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tv   American History TV  CSPAN  August 8, 2021 12:00am-2:01am EDT

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>> host: author craig shirley you've written for biographies of ronald reagan. >> guest: the chapters in his
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life the first book i ever did was reagan's revolution and that was in 1976 after gerald ford to which he narrowly lost in 1976 and the next look was about the 1980 campaign and that took four years to complete. i have another book called last act which is about reagan's postelection years. no one has ever done a book on his postelection years and what he did. there was a lot of living that went onn for 13 years after he left the presidency and then passed away. he flew hot air balloons. long before he contracted alzheimer's and then i finally
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did another book on reagan. this is about -- reagan rising in the period between 1976 and 1980. it was a very important time for the conservative movement and american politics. the panama canal treaty and as an issue in tax cuts raising is an issue. all sorts of issues and of course at the time he had jimmy carter to push against so he was advocating a certain view of government and conservatives were pushing back with a different view of government so was an important time for the american conservative movement led mostly by ronald reagan definitely the panama canal treaty helped propel him to the
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1980 election and so now i'm working on two more books on reagan including his real true ideology and another one on reagan's skills as a negotiator. he is underappreciated in that regard. he was skillful. he was in the screen actors guild and both with tip o'neill and mccaleb gorbachev. he was underappreciated for many regards and one of them was as a negotiator. it's been a fun ride. they are a number of good storiesf that i am proud to be part of the ranks. >> host: craig shirley when you talk about when you talk about israel ideology? >> guest: that's a good question, peter. reagan was never as conservative
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as conservatives wanted him to be. he was much more pragmatic and much more temperate in his outlook on the world than a lot of conservatives wanted him to be. he negotiated treaties with mchale gorbachev including the elimination of thousands of nuclear warheads and when he ran on the missile in the 1980 part of this campaign was was that we were behind the soviets and we need to t catch up and we needed to catch up to the negotiating table and to agree to reduce nuclear armaments. he was proven right of course and it only took eight years really before we saw the winnins
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of the cold war and the destruction of the soviet union. >> host: craig shirley in year look last actas you talk about e emerging legacy. what does that mean? the >> guest: oh the emerging legacy. it's interesting because in webster's dictionary there is not obama-ism and there is not bush-ism and there is not trumpism but there is reaganism. reaganism he would contend and a lot of scholars would contend and i contend it's a separate and distinct individual ideology in itself more of a hybrid between libertarianism, conservatism and other elements that go into it. it was his own philosophy and he enacted much of it when he was president. not all of it to be sure but he had a different view of the
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world then most other politicians did at the time or even now and there's nobody who's shadow is cast more over the republican party and ronald reagan. he is the uber leader and he has eclipsed even i think abraham lincoln as the icon for the republican party. >> host: somewhat argue that ronald reagan and nick gingrich who you've also readit about in donald trump are the outside figures of the modern republican party. would you agree with that? >> guest: i absolutely agree with that. they certainly are. gingrich and the revolution of 1984 trump and his populist revolution four years ago. all of them represent different
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periods of time and philosophies of republicanism and i hate this phrase big temp but it's the big 10 of ideology with abraham lincoln down through the ages. >> host: when did you first meet ronald reagan craig shirley? >> guest: i first met ronald reagan in 1978. i was working on a campaign in gordon humphrey was considered by everybody at the time as a longshot and actually handed up winning over the incumbent by 6000 votes and reagan came up and campaigned -- it was new hampshire so is an important primary state the first in the nation at the time and reagan needed to win new hampshire in 1980 and he came up for gordon
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humphrey and the gentleman running for re-election at the time. he came into the new hampshire hotel and did film commercials for gordon humphrey. he was accompanied by two aides who quickly disappeared so governor reagan and i just sat there inn the lobby and were in complete awe of this man. he was completely friendly and completely jovial. we talked about high school and college sports while we liked what we played and he was utterly charming utterly kind and here i was this 21-year-old kid talking to the national leader of american conservatism at the time and a leading senator for the republican
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nomination and he showed me nothing but kindness and generosity of spirit. those are memories that will be with me for the rest of my life. josé talked about how you sat down in the hotel lobby and chatted but you also recount and the last act the story about hi, post-presidency office and the phones were up correctly. >> guest: yes, that was a story that president reagan's chief of staff they had rented office space for former president reagan in century city and ironically there was a terrorist disaster. it was in the building and the
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office is being assembled and the reagan's, reagan was not supposed to be in office for several weeks or months. he had his own house in bel-air and did lots of interviews and he showed up at the office and here i am, what am i supposed to do? he hastily ran around and rearranged the boxes and set them up in the office. he had a phone and a pad of paper and they thought he'd be okayht for short time. but the phones had been routed incorrectly so they were going to the reception desk, they were
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going to g the office and he answered every one and even if joe was calling a wanted his picture taken with the president reagan would write it down and came out a couple of hours later and handed the list of craig ryan and said these people want to meet witheo you. but everybody he took down was called back and got their pictures taken with ronald reagan except for one fellow. after he was on the list he wanted to come back and bring one of his neighbors and he said no. once is enough so he didn't get thee chance to come back a secod time. >> host: sub through what are some of the topline things in your view that ronald reagan accomplished as governor of california for eight years and is president for eight years? the >> guest: well he was a nail
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fight and thought he would do a lot more than the action he didd in his first several years and he started to address the affairs of government more diligently and was able to -- he enacted the huge tax rebate at the time in 1970 something like $500 million which it was an the time.of money at there were many antiwar protests going on at berkeley and other campuses. there's one story there that perhaps is apocryphal but reagan was at a college campus and there is a hippie carrying a sign and the sign said make
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love, not war and reagan looked at the sign in turn to his agent said from the looks of him i don't think -- [inaudible] he had tried to regan is government and welfare and he was a very successful governor. at the time california was the sixth largest economy in the world. think of that. just one state alone the sixth largest economy. he reformed welfare and police protection was boosted to a greater degree. he listened to their concerns and their complaints not that he could actually do anything about vietnam but it meant a lot that
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he would talk to young people. he did a weekly show called students ask governor reagan a weekly television show and he would talk to high school and college students and answer other question which was unheard ofwe at the time. he actually loved it and he was quite able to handle all of their questions. the "l.a. times" when reagan left the presidency it was very rough and reagan for eight years but they acknowledged that save the state from bankruptcy because when he became governor he was running a million-dollar day deficit and increasing by a million dollars a day and he turned it around in eight years into a surplus and save the
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state from bankruptcy. but as president it was exactly what he said he was going to do. when he ran in a teenage -- 1980 he wanted to turn around the economy. he was going to restore american morale. he did exactly all those things. as we all know he defeated soviet communism and the cold war. inflation when he was running in 1980 and his rates were something like 18% and inflation was almost tied. the value of the dollar was at work today what it was yesterday so it was really devastating to people's savings especially senior citizens. turn around the economy and created jobs. when he left office inflation was up 4.7% and the restored
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american morale. his approval raiding from all americans with something like 73%. when he left office in january of 1989 his approval raiding was 70% and it was higher even than fdr's when fdr passed away in april of 1945. it was higher than dwight eisenhower's. it was the highest in a long long time and he is remembered as one of the -- presidents along with lincoln and franklin roosevelt. >> host: he's been a lot of time talking about deficits but they grew under his stewardship. >> guest: that's true peter. he wrote in his memoirs they were at two things he was
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disciplined at best disappointed and that he couldn't do more in an one with the deficit and the other was abortion. on the other hand the deficit is explainable as what we know was the peace dividend. it was necessary to build up america's defense and flashed and cut for years during his time in the presidency. gerald ford i jimmy corder -- jimmy carter --/national defense. there were many in 1980 hurrah stamps. the soviets were practicing their newest technology including the bomber which was supersonic and quite deadly.
