tv Book TV CSPAN December 24, 2012 8:30am-9:00am EST
selections, visit booktv.org or our facebook page, facebook.com/booktv. >> manuel roig-franzia joined booktv to discuss his book, "the rise of marco rubio." this interview was conducted during the miami book fair international, and it's about 20 minutes. >> host: and we have one more author we want to introduce you to and give you a chance to talk with, and that is manuel roig-franzia. he is a washington post staff writer, he is also the author of "the rise of marco rubio." manuel roig-franzia, what should we know about pube -- marco rubio that we may not know right now? >> guest: well, what you ought to know is that he is more than any other republican politician positioned to have a big impact on what that party does vis-a-vis immigration. such an important issue, such an
important demographic. and it was proven in the election, and you're going to be hearing a lot from him on that topic in the next four years. >> host: is so how did he play it in the 2012 cycle? >> guest: well, he was a big surrogate for mitt romney. he traveled all over the country. it was a terrific way to introduce him to people outside of florida. even though he's very popular in florida and had a stunning victory in the 2010 senate race -- not a win that a lot of people expected him to get when that race started, you know, he was facing this very tough candidate, charlie crist, who was a popular governor at the time -- but outside of florida his profile was much smaller. and now he's been introduced to people in all sorts of key places like iowa and north carolina -- >> host: was just there. >> guest: -- and all of these other swing states. >> host: so when it comes to marco rubio as a presidential candidate, is he going to run in
2016? >> guest: well, nobody tells you at in this stage of the game that they are running. but if you want to look for some clues, on the weekend of the book festival he finds himself on saturday night in iowa. hmm. one could draw a conclusion from that possibly. clearly, he's on the short list of people that republicans are excited about, and clearly he's ambitious. there's no question that he'll be talked about in that vein. whether it ends up happening or not, well, many aspire, but certainly you could expect him to be in the conversation. >> host: we are talking with manuel roig-franzia about marco rubio. the numbers are going to be up on the screen. if you'd like to participate in this conversation, we'll leave them up there while we continue our conversation. mr. roig-franzia, give us a thumbnail of marco rubio's political career for those who don't know. >> guest: well, he's got to
national prominence by recognizing before his opponent did in that senate race that the tea party was important. he connected with that group, he went and spoke to very small gatherings. i talked to people for this book who said marco rubio would go and talk to four or five people, and he would drive all night at the beginning. now he draws crowds of four or five thousand with no problem at all. but here's what's interesting about him as a political animal, as a charismatic and sort of clever politician who understands how to segment the votership. he never after coming to washington has defined himself as a politician -- as a tea party politician. he didn't join the caucus of the tea party. he held himself out to be somebody who budget going to simply be the tea party guy. and that's proven to be pretty
smart, because there are a lot of people who feel that the tea party does not have that same oomph in 2012 or further that it did prior to that in 2010. >> host: what about his state senate service or state house service? >> guest: well, he was speaker of the house, a highly-coveted and hotly-contested kind of job. what's interesting about that is that he was the first cuban-american, and he also managed to get that gig, if you want to use that phrase, being a south florida politician when central and northern florida politicians had tended to dominate in that area. and he found a way to alleviate the concerns of the central and northern florida politicians that he would be all about miami and not about them. you can translate that onto a larger stage and say, well, he might have the ability now to
say i'm not all about the republicans, or i'm not all about any one particular demographic group, i'm about a larger audience of people, a larger audience of voters. >> host: manuel roig-franzia is our guest, "the rise of marco rubio" is the book. did he authorize, did he participate in the writing of this book? >> guest: no. this is an unauthorized biography, not one that he participated in. it's a work of journalism, and it's built on interviews with dozens and dozens of people who know him well, who have served with him in the legislature. and it also draws from really rich documents, material that i was able to get out of the national around kentuckys -- archives and from the united states citizen and immigration service that gave me an opportunity to understand the roots of his ambition and the roots of his rise through understanding his family. >> host: why do you think he turned down the national
republican senator tore y'all committee position? >> guest: well, it's a job that takes a whole heck of a lot of time, and it also comes with a lot of risk. if you end up having a bad cycle, other senators don't perform well, you can end up catching the blame for that. and you'll see that now that a few very high-profile republican senators had pretty high-profile collapses, and democrats ended up getting those seats. there's some very serious risk involved. also, you could look at it this way: if you have a national ambition and you want to focus on the presidential race, why bother with all of these others? >> host: bill in el paso, texas. good afternoon to you. go ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: okay. well, i was just, i had a question concerning the two authors that you had here together, one of them being -- well, i used, i lived three years in mexico, and i live now
in hispanic community on the rio grande here and have for 40 years. and i'm interested about marco rubio and the people of, hispanic people of mexican descent that inhabit my world here where i live and how that, how marco rubio perceives the people of hispanics of mexican descent. >> guest: you get a really interest withing question there when you're trying to analyze marco rubio because he's cuban-american. cuban-americans represent a or very small segment of the hispanic population. you can't just say hispanics or latinos in the united states. it's not one gigantic, monolithic group. it's made up of a variety of different people who come from different countries. mexican-americans are by a mile the large of that group.
