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tv   Portraits of Courage  CSPAN  March 5, 2017 11:03pm-12:07am EST

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the relevant podcast who listens to the "we the people" podcast? listen to them there in the itunes store for free. then make up your mind about these complicated open questions that are at the center of the future of democracy. as as a model for this reason, thoughtful discourse you can do no better than begin with this book been by the great scholar policing. please try me in thanking barry friedman. [applause] will sign his book downstairs. go buy it and you can read it. [inaudible] >> book tv is on twitter and facebook. we want to hear from
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you. tweet us, tv. or or post a comment on her facebook page. [inaudible] [applause] >> good evening. my name is john and i have the honor of being the executive director of the ronald reagan presidential foundation and institute. thank you for joining us. an honor of our men and women who defend our freedom around the world in uniform, could you please stand and join me for the pledge of allegiance. >> i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america.
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and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. thank you. please be seated. now that we have said the pledge and saluted our flag, i would like like it if all of those who are with the armed forces here today, whether you be active or retired as well as their families, which you please stand so that we might show you our appreciation. [applause]
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thank you so very much. on that note, there are a few other people that i would like to recognize in the audience this evening. i evening. i would like to start with our board of trustees. president bush's ambassador, the honorable bob and his wife. extraordinary support of the bush family over the years, mr. brett freeman. [applause] one of our newer but remarkable trustees mr. ben -- [applause] from the reagan family, michael and camera. [applause] the assemblyman, dante. [applause]
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to see few more. a former congressman. [applause] all of our elected officials from the county of ventura and the city of simi valley. [applause] president bush's secretary of the treasury was was -- [applause] lastly, a retired u.s. army officer gary and his wife. gary. [applause] i would be remiss if i did not mention that gary became paralyzed from the waist down when a helicopter crashed while conducting operations in iraq in
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2008. thanks to the generosity -- he can now walk through the assistance of an exoskeleton. [applause] if you'd like to know what an xo skelton's, garrett will garrett will be at the reagan library tomorrow night for an event to share her story. we invite you to come back tomorrow at the same time for what we know will be a very inspirational event. thank you gary. [applause] now, to begin a conversation with our special guest is another of our foundation trustees, mr. fred ryan. fred has served as a reagan foundation chairman for 22
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years. prior to his chairmanship, he served in the reagan white house from 1982 - 1989. after that he served as president reagan's first post white house chief of staff. i know of no other person who has spent more time and effort working on behalf ronald and nancy reagan over the years than fred ryan. fred would never brag about that fact, but it but it is a fact. so i will break for him. ladies and gentlemen, if you would please time in welcoming to the stage, mr. fred ryan. [applause] >> thank you for the kind introduction. our special guest tonight has been to the reagan presidential library several times. the first as an owner of a major league baseball team. then, as governor of texas.
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he was back as a candidate for president of the united states. back as as president of the united states to dedicate air force one at the library. been here is a former president of the united states and is the author of a popular book, precision points. tonight he is back as an accomplished painter. we could only only wonder what he will be on his next visit to the reagan library. as americans we closely observe what our presidents do when they leave the white house. after serving in the most powerful and demanding job on the planet, they certainly deserve to spend time doing things in their postpresidential years that they enjoy and want to do the most. some take on bold new challenges and exciting adventures after leaving office. one of my filmer presidents became a skydiving enthusiast after he left office until his wife put a stop to. like our special guest tonight, there
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have been a few artists among our former presidents including ulysses s grant, dwight eisenhower and jimmy carter. to our our knowledge, no president has ever attempted portrait 's. our 43rd president, ventured bravely into that territory because he was so moved by the sacrifices of our wounded american warriors and begin the challenge of capturing and immortalizing their courage on campus. i have to say, i look at president bush's collection of portraits and off. not only because of his talent and skill, but because of his subject matter. how he finds a way to take their strength and dignity, there perseverance and patriotism, and lifted up for all of us to see in a deep and intimate way. in these paintings we feel the essence of the warrior spirit. hopefully this work gives each of us a better understanding of the issues that bases heroic veterans.