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that was his commitment. and a stronger sense this was the deltas of that was created but millions of people have been imprisoned between the iron curtain in poland and other countries and russia itself that it was a price worth paying. 3 million people were present behind the iron curtain. closely you talked about him being more pragmatic than he was given credit for. is h that going to hurt his legy among conservatives? >> guest: i don't think so. i think his legacy is pretty
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well cemented among conservatives. his library in simi valley and california still the most visited library, the most visited presidential library in all of america. some call it the reagan library which is not correct by the way. simi valley is off the beaten path somewhat inured more people go there then go to the kennedy library for the clinton library or the bush library. he still remains to this day. popular president. >> host: in march ofof this year your wrote to nays that reagan was a populist but he had the articulation and intellect of a -- and reagan like trump ran at a time when many americans
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also had grievances against the establishment. unlike trump he made every talking point and every speech uplifting something trump could never do if his life depended on it. guess you are yes, yes. i'm glad you quoted that. that's the central difference between trump and reagan. reagan first of all was reelected and trump wasn't. second of all reagan have a much higher approval raidingg than donald trump and third of almost of trump's legacy is derived from ronald reagan, the idea of conservative judges more tax cuts not just to stimulate the economy but stood for personal freedom and increase the power of the individual. that is what he was about. there was a time in 1981 after he was elected president just
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after he was sworn in and he was meeting with a group of conservatives and he told them yeah it was really about extending personal freedom. he knew t his power was finite. you can't put it here or there. he wanted to go back to the time of the founders and framers and give the active citizenry more power and more of their own money. that was a real motivating force along with tax cuts was expanding the power of the individual. you know you look at his speeches and how many times he uses the word individual or individuality or something other. this was the core of his
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philosophywa was a small respectful government that could govern this country. that wasve his philosophy and it became his philosophy starting in the 1940s and it evolved over the 40s and 50's and i'd say in 1980 he had been a social conservatives. >> host: was in 2017 that your local reagan rising the years 1976 to 198097 came out. i want to play a little bit of video from 1976 in kansas city. >> if i could just take a moment i had an assignment the other day. someone asked me to write a
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letter for a time capsule that's going to be open and los angeles 100 years from now in our centennial. sounded like an easy assignment and they suggested i write something about the problems and issues of the day and i said i would do so writing down the automobile mccain at the blue pacific island with amounts on the othern side and that could help wonder if it was 100 years from then and as i tried to write you are going to write for people 100 years from now. will they look back with appreciation and say thank god for those people in 1976 who headed off that loss of freedom to this 100 years later free, who kept their world from nuclear destruction. and if we fail they probably won't get to read the letter at all because it spoke of individual freedoms and they
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won't be allowed to talk about or read of it. this is our challenge. this is why here in this hall tonight better than we have ever done before we got to quit talking to each other and about each other and go out and communicate to the world that we may be fewer in numbers than we have w ever been but we carry te message they are waiting for. we must go forth from here united, determined and what a great general said a few years ago is true. there is no substitute for victory. [applause] >> host: craig shirley what did you here quite >> guest: tinges thing that speech was so, so important for reagan's future. first of all i wasn't there in
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1976 at the kemper arena which is now since gone destroyed in a tornado some years ago. i was working my way through college and i wasay slinging hah at a restaurant in cape cod but my wife was there. she was working for the campaign and she was on the floor that night and she told me repeatedly many times we talked about it, she said it was the most brilliant reagan speech but i wrote the book -- and if field director was on the floor also and standing next to someone from florida. after reagan gave a speech he muttered oh my god we have nominated the wrong man. at the time we needed 1130 votes
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for the nomination and he won by 50 or 60 delegates and lost it by 80 some so was very slim and very narrow. there have been accusations over the years that there were some hanky-panky in the new york delegation and a few other states but it was pretty clean as for as i could tell. there were accusations. there were a lie detectors and one police i officer said polygraph tests came back negative. he said it was the first time i've ever heard a politician telling the truth. the speech itself is so important.
