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tv   Bret Baier To Rescue the Republic  CSPAN  August 12, 2022 6:58pm-7:59pm EDT

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you. and i want to continue the conversation this afternoon during our two breaks. just our two breaks. >> [laughs] [applause]
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>> some of you may know, in just a couple of months, i'll be leaving my position as the executive director of the reagan foundation it is to do. i hope you all forgive me if i take this opportunity to -- a little nostalgic over some of the previous visit our guests and i have paid to the reagan library in the years i've been here. i find the opportunity to interview quite a few people on the stage. but you can just imagine the nervousness quotient involved when i have a job of interviewing, well, a professional interviewer. [laughs] someone who does it for a
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living. for those of you who -- watch red bear, conducting interviews in the evening on fox news, as i do, you know exactly what i mean. he is among the very best in the business. [applause] and you may not take my word for, but he is consistently ranked brett's newscast at the top cable news program in his times slot. that's been the case for many years. but brett has a second career going as a best selling offer. and we are not talking about being -- mi cooler what's autobiography, or a cookbook. or a self help guide that reveals his formula for how you
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too can be a network actor. rather with a publication of this, his fifth nonfiction work. it's official, bret baier is a talented presidential historian and writer with a knack for shining a light on pivotal readers at pivotal moments in american history that always seem to be worth another look. his three-day series gave us a very important glimpse into the lives of three u.s. presidents, dwight eisenhower, ronald reagan and fdr all of whom changed the course of history and the fate of the nation. his newest book, on our 18th president ulysses s. grant entitled "to rescue the republic" is as educational as it is timely and i say
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educational and that grant was far more important in u.s. history and some historians had given him credit for. and timely and that when it comes to the fragility of our national unity and the times we live in today their read of his book shows you that we have been here before. it is always a pleasure and an honor to have him with us us so ladies and gentlemen if you would, please join me in welcoming to the reagan library mr. bret baier. [applause] thank you very much. i started with reagan sound
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bites. the issues that reagan deal with that were big issues when we are dealing with the debt so it kind of all works out pretty well to say hi to my friends, john and lisa. and i know i have other friends in the audience. we are here to talk about grant. years >> before you we talk about grant -- your very first visit, here eight or nine years ago, it was about your first book. and the real challenges you had with your son paul, remarkable but please tell us you. okay >> he's doing great. thank you. that book is called, special, heart journey of love hope courage -- oh my gosh, katie, what is it? --
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i am thinking grant, anyway, bottom line. paul is doing fantastic. he has had four open heart surgeries, ten angel plastics. his last one was in december, his open heart surgery. and paul is now an inch taller than me. he is six feet tall. he wears a size 13 shoe. he is a golf, or a basketball player, and he is doing fantastic. so thank you very much. [applause] >> bret, it seems in your book, your choices of presidents to study -- we look oftentimes for an inflection point. a moment in time when that particular president uniquely changed the course of history. is that how you go after your subjects? >> when we started this, and you interviewed me --
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in the series of those books. the first one was eisenhower. and it took a long time to find that. but i realized i didn't know about president eisenhower. i knew about general eisenhower. so it was a discovery for me. and i talked about that process of having this team and a researcher who goes into the national archives -- that are literally treasure troves of nuggets, of historical nuggets. and that book, focusing on the three days in between eisenhower and kennedy's inauguration, kind of opened my eyes to moments in history that are either overlooked or not focused on enough. and so then, the second book is about reagan and the final summits with gorbachev. and the speech he gives that moscow state university. in the big span of history, it's an amazing speech, if you think about. it it just was not focused on a lot at the time. and three days at the brink, it's fdr, churchill and stolen
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planning to derail the -- conference which gets overstated by yalta. it's another spotlight i wanted to give to something i did not think was focused on. so once that three-day series was done, and the beginning middle and end of the war. i wanted to to find something that was overlooked. and i look at grant and i thought, i know nothing about his presidency, other than he was a drunk, and it was a scandal filled. and he basically handed the baton off. i didn't really know, and i'm a student of history. so, we started digging in grant, people will focus on his time as general, which was spectacular, and there are amazing stories in the book they go through his amazing time. it's not -- which is 800 pages, which i am
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a big fan of. but then spends a lot of time on his presidency, which was really consequential. if you think about all that happened in his time. he takes over for andrew johnson, which is by far one of our worst presidents. if not the worst. racist. i won't sugarcoat it. there's not a lot of how -- to my johnson description. but lincoln is assassinated and johnson is erasing lincoln's vision day by day. and grant can see that happening before him. and he eventually was drafted to run for president, winds in alliance live. and once he was done, he pushes through the 14th and 15th amendment to the constitution. he fights the kkk with federal troops.
