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tv   Book Discussion on The Last Campaign  CSPAN  September 12, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm EDT

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the people in england imported education, technology and all that importation of the wisdom of the romans ultimately made great britain the mightiest face of the earth. it was because colonialism, again i'm not making the argument in favor of colonialism but you can't deny the historical fact. whereby i benefited from it. >> you can watch this and other this and other programs online epoch >> next on book tv anthony clark in the house of representatives during the 111th congress weighs in on the politics behind the presidential libraries and presents his criticisms of the government agencies that runs them.
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>> [inaudible conversation] >> good evening. my name is tim, i am director of the library. i have been slightly silenced tonight, not by the nixon foundation or even the national archives are anthony clark, but by small bit of laryngitis. you are not here to hear me. you are here to hear anthony. i want to briefly introduce him to you and tell you about why i think the work he did on your behalf is very important. first of all, welcome home.
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anthony is the proud bearer of an ms degree and is now known the school of professional studies. i knew him in a different context. he is a former speechwriter, committee, professional staffer and legislative director. 111th congress and 11th congress he directed hearings of the national archives of the national library. you can see that three times i will give you an award. it was in that context that i got to know him. i will never forget the feeling of relief and pleasure i had when anthony brought the chairman of the subcommittee who decided the budget of the agency i worked for. he invited him to, on a two or of the library.
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i got to give that to her. anthony will correct me if i am wrong, i remember that congressman clay use some very colorful language when i walked him through the library and explained to him how we were going to turn what was up private nixon library into nonpartisan. the pleasure in disbelief was a joy for me to see. knowing that congressman clay and anthony, in washington were supportive of what we were doing at the nixon library meant a lot to me. i will always be grateful to anthony for that. i'm equally grateful, and that is why he is here today, that he took time to write a book about the presidential library system. he was working on this book before
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he started working for government. that's important for you to know. some people. some people go into government and then write books. he wrote this book before and i believe this is the reason he got the job because he was already thinking deeply about this. there are not many people in this country who think deeply about the presidential library system. anthony is the only
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in about an hour you may be thinking why did he write only one book about presidential libraries. what are presidential libraries. there archives a presidential records and materials. that is the original intent. they become self commemorating monuments
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i have had museum goers tell me so what if the records aren't open in the archives. i've had them tell me so what if they are skewed, i have access to the records. the problem is most researchers are working for the records before the presidential act came into effect. i know scholars from hoover and roosevelt scholars who are very happy with the presidential library because many of those records are open. they don't know what's going on in the museum and don't pay much attention to it. they can present their phd's, books and documentaries. if your phd student now looking at the cold war, at afghanistan. looking at the first gulf war then if you want to postpone your phd to your 70s then you might have a chance. i'm going to throw out some anecdotal stats for you. no one alive today will see the
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opening of the brock obama presidential records. it will take over 100 years to open them. that goes for the records of ronald reagan, george hw bush, george hw book and george w. bush. that's not because of the physical limitations of our universe. it's because policymakers have decided and place more emphasis on commemoration and their version of history than in providing access to the records. roosevelt began the library system because he wanted one simple place to make available his records as materials. he had the world's largest dam collection at the time. he had a world class and he opened his library in the summer of 1941. it is not coincidental that he wanted to build a bombproof area
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for his papers. that is not what the new presidential library czar. they are interactive displays. they do not benefit from scholarly research because the records are not open and will not be open for decades. the ronald ragan open in 1991 and fewer records are open. it will take decades and decades. why i wrote a book about them is because so much about what i read is either celebratory, like like brochure language or incomplete, or downright inaccurate. i started out wanting to write a book, a brief simple history of the presidential i brace. get it all down and say this is what they are. while i was researching i came across some difficulties. for example, the national archives stop me from accessing 40 years years of their own records about presidential