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reagan -- there were newspaper articles and columns at the time and "newsweek" had an article writing about reagan's political career. he was 65 years old and he had been around the track twice in 1968 and 1976 and both times he lost. most people assumed that he gave the speech and what's interesting is that fall he was out campaigning across the nation. there were endorsements and fund-raisers and things like that and everywhere he went, everywhere he went police officers bell captains flight attendants joe citizen on the,
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street, everybody came up to him and said governor you've just got to wood run one more time. i think that convinced him to try one more time and he wasn't going to try. that was probably it for him but there was one time he was on an airplane and people were coming onto the plane and this woman came on and she embraced him and she said oh governor you've got to do it just one more time and sitting next to him -- before he passed away i interviewed him and he told me the story. he was sitting next to governor reagan and he turned to mike at the time and he said i guess i better do it one more time. so it was the outpouring of that speech and it's interesting
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because usually his intentions as a nominee who is the last speaker of the night but this night in kansas city it was ronald reagan -- ronald reagan who was the last speech and it was a last-minute idea. reagan was not supposed to speak to the audience but he was the head of a badly fractured party half were for gerald gerald ford and are for ronald reagan so at the last minute they urged reagan to come down and reagan did interviews in kansas city and there was one interview with tom brokaw in the skybox which brokaw says -- and reagan says no but all of a sudden 17,000
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people asked him to come to the stage along with the ford all the while chanting we want reagan, we want reagan, we want ron, we want ron ricci reluctantly leaves the skybox and goes to the podium and he is now prepared speech. it's not on the teleprompter all extemporaneous. can you imagine the pressure live on three networks giving a speech before 17,000 people in the home run box? it was said great review of reagan's harpy talked about the soviet missiles being able to wipe out america in a matter of minutes. they told you what was really on reagan's mind and mike was accompanying reagan and the
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governor said tim mike what you think i should say he needs a governor you'll think of something. >> host: ronald reagan went on to win elections in 1980 and 1984. 1014 electoral votes and 62 total for jimmy carter and walter mondale. good afternoon and welcome to booktv on c-span2. this is our monthly "in depth" program with one author and the look at his or her entire body of work. craig shirley is our guest. he has written seven books. we talked about some of the reagan books including reagan's revolution his first one i came out in 2005 rendezvous with destiny came out in 2009 and then he switched topics in december of 1941, 31 days that changed america that came out in 2011 we will be talking about that as well. the last act of final years in
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emergent -- emerging legacy of ronald reagan they came out in 2015. and a citizen newts to making other reagan legacy came out in 2017 in his most recent book is on mary ball washington the untold story of george washington's mother that came out in 2019 and we will be discussing that as well. this is an interactive program and we want to hear your voices and here's the come participate in this this program if other craig shirley predicting call in (202)748-8200 if you live in eastern and central timezone. for those of you in the mountain pacific timezones (202)748-8201 and he can't get her on the phone lines and you want to participate you can do it in a variety of ways. number one the attacks than this number is only for text messages
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or please include your first name and city if he went through (202)748-8903 and will be looking at comments on our face but they don't our twitter page our instagram page. just remember @booktv is our handle their and finally you can e-mailnd but tv we will be scrolling through all of those numbers and all those ways of contacting us in just a minute so you can participate and we will be taking your calls in just a minuted as well. craig shirley in the midst of writing iger phase in ronald reagan do switch to december of 1941. what inspired back? >> guest: that is a good question. i remember at the time, i was born in the 50s and i obviously didn't remember world
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war ii but id had parents or grandparents who did and every sunday afternoon after church we had dinner at one of my grandparents house is and there were lace tablecloth and white linen napkins and they'd take ham or turkey were roast beef and invariably they would be various relatives and inevitably the conversation turned toward and my grandpa would say -- and they would talk about their exploits and experiences because world war ii was a national experience. everybody sacrificed during the war. everybody had victory gardens. victory gardens accounted for
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one fourth of all vegetables grown in america for several years during world war ii and my father was a boy scout and the government used the boy scouts to hand out promotional posters atst restaurants and churches ad other locations where people gathered in a loose lips sink ships andhe other promotional posters and my mother had a victory garden. my grandfather started -- three times in three times the draft board said you were 41 years old and you are lined as the dot we are not that desperate so trying and failing four t times, three times he became a civil -- civil service them.
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my grandmothers are both rosie the riveters. one grand mirror what does -- grandmother was a specter but i can imagine what a lawman specter would do that they were inspection machine there's in new york and they would come down recently line and she picked one up and setan it down and fire at the target and set it down. i saw one time her industry badge and things like that but everybody in my family including my uncle who paid the ultimate sacrifice, my father was too young for wolves were to ensue asd his brother ronnie but ther oldest brother barney was a navy rig operator and was killed in action in the pacific. they were shot down when they were making a bombing run and southeast asia.
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ironicallye he was killed on hs 21st birthday in 1945. barney became a cherished memory for all of us and he still is today. they used to talk about their gas rationing and your meat rationing and bread. there was pearl harbor obviously [inaudible] but they never talked about the effect december 7 heavenn civilian americans and how america changed literally overnight and i meangh literally
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overnight and how the war impacted the national mood. something like three weeks after pearl harbor ford motor company and fischer auto body parts and goodyear rubber stopped making cars and by the way they issued proclamationsoc on how many you could use. they stopped making cars on the orders of united states government started making b-20 five bombers out of fabricated auto parts. you couldn't use -- the government sent out a memo to radio operators and radio station holders you cannot use
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video owners and operators. you can't use them for promotional purposes. you can do that. he couldn't ride cast. they took a loose lips sink ships quite literally and gave instructions to these radio stations on what they could and couldn't o say and everybody followed the orders because they believed their mission was at risk and the nation was being threatened. it's fascinating how much, how homogenous our nation was in 1941 versus today. the only thing i compare to obviously is september 11 when the planes ran into the world
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trade center and the pentagon and their national units only lasted for a couple of months and they soon bickered among themselves over union issues. we stayed unified as the nation the day after december 7 and stay that way until 1945 when the japanese finally surrendered to douglas macarthur in world war ii. >> host: craig shirley the book is divided by day and the first was december 31. have prepared was the united states on december 1 for a major war and how much of a surprise to the american government was december 7? the. >> we were not prepared at all. we had come within one vote a
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month earlier to dissolve or standing army and they believed was october of 1940. dissolving the standing army which would have sent hundreds of thousands home at the time who were not radel tested but they were trained. we had powder keg airplanes. we were not prepared for war at all. our government was interestingly enough and something we discovered that the fdr library my son and he was my head researcher on this book and he went to the fdr library in upstate new york at fdr so many came across a memo from the officer of naval intelligence
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written on december 4, 1941 a 17 page memo stamped top secret and it was declassified in the 70s but it was sitting around gathering dust. enter found it and three days before the attack this memo from the office of the naval college v. gave out in detail -- so the office of naval intelligence did an assessment of where the japanese might attack including the panama canal wake island the philippines and indonesia and the hawaiian islands. this memo was given to the president three days before and no action was taken to send the world a warning out to our field
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commanders on december 6, 1941 that it was not a disclosure of your ships a and planes to minimize attack and all the things they should have notified of the they weren't. this memo interestingly enough wasin unnoticed until andrew fod it at fdr's library in new york. >> host: how was the economy? the eight years at the air at that point in what was the economic situation in america? >> guest:t: it really, it's a nuanced answer. i will take a minute here to answer. the new deal as an economic
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strategy was a failure. unemployment in 1933 was almost as -- as it was in 1941 and it had been before the work of the new deal which was good because it gave people hope and that's important. always important because without hope there is no future. economy itself did improve. there were some mistakes and one was smoot-hawley which raised tariffs on people coming into united states and fdr didn't cut taxes. there were so much money in circulation and the other thing to us the failure of the new deal in my opinion was focused on production rather than
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consumptioncu and to achieve a growing economy uniquean consumption. it's not enough to -- you have two sell it and use it. so ford or gm could make all the cars they want and they did but if people don't have the money to buy one then it's beside the point. until the advent of -- was when the u.s. economy really started to perk up. the and the japanese inan the pacific and they were consuming american products that they were
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either borrowing or dying or we were donating. the american economy began to perk up because we were producing items that were being consumed by the british economy. we moved into mass production of ships and planes and guns and uniforms and foodstuffs and all that and everything was devoted toward the war effort. everything that was humanly thought of was made by the national government and the american people. >> host: craig shirley before we got before we go to calls it should be noted you are not a full-time author. >> guest: i also, i wear many hats as a matter of fact. i used to coach youth and high
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school coach in a few years ago i was going to finish up innate -- and i also own a small public relations firm here in virginia with conservative foundations and think tanks and authors. and shirley and mcvicker and mys partner mcvicker. never miss the payroll of 35 years. i'm also a farmer. >> host: let's hear from our callers. a little bit of american legal history and world war ii history.