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he tries to keep the country together and win the peace after the war. and that really thrilled me to be able to dig in and be able to tell that story. and the climax is, as he's leaving -- >> i get the sense, -- you feel like grant was one of the most underappreciated presidents. so his ranking in those historian rankings has gone up 13 spots in recent years. >> that's before my book. so eisenhower went up five spots. we have looked back at why the historians choose to look at it again. i think in this day and age, when we are in such a partisan divide. and everything we've talked about with race, looking back at all that he did to hold the country together at a really pivotal time, gives him another
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look. >> and do you think he, to this day is known as one of the most, if not most brilliant american journalist. his reputation as a general, does it just overshadow his presidency? >> yes, in part because he wrote his memoirs at his time -- in really eloquent terms, at the end of his life, he leaves the presidency. we are going chronicle abjectly at a different spot. but after he leaves the presidency, he is trusted a lot of people in his time in office. -- and that's where some of the corruption comes from. after he leaves the presidency -- who invests with but then invest more and loses everythingoney but then after he leaves the presidency he trust someone else who's part of his family to invest and make some money but then invest more and loses everything. he is poor after
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the presidency and has to start writing articles for a magazine about his time in the civil war and mark twain is his friend. he says how much do you get paid for these articles and he says $500. twain is really upset so he says you are much better than that. you are the president, the best general we have ever had. you need to start a memoir and i will publish it and it was so well-written a lot of people thought twain wrote it but he didn't. he said he only edited a few pages. he starts writing his memoir and this this is the civil war part and he gets throat cancer to the point where he can barely swallow and they are spraying cocaine mist into the back of his throat so he can swallow and live. he's huddled in blankets and writing in longhand because he wants to finish so that he can provide money for his wife, julia. he finishes his memoir and a few days later he dies. twain sells it and it's the best-selling
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book of the time and he makes roughly $3000 which equates to about $14 million in today's terms. thereby he takes care of his family. amazing. again when you think of grant as a general i always thought of him as this big imposing figure of a man but he was actually small in stature wasn't he was very small, 57, 5 feet 8 inches wet. adding in the wet part, 130 pounds wet. he was 5 feet 7 inches, 5 feet 8 inches, no offense. but anyway he was really small and he is a soldier never really wanted to be a soldier. his dad forced them to go to west point and he was not that great at much. he went to west point kicking and screaming and when he went
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there he got the appointment and they said well you have the appointment ulysses s. grant and he said no my name is hiram ulysses grant and they said you can only get this appointment if you're name is ulysses s. grant so his name became ulysses s. grant and the s stands for nothing. his name was really hiram and then he changed his name. he kind of stunk in school. he was getting
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a lot of demerits but he was a really good horsemen and it turned out he was an excellent soldier and he showed that in the mexican-american war. he had some tough times. he went to the northwest territory and he was really lonely and started drinking as some lonely soldiers might do and he was like. he could not hold his liquor that well and he got busted by a commander, drunk and he said either you resign your post or we will court-martial you so he resigned. he went back to illinois and went into this spiral where he was bad at farming and bad in the leather building business and he's finally selling firewood out of the back of a cart to make money. three years after that he was the head of union forces as the biggest general america has ever seen in a few years after that he's president of the united states. amazing. now he graduates from west point and this is really interesting. he was in the mexican-american war he fought alongside who?