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diapers. for two years they thought me, they first to me they were not available and then they told me they needed them for daily operations. these are records going back 40 years. but they needed them for every day. then they encourage me to file freedom of information. so i did i went through --dash i sent to my first request and it was denied because it was too big. so i narrowed it, and it was denied for being too narrow. there were not were not enough record responses in the request. then i stumbled across something that changed the course of the book. it change the course of my life. i don't want to read passages but i want to get this part right because, i don't want people to read the book and get the idea that staff level archivist to preserve and
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openly's records records are the problem. they are not. they are the treasures of the presidential library system. there is not a single instance i know that i wasn't giving access to everything a staff staff level archivist couldn't give me access to. it was a higher level who didn't want to air the dirty laundry. you will read in these pages a president of the united states who violate the law. for some that may not be surprising. what may be his this president violated the law to try to build his library and a spectacular piece of prime federal property which was, and is prohibited. what may be even more surprising is the story had not been reported. i discovered the information in fall 2006 thanks to two archivists who assist researchers in college park maryland. i consult with them every day for weeks. at the end i would ask, are you, are you sure those are all the records
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you have of the origins of that library? they would pretend to be exasperated with me asking the question one more time. or at least i think they were pretending. they would answer yes, it became a bad running joke. finally finally what i thought i had exhausted all the records i asked them one last time, literally as i was out the door. through the window it of a consultation room i saw them exchange a look, shrug and say yeah, except for those boxes marked nixon library at camp pendleton. but he didn't and that building it there so that will be of any help. that answer changed everything and i'm grateful for everyone. that helped me discover the story of how nixon illegally grabbed 4000 acres from the united states marine corps base next to his white house and second mental california to try to build his library and the most spectacular piece of property. 600-foot cliffs, acres of
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wilderness, had he not encountered one small bump in the road and had to resign from office, he would have built the library there. that is part of what we call the president gets to pick where the library gets to be. the brock obama library will be located in chicago. you might might imagine that finding that information about a presidential information site selection encourage me to look for others and see what i could find. that's where the trouble began because they can't deny my request. finally i said, i have to get some official answers. i i made an appointment to interview an official in charge of the system.
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she told me, the reason my foyer requests were being denied for records about site selection process was that, the national archives played no role in that process. therefore, since they played no role, they held no records. so that was the official, on tape the official, on tape answer. that was on a friday afternoon in june 2008. the following monday i received following monday i received a fedex of the national archive. this was in response to another request that had no influence on this request. inside was this memo. i will zoom in for you so you can see closer. it is a talking point memo in 1997 he went to the archivist of the united states, in advance of the first meeting with pres. clinton to talk about presidential library's. we will go to the next page and you can see briefing points for the presidential library, if you
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look at the bottom bullet point. then i go to the next page it has a long history of assisting presidential libraries. , let's be fair how do you know in 2008 the archivist was aware of the history of policy in effect in 199711 years earlier. i would like to give her the benefit of the doubt, if it were not for the fact, that she that she is the author of the memo. i went to the general counsel of the archives and said this could be exhibit a in my lawsuit, or you can give me access to the records of the reagan, bush, and
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clinton site selection. that weekend i got 500 pages of how the presidents decided to build their libraries and where they decided to build them. the reason why they don't want them to see me is the same reason they didn't want me to investigate them when i was working in congress. there is a tremendous amount of politics and a tremendous amount of money involved in the system. they would like the public to think there are great places like high parts new york, story places like independence missouri. it is where we celebrate history. for the early libraries that is true. for the more recent my brace there are two problems. one is that presidents write their own history. no president is going to admit to present problems, mistakes, they will try to spin something. the reagan libra took a different path. most presidential libraries met controversies with explanations.
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arguably the biggest scandal, here ignored it. that was their way of dealing with it. so people who who did not history would say it's great. the other problem is these records are not available. if a president writes a history, and that historians, documentarians, can look at those records then we can have a public debate. but we can't have that because the records are not available and because the presidents write their own history. the nixon library began in controversy.