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in this new book, portraits of courage, president bush paints and tells the stories of more than 60 brave souls. he states his goal is "to honor our men and women in uniform. to highlight family members and caregivers who bear the burden of their sacrifice. to encourage those who may be struggling to get the help they need, and to help american support our veterans and empower them to succeed" after reading the book there's no question that the president has achieved those noble goals. in doing so i believe he has revealed a bit of himself as well. oscar wilde wrote"every portrait is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist. it is rather the painter who on the colored campus reveals himself" now, it is my great honor to introduce a talented artist who threw his paintings have further revealed the depth of his compassion and character, the 43rd, the 43rd president of the united states, george w.
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bush. [applause] [applause] [applause] [applause] you are eating into airtime. [laughter] thank you for your kind remarks. thank you so much for inviting me back. i want to thank john, the trustees, michael, it, it is good to see you again. and my buddy brian who will talk about a little bit, brian is here. i painted him. and i asked his mother what she thought of the painting. i was thought he had a face only a mother could love. [laughter] anyway, she liked liked it which was a huge relief.
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anyway, ready to roll. >> as you can say we have a full house, where streaming this online and on television. there have been a number of questions submitted about the book, but your painting and a few other subjects. will try other subjects. will try to get through as many as we can. i want to mention to those here in online that the book is now available come portraits of courage, the top seller on amazon or if you go to the bush center directly at busch, the, the book is available straight from the source and i saw there's a special edition personally signed by the president. all of the proceeds of this book will go to the veterans causes. [applause] >> the first thing everyone wants to know is when did you start painting?
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>> well, i was an art agnostic for most my life. it's a terrible admission to make him i know. i get back from washington and i wrote a book and then another book. i'm trying to stay fit and working a lot at the bush center in dallas. it wasn't enough. have dinner somewhere near the president you're going hundred miles an hour, and then the next day it is zero. i had this anxiousness to keep moving and to learn something. so i read winston churchill's essay, painting is a a pastime and i'm a big admirer of churchill. he he took up painting. this essay is worth reading. i basically said, what the hell, if this if this guy campaign, i can paint. [applause] and so i told that's a lauren
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she said yes, sure. [laughter] i hired an instructor, gail. she. she came over to the house and she said what's your objective? and i said well there's a ram trend there's a branch out ms. body. [laughter] so she came back realizing i was serious and i painted a cuban than a watermelon. it was a liberating experience the. not only was was it liberating it was non- believable learning experience. so i have been painting ever since, for about five years. >> the first question we have is, did you have a history of painting as a child early in your life? to german tape any of years go paintings on the refrigerator? >> i'm sure i was a finger painter. no. i just was not all that interested in art.
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now i am. so goes to show that you can teach an old dog new tricks. it is interesting that when you get to be, our age. [laughter] seventy, and you're sitting around with your pals is only two topics of conversation. what medicines are you taking. [laughter] and how are your grandkids. my buddy's sake, man you have a passion for painting and i said you ought to try. they say i campaign and i said i said the same thing until five years ago. i'm living proof to tell you that you don't know what you can do unless you try it. and so my call for aging baby boomer is, lay it out. you know. painting has enabled me to do that. >> the next question is what are
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you taking of our your grandchildren. [laughter] >> the grandkids are great. very strong fred. i didn't think you had a venue. [laughter] >> 's question is from janet. she said he started painting farm animals and world leaders. when did you decide to paint wounded warriors, who is the first in my? >> what happened was, my mother who can be quite plainspoken heard i was painting a she basically said, you can't paint. this is a woman who said when i said i was running against an richard said and i to three that you can't win. and i said i damn sure campaign. as she said paint my dogs. so i became a pet portrait
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painter for some time. and i painted bob the cat and bernie the cat, bernie and so than in an instructor in dallas. one a great thing any instructor can do is set new horizons for student. my instructor brought over an artist and said you ought to paint to the portraits of world leaders. and i'm sitting there is a fledging artist and i thought this guy think they can actually do that? and i did it. and so i have two instructors in a and one was at the house and set i understand you painted these world leaders said said you are to paint the portraits of people nobody knows. and it dawned on me that i ought to paint these warriors, who i do know. at the bush center we have mountain bike rides and golf tournaments with these wounded vets.