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zachary taylor, robert e. lee, a number of the confederate generals at the audience of fighting against. that's where there are interesting intersections between all of these guys and battles because they have fought with each other before and so they have these established relationships. i will jump forward again. it grants funeral just to show you how well respected he was across the land, a million people show up in new york city and lined the streets and they bring out their old uniforms the union and confederate uniforms, and they lined the streets of new york city. his pallbearers are two union generals into confederate generals at the end of his life. and that's the relationships they have that went back all the way to the mexican-american war. in the book you cover the fact that lincoln wasn't envious but he looked over his shoulder at some point and saw grant and said oh my gosh this guide may
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run for president against may, right? yeah you did but grant thought he was that popularity was that popular with the american people but grant never had that aspiration. he really didn't want to run for political office. he was asked all the time to run for president and he said the only office i thought about running for was mayor of galena so i could build a walk from my house to the depot. he finishes as the general and goes back to galena, illinois. there's a big sign that says general the sidewalk is gone. [laughter] that was his only political aspiration but he does get recruited. he has this admiration for lincoln and a relationship that lincoln truly
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believes that even though he's an internal soft-spoken guy and he sees his leadership in grant. another is that lincoln mrs. lincoln and abraham lincoln and the president invite the grants to ford's theater the night of the assassination and the grant almost went that mary todd lincoln -- julia grant was not a big fan of mary todd lincoln and mrs. grant says they have got to go see their children in new jersey, which they did and president lincoln was assassinated that night. grant is bereft with guilt and he thinks if i had been there i would have been able to save president lincoln. he was also a target, grant was of john wilkes-booth. after he was assassinated grant stands at
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the time of the most popular figure. by far. johnson despised that. he despised the grant had that power and grew to really hate him. johnson did to the point where he was just trying to figure out how to get them out of the way. wanted to send them to mexico and do all these things in grant stood up to him and said no. he said if it's a military worker i will go but i'm not going if this is just you sending me. grant is known as the brilliant northern union general but you write in your book that because the approach that he took to southern soldiers to the confederates, i don't want to say the people in the south admired him as much as those in the north but there really was a respect for grant, wasn't
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respect for >> but in the south he was seen as magnanimous, because in victory he gave dignity to the soldiers. he let them lead with a gun in their horse. he offered personal support for the generals who he knew, from fighting with before, and offered to help them out as far as getting them back on their feet. so he was considered, even in the, south as somebody who was well respected to the point of his presidential library and mississippi state and the university, which is near vicksburg. >> you call him, i think, at some point, the anti politician. this was a really neat fact but reveal who grand voted for for
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president. >> he did not vote for himself. he wrote in names and he was not a self promoter at all in the least and he was this guy that was so self deprecating so self effacing that before he is running for president and by the way it comes from his mom, hannah, who despised pomp and circumstance and formality, to the point where she was seen sweeping her front porch when he was being inaugurated. was se>> she did not go to the inauguration. she hated all the pop of all of that. and she, actually, crossing books here, she reminds me a lot of eisenhower's mom, who is exactly the same way and didn't really care that he was the winning general of world war ii. so maybe there is something in
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the mom that is not that into it. but a quick story, as he was getting his fourth start, lincoln calls him up to washington, and he brings his son, fred. and grant does not dress well. he has a wrongfully uniform. he's got muddy boots. and he walks into the willard hotel. it's a really fancy hotel in washington, next to the white house. and he walks again and the clerk looks at him and says, we do not have a room for you. we don't have any more rooms. and he said, okay. he said, well, we might have this little closet on the top floor. and brett looks added son and he says, that will be fine. and he signs the register, u.s. grant, and sun, fred, galina, illinois. and the clerk looks at it and turns white and then goes and runs and gets the manager and they are quickly ethical