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it continued in controversy. it was the only presidential library to be operated privately for 17 years. the process is the president creates a private foundation, raises the the money, it builds the library according to standards and then hands it over to the government. donates it to government and the government operates it on behalf of of the american people. we spend $1 billion per decade operating presidential library's. it requires archivist to preserve records, there's one mention of museums in the law. there are over a dozen for the archives. there's just one about museums. yet so much. yet so much energy and focus is placed in commemoration of these exhibits. tim and i have discussed some things about this, i make a case
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from the conventional side that if we didn't put the money into the exhibits, we might be able to put them in the archives. from the director position, as he pointed out and corrected me, the congress wouldn't give more money to the archives they would just take it away. i've come to the conclusion, i started off thinking there may be a way to reform the library, a way to balance out nonpartisan history with access to records. i've come to the conclusion that the national archive should get out of the museum business we have had debates, public debates for decades on whether we should support presidential library's. every time we every time we do, in 1955, 1974, 1978, 1986, 2004, we talked about thousand four, we talk about the archives. we haven't had a national the
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bait and we haven't had a congressional debate about it either. about 25% of the budget goes to presidential library's. there are just under 50 quadrillion pages of records and presidential libraries. just over 11 billion pages in the national archives. yet, 25% of the budget goes there. the question is, what does it matter? what does it matter if presidential libraries don't tell the truth about their presence? what does it matter if a phd student has to find their information? what once presidents benefit fitted from their heirs it appears they know my make
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mistakes. they no longer learn from them either. what if the kennedy library had addressed the conventional wisdom of the stolen 1960 election. does the president not enter office under less honest situations? what if the clinton library have been more open about character and its impact on more leadership? it depends on the definition of is, is. ushered in clear skies and healthy forest initiatives which led to the presidential promise, if you like your health care plan you can keep your healthcare plan. what if the reagan library had examined iran contra and difficulties maintaining.
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if the library had taught us about this successive of crimes through this debate in an open and sincere process would our journey to guantánamo and enhance terrorism techniques been so smooth forcing inevitable? what if if the johnson libra had been candid about vietnam? in his quest for greatness johnson lost the wars on vietnam and poverty. he lost the best chance for social change, and, and thus the argument for the promise of the agenda and ultimately his presidency. he escalated from 16000 advisors to more than half 1 million troops when he handed power to richard nixon 62 months later. we could have learned a great deal from an honest reckoning of what it costs the president and the country.
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yet no presidential library offers us one. so iraq, afghanistan, and so on, until we in the presidents we elect to lead us learn. i think it matters. is actually over 2 million people visit the president levers each year. some states the libraries produce the educational components for those state schools and teaching them about their presidents. and some of those libraries that educational component is funded. are you going to give $10 million dollars to a presidential foundation and say the president was wrong? or the president broke the law and did bad things? you are not going to sport that in educational programs, and exhibits. one more thing. does any of this ultimately matter?