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michael lind deerfield beach, florida. hi michael. >> caller: hi. you guys are always so amazing. reagan was so amazing because of his popularity and i think it was his positive conservatism my opiniontunate in to the democrats is the same as trump the trump is different and reagan was -- but it needs a more precise metaphor which would be a precise temperature control otherwise it's solid as eyes but it was slushy. what i mean is the balance between positivism group interestre in abundance versus fear a mindset of scarcity. right now in our current contest
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with trumpism we are seeing a mortal battle in some cases of one versus the other and what he had a sense of what was most important is they needed temperature control. he mentions -- and they created this thing by the governor. the governor was their social context. >> host: hey michael before we get too deep there. quickly you are a fan of ronald reagan and not so much of donald trump, is that correct collects >> caller: correct. >> host: thank you sir. let's hear from craig shirley. >> guest: thank you for your interest and i'm in that same camp myself as a fan of reagan and someone who grew to admire reagan. donald trump did have a varied good story to tell as president
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and hisfo handling of the vaccinations and deregulation. there were some issues that i take issue with him on in a take issue to his personal behavior as far as what he has said and the comment he made which in my opinion were very presidential. and that's his legacy so it still to be determined before irrational address it but it was simply a detour in time or was it something more important? i tend to lean more that it was something more important but in a shorter nuanced contexts.
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right now we are moving to the left ever since george w. bush back in 1988 and his son and clinton barack obama and others moving to the left where as we were moving to the right before that. there was a rhythm and american presidencies that we go through. i agree with michael that reagan's legacy is important and by the way i'm writing two more books. i just finished april 1945 and that is the canyon but to my book december 1941 and the reason i did this book 1945 is almost everything happened in 45
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including franklin roosevelt passing away in hyde park new york in his boyhood home. mussolini being taken down by the mob and okinawa island which was the final staging before the invasion of japan and auschwitz was discovered that cow was discovered and allied troops most especially the troops closing in on berlin and there were just so many things have happened which is why devote the time with this book really comes out early next year. >> host: you -- u.n. ashland virginia. >> caller: thank you for this
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wonderful program. it's interesting to look back andst see a lot of things that e aren't aware of and and i hope that mr. shirley will bring more things at a positive way. i the poem in the reagan library. i can give it to you to see the proclamation he made where he proclaimed in 1983 karen shared a for companies and to do as much as they can to help the lesse fortunate. that's a real positive message that needs to come out even more in these times. i wanted to see if you could comment on two people. i received a letter from president reagan and charles wic ahead of the u.s. information agency related to information andti i sent to him concerning
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the -- in the early 80s and one other quick thing ray cohen had a relationship i believe introducing roy cohen to write reagany put roy cowen with dond iftrump's main mantra so i wantd to see if he knew much about those two gentlemen. >> guest:: charlie whit was an old and dear friend of the reagans. he came up through many years involved in political framework not radio free europe but the other broadcasting part of the government. but they were very very close and they used to spend christmas together every year. mrs. reagan was very fond of his
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life. i think he was godfather to one of the reagan children. they were politically and geographically their entire life. when you are president of the united states allowed people come away thinking the president is going to take your device and win was important to joe mccarthy in the senate subcommittee on investigating sabotage and the united states government during the red scare in the early 50's in late 40s. roy cowen i don't like to cast aspersions on those who have passed away but he was a self
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promoter and he made himself more important to reagan than he really was. he had this framework for how he was going to run the government and the country and his worldviews were already stat so there was very little you can point to that he had any influence over. he met him once or twice and that was aboutic it. there were several letters and memos from the reagan white house that were generated by root roy cowen to mrs. reagan and president reagan when they were new york and it was to give him a wide girth as much as possible.
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his views were outside considering who reagan was and careful whose advice you to. >> host: beau is an georgia. good afternoon beau. >> caller: two things first when i lived down the street from the -- and the other thing i want to ask you about one of the books he wrote about reagan between 76 and 80 i remember reagan debating his fellow conservative though buckley about the panamas canal treaty and that elevated reagan international status. guess who it sure did. i'm sorry. host the hese is done craig shirley. your turn. guess goat the panama canal
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treaty everybody was talking about it in 1977 and 1978. the isthmus of panama was dug out and the panama canal was created. over the 70s and the 1960s and 70s we had jurisdiction over the panama canal but there was this anti-imperialism belief or theme in america that we should return the right to sovereignty to the panamanian people but at the time it was being run by dictator who reagan
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used to refer to as -- but there was a great debate inside the republican party over the panama canal treaty. reagan was opposed to relinquishing the treaties to the panamanians and bill buckley was in favor of it. there were other conservatives who are in favor of it to but reagan was leadingto a national campaign against the treaties and he participated. there was a panama canal squad and there was much debate in the senate and on national television and in newspapers and it really gripped the nation for a long period of time. there we two treaties and they
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passed the senate by one vote so the jurisdiction of the panama canal that was returned to the panamanian people. reagan used it to maximum advantage for himself to keep himself in the public eye and keep himself a crisped on things who are inspiring millions of people and really helped him and help the republican party. i remember i interviewed former president carter when writing about the 1980 campaign and he pointed out that every democrat and republican who voted for the panama canal treaties lost in 1978 in 1980 and he felt it was
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a result of the treaty. it was a hot issue in the country at the time. this was just after the vietnam war and watergate and it became an issue of national pride. the panama canal and why my grandmother was so hot about at the time wasn the panama canal was taught to her as a child is one of the five wonders of the world and it was important to the american people that we conquered malaria because of it and albertit schweizer and we tried to build a panama canal and we weren't successful and it was important to the american people psychologically. it just became an issue, not a
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complex issue about american imperialism or anything like that but the soviets were itching to have a canal so they could easily work their fleet between the atlantic so was the hot hot issue at the time and by the way i salute your neighbor and they think your neighbor for the animal canal survivor. it was a wonderful thing you did and it was a great sacrifice so thank you. >> host: a pearl harbor survivor. we have one hour left in her conversation with craig shirley and here's they can participate (202)748-8200 for those of you into -- timezones and in the west island (202)748-8201.