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escorted to the bridal suite. so he is just kind of a self effacing guy. not that into the moment. but in the moment he is somebody who exudes this quiet leadership. i think that was the case as president. >> i think you described him, this very complex personality, hard to get to know him, didn't have close friends. >> not a lot of close friends. a couple of gross friends. sherman was a close friend is a military aid. a man named child who was a philadelphia businessman who he gets to no interest time into vacation home. another quick anecdote of his self effacing self. he is going to this vacation home in long branch, new jersey, and he gets on a steamer, on a boat, and he is by himself. and a woman comes with her two
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children and she is trying to take them to the other side and put them on the boat, but she can't stay. she has to go off. she is looking around frantically for someone to stay with the children in someone would pick them up on the other side. he walks up to them and says man, i would be happy to escort your children to the other side. she looks at him and he is like, again, this scrambly man, and she kind of looks at him and he says, ma'am, i am general grant. and she looks at him and says, oh, well, indeed you are. here are the kids. and they made it to the other side. i think what it took away the most was that he was very complex. he had this amazing relationship with his wife, julia. for all the people who said that he was this big drunk throughout his life, he didn't drink it all went julia was with him. and julia was with him a lot. so the evidence of him being a drunkard in the white house is
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very, well, it's not there, from everything we looked at. i think that there were so many consequential moments during his presidency, not the least of which is the and, which is the 1876 election, which is in doubt, the country is divided. rather be hays is the republican, samuel children is the democrat. and three states put up two sets of electors. florida, louisiana, and south carolina. so those states are saying, we are not decided. we are going to say that both of them won. so over a couple of weeks the violence starts to bubble up in the country, and they are threatening violence on capitol hill. and that moment grant starts to work behind the scenes for this grand bargain, which really keeps the country together. >> i want to cover that in a minute. in the meantime, though, when
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he enters office, it seems you described some things about grant that you say i really admire, he was the anti politician, he just meant business. at the same time i think you're that because he had zero political experience and was not interested in getting any, that is inevitably what led to so many of the scandals that took place during his presidency, right? >> yes. each rusted allot of people. he did not have a political insiders savvy about the possibility of corruption. so he put some of his friends in positions of power. some of them take advantage of him. there are some decent sized scandals in his administration, but nothing that ties to him other than his inability to choose the right person, or rather, choose the wrong person to trust. >> talk about the 14th
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amendment and the dilemma, essentially, that grant needed to and wanted to enforce, it but this was not something easy to do, not something easy to do it all. >> the citizens, the citizenship for blacks and then eventually voting, it is being fought in the southern states and there is a palpable sense that if you can't enforce it, what good is it? so that's the argument as he is pushing this. the supreme court is a force that is kind of undercutting the 14th and 15th amendments as well. he is really battling to carry the torch from lincoln's vision to bring the country together on race and to get past the civil war. >> so in the south, it seems like two opposing equal forces,
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and one is the south wanting to return to its ways and grant wanting to push it along, but then there is this south wanting to return to its ways, with respect to slavery and a lack of respect for blacks. that had to be the most difficult issue to deal with. >> 100 percent. johnson, because of some of the things he did to empower the vestiges of the confederacy, he kind of gave them the signal, like the hat tip. this is yet, guys. this is the time. so when grant takes over, he's got to unwind what johnson has done and remind people of the vision of lincoln before him. it is a fashion eating time. i think, you think of presidents in tough positions, and that is a big tough one. when he is making this grand bargain with the election in
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dallas, and really, we're a country on the brink of falling back into a civil war. there are, we say it's the kkk, but in but it's really a right positions, the time to rise up again and so it's an insurgency that is happening. and he is trying to make this deal in a way that they will buy yen. so if not all parties are bought in, the deal is going to fall apart. >> and then you get a sense for just how difficult this must have been. and i must have missed this day in history class. because i didn't realize this until i read your book -- talk about the dominican republic and the role that grant and others thought it might play in this whole mess. >> they were trying to think of everything. they were throwing everything against the wall about possibilities to soothe the