the largest of that group. and so there's one issue, the demographic issue based on country of origin. then you have to take a look at his positions on immigration, and that's so important to mexican-americans, to guatemalan-americans, to salvadore ran-americans, to cuban-americans. and marco rubio has talked about changing the tone on immigration for republicans, but he's also taken some positions in the past that could potentially be liabilities for him. he said that he would be in favor of the arizona law that's derided by some as the papers, please, law. and he's against the original dream act. and so those are positions that he will be pressed about as his national profile rises and that he'll have to reconcile if he wants to scoop up a whole lot of hispanic votes and bring them to the republican party.
>> host: mr. roig-franzia, the mormon aspect of marco rubio's childhood, what did you discover about that, and can you walk us through that? >> guest: it's so interesting that he has a mormon background at all. and when he was being talked about as a possible vice presidential candidate, some people were saying, wow, could it be an all-mormon ticket? because mitt romney was mormon. that's a little bit of an overgeneralization there. here's the situation. marco rubio was born catholic, grew up in miami, and his family moved to las vegas. they moved to las vegas because he had an aunt and uncle who lived there. his mother's sister. and this is a pattern that we see with immigrants. they follow tear family members -- their family members, right? so it was logical when they were struggling to make a living in miami, they went to las vegas. and when they went there, they were brought into the mormon
church by this aunt and uncle who were very devout mormons. and he really was enthusiast withic about joining that church. and his cousins will talk about him becoming fascinated with the oz o mondays, the -- osmonds, the most famous mormons of the time and going out to the studio where toes mondays would tape their or television show. he's very interested in religion, he's very interested in faith. and even though he did not remain a mormon for his entire life -- it was just as a child, he returned to the catholic church -- it will always be a part of this sort of complex faith journey as he calls it religion's complicated, and his religious story is complicated too. not just because of catholicism and mormonism, but also because he attends a
protestant/evangelical church that his wife and her family have participated in. so he's dabbled with a lot of religious practices. >> host: does he attend church today, and if so, where? >> guest: he says he attends catholic mass every sickle day -- >> host: down which -- >> guest: yeah. there's a catholic church just a few steps away from his office, and very easy to get to from him. but when he's here in miami, he lives in west miami, a suburb of miami proper, he attends another church called christ fellowship, and that is an evangelical/protestant-based faith which is a part of the southern baptist convention. >> host: is it a megachurch? >> guest: the it's a big church, somewhere around 50,000 people attending it and several of its satellite churches in the area. >> host: gloria right here in miami. hi, gloria.
gloria, are you with us? we will try to come back to gloria, if we can check and see if she is on the line. manuel roig-franzia, the story about his parents, his grandparents in cuba, there was some discussion about the accuracy of his interpretation. what is the truth, and how will that potentially affect him politically? >> guest: yeah. what happened is that marco rubio when he was rising as a politician in florida presented himself as the son of exiles who were forced to come off of cuba because of the castro takeover. communism, the island being a place transformed and the antithesis of american political doctrine and that they had to leave. and i and others were able to find documents that showed defellowshiptively that they -- definitively that they did not
come after castro, they were not forced off the island. they came in 956, in the spring of 1956 before castro had even invaded the island. so it got to this kind of very central part of his unite which is that -- of his identity which is that he was formed by a family culture that was steeped in the exile experience of cuba. at the same time, i should say that the senator says that he still is shaped by the exile community because he grew up around so many exiles here in florida. this is simply a matter of getting the facts correct. myself as a journalist and others who have reported this were attempting to correct the historical record, and, um, and it has been corrected. >> host: in fact, if i remember correctly you broke it, right? and he changed his story after your reporting, is that correct
in. >> guest: the same week that i wrote a piece about this situation, about the discrepancy, st. petersburg times also -- excellent newspaper, as you know, here in florida -- also was coming to that same conclusion and also had a report which actually ran the day prior to ours, but didn't emphasize it in the same way that the piece that we were working on. but they certainly deserve credit for doing deep reporting. i'm always impressed with that publication. and, you know, regardless of which article appeared first, the question of what was correct and what had been stated was really put out there, debated, argued about on cable television, very controversial. and at the end he did end up changing his web site. his official biography to
reflect the fact that his parents had come in 1956 instead of 1959. certainly this is a question of whether he knew and was intentionally misleading or whether he actually did not know the actual date they came, and that's a question that he continues to get asked. >> host: gloria, please go ahead with your question or comment for our guest, manuel roig-franzia. >> caller: yes, thank you. no, but what i'm saying, what i'm thinking is that latinos cannot be paymented with a brush as so many people have said. i'm colombian, and we colombians and mexicans and anything rag wans and dominicans, we're not going to vote for marco rubio simply because he's cuban. cubans don't have any affinity or empathy for the rest of latins in miami.