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you can't get on the phone lines send a text or written message and you can do that in many ways. here's our text number for text only please include your first name in your city (202)748-8903. when it comes to social media if you'd like to make a comment there @booktv is what you need to remember and finally e-mailed booktv craig shirley blue reference to william f. buckley a minute ago but i wanted to ask about milton friedman and their effect on ronald reagan. >> guest: i can't be measured. reagan was a personal friend of bill buckleys and they exchanged manych letters and bill buckley
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was a friend of nancy reagan they did things together socially and things like that and the view of him can't be underestimated in his role in the conservative movement beginning in the 1960s and defining conservatism and the burke society and thingsso like that as far as the american conservative movement. they were extremely close friends and also milton friedman and milt friedman of course won the nobel prize for economics when he was teaching at the university of chicago. he was a national celebrity in
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the 70s when he was running a series on economics with friedman that his thinking inspired a lot of reagan's policies including tax cuts and budget policies and restarting the economy as a means of adding dollars to the workplace. let's go through reverend robert hodge from seared views and new york e-mailed into you craig shirley what was nancy reagan's role in his success and what you think of karen tumulty's new biography of her?? the >> guest: i have not read the book yet that i'm anxious to read it and i'm sure it'so a vey good look. she's a good reporter at the "washington post" and i've known her for years and what was the first part of your question?
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>> host: what nancy reagan's role was in his legacy? >> guest: nancy reagan was valuable to ronald reagan. if reagan was a shoe salesman she would have made sure he was the best shoe salesman in the world. she was not a passive little cookie baker but she was a traditionalist. she was elegant. she was beautiful and she also had a very good mind on her shoulders and she had a lot better antenna for detecting people who were using reagan to their benefit than he did. she was good at keeping people away who were not going to help her husband or who would hurt her husband.
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she famously was involved in the voice of personnel and sacramento when he was governor and more so when he was president. they were a true partnership and one of the great romances of white house history going back to george t and martha washingt. some presidential couples are more estranged than others but they were not only a loving couple but they were a good legal team although her influence was much more subtle than say eleanor roosevelt was. she was deeply effective as the first lady not like roosevelt or some others but was very effective. and mrs. reagan was wonderful.
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i remember when i was starting my first book in the 76 campaign i was havingpa some trouble with the reagan library and she caught wind of it through a mutual friend of mine who was one of the presidents speechwriters who was a friend of mine and no book had been written on his campaign. it was one of the most brilliant campaigns of all the gubernatorial presidential campaigns. she directed the bios of the library h had she personally tod them to open the library up for mike loses use for my book on the campaign so i will be forever indebted to mrs. reagan
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and i always her will honor her memory. >> host: booktv is covering karen tumulty on her new of nancy reagan wean covered her event at the ronald reagan library. montgomery alabama, please go ahead. >> guest: >> caller: a great show gentlemen. i'm celebrating my 60th birthday b today. >> host: happy birthday. >> gucaller: thank you and i wanted to share a story. i remember my dad saying in regards to fdr coined the day of infamy he had two other brothers and four sisters and i remember him saying he and one of his siblings one of my aunts were on their way to see my grandparents, their parents of course and the bulletin came over the car radio the japanese
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had bombed pearl harbor and my dad and i looked at each other and they were thinking the same thing. his -- their oldest brother was a chief petty officer stationed at pearl so a lot of things were going through their minds. my grandparents did not have a radio so my dad and my aunt decided not to say anything to them when they arrived. luckily my uncle called and it was an inordinate amount of time that they heard from him but you can imagine what they all went through. as time went on shortly after that my grandparents of course got word that the japanese bombed pearl harbor but my uncle called and he was in sick bay that day recovering from an appendectomy. thank god he was not there.
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>> host: can you bring us to a rap cliques call code basically nationalism was running very good and my other aunts working in the's's factory in connectict and my other two uncles of course my dad served in the range of my uncle in the navy and my other uncle in the army. it was a time of being proud to be an american and i just wanted to say mr. shirley thank you for writing about world war ii india was the greatest generation. >> host: anything you want to add to that mr. shirley? >> guest: first of all thank you and your family for your service and you are right it waa the time of great patriotism and great sacrifice. every family during worldil wari every family large or small
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extended -- sacrificed through their taxes are they bought bonds but everybody made some type of sacrifice in world war ii was a remarkable time and will probably never see it again not that level of focus. >> host: craig shirley an e-mail from mark do you think carter would have been reelected if the iran hostage rescue had succeeded in 1979? >> guest: you know that's a good question. i dealt a lot into this in my books and other writings but i talked to president carter about that or they think it's
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possible. he might have one with that second wave of euphoria with the release of the hostages and he might have run forgo re-electio. on the other hand months before the election people started to focus on the real issues at hand of high inflation and high interest rates unemployment and the soured relations with the soviet union and other things that were blamed on the carter demonstrations so i'm not sure. it made made the election --.