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the context of presidents past have any relation to the conduct of presidents current and future? does the record of what they did, what they didn't do, what they ought to do, and to do, and why make any difference in our lives? does the way they present our history affect our judgment in creating our own future? if the answer is no, we've wasted a considerable amount of time and we the country are wasting $1 billion per decade and we should stop wearing about what presidents do. if we do that we should stop worrying about presidents and how we elect them. if it matters who is president and what he or she is doing, and matters who was president what he or she did. if that matters, so do the records. the history that we pay for and stamp with our approval through the national archives administration. i encourage you to visit a presidential library, get involved get involved and read up about it. they mentioned a good author and
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a book called presidential temples. with pres. obama there has been more coverage of what a presidential library is and what it does, whether it belongs on a college campus. thirty years ago stanford rejected the reagan library and duke rejected the nixon library for concerns over having such an institution on a college campus. now colleges seek and reach out, and fight fight each other to get a presidential library. isn't that the best use of a universities time and endowments, and scholarships? especially when presidential libraries began with an archival building and a curiosity room to show fdr's gifts gifts that he received in his items. then they added bigger museums, in the mid- 2000 reagan library added 90000 square foot room. just one room. four stories, to house his air
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force one. it is the only air force one that is not in the air force one museum. i will say, i hope i am not revealing something, he was the only director that i interviewed who didn't want to get that presidents air force one to their library. the focus was on building a nonpartisan museum and opening the records. in fact, the air force one pavilion houses the air force one and it also houses president reagan's marine one helicopter. it also has this, in my opinion
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the most curious area of any presidential library. it is an irish pub. i mean that literally. in 1984 at the reagan's went on a goodwill trip to ireland, their ancestral home. they stopped at a pub and i had a pint and mrs. reagan had a glass of carolyn. they went on their way and it was a photo op. for years you could go to the pub and see the glass they drink from. so when the so when the pump went under the reagan foundation bought the pub, dismantled it and put it in crates and shipped it to california and put it in the air force one museum. you can go buy food gifts and you can see what i call the reagan, it's behind glass, this this is the bottle they used the glass they use. in the book i discuss how presidential library museums are
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very different. for example, the reagan library is about personal character. it is thinks it is things he touched, places he was, people he affected. for younger people in the audience watch superhero movies, about how he was a lifeguard in illinois and saved 70 people from drowning. that's why he save the world from communism. the clinton library has almost nothing about bill clinton the person. the clinton library is being planned and the latter part of the second term of the clinton administration. i can't figure out why they weren't focusing on character issues in the exhibit at that time. there is what i called an old-time museum table, upstairs in the balcony, in, in the corner there are three tables. two of them have built clinton's book and report card. the rest of the museum is not about his governorship, his all about his eight years of presidency. it's all facts, all data, all
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the time. it's a very big contrast to the reagan library which is all about character. i encourage you to get involved. i have a list in the book of things we can do to reform the library system. my favorite is that the national archives opens the presidential museums an average of four years after the presently's office. it takes 100 takes 100 years to open the records. so we just make it small change and inhibit the archivist from accepting a museum until 75% of the items are open. if that were the law, people would get together and figure out a way to put the money and resources, and effort and resources, and effort into opening those records as quickly as possible.
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there's an old joke, the reason why congress won't reform presidential libraries is because the united states senate is made up of 100 individuals who think one day they will have a presidential library. it is against their better interest. i thank you for your tension will open up the floor for questions. [applause]. if you have a question please use the mic for the benefit of our audience. i'm astonished. >> i'm astonished that over the records of the presidential library, it seems to me that a president in office and belongs to us, are there some that are elsewhere like in the library congress or somewhere? >> up until 1978 presidential records were considered personal property of the president and they could do with it what they wanted.
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after roosevelt started the system and presidents from who were on established libraries. pres. hoover open the fourth presidential libraries by taking his information out of a museum and putting them into west branch iowa. there were some presidential records who are sold theirs for signatures and autographs. a lot of washington records were eaten by rats. that's another thing, presidents who sign legislation relating to put financial libraries, it always takes effects with the next president. so now they are considered the property of the government. i argue, by pressuring the national archives to focus on the museum and commemoration, and to concede to the wishes of the presidential family they are
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keeping the records from being open. look at what happened in the fall of 2011 with an nixon library was that without a director for three years. it wasn't because they couldn't find someone. they could find at least one person but the nixon foundation veto that person. for many years presidential libraries insisted on having veto rights on presidential library director. i found legislative language in the report, accompanied the bill that said, because we are instituting this new policy that presidential records are now the property of the government, the government government is now administering the record rather than the president. in order to make the president feel comfortable with that they can have consultation rights on
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the first director. that director is is administering at the time of a 12 year period so they can exert some residential privilege on some records. this does not give the president or family veto power. the the problem is that is what happens. i would argue that veto power has been used mostly because they were not comfortable with the way they may per tray that president. from my viewpoint on capitol hill, the nixon foundation was upset not because he was per trained the president in a bad light but because the he was per trained the president lights. he was accurate and nonpartisan.
