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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  July 19, 2011 12:00am-1:00am PDT

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>> rose: welcome to our program. tonight, an update on the debt limit t talks in washington with jonathan karl, senior political correspondent for abc news. >> i don't think it's debt. ... dead. and i just a few minutes ago had a chance to speak with speaker boehner as he was going by. he wouldn't gnto anything obviouslabout hisdiscussions with the president but just reading the body language and asking him if this is still something that's out there, my senseis that tre is still a glimmer of hope, at least in speaker boehner's mind, and certainly from what i'm hearing at the white house that they can at this 11th hour salvage some kind of adeal that wowoddbe sosothing along theeinin of a a grandd bargain. >> rose: we continue this evening with a look at the "harry potter" phenomenon with paul needham, nancy gibbs and david denby. over the weekend, the film grossed $169 million
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domestically, a new box office record. >> he knows if we find and destroy or cruxs we'll be able to kill him. i reckon he'll stop at nothing to make sure we don't find the rest. and there's more, one of them's at hogwarts. >> what? you saw it? >> i saw the castle. >> it must have something to do with her. we have to go there now. >> it started out as a phenomenon about a book that was popular with children but that's a long time ago. it's been much bigger than that. by the time is book that this movie is based on came out, it sold 15 million copies in the first day. so now it's farigger than a book or a movie. it's now part of the... at the sk of being ridiculous, it's part of the canon. i've heard english professors at princeton liken itto what happened when "uncle tom's cabin"as published in the way it's permeated socie. >> rose: we conclude with doris kearns goodwin the historian and noor a titone who's written a new book about the family of
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john wilkes booth,he man who assassinated president lincoln. >> we can't lk at john wilkes booth simply as a confederate village, which he was, and confederate conspirator, which he certainly was. but he was also an actor and he had been shaped in this family, the booths, a remarkable clan of shakespearean stars who were themselves shakespearean in thr fractiousness, in their ambition and their rivalries. and they were the crucible that rmed john wilkes booth and that his story as much as it is a story of confederate zealotry, 's an actor's story as wl. >> rose: debate in washington, the "harry potter" phenomenon d john wilkes booth and his family when we continue.
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from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: negotiations in washington over the debt ceiling remain at a deadlock. house republicans are pected to vote tomorrow on their cut, cap, and balance plan. the white house threatened to vetohe republican proposal today. white house press secreta jay carney mocked the proposal calling it "duck, dodge and dismantle." tuesday'house vote comes after more than week of white hoe talks with congressional leaders. house speaker john boehner and representative eric cantor met privately sunday with president oba, though fferences remain. meanwhile, senate majority leader harry reid and minority leader mitch mcconnell work on their plan. their bill would give the president the authority to raise the debt ceiling three times over the next 18 months. joining me from washington, jonathan karl, the senior political correspondent forbc news and i am very pleased to have him this evening. welcome. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: tell ere you say you're standing. >> i'm right here in statuary
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hall which is kind of the place where you can see virtually everybody. literally while i've been waiting here for the last few minutes we've seen speaker boehner go by, eric cantor, we saw chris van hollen, the top democrat on the budget committee. paul ryan. so it's kind of a place of activity right now. a lot of meetings and discussions going on down the hallway in the speaker's office. >> rose: so where are they in these discussions, do you believe? >> well, i think that we're at a true point of impasse right now. until this vote you ntioned happens tomorrow in the hoe. this cut, cap, and balance plan put forward by the republicans. everybody here knows it's going noere cause it won't pass the senate and even it it passed in the senate there is no way the president would sign it. in fact, they officially issued a vo threat on that today. but republicans want to go through the motion on this. they want to demonstrate that they have 218 ves, more than 21 votes in the house to pass something that would raise the debt ceiling but only by
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imposing steep cuts to next ye's budget and to budgets over the next ten years and also of course, a balanced budget amendmen so this is kind of a... it's a message vote. it's a message to the white house that replicansave unitof puose here and it's the kind of last-ditch thing that happens here before we come to what will ultimately... must be a deal at some point. >> rose: so what's the status of what mcconnell and reid are working on? >> well, mcconnell and reid are working separately on what mcconnell is calling the last-choice effort. last-choice option. and that is essentially, as you described, you let the president raise the debt limit and you let him do that, you give him the authority to do it but you also give congress the ability to express disapproval for it. this is really in many ways the triumph of politics over policy. it enables republicans to say "the president did it, we didn't