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south or make it so that this wasn't an issue. so one of the things you think, about that is just out there if you think about big picture, is taking the dominican republic and having all former slaves just move their. with everybody. and suddenly, you know, people are thinking, well maybe this could work, maybe this could solve the south's problems. and it wasn't feasible from the beginning, and it goes down in flames as a suggestion. but it just goes to show you that they were trying to think of everything to throw up against the wall. >> and then meanwhile, there was the great westward expansion in the united states which creates a whole other set of intractable issues for a grant to have to deal with, because? of >> the native americans. and the battle of the native americans have. he is the first president to really do outreach to native
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americans. he installed a native american as interior secretary. and he is really trying to make this effort, but because of the constant battle and violence on the west, he loses to circumstances. and -- but it's not without trying that -- he continues to try to make and rode with native americans and try to make peace. but, you know, if you look at the moments that -- the efforts to make outreach and then the reality that he has to face, it is kind of stark. >> because he's sympathetic to their plates. and me, there is one general after another completely -- anticipating the federal inspections, right? >> and slaughtering people. and once that happens, i'll trust is gone and they are back to ground zero. >> but hayes verse until the
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race -- i wasn't in history class that day. but, i don't know, maybe i wasn't paying that much attention. but it's really -- i remember when president george w. bush, 43, was elected. and they had that issue with the vote counts in florida. that looks like baby food compared to the scandals and the cheating, and the rest of that that went into the election that -- had to resolve. this was not either to unwind or put back together. >> they were all kinds of allegations on both sides. that blacks were prevented from getting to the polls, that there was an effort to squash the vote. that republicans had stacked the deck. they were all kinds of stuff, in these three different states. and you are right, it was a conundrum. and it was bedlam on the house
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floor. in fact, there were times when people were yelling children or blood! standing on a desk on the house floor. now -- i'm starting to finish this book, and we are coming to get it all together. and january 6th, happens and uncovering january 6th, the capital riot. and that is actually how the book starts. because i just do a tiktok of that coverage that day. thinking in my mind the historical moment that i am writing about in 1876. and how, there's not similarities, but it gives you a perspective about where we have been before as a country. and how close we have been before as a country to tipping back to civil war, and what is needed to get out of that mess. >> i don't know if that election and this whole mess
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we're talking about -- was the genesis of the term smoke filled room, but it really was a smoke filled room decision. >> it was. the -- hotel. this shadowy figure, edward berke, who is a louisiana guy. who is working for nichols, who is a challenger to the current louisiana governor. he's a democrat, this guy -- he gets in touch with grant and says, i think we can make a deal. always the louisianans, they figure out a way to make a deal here. new orleans style. but he start talking about, you give the governorships in the states, that are contested currently to the democrats. you promised to pull all federal troops out of the south. this south promises to honor
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black rights and suffrage, and equality. and they get the autonomy back and they stay in the union. now, grant makes this deal and this bargain thinking -- i think he thinks it's going to come together. if ronald reagan was there, in 1876,, he would probably say, my friend, ulysses, trust but verify. and, it turns out, over the years, much like bringing in another book, star landed with fdr, promised him he was going to not invade poland. the promise falls apart. and that leads to years of strife that obviously bring in jim crow laws and all of the
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civil rights strife that we saw in the years after that. grant, i think, hoped that, one, they would keep the promise. and two, that the president that followed would then take that torch from him, the lincoln legacy, and move it down the presidential road. >> so, meanwhile, we fast forward. and i think there's a moment in the book where you talk about -- the town out west where there were big, big statue of grant. >> san francisco. at the end of the book, it's just a perspective. because after joyce floyd. the killing and protest that resulted from that, around the country. i was writing, and i saw the coverage in san francisco. and there's a grand statue being pulled down. the reporters are there live.