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like brian, biker and i got to know brian. then i started studying their stories. the first guy i painted was major chris turner and i sat with him at dinner so are you here? and he said because i cannot get out of my mind seeing a buddy of mine killed. i paint pictures and photos and i'm painting turner i'm thinking what that must be like in his mind. that's the first one in there. he then writes me a letter later and as a result of standing up is much more comfortable talking about the invisible wounds of war. there's a huge stigma and brian has worked with a lot of troops and they don't want to talk about it. they think people will not understand me or i will not will not get promoted, i will never get hired, so they keep it inside which oftentimes leads to self medication. he said standing up and talking
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about it has enabled me to start sharing my story more and more. that is is step one to seeking help. so i repainted turner. i painted the the same portrait again. i was trying to show people how one can improve when you deal with the stigma and seek help. i was hoping to show people that i had improved improved as painter as well. >> next question from isabella, and follows up on what you're saying, what is the process for painting one of your portraits. they said in the studio, dipping from photos? do they get to see and approve it? have you ever had someone who is not happy subject? >> yes, my wife. [laughter] i painted laura one time i thought it was a good painting. at first it was too anguished and that it was to the cement to that, finally said forget it. i did pay my mother for her 90th birthday.
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it was a painting of her walking her two dogs on the beach in maine. in order to deal with the angst at that laura showed me, i painted my back. [laughter] id paint from photos. the only person i painted live was me. so, one of my instructors can miss me to myself looking in the mirror. it is a grim -looking expression on the face because it is hard to paint and smile while you're looking in the mirror. so now, i never run it by the vets. i was just hoping that they liked it. i was nervous about some, i was not nervous about ryan think it's a good painting. there's a guy in their name to todd. he wrote us a lot about what i was like to be in the war.
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when i was painting todd he told us he had night sweats. i was thinking of what it was like to have night sweats. so it is a pretty dark painting in a sense. i saw todd at mcdill in tampa two days ago. i said let me show you a painting. he said man, that's really good. and i and i said todd, i'm no longer the chief, you can tell me the truth truth. i think he liked it because i captured the anguish he felt. but he doesn't feel it anymore. so i wish i could repaint him. at the book is out. [laughter] >> the question for meredith, she has which of the wounded warrior portraits was the toughest one to paint? >> they are all tough in a way. when you think about it. every one of these men and women
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have some very physical wounds of war and some, all have pts or traumatic ramie injury. when you think about that, it is hard to do. on on the other hand, i have such a great pride in knowing that. i'm a baby boomer which means vietnam war, you know what it's like when there was a draft and a war that a lot of people did not understand it. when the vets came home they were treated despicably. so we get attacked and i make it abundantly clear that we are going to defend the country. and then millions volunteered. a totally different attitude and to be able to salute people who volunteered in the face of danger was a high honor. so often times i thought about it,
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the integrity and courage of those who were willing to volunteer to wear their uniform. so painting them. so painting them i have a lot of pride in painting them. i guess the toughest was with me and melissa stockwell dancing. melissa is the first tenant, the first women woman to lose her leg and combat. she's a tremendous athlete. i'm sitting next to her at one of the bike rides and she says, let's dance. and i dance. and i said no, i don't want to dance. [laughter] i'm not really good dancer. she convinced me to dance i painted melissa and the easy part was her and the hard part was me. for most of the painting i look like alfred e newman. [laughter] remember him? >> oh yes. he ran for president. >> mr. president, caroline from maryland asked, where do you usually do your painting? who painting? who cleans up after you? how long does it take you from
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to do a portrait from start to finish. >> i paint upstairs now house, built a studio there and a studio a studio at the ranch and i added one -- so i have places i can retreat to. i clean up. most of the time. laura is a neat net, and oil painting is not neat. when i did like baylor blue, i limit my palate to two yellows, two reds, baylor blue and to whites. baylor blue is a powerful blue. you get a little nick on your finger and you happen you get it totally clean and i lie down on a white bedspread. baylor blue. so i'm not a very good cleaner.
