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tv   Michael Smerconish Clowns to the Left of Me Jokers to the Right  CSPAN  June 17, 2018 1:01pm-1:31pm EDT

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>> booktive continues with michael smerconish who talk about why his views have shifted over the years. [music] [inaud conveations] >> ladies and gentlemen, i was
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was for the iraq invasion but i'm against the cuban embargo. i've supported capital punishment but i think there's too much fighting in hockey. i was for pro file -- propiling at airports post-9/11 and supported harsh interrogation method at gwen tan mow beau for terrorists by believe in the to legalization of both pot and prostitution. i want to end the s.a.t., the scholastic aptitude test but we need to continue to keep temperaturesive writing. i'm for break occupying the monopoly on the sale of alcohol but like to see the u.s. treasury discontinue the mar of the copper penney. those are all my opinions. for at least they were at one time as expressed in columns i've written.
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maybe shy be saying, i'm michael smerconish and i approve this message. hard to classify and yet it explains the health bike i'm launching today "clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right american life in:lums." yes, i borrowed with permission that 1972 steelers wheel hit song that's also the opening every hour for my sirius xm radio program. i'm not making a penney, copper or otherwise on this project. i'm thrilled that all authors proceeds benefit the children's cries treatment center which provides social services to kids the victim of trauma. that's a cause all of you are supporting by beg here today. my above my wife who is here and front and center is on the cctc board and i applaud her work and the work of everybody else who is involved in that cause.
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>> so, the book is a collection of 100 of what i consider to be my more memorable columns published fromhe 1,047 by my count, from the philadelphia daily news and inquirer. i'm extremely greatful to the ily us? enfirer for the permission to publish this work and i'm very grateful to temple another press, out in that you see it, they dade spectacular job. thank you, temple. thank you, enfirer, thank you, daily news. i have added a fresh afterword for each column in the book and have recorded both the columns and the afterwards for release by audible which come us out on friday. look out if my radio producer tc ever releases the outtake reel,
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i'll be done. i remember being so honored in 2001 when the editor of the daily news first offered me a column at the news and years late if with brian i.t. i tierney invite pled to come over the philadelphia inquirer. i majored in boast goth and journalism at at that at lehigh university and felt like a calling and they had fun at my last name, with the coln "do you want that super such sized." getting a column was not the first time had written for the philadelphia daily news. climbed through the archives of the newspapers and forget to that back in 198 a 5, at the conclusion of my first year of law school at penn, i published an essay in the daily news under he headline "america offers opportunity to those who work." in the book i revisit that is
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say like i resist -- revis u visit everything else. take issue with some of what i broke. i still think america is land of opportunity but luck has a lot to do with the equation and that was a large pat of the fun, exploring opinions offered over the course of 15 years, revisiting them and determine chug thought stood the test of time. i chinese immediately after september 11. the events of 9/11 occupiedmer of my time in the ensuing 15 years than any other singular event. my very first column argued that giuliani was suited to be the nation's first secretary of homeland sur i now disagree with that opinion having nothing to do with his representation of the president but in recognition of the fact that i thought tom ridge was a hell of a secretary of homeland security and our own governor here in pennsylvania to boot. writing a column i learned is
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much more difficult than you might think when you spend just a couple of minutes quickly reading the end product. my work on radio and television tends to be more free-flowing, organic, extemporaneous but writing a column has forced me, or should, to be more delib brative and on reflecting on 15 years works of column its recognized i have been right, i have been wrong, mostly i have been fortune. some things i have nailed. i wanted it us to invade pakistan long before we knew that bin laden was hiding. i called bs on the duke lacrosse case on a column from the get-go. in 2012 i write that chris christie better run for president quickly or he'll flame out and that was before bridgegate. there's also ben plenty if a gotten wrong. i once entertained a conspiracy
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theory about the bombing of the building in oklahoma city, had mitches convinced that mcvey and nichols has support from the iraqi. my first reaction to the citizen united case was positive. yikes. and ladies and gentlemen, i said many, many times in print, on radio, and on television, that donald trump would never run, much less win, the presidency of the united states. here's something else about writing a weekly column you have to weigh in on everythg. women and what their tattoos say. what to build at ground zero, kids and drivers. scandal in the church. scandal at penn state. even the zoo balloon. i was never a fan. too many gamer delays than the schoolle attributable to the balloon. the boy scouts, terry shiavo's end of life, summer jobs, whether to per met the barnes foundation to move into the city and what's the best location for
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rizzo statue. weighed in on all of it and looking back there some thing is have no idea what i was thinking. what does that even mean? [laughter] >> i once took umbraging with a move to make the miss america pageant more about scholarship than beauty, long before the era of #metoo i may or may not have written: if the pageant wants to become a televised mensa meeting that's their choice but i have a hunch america wouldn't mind a little more after an old fashioned beauty pageant, bringback back the busty baton twill twirler until then bert parks with roll over in his grave. sometime i have the privilege of breaking news. i was honor when the father of fallen marine asked me to tell husband true family story -- his true family story. this is lance corporal matthew sunriser who died on march 3,