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>> i worked for john kennedy when he was a senator in the last year and a half of his senate. working primarily on africa and related issues. in recent years i've contributed my papers to the kennedy library, many of the papers in the kennedy library have been contributed by, they were not presidential papers, they were papers of people who worked in the administration and related fields to the administration. most before and during the senate and presidential period. to my knowledge, those papers are open except where people had specifically said i do not want
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my papers open. when you contribute to a library you may say, i don't want don't want these open for x number of years. most of those papers are open and many scholars have used them. i have had the pleasure of being in touch with many of the scholars who use the papers, who sometimes treat me as a ghost from the box. it nonetheless, you have pointed out it is only, i won't say reset but the most four or less presidents those papers have been closed. i appreciate your, on both who gets to use a what, where, and to the extent which although when one contributes those papers to a library they become the property of the library and you sign off.
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again you have the right to say i get to use this, and they are very open to you getting back to your stuff if you need to. or at least at least the kennedy library has been. you have the birdseye view of many of them, and i have the worm's worm's eye view of my boxes at the kennedy library. >> thank you for your services and for donating your papers. one of the things i talk about in the book is we talk about presidential history and the only focus is is that the best use of the money just focusing on what the president did? look at the careers of george hw bush before before he was president, john kennedy, jimmy carter. >> thank you for that. >> as you point out.
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>> guest: the kennedy library staff was fantastic. i've been researching all of them. the kennedy foundation wasn't eager to cooperate and so they didn't open their records of the history of the library to me. luckily, the original members of the foundation where they family and they donate their papers to the archives and they open them. most of those papers were foundation papers and meeting minutes. through the diligent help of the kennedy archivist. >> i have a question about the declassification. if i understand it in the nonpresidential papers, the billions of pages in the
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archives, if the agency that generated the documents that gets to decide when it is to be classified is that right? >> guest: if you don't miami handing over over to a greater expert in the field. >> the question i have then is about the presidential libraries. you have private individuals, these foundation which are often family, at, at least in the beginning are connected to the family. in these cases they are the ones who are making decision about these classification am i right about that? >> guest: these are all members of the declassification center which was formed a few years ago. there is an indirect way the foundation can provide influence. that is to withhold the approval of the next director until that person is
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excepted, politically. one of the thing that fell he did was accelerate the process of getting records out. it was 17 years as a private library so it was important to get those records out and he continued that process with a strong emphasis on that. it doesn't mean every person who succeeds him is going to want to put that person first. >> so the foundations do not have a direct connection to the declassification process. >> guest: correct. some of the deep classification is mandatory. some of the declassification is the request of a researcher. president obama ordered an executive order of all executive orders a private presidential i purse. they they didn't open all of them but they were able to look at several hundred million pages of records in a four-year
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period. i think that is a great example of what can happen in the presidential libraries. thank you. >> i have a few questions. you have mentioned $1 billion over ten years. that's $100 million per year what are we spending that out? guess mac mac operation and maintenance of the libraries. the president. >> guest: they employ museum technicians, curators, and other specialists. all focused on getting the public programs and public message out. so in 1986 congress passed a law that said we have to have a handle a handle on this. it's costing too much money.