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this took me a year to paint the 98 portraits. painting is really never done. i look at some of these portraits of set i wish i can put them back on the easel and keep painting. at some point you have to call it quits. so i lived it with these portraits for a year. some more complete than others. i would go upstairs and look at o'brien and said i think a better touch them up a little more. so it is a never-ending process. i cannot answer that question. >> michael in greenwich asked, have you ever been unhappy with one of your painting and tossed it aside? >> yes, all of the time. a lot of time i will painted and
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get in bed and think about it and hustle upstairs and scrape it all off. that's great thing about oil painting. because you can paint, scrape, pink, scrape. i tried as critics but a i tried as critics but a try so fast there's no scraping. the good thing about oil as you can keep painting over it until you're comfortable. >> there are questions beyond the painting and more of those. a question from betty washington, dc. she writes, in a time that someone call uncertainty, what can you tell the younger generation of our country to do to renew the sense of belief and optimism in america that ronald reagan embodied. >> read history. i remember somebody tell me after 9/11 that you've had the toughest presidency and i said not even close. how about abraham lincoln when the country was at war with each other. i just talked about a time that so vivid in my mind still, 50 years later and it was a tough time. you have to to understand that our nation goes through divisive
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and tough times. there is something unique about us. we have a spirit that cannot be extinguished. that is why i am so optimistic about the future of the country. one reason i'm optimistic. millions were the uniforms and i have phd's in life. at a young age. so back on subject here the fundamental question is, can we help them transition, because they are the leaders of the future and that is what this process is about. helping people take the skill set they learn in the military and transition it to bring those skills into civilian life. there is a real challenge, there's a there's a military civilian divide, a lot has to do with language, a guy plans for a job vice president says that what is your skill set, sniper. [laughter] . .
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but it's been that way. they used to call abraham lincoln and eight so there isn't the first time there've been name calling and politics.
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[inaudible] [laughter] >> kathy in chicago asks or rights we were so glad to see your dad make it to the super bowl for the coin toss. >> they are both doing great given their limitations. they can't walk, he's confined to a wheelchair but his spirit is joyful. i went to see bad three years ago i think it was in the methodist hospital in houston. it wasn't very warm, so anyway i said to him my library is opening in three months and i sure want you there.
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his voice was incredibly weak and he said i will be there. i left thinking probably not sure enough the most important thing for m me, it was nice havg the former presidents and the weather was great, a lot of friends were there but my dad was on the stage. flipping the claim reminded of him being there for the library opening. he has a huge desire to live. i wrote a book about him and i thought about it it had to have started when he was 19-years-old on a raft on the island worried about the chat of chinese capturing him. mom is doing fine. she's a shrinking. [laughter] as she does, her voice gets louder. but she is a piece of work. [laughter]
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[applause] >> don't tell her i said that. [laughter] mr. president, a question from the audience. why did you criticize president trump after not criticizing president obama lacks >> here's what happened. i am asked the question do i believe in free press and the answer is absolutely i believe in free press as should every other american because the price holds people to account. power is addictive and corrosive if it becomes central to your life. therefore, there needs to be an independent group of people to hold you to account. so i answered that question and answers were bush criticizes
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trump so i needed to say there should be an independent press that it ought to be accurate. [applause] i made the decision after my presidency not to criticize president obama and i feel the same way about president trump and people say why. first of all, the office of the president is more important than the occupant. [applause] i believe that undermines the office of the presidency. second, i understand there's a lot of critics. and i don't want to make the president's job worse the matter what political party it is. it is a hard job. and i think of a former president is second guessing, it's going to make it harder. i want anybody that is president to succeed. we are all in this deal together
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and so, i understand sometimes my remarks can be construed as criticism. they are not meant to be and after i finished this book to her, you probably won't hear from me for a while. i like privacy. the thing about the presidency, it's not a sacrifice to serve a country you love, but you do sacrifice anonymity. i can't walk down madison ave. without throwing flies. maybe i should put this better -- [laughter] without drawing a lot of attention. [laughter] to the extent i have privacy that's how i like it and that is what art has done, not be totally inside yourself, but it
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is and i mentioned this, a learning experience but it's also amazing how time moves which is a little scary when you're 70. [laughter] >> the bush family has always been viewed as standing for civility in politics. our politics less civil today thalistenable todaythan in the o things change and why? >> i think politics has always been a rough sport. there is always, again if you read history, there's a lot of cases where campaigns are of slander and the things are said about each other. i think what has changed though is how people get their news. believe it or not i am the first e-mail president. e-mailing on the blackberry was an issue at the end of bill clinton's time i and the reasoni
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make the point is technology has changed so dramatically and so quickly as has the dispersal of news so in the old days it was abc and cbs, and now it's people get news and information from all over the place and part of the issue with the new dispersal agents as you can be anonymous. there is no responsibility or accountability whatsoever which lends itself to some pretty angry messages going out. the system is only as good as the willingness of people to be involved in it. >> ronald reagan had the famous line of asking are we better off than we were four years ago so
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it is a more dangerous place than four years ago. >> the world is a more dangerous place and this may be taken as criticism of one of my successors and i don't mean it to be. there is a lesson when the united states decides to take the lead and withdraw. they can be creative when you ask presidency and that is generally filled with people who don't share the same ideology and dignity and freedom that we do. there is a tendency that doesn't fit the character of the country. [applause]
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i worked on twitter for the account of george w. bush and it was described a lot. do you use twitter and do you recommend it to others? that is a loaded question. [laughter] no, i do not tweet. if there is a twitter account under my name, somebody else is writing it. the only way i make news is if i criticize my successor or party so how can you get good news out so people for example supporting can get out. it's useful ways to communicate with a group of people.