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want them to do it but he went ahead and did it." but it doesn't do what they've been trying to accomplish here, which is do something to finally get the fiscal crisis if not resolved, at least the fiscal situation headed in the right direction. but they're also simultaneously workg on whatever cuts they can agree on, although, charli i'm hold last-choice option there's no guarantee it would include cuts all. >> rose: will house republicans vote for it? >> i d't think so. i think-my sen is that frankly theyould have a better chance of passing the bill deal, a big $4 illion deal that would significantly cut spending but also include some tax revenue increases. that's, i think... as tough as it would be far to pass the house, i think idea of just giving the president the authority but getting political points to store in return is not going to fly with the republicans in the house. the only way it passes in the
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house i believe is if there is a vast majority of democrats to go along with it and a slice of republicans. but, look, y heard the speaker last week say this whole situation is like a rubik's cube. any time you kind of dial up the spending cuts, you're going to start losing democrats. any time you di up anything portrayed as a tax increase, even if it's not increasing tax rates,obods talngbout that right now. anything that looks like it's increasing tax revenues at all you start losing republicans. >> rose: so is th idea of the president's desire far grand bargain and speaker boehner at one time hoping for a grand bargain, is that dead or does... the white house says it still hopes for that is it fair to say that people in the congress still hope for tt? >> i don't think it's dead. and i just... just a few minutes ago i had a chce to speak with speaker boehner as he was going by, wouldn't go into anything,
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obviously, about his discussions with the president but just ading the body language and asking anymores is still something that's out there, my sense is that there is still a glimmer of hope, at least in speaker boehner's mind and certainly from what i'm hearing at the white house that they can at this 11th hour, salvage some kind of a deal. it would be something along the lines of a grand bargain. it would actually begin not just to rise the debt ceiling but to seriously address the fiscal situation. but, charlie, it's such a heavy lift. and you talk to people in the senate, in the house, youalk to democrats and republicans you don't find a lot of optimism that they're going to come to some kinofgreement. but i know theare still talking about it. they are simultaneously... you have two tracks going on. they are simultaneously prong what could pottially be done by way of a big grant compromise at the same time going on this
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other track of saying, okay, what's the llback going to be if we're headed out a week from august 2 and we still have no agreement whatsoever. >> rose: will the republicans get e prident to lay out what cuts in entitlement programs he's prepared to go for? >> they've been asking that. the closest they've gotten was the president suggesting that he'd go along with something by the way of means testing. charging seniors higher premiums for medicare, wealthy seniors higher premium but they've been asking for the details, but what's interesting is right now you have a little bit of quiet, a little bit of calm in all these talks. as i said, the negotiators keep going back and forth and you're not hearing as much of that right now, which gives me the sense that they're actually talking about this. we know speaker boehner and eric cantor were at the white house, as you mentioned, sunday morning. and we don't know what they
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specialally were going at. were they talking about some kind of a last option to prevent default or were they still trying to pursue this big deal? none of them will talk and, frankly, the ft that none of them will talk about what was going on is a good sign. because in too many of these meetings we've seen either precede or followed by big press conferences of one side denouncing the other. >> rose: how do you see the politics playing itself snout some say the president is occupying the middle ground and he has benefited from this. you clearly see that senator mcconnell in what he recommended he talked about the politind not wanting to sort of own the... be... have co-ownership of the obama economic program. >> i think in manyways the republicans have completely bungled the politics of this. the president has managed to come out and at least now during this... as we've been through this negotiation period appear to be theperson who has been mr. reasonable, who has said we need to compromise, we need meet
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in the middle, we need to do something that will solve the long-term deficit problem. he's been able to do that thout, as you mentioned, laying out anything by way of specifics of how he would do it and it's the republicans who in their public pronouncements have been drawing lines absolutely we won't touch taxes. when in reality, you know, you remember what happened when we first learned that boehner and the president were secretly trying to come up with a grand bargain. when those stories first started to come out, it was democrats that screamed and yelled about it. it was democrats who id there is no way they would go along with cuts to medicare benefits. certainly not for social security benefits. and then suddenly the plug was pulled and it wasn't pulled by democrats, it was pulled by speaker boehner saying they couldn't go along with anything by way... that deal with tax revenues. so it's... the potics now in many waydon't matter because this is the process. what's going to matter what actually happens.