and i, from what i have read about marco rubio, he is just another republican. and even the idea that his family were baptists and then they were mormons and now they're catholics, and they didn't know what they came in -- [inaudible] come on, i'm an immigrant. i know what faith i came in. to us, it's so important. it's like the year we were born. so that's all i have to say, thank you. >> guest: well, a lot of people who have contacted me have said that they find it hard to believe that he did not know the exact date that his family came. ultimately, that will be a question that will be argued about, i think, for a long time. but you do get at this very interesting dynamic between the different groups within what we call latinos or hispanics. and you are right to point out that some latinos who are not cuban have a sense of resentment
because cubans have a different immigration policy than noncuban hispanics. wet foot/dry foot, it's easier to come into the united states if you are from cuba than if you, say, are trying to escape a regime in nicaragua that you don't like run by a sandinista, former sandinista daniel ortega or, say, trying to escape a drug war in mexico. and so there is clearly some friction there, and it will be an issue that politicians like marco rubio or any other cuban-american aspiring to national office will have to address. >> host: manuel roig-franzia, what's your background, and why did you choose to write this story? >> guest: i was born in spain, came to the united states when i was 2. my father's a spaniard, and my mother's from an italian-american family. i was interested in writing about marco rubio because, one,
he's an avenn adapt politician who is going to have a say in what our country's immigration policy looks like, what our country's budget looks like. but also because his family history and his own political rise, it's just a great story. it reads like a novel. i was able to find these document requests that showed that -- documents that showed that his grandfather was born underneath a that muched palm roof in -- thatched palm roof in rural cuba to a mother who was illiterate in 1899. and to think that someone who was born under those circumstances that in barely over a hundred years his son, his grandson is getting talked about as a possible president of the united states. it's really, it's something that you would find in the movies. and, you know, i presented this book as a narrative of the family of marco rubio and about his really remarkable political
rise, and i hope that people will be able to read it and make an assessment about him whether they're republicans or democrats, whether they like marco rubio or not. all the facts are there, and the richness of the story is there. i think that there's something there for almost anybody who's interested in immigration or in politics in america. >> host: parallels to barack obama? >> guest: no doubt, um, humble circumstances. no doubt this whole question of identity is significant, you know, it's clear that from the people i spoke to who knew marco when he was in high school, um, that he looked up to some of these young boys who he was playing on the football team with who had come from cuba and had had those experiences of living under a difficult regime, you know? in his high school there was such a large number of cuban-americans that when
something happened on the island, castro was in the news, it was all the buzz in the hallways. and that really had a form betive effect on him -- formative effect on him. and being a part of that meant something to him. and being a part of that group, it's a very powerful, powerful lure. >> host: we are here in miami, and we've been talking with manuel roig-franzia, "the rise of marco rubio," an unauthorized biography as you say. thank you for being on booktv. >> guest: it was a great pleasure to see you again. >> tell us what you think about our programming this weekend. you can tweet us @booktv, comment on our facebook wall or send us an e-mail. booktv, nonfiction books every weekend on c-span2. >> host: well, now joining us on booktv is donald luskin. "i am john galt" is the name of his book.
first of all, mr. luskin, who is john galt? >> guest: who is john galt? that's the slogan from atlas shrugged, an amazing book written 55 years ago that could have been written yesterday. it perfectly describes our world, our world of declining economies, declining wealth, declining innovation, declining moral standards. and the reason why it's so perfectly prophetic is it's this amazing portrait of human nature. and the heroes and the villains who are in great conflict in that book are just like the real people who are moving the world for better and for worse today. and who is john galt was a question asked over and over in that book. we didn't find out until the end in that book. it turns out that john galt was the man who was responsible for putting the world into decline, and how did he do it? he did it by getting all the smart people to go on strike. so that's something that we
haven't tried in this world. in our real world, the smart or people just keep working no matter what. >> host: is there a john galt today in. >> guest: well, in the book we identify real people with various rand characters including galt, and the one we attach to galt is the ceo of bb and t, john allison, the man who built bb and t into the tenth largest bank in the united states and only one of two that didn't need t.a.r.p. funding. bb and t for americans who live outside the south may be an unknown name, but it is number one market share bank in the u.s. and district of columbia, and he did it by getting every single employee right down to the tellers to read that is shrugged -- atlas shrugged. and why is he like john galt? remember, he took his mind off the market in protest of a corrupt world.