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i do face time. that is high-tech, isn't it, cutting edge with my grandkids. it's like watching home movies. by the way they are doing well. [laughter] >> from your years as america's leader what advice would you give today and what advice would you give to those that are thinking of running in the future? >> my advice would start with learn what you don't know and the job is different once you get in.
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it looks one way that then you get in the oval office and it looks different, trust me. if you are thinking about it, go for it unless your life is wound up in winning or losing then don't go for it. my dad never wanted the state of texas until 1988. so he loses in 64 and 70. he loses to ronald reagan in 1980 because we are not very good at the battle but i think because his priorities were his faith and family and friends the loss of wireless stun me it was tolerable and then he went through 1988 and becomes
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president of the united states. you can't win your own state three times then he ended up being president which i think speaks volumes about the questions that you just asked which is to take a risk but make sure you have the right foundation on which to take the risk. >> more questions about painting if we could. would you have painted in the white house if you knew that you had the skills? >> there are no do overs. would you go on the mission accomplished on the link in [inaudible] [laughter] i don't know, it is a good question. i doubt it. like, you know, it is an all-consuming job. you think about the presidency and the problems you deal with all the time and what is
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startling is when you are not president because mankind can adjust to the environments which theenvironment whichthey live, d the next day you have to go get the car for your self. [laughter] you wake up and realize you no longer have that sense of responsibility and it's pretty startling. so i guess my answer to the question is the reason you have that sense of responsibility is because the job is all-consumi all-consuming. >> do you see the world differently now through the eyes of an artist? >> i do. i was on the ellen degeneres show today, by the way, very fine person. i looked in her eyes and said i can mix that color. [laughter] [applause]
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i see the colors and shadows i didn't before, i see the sky differently. so yes, i do. maybe it's made me a more centered person or sensitive person, but i do know this has changed my life to the better. she is a positive critic. she has a good eye and loves art and has made some meaningful and positive suggestions, some not so positive suggestions. but she takes a great interest.
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in this exhibit all these paintings are going to be displayed at the center starting today. and it's a huge crowd by the way i've heard, so i went over there to make sure the colors on the walls worked well with the paintings and she has taken a big interest in the project. like my mom, she is my biggest fan. unbelievably positive. i guess to encourage me to keep doing it. >> you said if you aim for big change you shouldn't be expected to be rewarded in short-term history. has history judged you organ unfair to you? >> i don't think it has properly because it is impossible to judge a president in the short term. there has to be a reach of time to analyze the decisions a president makes and its consequences over time. and so, i wrote decision points,
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thank you for pointing that out, because i wanted people to at least have an understanding of why i made the decisions i made regardless whether you agree at least you should learn why. and i also wrote and put it in the introduction that this would be a better point for future historians if they are genuinely sincere about trying to find outmy place in history, then they ought to read this book not as the data points but as a point. it's full of all kinds of archives and some of the stuff isn't declassified yet but it will be and historians will come and research and i think there has to be more presidents who follow me. so it enables one to see perspectives. so i gave it my all and that is all you can do.