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but right now the pitic have not played well for republicans. at least i don't believe they have. >> senator mckonld when you said that to recognize there would be a default would be a catastrophe. do most of the house republicans those drawing a red line and say no revenue enhancement, are they prepared to keep that position even to the point of default saying that they don't care about the consequences or worry about the consequences or don't believe the consequences if there's a default? >> there is a group that certainly goes along those lines. there's a group on any given day it's hard to tell if it's 30 or 50 or more. but there's a group that says absolutely not, they don't believe the dire warnings. in fact, they look back to that tarp vote, to the wall street bailout vote. you remember the first time it was brought up it failed, it went down. the market tanked and a few days later everybody was spooked by the markets and they voted for
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it. a lot of them look at that and say that was a mistake. they shouldn't have voted for the wall street bailout. i'm not sure for that small group whether or not they ev the... even a mark catastrophe here is going to change their minds. but more and more republicans.. the majority of the caucus knows that this would be a big problem and one other thing, charl, they brought in.. the republican leadership brought in to speak to the rank and file somebody from the bipartisan policy center. they've done an analysis of exactly what happens on august 3 when you don't the abily to borrow money, wh happens, what you can afford. and it's pretty grim. they presented this the republicans an i'm hearing from more and more that they don't want that to happen but they also don't, of course, want to compromise on taxes. >> rose: jonathan karl, thank you so much. it's a pleasure. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: the end of the "harry potter" era ha come.
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the eighth and fal film of the series based on j.k. rowling's books premiered in theaters on thursday evening at midnight. here's the trailer for "harry potter and the deathly hallows part 2." >> harry potter:. you have fault valiantly. you've allowed your friends to die for you rather than face me yourself. join me. confront your fate.
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>> i don't want any of you to die for me. >> we finish this the way we started. >> nobody can live forever. >> rose: "harry potter's" magical adventure along with his two best friends ron and hermoine have served as a cultural phenomenon for fans. the series books and film have
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created an entertainment juggernaut. since she first published the first book, the series has sold close to 450 cops worldwide. so for the film sersave earned $6.4 billion at the box office. joining me to tk about this, nancy gibbs of "time" magaze, david denby of the "new yorker" and paul needham of the hung on the post. so you have written about this phenomenon. what is it? >> well, it started out as a phenomenon about a book that was popular with children but that was a long time ago. it's been much bigger than that. by the time this book that this movie is based on came out, it sold 15 million copies in the first day. so now it's far bigger than a book or movie. it's now... at theisk of being ridiculous, it's part of the canon. i've heard english professors at princeton liken it to what happened when "uncle tom's cabin" was published in the way it has permeated society. so this is why... your lead in
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when you said it's the end of the "harry potter" era, i take issue with that. i think the "harry potter" era will bwith us for a long time. >> rose: english literature and movie history never have >> law professor use her, philosophy prossors use her. she has so permeated the academy at every level. so i think the characters that she has created and the stories he she's told has been fodder for not just parents and their kids to have a great time but for something even more interesting. >> rose: why did she end it? >> you know i think partly because when she began she had mapped the whole thing out. she knew how it was going to unfold. so i interviewed her right after she finished the last book and she said "i burst into tears and hit the mini bar." she dn't want to end it. was... that was the way she had conceived the story. so she couldn't just sort of chge her mind about how the... was tounfold. >> rose: david, the films have been up and down, have they not? >> yes. just to continue the figures you
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mentioned, there have been eight movies. the budgets are probably totaled about a billion and a half dollars. the theatrical grosses will be over $7 million. the ancillary markets will trip that will figure when you add in t.v. and d.v.d.s and books and, you know, "harry potter's" guide to the bond market" all those kinds of things. and it'm employed an incredible army of people in england. every pain hear shea expert, every digital person. pain hear shea expert has worked through this thing. i mean ms. rowling and the british lm industry could help us through debt crisis. >> rose: she's the richest woman other than the queen? >> other than the queen. it's the most exaordinary... before we go bk to the cuure, the most extraordinary we cune their... pecuniary-- is that the right word-- phenomenon in pop culture hiory with
