world, and it's a city with a huge amount of inland trade and it has a great business of taking to the engines that are
on the ships going on the great lakes. so detroit drydock, a symbol from and 19th century, frank kirby, a great shipping entrepreneur comes there. they perform a critical role of educating young people to work with engines like henry ford. and before he gets his start at the detroit drydock. he becomes a chain of great entrepreneurs. detroit feels a lot like silicon valley in the 1960s. it's basically an automotive genius on every street corner. the fisher brothers, the dodge brothers, all of whom are inventing and innovating and stealing each other's ideas. all of them desperately trying to figure out new things. they do it and they create this amazing thing, the mass-produced inexpensive automobile. one of the tragedies of utah, and a fortune to be several tragedies of detroit that i will talk about is the way they figure it out is, the way they're able to make fast
produce automobiles is by doing something that is fundamentally antithetical to seize. they create great walled off factories that are vertically integrated and provide employment for less educated americans on a grand scale. at one level this is great. explaining productive and providing jobs for those americans. that's wonderful. that nothing could be more antithetical to what makes cities work then afford to play. great wall surrounding the area. little connection with the people around them. for a while it's wildly productive but when the economics change, when transportation costs fall, that production can easily move. then, of course, automobile production can cross the globe it and when those conditions change, detroit didn't have the stuff to reinvent itself. it didn't have the cultural of entrepreneurship because it didn't have the skills. a second tragedy of detroit is the way that the government was exactly the opposite of what
contact detroit needed. the government responded, the federal government shares a lot of blame in this, by being great to subsidize infrastructure. creating nonsensical investors like detroit's monorail. the problem is that a city like detroit, a refining city, already has an abundance of structures and infrastructure relative to people. the last thing you need were more structures in a place like detroit. yet the politicians were there ready to build the villages because it looks great. because it's beautiful that a shiny new building and also the -- all of a sudden you can declare it as a comeback city. so we have a people who move over into streets over industry spoken have the skill
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