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[applause] what will people be surprised to learn about you since you left the oval office? >> that i am a painter. [laughter] when i wrote the book the first one i was thrilled to be able to say a lot of people are going to be shocked about this book. they didn't think i could read much less write. [laughter] and so i think they would be surprised at that. i'm not sure what else. i think they are surprised i am not out there bloating about my successor. i should have given you this answer. when president obama was president i would get calls from the heartland of that said you need to speak out and now i get
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calls from the coast land saying you need to speak out. [laughter] >> the next question is back to the paintings. it is human nature to be private about wounds and scars. how did you get the subjects of your paintings to review an aspect of themselves many of us might choose to hide? >> that is a great question. earn their trust is the first thing. and i think i was able to earn their trust in several ways. one i told the troops and families that as president i would support them 100%, and i think they saw that. second, when you ride mountain bikes with people, there's a lot of them are very, a lot of needling but it's a way to burn somebody's trust. we set it up so that they could
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speak and we encourage them to be open. some were more open than others but when you are sitting there as a vet i suspect in another dig at the end talk about it and it gives you confidence to speak your self so here is what is important to understand. the challenge for society is to get a vet to get rid of the stigma. the best people to do that are veterans. if somebody comes out of combat and goes to a doctor's office and says i have a problem and the doctor really doesn't understand how to speak to that person if somebody that dealt with pts by the way and says i've got these issues, he could say i understand what you're saying and the other aspect is what works so we have the wellness alliance that we are raising money for which makes up
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these peer-to-peer counseling groups of groups that work. for example a brain center. these are places that have proven that they are able to help these veterans don' that wo help to begin with and so that is why we are doing what we are doing. he may be a little nervous sitting next to the former commander-in-chief. i said why are you here and he opens up and it was a part of his healing process as it turns out. i don't know why he told me what he told me that as a result he is now a part of the peer-to-peer counseling network. >> talking about the groups that serve veterans i know the website mentions that 80% of the
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organization served raised less than $100,000 a year. what can we do to help? >> the first question i is do te easy person to raise $100,000 a year do good work. and so on the website there's an opportunity to take a look at the characteristics one ought to be looking for before they give money to an organization. the amazing thing is how the response this time compared to vietnam war is overwhelming. i think it is 35,000 or something, an extraordinary number and the challenge is what works and what doesn't. we don't want to be the jury, but we do want to highlight programs that we know are effective and the team is an interesting example, it starts with a cool guy that takes veterans and puts them in where
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a hurricane has hit or an earthquake and they are part of the helping their locals recover and it is a peer-to-peer counseling group. they are dealing with the same issues all serving somebody else which by the way is also a part of healing. in the book there is a number of people who are recovering nicely because they are now working to help somebody else's life improve. by the way you don't have to be a veteran to realize the benefits of serving your fellow man. >> you talked about the 1%. >> that's not me. i am on a government pension. [laughter] [applause] >> 100,000 a year with my medicare premium.
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[laughter] >> is there something the government can be doing better for veterans? >> they have some very good programs. most of them get frustrated suspect number one is to make sure they are responsive but the best way is to do joint ventures with programs that are effective. [applause] and by the way does the new head of the va and former head of the pa that is very receptive of that idea. we are gaining some credibility in the field for understanding and knowing what you're talking about and they want our input to make sure the help that every veteran deserves is a this as seamless as possible. i'm told by a former secretary
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of the va an interesting fact that part of the reason why the pts isn't a disorder if it's an injury. who wants to be labeled as someone with a disorder, are you going to hire someone with a disorder? they are more likely to hire somebody that has an injury. what was the point i was going to make? [laughter] >> so he says the pipeline is getting clogged for pts. that's right, notice i dropped the. it turns out vietnam veterans are beginning to show symptoms now after all these years. so they've been in combat and they come home and they are raising their families and they've got a job and they retire and they are going
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something is wrong. they check into the va because they are exhibiting symptoms and all of a sudden you've got vietnam veterans, there's a lot of them beginning to head into the va is fy15's ventures are important. as many people can get help as quickly as possible. the problem of frustrating if ia veteran that has just come out of combat there is a threat of self medication and there is a lot of that. the challenge is to prevent that from happening as best we can. >> i quit drinking in 86. [applause] who will be the subject of your next portrait and why? >> that is an interesting question.
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me. [laughter] it turns out masters paints themselves a lot. one reason why is if you miss it if it doesn't upset anybody. [laughter] one of my instructors suggested i paid veterans with -- she's painted faces nobody knows, relatives, people he grew up with and they are great. he said you want to paint a huge portrait, 6 feet big. so it's me. my face on a six-foot canvas, that is a lot of face. [laughter] working on that takes a long time. it turns out each part of your
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face is almost like a portrait of itself. you could spend four or five days just on one ear because it is so big until you get it right so i'm doing that now. it is a fascinating experience. then i painted friday. we go to the spca in dallas and want to see a great friend of ours that has donated i want to go see it so get in there and there is a dog foster mother holding a little tiny puppy and of course they had to toss a story that the dog had been abandoned in a construction site along with brothers and sisters and the others had been adopted. he wasn't eating very well and so lorett laura picked up the dd it was over.