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except for james bond. yod have to work t the inflation of the dollar because there are more james bond movies. >> rose: having put it on that pedestal. what do you think of theew movie in >> i think is terrific. one of the tngsiked is that it's gotten darker as the series... the first two were directed by chris columbus from the "home alone" movies and as i remember them they were literal minded and sort of plodding. then alfonso qor ron took over the third one, "prisoner of azkaban" and the magic got more exciting, grotesque, funny. i remember individual sequences clearly. this guy yates, david yates, who's done the last four... well we skipped mike newel. >> rose: mike new did one? >> he did the fourth one. yates has done the last four. >> rose: tell me why you liked this. >> yates comes out of a gratety realist british t.v.backound. that may be why the material
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seems to have gotten darker and more grown up as it's gone on. 've been introduced to all of these betrayals and loyalties and the wizard world riven wi... i mean it's like the grown-up adult world. it's like the united states congress. so, i mean, it's... and his background may have added weight to the fantasy and the magic that has made it more and more interesting as people have tten older looking at it also. >> re: how much excitement was there about harry per? >> "harry potter" for kids my age, people... we were in first, second, third, fourth grade when the first book came out. i remember a friend of mine had gone to london for a school vacation and came backwith the first copy i everaw of arry potter" and theyead it to us in school in library time or whatever it was called. and that was where "harry potter" began. and it's really just absorbed our lives. it's become such a ben if non. to david's point earlier, if you were trying to sell used furniture in england, the best thing that ever happened to you was "harry potter" because in this last film they have a
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60,000 square foot room called the room of requirement that's entirely filled with used furniture th the collected for the movie. and i think much kind november that same way "harry potter" has just kind of built up through our lives. it's an amazing story that at once combines kind of very sort of trivial kind of banal teenage pursuits, discussions of popularity, of athletic which is we don't see in this movie with quiddich, of dating, love, everything. and at the same time with these boys and gir who essentially is the fate of the world resting on their shoulders. and so certainly for people who grew up kind of in th last couple decades, "harry potter" has been the defining cultural forc then the next question is will our children read harry poter? i think that's a trickier question to answer. i hopehey do but i don't know how you evaluate the longevity of these kinds of things. >> you know what will be so
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different, snow is that it's your generation that had the experience of reading one and falling in love and having to wait tse so that each new book... just as they were camping out at movie theaters last night, we were camping out at bookstores. i have friends with three kids who would preorder five books so they would all arrive and everyone in the famy would curl up for the weekend. each new book, each movie was such an event. from now on kids if they want could read all seven books right back to back. >> and they do and they do. they read them straight through. >> these are kids who often haven't read much of anything else. >> for people who have a little more patience, the better part might be... i remember the last book when it came out you were racing through it trying to find out if harry died at the end because you didn't know. and now in a way you kind of do know he survives and i think this is why we know where the huffington post thathe movie is better than last book. without is burden of... >> rose: the last movie is better than the last book? >> right. well, the last movie... it's tricky because it's only the
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secondalf of the last movie. and i think second to last movie, the penultimate movie, which was about the first half of the last book, was really pretty awf and very boring. they sat in the a tent in the woods for whole time, harry, ron and hermoine. the second half of the last book freed of this burden of wondering will harry die or not, will the world end, does voldemort win? not thatlooking back how could that be. but freeed of that burden the movie is such a joy to watch and just the battle scene at hogwarts which is what the series culminates to across seven books and eig movies and everything else. now they have a theme park for "harry potter." the battle scene at hogwarts issy so clear and precise in the movie where in the ok you were racing through and there were wondz everywhere and who even knew what happens? >> it's very dark. the color pallet is gray and black and the mood is gloomy. hog warts is laid under siege by
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the villain. by volt mart and it looks like a bombed out cathedral at the end of world war ii. and there are people lying around... world war i. people lying around dead on the floor. it's... >> major characters. this is another thing. the movies got darker, the books got rker. and the stakes hier and the trauma more serious. >> rose: one more time. what was j.k. rowling tapping into? >> well, you could say-- and many people have-- some of the most ancient cultural mythological themes of good and evil and triumph over adversity. the virtue she was most intested in exploring was courage, which is an interesting virtue to pick for a children's book. it isn't an attribute we typically attribute to children. but bravery in all of its men physician-assisted suicide stations and i think that along with themeof love and of... and of friendship and what that can mean even in e worst possible scenarios is what she was...