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so we will have to require an endowment. the endowment is a requirement the foundation has to give when they donate a presidential library. it says the cost of acquiring and preparing land, the the cost of the building and equipping it, take that times by 20%, you have to give us that money when you donate the library. the problem is they said well this part of the building isn't really going to be used by the national archives so we don't have to count that towards the 20%. this is just hvac system space so this is encounter. so because the george hw bush library, the first under the endowment, $83 million. that's how much it cost to build it. the endowment that was required was $4 million. i bet it that i know that for is
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that 20% of 83 million. i mentioned before how they sent legislation to reform libraries but don't include themselves in that legislation. two times during the george bush administration they increase that formula first to 40% percent than to 60% beginning with barack obama presidency. i did know that at the time but the president after him. >> my follow-up then is there not allocated, it's it's not split between the 13 libraries. or there's more focus on the latter. >> guest: it's a combination. they have startup costs for staff, presidential materials coming from the white house. the roosevelt library underwent a major renovation because
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records of the new deal and world war ii were in a building from 1941 without central air. the staff did a good job trying to maintain it. they got to the point of using store bought dehumidifiers to keep records from deteriorating. that was a total gut. a good portion of that was spent by the taxpayers. >> does any budget use from anything that predates hoover? >> guest: any library from coolidge and before is either private or state run. not national archives. although some including woodrow wilson tried to become part of the system. tried to get legislation passed for this. look at the nixon library, it was called the richard nixon library and birth birthplace and it was not able to continue and
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that is why they were sought seeking out the national archives. >> you made a wonderful presentation. my question is a sign of time, everything is digitized now. there any idea that may be the oldest archive will be available in digital and in the clouds? >> guest: one of the things i did on the hill is planned hearings. i wrote the script. if you watch hearings there is a script. even the jokes were scripted. so i would write the hearing and invite the witnesses and take the topics. it was a scary situation when i realized that would be my responsibility.
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congress passed a bill a few years ago acquiring the archives to produce a report a report on alternative models for presidential libraries. i took that report and developed hearings and said these are the five different ways we could go forward. so we set up a series of hearings, at the time, i was responsible for hearings of the census bureau and we had hearings on the national archives on electronic records. we had hearings on digital rigor records like e-mail. when it came time to a hearing on libraries they asked us to hold them. they wanted to cancel them they didn't want congress looking into what they do and political relationships and the way they use the libraries to further their agenda. the folks in west branch, iowa
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are wonderful people. if you ever get a chance to go to hoover days in august, it is great. it is a mini state a mini state fair run by the hoover foundation. the republican party is not basing their future on what the hoover library does. but they are basing it on what the reagan library does. if you want to become the next nominee you have to make a national speech national speech and get anointed at the library. you have to make the cut to get in the debates. so we wanted to ask a question of why we can't digitize. or to the kennedy foundation which is sponsoring the digitization of the records. they are paying for so maybe they are having a greater influence on what gets digitize first. we were never able to ask those questions. if anyone in the audience knows anything about politics, that is separation of powers issue. congress had a legitimate right to find out what the agency is using our taxpayer dollars for.
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it is not incidental the first hearing was to be held at the reagan library. we were going to be in los angeles anyway so it wasn't going to cost more to stay one more day. we sent out explicit information this was not a devil banging hearing, it was just the beginning process and we need to fix the system. we need to get input from the libraries and that got canceled. i tried to schedule the next one at smu and that got canceled as well. i would love to be able to answer that question. right now i believe quotes per page digitization rate of under five cents. i think think it is a decreasing quickly now. you have to do 100 pages it's a lot of money, if you do 1 million pages it's a lot less money per page. thank you.