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>> host: ellen m. boynton beachh florida. >> caller: i just wanted to ask a question and by the way when i was sixt years old i was told my father took me out of the bassinet when roosevelt declared war and my father subsequently served getting at nleast 14 medals but my question is about -- you mentioned in 1945 in april we found out about auschwitz. my understanding is the state department knew about it all the time going back to the late 1930s and the state department almost single-handedly kept the information from going into any newspapers that are w you familr with that story? >> guest: thank you, maam and i salute your brothers and your
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family and one thing you mentioned was franklin roosevelt. the new deal being an economic failure. fdr's greatest success was the defeat of the empire of japan and germany. and winston churchill these two men literally save the world and saved europe and saved america and the american pacific. not enough praise can be heaped on franklin roosevelt for what he did in world war ii.
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there's no debate about world wars ii. we won world war ii. there is no evidence to this. i was trying to remember whenem auschwitz was first opened and it was in 1933 or 1935 or something like that. the u.s. state department and the u.s. government may have known about it and probably knew about it but obviously never -- no one did interviews so i had to rely on the information of the time which were the documents of the truman administration documents and the documents of newspapers and things like that and that's when auschwitz and the other camps were discovered was in early
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1945.ed but it would the a very good book or good article when the united states actually knew about auschwitz and if so why didn't they move to stop an earlier? the was a very worthy topic of >> host: your book citizen to making of a reagan conservative came out. >> guest: i would consider him a friend but i don't know p. would consider me a friend. it took three or four years to finish it. he established himself as certainly one of the leading
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political figures in america today. you have to think long and hard to come up with someone who had as much influence over the national political debate as newt gingrich had and he still has today with his regular commentaries and social media comment and "fox news" and its columns and speeches. he was wonderfully corporative with this book. i had access to him and his papers and i talked to him about everything that had to do this campaign and how we did the contract with america. we talked about everything. we talked about reagan and we talked aboutv gorbachev and we
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talked about al gore. you'd have to go back to henry clay who was speaker of the house in the 1820s i believe are the 1830s to find a national political leader who had as much effect on the national -- as these two gentlemen and newt gingrich. i think his ways and history is for sure. you'd think nancy pelosi has the same status today? >> guest: as a woman, yes. she is not an idea factory the way gingrich is or was. she probably understands power better than he does.
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she has never been challenged as speaker. her authority is supreme and certainly just for my but akel. point she is an admirable woman and has done much with her tenure as speakero of the house. she didn't do the revolutionary things they gingrich did. gingrich reformed the house post office in the house bank and one that her corruption right and left in his own party and the other party much more so than anybody else did much more so than nancy pelosi. they are similar a and they are different. she understands power better than he does and he understands ideology and movements better than she does.
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reporter: in the atlantic it was written about gingrich view figures in modern history have done more than gingrich to lay the groundwork. during his two decades in congress he pioneered -- replete with name-calling conspiracy theories and strategic bsobstructionism that poisoned america's political culture and plunge washington to permanent discord. >> guest: i reject that pot. there was animosity between the two parties going back to the civil war when they literally went to war with each other. the republicans were the party of -- t and the result of the fight between the two political parties. gingrich is not to blame for
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that. he was a tough fighter but he was a fair fighter. he went after corruption when he sought and people saw that too. his motives were mostly all peer andd i talk to many many people who worked for newt gingrich and i talked him ad nauseam. a good man [inaudible] he is liberal and is india's and us opposed to nate gingrich's ideas and stratagems.
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>> host: pavin keyport new jersey pleaseue go ahead with yr question or comment for author craig shirley. >> caller: thank you. mr. shirley is it customary for former presidents to give speeches? what do you look at now 30 years after-the-fact of ronald reagan taking one or $2 million per couple of speeches and japan? why said on presidential? >> host: pat do you think it was? >> caller: i don't have a stance on it. i know former presidents like the clintons have cashed in on the presidency but this was the first one i remembered in my lifetime.k >> guest: thank you, to good question.
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the japanese were willing to pay so why not? on the other hand it was a problem lead and momentary time in history for his legacy and not completely. he still regarded as one of oura greatest presidents and usually it's the iran-contra when people raise a question about reagan or his hard line early on with the soviet union. those usually are the points made about reagan in his post-presidency but i understand your question is one i don't frankn answer to quite way.
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i may have advised him to. >> host: craig shirley what is your take on iran-contra and ronald reagan? >> guest: well it was arms for hostages. iteg was illegal and the logan t where individuals engaged in their own foreign-policy and colonel oliver north was operating out of the white house there wasth a turnover in the chief of staff position at the white g house the extremely competent jim baker who has become a rolell model as white house chief of staff don reagan who was consequently incompetent
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and was fired by reagan. he earned mrs. reagan's ire understandably and yet his own staff and much less his chief of staff. at the end reagan took responsibility himself. the arguments about whether reagan knew about it or not, he said he didn't and he wrote in his diaries he was mad at oliver north. he gave reagan a briefing on this deal and the logs at camp david didn't show all over north going going there to brief ronald reagan.
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but it's a black eye on his administration. he had good intentions of freeing the hostages and the hostages were being tortured. no one profited from the iran-contra. it was wrong and reagan took his lumps and it is something that needs to be considered when you consider all the aspects of his presidency because i remember the time 1986 when his popularity, 65 approval raiding down to 45% approval raiding in a matter of days because of a controversy over the iran-contra. that certainly cost a lot of
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people their jobs and it was the month-long debate here in washington and in the united states before was cleared up. >> host: before we run out of time we have a half-hour left i want to make sure to get to your most recent book the untold story of george washington's mother and the rightol mary washington used the façade of motherly virtue to control her son in the same way he led the country to break away from his overbearing -- george had to struggle to find independence in his f own life to step away from the power of his demanding mother. how were you able to discover that? >> guest: through letters and contemporaneous accounts and the
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obvious truth. when washington was 14 years old the american colonies were under british rule and he wanted to enlist in the british navy and mary wrote a letter to a relative and he came back, the white house letter came back and it said under no circumstance would george become a cabin boy and this is quoting would be treated terrible. it was the birch society and the british navy said were else he was first and other lesser people and at the bottom of the list would have been american cabin boys.