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>> harry is one part jesus comes to redeem a fallen world and one part siegfried with a wand instead of a sword and the third and most pleasingart, just plain wonderful simple true loyal harry. i mean, the kind of yeoman spirit of england. >> rose: when you ask that question, does that mean "harry tter" has as mh appeal to adults as it does tow the young? >> yes, i think of all these franchises... >> rose:he questions of friendship and courage and jealousy and redemption. >> i think one point that's interesting, i was speaking to the fact that maybe the precise experience of people my age growing up with these books and movies was kind of particular and that maybe it won't last in the way we think it is, is that the world got darker as we got older. an this these books came out... the whole series started in the late '90s and as they got darker 9/11 happened and the world today which seems like such a mess it kind of kes sense that "harry potter" is in this knew
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see why, you know, david made the joke earlier, it's like that debt crisis. who even knows what's going on? and somehow the notion that there's this "harry potter" figure can just transcend through it all and kind of survive and save the world i think becomes this kind of great ambition that people my age ght have that somebody is going to figure this out and maybe that speaks to support for barack obama who i guess turned out not to be harry potter. >> rose: is it all about how good it is? or is it equally part about how smartly they have marketed harry poter? >> well, both. >> rose: it's a brand and a brand and a brand. >> incredible marketing. and i mean it does worry me a little bit that so much of the movie... we were talking about this before. so much of the movie business is given over to the blockbusters and special effects and fantasy and there's so few movies for grown-ups except in that fall season when we meet again and talk about who'soing to win the oscar, you know? so... and you do wonder whether
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kids who... i mean, the theme here is that the book that helped kids grow up. but i do wonder will they be able to sit and watch two people in movie-- a man and a woman-- talking across a table to each other or will ty be let down by anything if it doesn't have magic and fantasy. >> rose: and do we need closure on everything that happens in our sflooifs >> there's this absurd epilogue stuck on the end of the book that for some reason they carried into the end of the movie. >> it's a real letdown. >> it's the most saccharin thing you've ever seen. they didn't get new actors, they just tried to age the actors. >> rose: o in fact the prafr you have it says "to be sure this is not a movie without flaws. it makes its most notable fumble at the end. the saccharin fan fiction epilogue is included in the film instead of using older actors" you make that point. but what about this actor? >> it's been... it's been fascinating to watch him grow up
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and become a rather steely young man fm the charmer and with the wonderful eyes an the bright smile, the alertness that he had from the age of 11. he's now a killer in this last movie. he these kill voldemort. i mean, that's his mission, finally, to save everybody. so that's been a bit of a shock. i mean... and moving in a way, also. and i mean all three of them. >> it's an amazingthing when yothink of them having to ca these actors when they were 11 years old and hope that they would grow and develop in such a way in their talent and their ability. >> and didn't grow psically. >> well, harry's supposed to be diminutive anyway. so just watching all these actors, especially ones who started out as children. >> you asked about grown-ups. onof the thing obviously for grn-ups is the britishness of it is a delight and, you know,
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the continuing love of british pop culture, whether it's the beatles, whether it's james bond whether it's this. it's very, very powerful. >> rose: why is that? >> first of all, they can speak, damn it! they can articulate! even these 11-year-old actors, right? crisp, clear. and they can act. it's a culture that values performance. not so much sincerity but performance. ve different from our culture. they can speak, they're used to appearing in plays from the time that they're very young. in school plays and that sort of thing. and then they're drawing on theatrical traditions and also a kind of rich vein of... i don't know what else to call it except kind of linsed eccentricity that goes back to shakespeare, maybe, or maybe only the the 18th century. but, i mean these wonderful, like, michael guam bonn, right? >> rose: the great guam bone. >> or maggie smith. she's in this thing... and she