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>> hi, i remember a few years ago fdr played recording talking to his taylor. he was sounding unpresidential on his phone call. i'm wondering, is that what the presidents are worried about? is it more of a legal concern when they hold back those documents classified? guest mac mac you're getting to the heart of it. the presidential library directors, and president johnson hand-picked a director so you would think that you be more inclined to protect the legacy. president johnson had --dash you heard those tapes so i want to
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give him significant credit for that. again it goes back to who is in that position-mac it took. they made it very clear that he was acceptable and enthusiastically so. that is why they it immediately set it raise concerns for me. >> you mention in your book that you feel pres. obama should not build a presidential library. why is that? >> guest: there is an old phrase, only only nixon could go to china. for those of you know nixon had the credentials have the credentials that may be a democratic president could reach
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out. i i argued the president was received the most votes in history, the first african-american history should be the one to say enough. in the book i remind the president of a very important president who made an important statement of 2009. he said pres. obama probably shouldn't build a physical library and focus on digitizing the records and getting them out. that resident was president obama. that was the first time he is asked about his presidential library. obviously that has changed, the plans are to raise $500 million to build a presidential library. there were four finalists competing for the library, not all of the finalists made public their plans and suggestions. the libraries that were more modest in their commemorative aspects, and more focused on university integration, community partnerships, working
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towards policy holes, or the ones that lost. i think, general ford headset i am not going to build a presidential library. i would've said okay. nothing against him, i think the next president will would not have had a problem building a presidential library. like jimmy carter if he would've said well i'm going to focus on the carter center, which in effect he did, the carter museum had not been renovated for 26b years. imagine if pres. obama says i'm not going to do this. i'm i'm going to focus on making good on my promise of being the most
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transparent and ministration in history. that transparency has not been borne out in proactive releases of records. it hasn't been borne out in foyer request. or in following the foia. it hasn't been borne out. the clock is running out. the only chance he has to make good on that promise is to say, i am not going to spend $500 million on a building that just in a few years we may have to hold square dance lessons, or winetasting, which is what others do now to bring people in. that is the reason why i suggest not. not that he should not build out library, he should build a archive and focus on getting those records out. think about what $50 million would would do in processing records and making them
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available in a way that they're not just in a box. they are annotated and there in the cloud and secure. they're making a difference in people's lives. make no mistake, every every history book, article, documentary you have ever loved and moved by, comes from records. it doesn't come from somebody saying i think this is what would happen, i don't really know. it is because they researched. so records matter. in ways that you don't necessarily see. our great grandkids might have a shot at seeing records. think about this, don't think of it as a president can be liked. think about a president you disagreed with and that you want to see what actually happened. what really led to the decisions to go to iraq.
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what led to the affordable care act's website? we will not know that. maybe if he decides not to continue that focus can you imagine the next president same, that guy, the most popular, most votes, first african-american president, he didn't to build one. the next presence can build on? any other questions. >> there substantial amounts of our budget goes to presidential libraries. i'm number 315 on a foia list. i might get everything i want by 2020. to what extent is that a result
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of putting that much effort, money and resources into the presidential library? >> guest: and federal budgets is equivalent to the number of people you hire. very brief anecdote. when george w. bush library, let me go back. president leaves office january 20 for 5 years no records can be opened. after five years you can start sending foia requests in. when that date was coming up for the george w. bush library there is a lot of talk and the spokesperson told the press, there were 40+ archivists plus archivists waiting to receive those foia requests. that would be unprecedented really and history, and i didn't like the sound of that. i spoke to the person and we went back and forth and got them to give
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me the nameless. it turned out at the george w. bush library where there are 70 million pages of records and 80 terabytes of electronic data. , there are one archivists doing what is systematic processing and the others doing foia requests. so they're looking at a series of records. you get very familiar with the records as an archivists. who has clearances, and relatively you can move systematic process simply. foia requests is stop what you're doing, go find us. maybe they are diligent in finding the records, maybe not. will some of those take a long time and a lot of people. they will be delving into records and series of records that may be have not opened yet. haven't been reviewed.
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so it takes a long time. the argument i have made for years is the more archivists you put toward systematic processes, your queue will grow but then it will decrease because the records are open. good luck with that. i encourage you to contact the office of government information services. have you contacted a member of congress? contact the chairman and ranking member of the house oversight committee. they just had two days worth of hearings on the foia just last week. the staff there is primed, they are ready to send letters into action for you. >> i saw an example in february of a person who made a request for electronic record.
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they got an official response from the george w. bush library that it it it is in the queue and it will be processed in produced in approximately 12 years. >> i want to thank you for your attention. [applause]. >> thank you all anthony's book is on sale right there. i appreciate you all coming today. thank you, goodbye. [applause].
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>> watch for the authors in the near future on booktv. >> columbia university professor susan pedersen is next on booktv. she recalls that paris peace conference after world war i and the creation of the league of nations. >> the great war had been a war of empires come into the victorious allied powers it seemed as if the militaristic and aggressive empires had been defeated while the oppressive empire thad


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