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the british admiralty capped -- including one third of british cabin boys died at sea. they were washed overboard or killed in battle. there were many ways that british cabin boys are all cabin boys in the british navy diver -- died at sea and they were serving with sailors who were really rough necks and drunkards and bombs by nature. .. london and grab a man and throw them on their ships and trained them to become seamen, so he would have been with a really rough crowd, maybe dangerous crowd and a really rough crowd, may be
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dangerous crowd. and so she told them to become british cabin boy. she change the course of history in that decision and may have saved his life as well for their other times to end her life where she change course in history or spared his life or both. >> which got you started on mary about washington? so back to my favorite presidents third george washington and ronald reagan. i think they are fascinating individuals. they both had many different interest in pursued navy careers and politics and things like that. after i discovered books written about washington, it
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seemed to be petered out. but the way to get washington was to book about his mother because no one had ever done a book about maribel washington before. i live on the middle peninsula of virginia. the vault family, her descendents are thick as thievesev down there. there's a lot of paperwork, a lot of history, a lot of history there. including, she died -- mary herself died in her 80s. she died of breast cancer. just a couple years ago a ball descendent woman who owned an antique store in the northern neck of the woodsds she too died of breast cancer. fold the genealogical trail of this 250 years inflict this woman as well.
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she had an anonymous influence on her son her entire life. ands i wanted to record, write this book about him but how he was influenced by her. she was a single mother raising six children in a century that was not re- hospitable to women. women could not vote what we don't know, few people know is women in that era could not even own property. unless there holding onto their property from a deceased husband for the son what she was doing, holding it for george washington. she was a strong and capable woman because she had to be strong and capable plus it was a tough century for women.
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but especially so for her as a single mother. so she again is somebody that is fascinating. you cannot find everything out about her. i had to limit it to what i could discover. for instance i can discover and nobody can his where she's burieded. nobody knows where the mother of george washington is buried. meditationon rock where she used to go this a big outcropping of rocks there who's called meditation rock. she used to go there with her viable. and think and meditate, she may have been buried there, she may have been varied in her cottage, nobody knows. i was limited in how much i could write about her. because not everything is known aboutry her.
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not everything that should be known. we know everything about roosevelt's mother, we know about them. but maribel washington we don't respect steven pennsylvania please go to your question or comment for greg shirley. >> hello mr. shirley. i appreciate being on today and your insights. i would like to ask a question on the more personal level for president reagan. it is my understanding he appreciated his staff. when a staffer would have a significant event inn their life such as a marriage or maybe birthrs of a child he would personally something to the staffer, i appreciate you answering that. >> sure thank you.
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[inaudible] a debatable relationship with thest staff. some staff he was different other work curiouser personallyal involved. but in the issue of marriages and births ofas babies and things like that he was deeply involved. would write them a little letter, he would bring them into the oval office for a photograph. they where there was a zone of privacy or inte him and reagan people cannot penetrate. on the other hand this was a man who would write very tender letters to people when he was giving them donations. there is one famous story when he was governor, he is to get a pile of news clips every morning and get a bunch of letters every morning. he got hundreds of letters the
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staff and break d it down to that hate letters, the love letters andte the people in need letters. he read one from this woman who was in need out in indiana. she was raising her two children by herself she was having a difficult time. he wrote her a letter back and sent her a check for $100. and she could not believe the president of the united states are letter and give her a check. yes this is ronald reagan signature. reagan later the next month is bouncing his checkbook at his desk in the oval office and he noticed this woman he donated the check to not deposited the check. so he got on the phone course
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the white house gives indication office's famous essay i knew this girl she had brown hair and get on the phone five minutes later. without a name, address or anything like that. same as for checking on people. track this womanot down, got her on the phone and asked her why and she said i'm sorry mr. president i want to keep it asir a souvenir reagan to look at him and send you another check, don't catch both of them. they were moments of great tenderness he would donate personal effects to the college we went to school, so many times he showed affection and warmth and kindness to peopleli. like for instance white house staff is big things like that.
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one department was the speechwriting department. he probably had the best set of speechwriters in the history of america with the exception of ted sorensen. a marvelous set of speechwriters. it wasn't just order takers. or a think tank inside the white house. newly turn on the swelling of the things like that. came from the brow of the speechwriters. sometimes reagan would accept them sometimes he wouldn't. he washe involved in every one of them. it would add and write paragraphs around things like that. is very involved with them. and then grew to course
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really, really appreciate and love ronald reagan. strack here just e-mail from margaret and a place i think you've probably been, dixon illinois. thank you mr. shirley extensive information on ronald reagan. i live in dixon, illinois, the church he attended still going. the school he attended is now a museum. a public library has a large section on reagan i will check in there to find your book. i once lived in reagan's home before it became a historic site. >> how about that is that a wonderful story? yes in the dixon many times i've attended his church several times. there are two statues of ronald reagan in dixon. down at the river where he was a lifeguard. he saved his 70 lives as a high school lifeguard. statues at his boyhood home
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little clapboard house there in dixon. it is very important. it's also important to remember that he moved around many times as a childhood. his father was a salesman for its well known he was an alcoholic and he took jobs in many locations include chicago, dixon, other places in and around downstate illinois, western illinois. this is important there are number of home so that he lived into. attended church there as well. he once joked he was served food and a women's sorority. joked later it was best job he ever had. >> george from manassas
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virginia texas into you can comment on the importance of the radio show president reagan did between 1976? and, he goes on to set heard president reagan speak in 1975, it changed me. it felt like he spoke only to me, was this common? >> what a wonderful letter. i'm glad he brought the radio commentary. it was so, so important. this was anet era before cable television and the internet, you're limited in forms of communication. the television, local radio and syndicated radio that he had newspapers and wire services, magazines things like that personal letter spoken word. communication was much more limited in that era. that made his radio announcements very, very
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important. he did over a thousand radio commentaries in his lifetime, before his presidency. they were five minutes apiece, five days a week. sue had to keep your wits about yourself to make sure radio. commentary was topical. there radio studio and west allonge angeles. literally at the corner of hollywood and vine. he wrote many of them. some were written by pat buchanan or peter hannaford. but he wrote the massed vast majority of them. several books have been published about his radio they were syndicated on hundreds of radio stations around the country including a radio station inra syracuse. i would hear the radio
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broadcast there and my parents home in syracuse the 1970s. of course millions of people listen every day and have an effect on his ability to mobilize eventually seek the presidency one more time. there were lots of people who listen to reagan and later became reaganites after his common sense commentaries. >> host: mark and st. paul, minnesota, hi mark. >> caller: the recollection of the joint address to the congress, president biden indicated that trickle-down economics is never worked great i'm curious as to what mr. shirley's take would be on thatha comment? and the economic legacy of president reagan in general, thank you. the mixing to a glad you brought it up. i heard that in biden's speech to congress of the night two.