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has some great moments here. i don't know how old she is but she has that incredible bearing. the perfect artulation. humor. the richness of the british personalitie and the boardg school rituals, the house loyalties, the games, all of that stuff is all very entertaining. >> you know what i think that is about for a generation parents is that this series, these stories, theseovies and books have provided this extraordinary ing that parents and children can sharend that, in fact, children introduce their parents to. typically the kids find the books. and then they say "mo, dad, you've got to read this." and it is this gift that you give so much material to work with to characters, to liken and bring into a situation. >> rose: thank you, nancy. thank you. >> rose: much is known about the assassination of president abraham lincoln, one of our greatest presidents. we knowhe it took place, the ford theater in washington, d.c.
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we know who did it, john wilkes booth. we know little about the family of john wilkes booth. early his life he worked as a strugglingctor. his career was always obscured by the shadow of his older brother edwin, the greatest star of the 19th century sta. on april 14, 1865, john wilkes booth forever seals his legacy when he shot president lincoln in washington at the ford theater. the story of the boo brothers sibling rivalry and h long lasting affect on the history of this country vi hold in a new book called "my thoughts be bloody." joining she the book's author nora titone, along with her is her friend and mentor and former boss and fellow historian, doris kearns goodwin. i am pleased to have them both here. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> rose: first of all, how did this come together that you worked for her and then you worked on the lincoln book and "team of rivals." >> that's correct. >>. >> rose: and then you found this story. first, the two of you. >> you begin. >> i was working for someone
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else who was interviewing doris kearns goodwin and i just threw myself at doris' feet at a certain pot. >> rose:e al do. (laughter) >> "if you ever need anyone, call me." what i was looking for really was a teacher. i had been in graduate school in american history and i wanted to to learn to write about the past in an exciting narratively quickly paced way. and what better teacher in the united states? >> rose: so she gave you a job as a researcher? >> yes, she did. >> rose: how did that lead to this? >> doris found this amazing source: a dry written by william seward's daughter. >> rose: fanny was her name is >> correct. and she was writing at the height of the civil war. she was 19 years old. and someone came to her house for dinner. a man she described as a hero of the union, a gentleman, a scholar, an aent abolitionist and a fan of lincoln. and he also happened to be the civil wa equivalent of a
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millionaire and sublimely handsome which certainly figured into a 19-year-old girl's writing. this was edwin booth. and he'd come to washington-- so this diary entry told us-- to perform a special series of shakespeare plays, command performances, for president lioln and the first lady on the third anniversary of lincoln's inauguration. lincoln loved shakespeare and to celebrate this time, this great week in early march, 1864, he wanted the greatest living american actor to act for him and what w amazing was that, of course, for edwin booth who was an abolitionist and an ardent union he wanted to perform for lincoln. >> rose: so what we now see is thessassination through this booth family. are you subjecting the rivalry and the sibling rivalry and the struggling nature of john wilkes booth's life led him to look for
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something that would give him greater fame than edwin booth and therefore he easily ll into the conspiracy to kill the president? >> no. i'm not saying that precisely. but what i'm saying is that we can't look at john wilkes booth simply as a confederate villain-- which he was-- and a confederateonspirator, which he certainly was. but heas also an actor and he had been shaped in this family, th booths, a remarkable clan of shakespearean sts who were themselves shakespearean in their fractiousness, in their ambition and their rivalry, and they were the crucible that formed john wilkes booth and that his story-- as much as it is a story of confederate zealotry-- it's an actor's story as well. >> rose: take us to the night at ford theater in whi lincoln is killed. >> well, i think the thing that has always struck me about that