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she turns around and says, why are you pulling the statue down? and the people doing it said, he's probably in the civil war, and he had a slave. we have to move on from that. and it really struck me in that moment. because, here is a guy who yes, did have a slave, his father-in-law -- gives him a slave. but he frees that man soon thereafter. and spend the rest of his life fighting slavery, fighting for equality for blacks, fighting for the right to vote and doing everything he can in his power to help the african american communities get on their feet. in grant's time, there are black congressmen, black senators, blacks who owned farms and are making money in the south. southern blacks are succeeding in those early years in grants presidency. and it just struck me --
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how a little we remember about history. and how sad that is. and how much we can do to make sure younger people -- to make sure they affect the future in a different way. >> we should pay attention history class. [applause] -- he's a drunk, and all of the stuff. i get the sense that at the end of the day, you would define grant as an american hero? >> 100%. i think history will look a lot brighter on grant in the years to come. and i hope i'm part of that. because everything that we've found in the treasure troves of the national archives suggests
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that not only was he a military strategist, and almost a savant when it came to strategy in the civil war. but, he was just a leader, a leader of men, who was humble, patient, but had this cold resolve to get things done. and i think that hamilton song, who writes your history? who matters? i think, for years, because of the vestiges of reconstruction and all that happened after that, all of the negativity dumped on grant, and maybe the drunk thing stuck. and the corruption was what led the review of his presidency. and i just think it deserves a full view. >> if you don't mind, bret, there are some questions. -- these questions are not nearly
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as good as mine. so, it's the lightning round. let's see. who does your research for the books? >> the first researcher i hired for the history books was a woman name sydney soderberg, who was the former mayor of celina, kansas. she worked as the eisenhower library. i first met her when i was exploring eisenhower and trying to figure out what i was going to write about eisenhower. and library said, this is your best person. so we met, and we talked. and she said to me, listen, i just want you to know something. i watch your show. and i said, that's great. she said, i like a show. i said, that's better. but she said, but i am a true, blue, kansas democrat. and i said, well, that's great. i'm a news anchor who likes history. so we are going to get along.
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and we did. and with sydney and catherine whitney, my coauthor, we formed this team where we kind of just bounced these nuggets around until we got a blueprint. and then we were stitching pieces of the quilt together until we got the book that we get. it takes a while, i write at night, usually with a glass of wine. i'm a night owl. fortunately, my wife amy holds down the fort and allows me to do that. >> let's see, talk about grant's relationship with robert e. lee. how well did they know each other and was there a mutual respect? >> they obviously spot together in the mexican american war there was a mutual respect. they communicated during the war by telegram. and
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appomattox was a moment and by lee was the picturesque -- of a general. he was dressed to the ninth, he had a sword, perfectly immaculate, well shaven. he just looked the part. and grant did not, at all. to the point where, where he is winning battles, some of the early photographers cut off his head of the picture and put it on a different general who is sitting upright and looks better. it was the first photo shop of the civil war. but they did have a relationship and it continued after the war. and he invited lee to the white house, which was quite a moment. and if i was in the press corps -- they only spend something like 15 minutes together. >> they did. but they kept a stretch. there was a mutual respect.
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there was a lot of debate about who was a better general strategically, lincoln was convinced it was grant. >> describe your writing process -- do you aim for a certain number of words or pages per day? how do you do that? >> i usually put in two hours. and i put myself in a rome for two hours. and then we bounce back and forth, catherine is just amazing at being able to stitch things together. and we ping-pong. and it is a great team. . sydney is kind of the digger of the nuggets. and we go from there. >> what was your most interesting nugget that she found in writing this book about grant? >> i do think grant getting invited to -- is an interesting nugget. i think grants time as he is at
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the end of his life trying to write that memoir, and getting through that moment, is also a really interesting nugget. but his relationships, i think, come forward in this book a lot more than other places where i have read about grant. i think we get a little bit more context, a little bit more personality to his character. and, that is in part from other writings of other people who described him. >> about a paragraph in your book, bret, you talk about the ford theaters and by chance how they almost came together. and maybe you could touch on it. it's either a rumor or a fact that john wilcox booth appearance in front of grant's carriage, tell us about that.