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of course is nonsense there is never trickle-down economics. it was an unfortunate comment, phrase that was created by david stockman who is in reagan's budget director and then resigned and remains of the stain on his record today. so it is a false argument it is a false church. it would be a waste of time to try 2ingage. you cannot argue with the result. and eight years reagan created 19 million new jobs. he beat inflation he beat interest rates turned around nations morale. the proof is in the pudding. as they say. rothe proof is reagan worked as an economic and cultural and
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social and political forced from 1981 -- 1989. >> craig shirley wrote recently and newsmax quote we've had great presidents and we have had bad presidents. and at the moment we are stuck with one, joe biden, will at most to be just mediocre. my hopes are not even that high to be honest. >> my op-ed can be low rougher than my book writing. i tend to stretch myself. i think eigen's problem today as he has two fundamental beliefs to solve people's problems. reagan, when accepted the nomination for president of the united states and detroit in 1986 they assembled delegates there. said don't trust me, trust yourself. did not see essential difference between the two parties or should be the party
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of thehe individual. a party that believes in themselves. the i other is on are inherently ineffectual in solving their own problems and government activism is necessary as a means to solve their problems. that is summation orally of what biden said. historically wrong in the context of what reagan did. i mayay write another op-ed about that. >> host: barbara virginia please go to their question or comment. >> caller: i have a comment. and the comment is, i cannot believe that he sat there and saidid no one made money off the iran-contra affair. there is no way for you to make that statement. if you have no knowledge of
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that. you have the cia, everybody they know, all of the politicians were getting paid to look the other way. and thehe military-industrial complex is the corporations around the world. which is why itnd was done and who had it done. and then you say reagan paid the price politically, big deal. i should have gone to prison. >> host: is i barbara and virginia, craig shirley? >> of anguish up a barber down is undecided. when carmine new rochelle, new york, hi. >> caller: good afternoon to you. mr. shirley, over the years i have heard rumors and suspicions that when president reagan was running for the office against jimmy carter, had representatives and iran talking to the iran leaders as
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to not release the hostages because when election time came around. maybe you could shed some light on that? space a good question. there's no evidence. there are several books when was by gary six i think is summed up this book forer us. who charged george bush met with representatives of the aisle told to keep hostages in iran to the 1980 campaign to enable reagan from winning. nothing could be further from the truth. george bush should not fly to paris, france. not fly to tehran, he's the united states all the time. note representatives of the reagan campaign or anybody the cia military or got better but with delegates.
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these are conspiracies that have no basis. in fact there made out. it's entirely untrue. i will tell you i interviewed for the 1980 campaign he told me, he said the reason we are released on the eve of the inauguration of ronald reagan was the iranianse were terrified of reagan and obama. they felt they couldh push each other around. they didn't feel they can push reagan around her there were terrified because regular take military action. they said in iran i release
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the hostages is a simple fact. >> for over in-depth authors would like to ask him or her what they are reading currently in the current books. here's the responses from craig shirley. ventures of tom sawyer, 1865, katherine drinker bolin tom wolf the bonfire of the vanities and larry mercury lonesome dove. currently mr. shirley is reading james swanson's end of days. napoleon hill's think and growd rich, f john beauchamp's franklin winston and michael dobbs one minute to midnight. a lot of history titles there, mr. shirley. one stood out to me that was napoleon hill's think and grow rich. what is thatat about?
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>> that book has been around for 100 years. my grandmother georgia turned me onto it as a young boy. it is kind of a different two, it is inspirational but how you achieve success with your spiritual means, your economic social means. just to re-energize my thinking every couple of years now. when i hire a new pr firm i gave them a copy of think and
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grow rich because he is so much useful information. >> another book you chose your rereading cs lewis' the screwtape letters, why? >> i love cs lewis. he proved that you can be spiritual and be a libertarian. and his case he was a christian and libertarian. it teaches the lord's work is the double what he is teaching how to ruin people's lives. things to avoid things to know about. the house is burning down and somebody a box of matches or if someone you hand them a firehose. what's going on society and culture what to avoid really
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is a good spiritual and practical book. will there in new york please go ahead. so that good after him as surely how youou doing today? >> guest: good how are you. smooth them to good i'm hanging in there. >> guest: thanks for asking. >> caller: the reason for my call i would like toik ask you on eight reagan documentary a ago.onths it is to be fairly accurate. stuart will or what were your thoughts about it? what your thoughts? >> found it to be very interesting documentary. i've watched past making documentaries like american experience. this was a little more in depth. since she's the expert was it accurate? >> it was not accurate. was not accurate was a misprint is made by a man who
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used to work for michael dukakis when he was writing the united states. one person, is not approached about doing an interview. i think he knew i would not cooperate in the way he wanted. one person who did cooperate later told me he saidd he had been duped was selectively editedal. another liberal attempt unfortunately to besmirch the reagan legacy. a much better treatment of reagan's life is an epic movie coming out for release in the next several of months. i happen to know the producer. he is a straight up guy. he is using several reagan books as basis. it's not a documentary at the
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theatrical movie. dennis quaid is playing reagan. so be much more accurate portrayal of reagan's life and career that documented this. >> host: craig shirley would you say the produces a straight up guy, sat a way of saying is coming at it from a conservative point of view? >> i do not know what else problem is. i know him socially but i do not politically. i have known him over many years. many years he's been working on this movie, raising the fundsnd. i've always judged him a been on several political with him. i've judged him to be straight up guy. there's no agenda. documentaries pro reagan
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i'm looking forward to this movie. i'm not sure, i'm not going to be happy with it. i believe is going to the downgrade of this life and career perspective often heard over the past four years about the media and donald trump. this faced a hostile media? >> you betcha. downright hostile or the "washington post"'s most despicable endorsed him i believe every democrat running since adlai stevenson in 1952. the newspaper coverage was heinous towardsds reagan. the same with the "new york
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times". very tough on reagan. to support tax cuts he knew he could not get a fair shake from the media. not as possible as those are professional governance, that tempered the media that is less prevalent today. issues like shows and things like that were much more respectful of the other side of the aisle than they are today. now they are just downrightw hostile. abc, nbc, cbs, "washington post", near, times.
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alternative media is around the three networks five, the washington, c-span, other broadcast outlets are people who are in the right like they're getting a fair shake or at least t getting a chance to tell their point of view without being filtered or editor or whatever. >> host: craig shirley is on four out of acre% ronald reagan couple more the works but he's written about world war ii, another went in the workspace also written about neat newt gingrich in maryborough washington the mother of georgee washington. he's been our guests on in-depth on book tv
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