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2006, in operation iraqi freedom. you might remember this, after matthew died, members of the so-called westboro baptist church showed up at this funeral holding signs that said things like, "god hates fags," hays father had to endure the tunes while burying his son and maintaining a secret of his spoken that is that al is gay. a fact known to his now deceased son. he kept that secret all the while he fought through the supreme court of the united states, against westboro baptist, and i felt humbled the allowed me to tell that story. this is al with his en-partner, walt, the two sat together at the supreme court of the united states while that it case was argued. walt peaced soon thereafter. by the way, my friend, al
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snyder, is here tonight. there he is. hey, al. thank you for being here, for allowing me to tell your story. i really appreciate it. [applause] >> like i said, right, wrong, and fortunate, right place, sometimes i've felt a little forrest gumpish and many back stories never made they ware into print. in 2002 i accompanied arlen specter to cuba for a meeting that he was ale offing with fidel castro, my observations from at that time trip were a week-long daily news feature that began with a consider store -- look carefully and i think shane and specter gets the photo credit. aim right? who would have thought. missed your calling. castro may have served me my first but we argued but world events and what i most remember and not published in he daily news, although i should have, is that at the end of the night, knowing i'm a cigar smoker he
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prepared me with a box of my favorites which were trinidads and then signed the top of the box. when i got home, i showed to its my wife. she was ecstatic. couldn't understand why. she said, well, the kid' school auction is coming um. this will be fabulous. of course i had to complaint was then the most valuable item in my estate and probably still is. ien conducted barack obama's first live rad intview from the white house. that, too was great column fodder. i'd been prime minister mitted 30 minutes one -- promised 30 mints one-on-one and it would bell tweeze e del surprised lie on cnn, msnbc and fox, many suggested it questions should ask. i thought i premeds for every eventuality but overlooked one and that is that the president of the united states would arrive area, budget me in the position of having to make small
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talk because, as we say can you e dow don't want to live it in locker room. reflects on the fact that the night before, am family dinner one of the boys and -- and all three of them are here tonight -- said, dad, make sure you ask the president about the book of secrets and i said, okay, remind me and they said you know, dad, when president gets elected he gets the resolute desk and the book of secrets which explain who killed kennedy, what is in area 51 and did we really land on the moon. said i'll try to work it in. you know where this is going. president sits down, each extend a hand i say, mr. president, what is in the book of secret. he quickly responds, i'd tell you but i'd have to tell -- have to kill you. i achieved my purpose. did not create any youtube moments. went hem with mishead healed high but could i not wait to see, after 30 minutes of substantive dialogue with the president of the united states,
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what will the print coverage be like. the "associated press" had somebody in the room the whole time and there was their headline. obama mum on book of secretes. and that was the totality of what they wrote about that encounter. election night 2016. never forget it. spend nine hours on cnn set as a panelist with anderson cooper, 13 million americans watched us. that's more than the white ford branch -- bronco chase, more than princess diana's funeral and more than michael jackson's acquittal. when the campaign ended i joked with sean spicer i had gotten him his job at white house press secretary and he knew exactly what i spoke because we often sparred on saturday morning and i knew and could document the president's having watched those episodes. that's why it was kind of interesting that on a friday morning, 9:00 a.m., just about one year ago, spicer invited me
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into the white house to visit him in the west wing for an off the record conversation. 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. and i remember upon earth his boss he methods clear that at 10:00 a.m. he had an appointment with the president over the united states weapon had a very pleasant conversation. knew it was time to leave when sarah huckabee sanders poked her head into the room, extended greetings, left by the time i got back to my hotel, there was breaking news, legitimate breaking news that sean spicer had a their just been fired or he had quit. meaning that i was the last appointment he had in the white house. yet more good column fodder. in 2017, a year ago, i conducted bill cosby's only pretrial media interview, before trial number one. the interview generated huge attention. the biggest revelation that the media picked up on and that i wrote about in my own column was the fact that bill cosby reveals
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to me that he would not take the stand in his own defense, which turned out to be true. but more interesting, and not revealed in the column, is what happened before the interview. the invitation to interview cosby came completely of the blue when one day i was standing in a cvs line to pick up a prescription for my 87-year-old father. so when the call came in i quickly explained to his pr flak that it couldn't speak because i was picking up a prescription for dad. when the phone rang later that afternoon, there were two people at the other end of the line, bill cosby and his public relations person. cosby wishing to engray shade himself to me began to lecture me on how to properly med indicate someone who is older -- med indicate someone who is older. consider the irony he was but do good ton trial -- you'll be restedo know that dr. huxtable is a fan of homeopall pathic remedy us.
