tv Open Phones with Evan Thomas CSPAN September 13, 2015 1:20am-1:51am EDT
being nixon admin divided. mr. thomas.chardn al was richard nixon alwaysing to n fascinated to theew news media. he liked it. it was an extremely shy, awkward lonely figure who likes being at the center of events.wkward, i don't know how crazy he was,. i'm not a shrink, that he needed something, he wanted something in the public escape him what he wanted. >> hope and fear waves the
who has written many books and we will talk about those as well. as a historical figure is a fascinating and important? >> he was one of the most successful politicians. he accomplished a great deal and is the only president to be driven from office. that alone would keep them in the history books. he stands for something sad and that is the legacy after watergate. >> you have both come out with new books in the past couple of months. why in more books, what did you discover and what did you learn? in the popular imagination it is
evil. but what the click to the richard nixon? i knew there would be a more sympathetic story there. >> host: what did you learn? >> guest: he >> guest: he wanted to be a better person at night about the person he wanted to be like joy, serenity. we cannot be the person i want to be. >> why not? >> he wasn't a well loved child. you could argue most are crazy.
nixon had that idea and an overabundance. he never gave up but it was in a way that hurt him. >> when you talk about the lists that were made, did he have any any compounds, did he share this with anyone? >> it is to say he didn't really have friends as a florida real estate mogul. they would sit there in silence.
>> i think that was true in the last year of watergate. there's one thing i hadn't realized when i started this. the love letters between them were real and powerful and many times she was the one that was told to hang in there and to not give up. at the end of the year that marriage was in trouble but then they resulted after they had a marriage. >> our longtime "newsweek" editor, reporter. other books including robert kennedy, a book about dwight eisenhower, john paul jones.
how many books in total? >> he has been on booktv for a lot of these books. let's begin with a call from hope south florida. >> actually it's a little clammy but it's better to be here "vanity fair" let me tell you although i'm going to be up there next week. okay. mr. thomas is an honor to speak to you. the last time we spoke it was sometime in the 1990s and you said you were going to do a book on new york liberalism.
i was interested during the book she speaks of the fact that her mother lived in the bronx for a little while to which nobody was ever made aware of that. in chapter she always had to work for a living and was dirt poor when she grew up and she never forgot that but it also in some also in some ways was a better experience for her and one thing they share is the heated controversy and confrontation and that hurt him the custody could never confront
he could never face his own subordinates and get to the bottom of what happened. >> host: in los angeles you are on with dean dixon. >> caller: i wonder did you find anything new about whether gerald ford and richard nixon had some sort of a deal with the the pardon and number two, i should c-span with credit laura bush for starting the national book festival. have you done that much? >> i think there was a wink and a nod. but it is true that he was the president of the chief of staff for vice president ford and layout options one of which was pardoning the president.
he was communicating give us us the pardon and you get to become president. it was never explicit in fact, he denied it. but my own impression is that there was a bit of a wink and a nod. >> next: is richard in boca raton. >> it is a pleasure listening to you speak. i read the book the sixth widespread and i thought it was excellent. i have two questions. is it possible that we could have six wise men today and do you think that hillary clinton and the rest respect realized what she was doing in his e-mail is an area.
in 1945 after world war ii there was no national security adviser. there was much more informal and presidents could call it as was a world that doesn't exist anymore. there is a good reason for that if it is a better world so we are never going to see that again and i would hope that the presidents are able to find wise men and women i think they are out there. my guess is that politics have been taken over into the consultants often are just about getting elected and there's not
a mercenary and a cynical and they hold the politicians back to do narrowminded things and i wish the presidential candidates could stand up for them. it's hard to know where this is going. she made a mistake by having her own e-mail server. yes it looks like she certainly made a tactical error to go off-line for to speak. in greenville north carolina, good afternoon to you.
>> i'm curious. he had a law degree from duke university. he certainly knew the impact of the tapes in the research you could have gotten a raise and reason emotionally, psychologically or legally why they didn't burn the tapes. >> he did bring the tapes and he knew that and regretted it and when he heard that they were exposed publicly he was sick he had a temperature of 102 or 103 and he did get some advice. spirit wagner was vice president but a couple of things. one, he didn't think that he would have to turn over the table or that they would be made public. that was a mistake and a miscalculation. he thought the tapes might
indicate him, again a miscalculation about he thought that he could have read that some of the charges against him if we listen to the tapes and what he failed to anticipate is if they came out before and how he demeaned the office he just didn't foresee this. now you run the risk of being in trouble for that, what it takes he had about 24 to 48 hours before the subpoena arrived when he could have destroyed the tapes. >> do they have a political philosophy was the conservative, moderate? >> he doesn't fit into the continuum. he was was a breed doesn't really exist today.
people said he was a liberal because he passed a lot of social welfare legislation and was an activist in 1970 b. were more willing to let the government do things it was a different age than today. nixon liked to get things done. >> do you have any information by nixon offered the vice presidency before offering it to gerald ford? >> i know he did. he was a friend of his, the lieutenant governor, old friend. it's doubtful. it was a lot of your my friend you are my friend and the expectation will turn it down. >> how much access did you have
to the library and foundation and have they become one yet? spinnaker they are separate entities. there were tensions over the years. i think things were getting better and they are moving onto a better era. >> oregon doctors involved? the >> absolutely. >> did you interview to the duck? >> they are sick of it. they've been in the spotlight for six decades. there've been a lot of books. he gave directions to the house and i got within a week of seeing her.