john allison retired when the federal government came to him in the financial crisis of 2008 and said you don't need to take t.a.r.p. money, but we're going to force you to take t.a.r.p. money. we're taking over your bank just like all the rest of the banks. that's when he walked out into the night and said, enough. >> host: who are some of the villains in, first of all, in atlas shrugged, b and then how do you fit them into your book, "i am john galt "? >> guest: a lot of the ayn rand fans believe her characters were about politics, but the worst villain was a corrupt businessman who worked hand in hand with corrupt business, corrupted politicians in the an unholy alliance that crashed the economy. and the corrupt businessman who just about brought the whole world economy down in 2008 was
angelo mozilo, the ceo of countrywide finance. this was the man who, essentially, invented subprime lending. now, another keevill indiana in atlas shrugged was a super duper financial planner/regulator. the character's name is wesley mooch. in the book we liken him to congressman barney frank. barney frank was the godfather of fannie mae and freddie mac in the u.s. congress, and the two of them -- mozilo in the private sector, frank in the public sector through fannie and freddie -- were the unholy alliance who allowed the people who with profited from countrywide to create loans that people could never repay. they just turned around and sold those loans to the federal government, and how was that made possible? it was made possible by barney frank through fannie and freddie in the names of altruistic social benefits. housing for everybody, and let's
put poor people into mcmanagess that they can't afford. that's the world of atlas shrugged, the world we just barely survived in the financial crisis. >> host: donald luskin, what do you do for a living? >> guest: i'm an investment adviser for other investment advisers. >> host: what does that mean? >> guest: i give strategic ad vice on the stock market and commodities markets to other investment managers to serve customers. hedge fund managers, mutual fund managers, investment counselors, the like. >> host: in your work how much government regulation is there in what you do? >> guest: there's very little in what i do because i don't actually handle the money. but my clients, who do, who collectively must manage $10, $15 trillion, they're so regulated they can't even pick up the phone without filling out a form. [laughter] that's a business i used to be in. i'm now in a little four-man firm that gets to move $15 trillion without being regulated. i made my choice. >> host: what is it about ayn
rand that attracts such a, such a strong reaction? >> guest: well, there's a great moral clarity to her point of view. it's an extremely consistent philosophy. it's a romantic philosophy that draws many young people because it's a world where the good guys in these stories are very passionate, creative, focused, empowered people who know who they are and go out in the world and want to do the things they want to do. in the case of john galt, he wanted to shut down the world in order to rebuild it, but that was his passion. and so young people trying to rediscover themselves, trying to understand what is their role in life, what role models do i have, ayn rand's books, the big ones, are just full of these amazing role models. business people, artists, architects, bankers, lawyers, doctors, all of whom follow this philosophy of extreme individualism.
now, she was a controversial character. she loved tweaking people. so she called it individualism, but she also liked to call it selfishness because she knew that was a word that nobody would like, right? that was a controversial word. she wanted to iraq -- she wants to rub it in your face. and if she could talk you into that, individualism would go down real easy. >> host: you used the word moral talking about ayn rand. a lot of people don't use that word when they talk about her. >> guest: morality is the difference between determining right and wrong. now, there's some people who believe the only way you can get morality is through religion. rand was an atheist, and a different answer i could have given you to your question of why is she such a polarizing character, is she was an atheist at a time when it wasn't acceptable to be an atheist. i think if she were alive and writing today, nobody would care. but she was kind of an outcast, and it was believed at the time if you didn't get your morality
from the bible, you didn't have any morality. she said, no, you can get it from reason, you can get it from experience. there's a wonderful character named hank rear done in atlas shrugged who runs a steel mill, and he says you know exactly what's right and exactly what's wrong. and if you do what's wrong with some 500-ton oven that's melting 500 tons of steel, you'll die. you can't be immoral in a steel mill. that doesn't have anything to do with the bible. >> host: in i am john galt, you draw parallels between bill gates and hank rear don. why? >> guest: because in the book, henry created a new kind of metal, that product was so competitive, so disruptive to the status quo that the unholy alliance of corrupt businessmen and corrupt business officials con conspired to put him out of business the same way as people couldn't compete with microsoft
windows conspired to put bill gates out of bids in the late 990s when that antitrust action was brought against him. don't tell yourself that was just some do-gooder action by some holier than thou bureaucrat in washington. those guys were paid off and egged on by people in silicon valley who couldn't compete with bill gates. >> host: there's just a little taste of donald luskin's "i am john galt: today's heroic innovators building the world and the villainous parasites destroying it." this is booktv on c-span2. >> visit booktv.org to watch any of the programs you see here online. type the author or book title in the search bar on the upper left side of the page and click search. you can also share anything you see on booktv.org easily by clicking share on the upper left side of the page and selecting the format. booktv streams live online for 48 hours every weekend with top nonfiction books and authors.
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