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>> it is that night, as they are going to get to new jersey, john wilcox booth is seen riding horseback and grant then remembers and writes about this strange man staring at him through the carriage in an ominous way that night. and it is believed that that is john wilts booth chasing down the carriage as he's going out of town to new jersey. he turns around and goes to ford theater. >> it was a conspiracy, i recall around booth and other players and actors, and presumably a part of the whole evening -- >> grant is convinced it with him. but who knows, it could've been someone else. but it was an ominous figure staring at his carriage as he's leaving washington. >> are you planning another three days book? >> three days is three days.
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it is three books -- so i think that is, by the, way it makes a great christmas set. it's fantastic for under the tree. i am going to do another rescue book. and we will see what we are rescuing next. >> that is in the business of a deep teas, -- >> it's in the process, it's in the works. sydney has been deployed. the nuggets are being mined. >> i'm going to compress two questions into one, they seem to fit. what can we learn from 1876 that would help with conflict today? and how do you restore physics discourse to the present day? >> i agree with you, oh boy.
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whoever said, oh boy. i will tell you why, that's one of the really big challenges of today. and we are a divided nation, clearly. but i think history can help give us some perspective of where we have been before. and we are a long way from where we were. discourse takes leadership. social media doesn't help, it drives everybody apart. i don't know if you visited my twitter feed lately, it can be a dark place occasionally. but i think that, it just take leaders. and we could use a grants or eisenhower or reagan, frankly. optimistically -- [applause] >> now we're coming forward, we're right in the thick of current events. what is your opinion of your
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competition at the other cable networks? >> wow. wow. and this is being recorded? >> not at all. it's off the record. >> i have a lot of respect for my competition at other networks. however, i will say, that i do think that some people who are regular news people thought they were somehow affected by donald trump and his administration to the point where a motion factored in more than it should have in some of the reporting. so where they lost some people in the trust factor. and it hurt all of us as journalist to do that. so when i took over for --
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in 2009, he said two things to. me one, the show is not about you. and to, let the news drive the show. so i look at it with blinders on how i can make that our be as new z as possible. if someone gets to the end of the hour, and they feel like they know what's happening in the u.s., and around the world, and they have some sense of analysis of the big moments from people who cover washington for decades. but i am trying to take the emotion out of it from me. of course i have thoughts about things, i am not a robot. but i want to be able to present it to you so you can make the decision. that whole thing, we, report you decide, is not just a slogan. i am really trying to do that every night from 6 to 7, 3 to 4 your time. [applause] >> any prediction for the 2022 elections? [laughs] >> again, if the camera is
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rolling. if you talk to republicans on the hill, they are really excited about the prospects. they feel like they're in a good position. they feel like, subject wise, topic wise, they have a number of things if they can talk about. that they feel good about. so it should be, for the house side, according to kevin mccarthy, paint by numbers. they should pick up -- the only need a few seats. and he's looking at 20, 30, 40 big pick ups of seats in the house. the senate is much more difficult in that -- the guidelines are a little bit tougher for republicans. and i think that will come down to the candidates chosen. the biggest political saying, the elephant in the room, literally the elephant in the room, is the decision of the former president. whether he went runs for president or not. that will decide a lot about how different parties deal with
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that. if he does rhyme, he will, of course get a ton of attention. and every other candidate will be asked whatever the former president is saying or doing. i was soon he will be back on twitter, which then will pick up our knowledge of what is happening inside of president trump's head. and there will be a reaction to that. so, it's very cyclical. and i think it's the biggest political thing that we will see in the next probably 6 to 10 months. i haven't totally decided yet. [applause] i know you're going to ask, john, it's a huge decision. i don't get to do that on the show as much. >> what's processes are in
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place to make real the slogan of fair and balanced, and do you have control or influence over the content of that balance? >> yes, i'm the executive editor of the show. so, the buck stops with me. but i have a great team. and i have an executive producer. i have some writers and i've got a couple of producers. and we have a great team that has formed a really good system about trying to be an ice hockey goalie of news, to prevent the bad pucks from getting through. and there are many bad pucks out there. so yes, it is me. and i make the decisions. there is a morning meeting. it's collaborative, we all talk about things. but i am the executive editor. >> serious question here, how did you like being on got felled? >> let's see, like a stake in