she wrote a very good book about her mother which i used extensively. i did get some help from family friends. next call comes from larry in washington. you are on booktv. >> caller: i'm curious about richard nixon claiming to be a quaker and they are known as being pacifist with a served office over thousands of names when they ended up there and also eisenhower. >> of course it is hard to
reconcile. nixon inherited a terrible war. we have 550,000 men in the country and he took a long time to get that. he had a difficult problem getting us out of the war with honor that he was sincere about trying to do that and they were difficult to deal with than he thought he would get help from china and russia. he got it in small ways but not really. he felt stuck and a lot of men had to die. >> out of mix and make his the mix and make his comeback after he lost in 1950? >> guest: he said after he lost the race you won't have
nixon to kick around anymore. he never gave up. they said if i don't get into public life i'm going to be dead in two years or four and so he helped other candidates. calling in from hawaii, hello. >> i am calling because i know that nixon did some wonderful things when he was president. i want to ask also if he ever read the book and the reason why is because there were many tapes that were not released at the time.
you can read the tapes in what he said. i will give a million dollars for the watergate thing and i can't believe that doesn't come out and people don't talk about it and the tapes must have been a deal that aw them when i was supposed to be shown and that's probably why he had to step down because he knew there were other tapes out there that would eventually come out. >> is about 3,007 hours of them that have been released of privacy reasons. in the 3,000 that have been released, some of them that you mentioned are incriminating.
many of them are incriminating about you mentioned he could find a million dollars. the record is looking at what he did but the language on the tapes is very incriminating for hundreds of hours. i am well versed on well-versed on the tapes but there's still a lot of it. how many tapes, are they accessible to anyone, does it cost money to get copies that are? spinnakers about 3,000 that are available to anybody. you can go to the website and listen to them come you can go to the library and listen to
>> i read a lot of the work over these years i was 18 so i remember the presidency quite well. he said it was a factor he wanted to be better. what relevance is that what he actually did? there's a lot not to like. i don't despise him but however hr holden and say it's the strangest man i've ever met. i'm curious what is it like to be nixon and he wanted to be -- don't we all want to be there. what matters is what he actually
did. but i was interested in the conflict that he felt and that we were writing about we need to try to understand the form. >> i met him once in 1988 as editor of "newsweek" there were 30 or 40 of us are there and we talked for a minute and he said to me your great grandfather was a great man. the research found out that my grandfather norman thomas and he was very shy. he did his homework so he could flatter you by knowing something about you. >> by saying your great and father was a great man but was he saying that's
>> he was just trying to flatter me. >> said he was a very moderate socialist -- has been a key different for president six times and although he's ideologically different mostly he would try to flatter me. >> is that the end of the conversation? [background sounds] was a great grandfather. >> the next call for evan thomas comes from lynnwood illinois. >> * i would like to thank you for the kennedy book and all the other books. one of the things that bothers me being in the vietnam era is
that i remember reading the tapes that were being treated and other books that i called about how bad they treated the veterans administration and how bad they treated the soldiers that came back from the war as a bigger scandal than some of the other scandals that he's been involved in. >> i don't know much about him in the g8 to comment on what you're saying. i know that he felt close to the troops when they came on the liked him for helping get him out of prison.
i don't know enough to answer your question about the va but i do know that he felt as all presidents do the burden of sending young men into battle. the first thing he did was reach into the white house. he was very moved by that. he wasn't casual about sending young men into battle. >> what cities did he visit and why? the >> he went on a congressional mission and they went to berlin and vienna and they saw how that
europe was into the united states needed to spend a lot of money on the marshall plan that came out of that was an enormously great act. >> that meant the jfk assassination. please explain why nixon told the cia that he would go public on the assassination. >> he was upset that finding out the notion of president kennedy had given the order in vietnam. he never found evidence because it doesn't exist. they are very implicated as a
not washing that out at all but when kennedy learned vienna had been killed he didn't know that it was going to begin. >> next is new jersey. >> my question is when is mr. thomas going to write about his grandfather? when i was at the university of wisconsin i took some dictation from him during the 1948 candidacy and i would like to know more about him. >> there is a very good book that won the national book award that i would recommend.
>> i was convinced at the time of watergate nixon had convinced himself he needed to stay on as president. he had been set hasn't set aside the constitution and to set himself out. >> he had inexpensive view. he thought he had a lot of power and he used it and abuse it. if he stayed in office he would have been convicted but i think a lot exaggerates how bad it was. i don't think that there was a massive conspiracy as some people do. it was more a series of screw
ups. they broke into the office, they broke into watergate. but i don't think that it is a massive conspiracy. >> and the final call go ahead please. >> caller: hello i appreciate so much your book written about the ship that my husband was on. he was a survivor of the uss johnston and when he was living you called and interviewed him about his experience. >> yes, what was his name again
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