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many celebrate moments have been column, worthy but i have most enjoyed writing about characters, many from philadelphia, and when iite, it's term of endearment and i've enjoyed writing but plain old everyday folks like my friend, steven singer who i don't hate, anding to selling never forget, 9/11 never forget pins, one at a time, we have raid 500,000 blues dollars for 9/11 chairs and that is -- [applause] -- that is steven presenting a check to ellen sayre siena, the widow of victor, the captain of united flight 175, and i'm thrilled, ellen, that you're here tonight. thank you so, so much for being here. we're good, good friends. i feel the same way. he was here early but had to leave. my broadcast mentor, larry cane, here in miami as a cub reporter,
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with the beatles on their first tour of the uted states. my favorite part of the the story, larry had to be coaxed into making the trip. you know how long we have known each other? we have known each other soloing was in high school when we met, delivering chlorine to his house as a summer job. i'm the guy on the right. it has also been such a privilege for me to know and to write about on multiple occasions the legendary syd mark who is here with miss lovely wife, judy. sits sidney, i love you. thank you for being here. by the way it's also his birthday. happy birthday, sidney. thank you. he is like me. doesn't come out to play all that often so means a great deal to me that you made this trip. thank you for that. thank you, judy. another good friend, pennsylvania's longest serving united states senator, arlen
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specter. we were always hatching capers together. i so miss the man, his intellect, and his ethical code especially in theime i which we're now living help was fodder for so many columns i wrote. so, too two other mentors legendary trial attorney james esquire. the namesake of the temple university school of law, mentored me in a legal sense and meone else, right here in this building, city councilman thatcher long strap with who we spend so many fun moments when you look at the column you might want to start with any tribute to thatcher. it's all about a practical joke that together we played, dare i mention him, dave singer, who i think is in the -- ccd here? there he is. had to make sure dave that column made the cut. thank you for your presence. it's a hell of a story. i enjoyed. also wrote about the day that i decided i needed to call smoking joe frazier, just to tell him
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what he meant to me as i was growing up. but like i said, even though i've written about a lot of celebrities, it's often the private citizen who has a story to tell i've mostnj sharing with rathers, like the yoakum family, frank, claire, and their quadruplets. are frank and claire sneer they are -- here? they are here. thank you. let me tell the cliff notes version of the story. look the picture in a post 9/11 world, after a high risk presidency -- presidency -- pregnancy, they were flying back to the philadelphia area -- aim right? it's memory. what is adder? arizona. and in what i regarded as the ultimate case of airline screening stupidity, the number borns were complete live disrobbed not only of off their clothing and ao the medical devices that were then keeping them alive. now, here's the best part. also in the book, take a look at
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them today. [applause] >> is that the greatest? i love telling that story. i also wrote about a high school -- junior high school classmate today, farmer in buckingham, who grows the best tasting tomatoes, summer after summer. that made for a great labor day weekend profile. bill told me that was one of the favorite things i've been privileged to write that you ever enjoyed. never forget this part. freddy told me the secret is that his plants have brains. who am i to argue with him? those who are not household names are often the best fodder. like another woman that it was able to write about. grace snags, who worked for our family in a domestic capacity for 30 years. and then when she was sick, plate life we experienced a role reversal well became her care taker, grace, whose cousin is
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here, thank you for being here and allow ming to tell a brief story about grace. grace was from tobago. had a huge heart. loved to sing. read red wine while doing the onu laundry of-under three sons who may or may not care to admit, i sometimes would drop, install good fund, socks on grace while she sang and they had this ongoing banter back and forth, as i wrote about grace, while she was still alive, when she thinks i'm too involved in affairs on the home front, which i often, she'll call me an antiman, an to hear agrees pronounce it, it's auntie man, and had a headful of island indication like, you don't know if the roof leaks until you live inside. i was very proud to pay homage to her and that column struck a counter. it's interesting what rathers responsible tomorrow. they told me they loved hearing about grace it and was a roo minder. in fact should i say it this way.