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the lions den. i don't know, it was fine. but i didn't know what was happening. and once he started talking about hunter biden and whatever else he had some skit about pelosi -- i, said i should probably exit stage left. i think i have an interview requests for speaker pelosi. i hope she's not watching. and then he leaned over to me and said, she got up to sleep. i'm not sure that help with the interview request as well. >> to -- our last two questions. and we are going to run out of time. i think you played ball? you love sports. your kids play sports. what is your favorite golf course? >> favorite golf course -- just because of the memories would be, augusta national. but i love playing out here at
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pebble beach and the at&t -- there is nothing like that. and i talked to three or 4 million people at night through the camera. but when i am standing in front of 200 people and i have to make a turn on a -- it's a different ball. game i played in college, it's still a different ball game. >> last question, this ones from me. because i know that earlier in your career you are in the pentagon -- i know you are really well informed on the national security front. what is your opinion on what happened with -- in afghanistan. was that the presidential decision? a military follow-up? how do you see it? >> for everything i've heard, it's that everyone was recommending the troops remain until americans were out. and that the president was very
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determined to have it the other way around, so that -- and i think the recommendations, everything we can tell, are pretty much down the -- i think even the state department was weighing in on that front. so, i don't know if we know 100%. but i do think this was a presidential decision. i do think it's that, having been there just a few weeks after 9/11, i landed that bagram air base with -- secretary rumsfeld. and to see all of that time, embedded along the afghan pakistani and border, i was in the small afghan villages where a 20 year old captains were essentially mayors of these little villages, trying to get girls to go to school, and set up the water system. and they did. amazing things were happening.
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i just think we bit off a lot more than the original mission. but how we got out, not would we get out, but how we got out was sad. and i think former defense secretary gates said on 60 minutes, it was just that. and i'd be remiss if i didn't say, our condolences to the powell family. and the loss of colin powell this week. he was a great, great man. and he was larger than life when it came to washington. but the stories that i have from researching reagan as his national security adviser, and i will just tell you one very quickly, and that is, during moscow, the final summit, and they're finally coming to the end where they are going to make the final deal. and gorbachev keeps on saying there will be a peaceful coexistence -- and they're gonna add this
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paragraph that no interrupting internal affairs, peaceful coexistence. and reagan sees that he says it like four times. and he's suspicious of it. and he turns to powell and powell scribble's on the corner of a paper, and he puts it down and he slides it to reagan. and reagan looks at it and then gets up and says, the answer is no. we are not adding that paragraph. and gorbachev explodes and gets in reagan's face, he's a little shorter. he's in his face. and they are really yelling at each other. and the whole deal is about ready to fall apart. and then gorbachev backs down and says, okay. and he is kind of defeated. and they don't add the paragraph. so everybody files out of the room, the deal is done. and marlin fits water goes back to the table and sees a little piece of paper and picks it up. and it says, if you agree, you can never criticize them again.
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meaning, you can never criticize the soviet union again if you put that paragraph in the deal. and reagan saw that and trusted powell so much that he risked the whole nuclear deal on that graph. and so colin powell's influence, not only with reagan, but the bush, and a lot of people in washington, was exponential. he was a great man. >> i know president stated -- reagan stated publicly that at one point he hoped that powell would run for presidency one day and he would vote for him. bret, it's been a very quick hour spent with you. just wonderful. thank you for coming. and thank you for such a terrific -- so happy. >> thank you very much. i really appreciate it. thank you.
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well today we're going to begin talking about your 1864 and we're going to start with the action in virginia in 1864. focusing specially now today on the action in may in june. and the famous duel between ulysses s grant and robert e lee. the big showdown between in each case the best general that each side had i think this campaign has


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