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[laughter] so my aid is named freddie ford. okay the dog is now named freddie. the dog is awesome by the way. i don't know if you've ever done this on your dog that we did dna to find out how impure he is, so he has one line that says mixed breed and another that says chao, a terrier as i understand as a pitiful and border collie. an awesome little guy by the way. [laughter] have you ever thought about being an art instructor? >> no. [laughter]
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every brush stroke is a learning experience and that's why it's important to have people around but understand that and are willing to help you kind of reach out. i used to paint types if you look at world leaders looks like there's no expression that looks like tony blair or angela merkel but there was no confidence and not a lot of paint on it and some have a lot of painting on it and big brush trucks and kind of an evolving style. my and structures gave me the confidence to paint pathway. >> this one is anonymous but i will ask anyway what you would to get a little to a portrait ot of my family christmas card. [laughter] >> no i wouldn't. people say you paid for charity
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and spend the rest of your life painting for charity so no, i'm not going to do that, thanks. this collection here of 98 paintings you're giving it to the bush foundation endowment fund and it may be worth something 30 years from now when they start running out of money than they can sell it. i did make one i don't know if you have it or not but it is a fancy word for a sophisticated coffee. i promise to only make one copy per portrait and i will send it to each veteran. [applause] >> a couple questions about portraits specifically. this one says artists seeking portraits have to be the toughest if you miss paid a landscape or still scape who
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will complain that if you don't capture the image of another human on canvas, you better get it right. did anyone complain? >> i painted jenna's baby once and she complained. i thought it was nice but she didn't like it. it. then i painted another and she didn't like it so i painted something that looked like the gerber baby. [laughter] >> this question is also about specifics. it's as portraits are the most complex forms of art that require not just a artistic skills of subject character that a special report needs to develop between the artist and the subject. did that occur with you and do you remain in contact? >> is a great question. i think to make a portrait work you have to have a feeling about who you are painting him as i
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mentioned earlier, i painted with great respect for each person. i stay in touch with them. ryan came back to the ranch and we've gotten what he called club 43 which are people that have been to the events and expand every year and we hope the alumni come back. they formed a bond among themselves. there are more on the today show the other day. i saw five others and two of them today o on ellen so yes i stay in touch. some of them send pictures. they are my friends. >> that's great. you talked about the art and paintings. what inspired you to make a buck out of the paintings?
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>> i guess it is a little risky to put your paintings out there. somebody may not like them but some people didn't like some of my decisions. [laughter] i wanted to raise money for the foundation and tell the stories. i think when you read them you will be moved. they are stories of courage and injury, recovery, willingness to help others. and i also wanted to highlight the invisible wound, that is my biggest concern. prosthetics are great. i'm riding mountain bikes with people that have lost a leg andn some of whom have been in combat with one leg. they lose their legs and they've been in combat twice. the invisible wounds are the
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ones that concern me. so, this book is a way to highlight that and hopefully it will inspire people to help and come forward and talk about it, caregivers to rethink the care that they are giving if it isn't working. it's too call people to an important cause. i intend to use it to help our veterans the rest of my life and this is one way to do so. [applause] >> mr. president, we are almost out of time but i would like to thank you for doing this book. i was fortunate enough to get an advanced copy and it is inspirational to read this book and wouland what a great gift io give to people in the military and military families. i would urge everybody to pick
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up a copy on amazon or go to the center. >> or "washington post." >> thank you mr. president. [applause] the opportunity to have the deluxe book that is signed by the president and it is a wonderful thing and i would encourage people to get that if you can. >> thank you all for coming. [applause] [applause] ladies and gentlemen for those of you that are joining for
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dinner we ask that you wait a few moments and let our distinguished guests depart and then you will be going out that door. those of you that our upstairs s and joining us for dinner there is a door you will be able to go out and if you are not joining for dinner you are welcome to depart this direction. thank you all for coming. >> the author of over 30 books including dave barry slept here and more recently best steak evestateever as he defends his .


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