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here's what 15 years of writing a column has taught me, that often it's not the political. it's not the front page news that seems to really strike a chord with people. when e.r.a.d have written to me or talk autork it's often to discuss the stuff about life, the seinfeld orlash david curb your enthusiasm moments i've been able to tap into which are not columned about nothing -- remember the seinfeld episode -- butted columns but everything. the fabric of our lives not separate my blitzed al divide, i like family pets or yard sales or summer camp or holiday decorations, all of which i've written about. with regard to the latter, readers seemed struck by my assessment of what the color of your christmas lights says about you. i once wrote that i grew up in a colored light family, quote, i'm talking big, fat, colored claim lights. they were read, green, orange,
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blue, bright, gody, they were everywhere, they were beautiful, and they were christmas. but then i noticed that as an adult my house is bigger than the one in which i was raided, my car is larger than anything drench by my father. i -- ever driven by by my father. ware clothes mow e more expense send that the house i lived in the while we were young and we dieds we are white, light people. white lites, petite, not offensive, uniform and. the lights of surf ban pan nash and urban glamor and then i shared and admission. white lights are boring therapy. sedate. white lites are pretentious, they're for fakeers, white lights-under unchristmas and i resolve i was returning to my colder light roots. now, of course, every wrote those word asks they were published went home and my wife
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bathed our tree in all white lights but made for a great column. folks, finally, i want to say it's the sort of column i've written that has drawn meaningful, hart fête response -- heart felts ones. something that unites us even when it divides. with today's headlines it's so easy for us to forget our commonalities but they're there. and what i found anecdotally through response to my writing is supported in the political science and that is this. that the typical democrat or republican has not drifted far away on the issues from the opposition. they've not become more extreme. sadly what has happened is that many of us nor thinking worse of the other side. it's become personal along the way. don't misunderstood, i'm acknowledging our political disagreements but at our core, we're interested in and strive
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for, i think, the same things as americans. good health, long life, the able to prosper, success for our kid, a few laughs to be left alone to worship or not, and we want good things for our country. when i save we want good things for our country, i mean those of us who are democrats, republicans, independents, conservatives, liberals, blue states and red states. that's the lesson. that i hope you'll take away from the book. i have so many to thank. i fear if i try to do so here tonight i'm going to leave someone out. i don't want to risk doing that with so many who are in the room provided me with such help and guidans but i acknowledge all those names at the end of the book. thank you so, so much for being here, and to support the launch of the book. i have one more piece of business and that is to ask tony valdez from cctc to couple join
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me. so two things i want to say. i'm sorry it's so hot in the room. three things i want to say. the first is, this is a check for $10,000 to cctc because i want to make sure that everybody knows i mean what i say. [applause] >> i notice that true drew tepid applause. see if i can do better. don't mean that. no. no. no. no. i mean -- i mean this is the ain't nounsment. so, i think you know part of this. but i did something for the last two weeks on radio, on the potus channel that i'm really proud of. not so much for miles an hour but for my listening audience, beyond my wildest dreams. there's a web site called charity buzz, and charity buzz has celebrity moments -- i put myself in the c list.
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where the so-called celebrity contributes an experience and the benefit for dedonor is the write a check to the charity. so it's win-win as long as you have a celebrity willing to do soming and a person willing to write a check to charity, then everybody benefit its two weeks ago on the radio i launched a charity buzz auction, and here it was, and they trade to talk out of it initially. but they didn't -- they were unsuccessing. opportunity was that stained of you coming to me and taking a studio tour because die that often four charities, said i would come to your book club anywhere in the united states at my expense, for whoever the highest bidder is, and secretly, and my producer can telling you this, five was the number. i thought, five grand. in fact my book club members here tonight. you would have gotten an alarm call but wasn't didn't need to be made and today, when the
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hammer fell, if you can believe this, lydia of dallas, texas, paid $25,000 for me to come to her book club and, and, wait physical you hear this -- and there was another bidder at 24-5 who got edged out, charlie from long island, ton. >> can't completely commit to this. you got the 25. the 10 and the 25 but i can't completely commit to this but i think charlie from long island -- i told him for 24-5 i'm coming to your house,. >> spoke to him and he told me that he would do it -- i have to tread lightly and have to wait for charity buzz to make that all happen -- i would love to think that today was a $60,000 day for cctc because of all of your support. [applause] >> thank you very much for being here.
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[applause] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> here's the primetime lineup. tonight at 7:00 p.m. eastern, mtv's decode host. ... >> retraces his broadcast career
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and transition to progressive politics. at ten, historian patricia o'toole chronicles the political career of president woodrow wilson. and we wrap up our prime time programming at 11:15 with historian jacqueline jones on the life of writer and advocate lucy parsons from slavery through the great depression. that all happens tonight on booktv on c-span2, television for serious readers. >> welcomeo centr synagogue. wow, that's loud. feel incredibly privileged to have two incredible thought leaders, soulful spiritual jews. when we originally talked about this conversation, we actually said let's make in this a conversation can about jewish identity and faith and god and where israel fits in. and it was not primarily are going to be a political conversation, but i think given


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