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night is that he was so happy that day. that's what makes me so sad. that he had to die that very night. the war finally was coming to an end, his son rober was finally coming home. he and mary had had this long talk about the fact that they were going to have to be happy somehow even though they hadn't been during the whole war because willie had died, their ten-year-old son. and then he didn't even want to go to the theater thatight. he said "i'd much rather stay" but he felt compelled to because they'd announced he was going to be there. befo that he always went t the theater as an escaped, he loved the theater. that's what nora and i talked about. heent to the eater more than a hundd times during his presidency, not just this horrible night. but he said when he was in the middle of "the war of t roses" or some shakespeare play, he could imagine himself back in prince hall's time and forget the horrible war. so he goes the theater that night and he's sitting with mary she's holdg his hand and saying got you think people wil wonder about ourolding stands in" anhen john wilkes booth,
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as nora wells knows, had access to the theater because he was an actor, because he gathered his mail. so people didn't wonder why he was there which is again what makes the connection between the theater part of him and how he was able to be there so clear and the timing of it was just, of course, so terrible. i think in some ways the south later realized they lost the best friend they ever would have had. if lincoln stayed alive, reconstruction might have been so different. then this man comes in, john wilkes booth, hits anymore the back of the head, shoots him in the back of the head with a force so extraordinary the doctor said he shouldhave died instantly but he fights for life. even after that moment until 7:33 a.m. the following morning when, of course, his cinet surrounds him and he finally dies. and stanton gives the words that come down over time "now he belongs to the ages." but the thing that's so incrible i think abo what nora has done is that even though it may not have been what tolly motatedohn lkes booth, a his life he's in the shadow of his brother.
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hates the idea that his brother is so much more powerful and a star than he. >> rose: rich and famous. >> and what's happened? this guy became infamous. thisuy is the one we remember. so edwin booth in a certain sense is getng his due in this book which is why i'm so glad, among other reasons, that you've done this. >> rose: what happene to john wies booth after that? >> he jumped on the stage, right? and utter it is words... do you remember exactly words >> (speaks lat kin) which means "thus always tyranny". >> rose: which is a julius caesar reference. he breaks his leg, runs away and gets some distance and they start tracking him and they nally do find him. >> rose: and? >> and... >> and he is shot down like a dog while edwin and the rest of the family are waiting in new york city. >> rose: where are they this evening? >> the nht of the assassination ed swin performing
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in boston to a soldout house as is always the case and he hears the news the next morning and he said it was like a hammerlow to the forehead. he was not surprised a all at what his brother had done. >> rose: because they'd had fights about south versus north? >> precisely because john wilkes booth alone among his family sided with the confederacy. the rest of the booths were ardent northerners. this was a maryland familyhat ha be split right dow the middle of the dinner table with john wilkes booth stranded alone on the other sid and the one reaso why john will had no share of the family fortune which edwin had made into a phenomenal business was that they couldn't stand each other. their arguments about politics throughout the war were impossibly difficult for them. and so edwin couldn't work wh him, he wouldn't invite him
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to... >> rose: there's a movie called the conspirator directed by robert redford. >> i saw it, right. >> rose: what's that about? >> well, that's about one of the women who was part of the group that knew the conspirators who were involved with john wilkes booth, mary surat, who many historians think may not have had foreknowledge or certainly involvement in the actual conspiracy. but her son was and other people around her did and so sheas hung. so the movieis about the lawyers' attempt to defend mary surat. and it's interesting causi didn't know that... you know what happens to when finish a story... that's why i have to turn to her to tell what happened to john wilsbooth. once lincoln's gone, that's it. i n't want to know anymore! (laughs) >> rose: i always bece very sad when you descre th end of hilife. ken burns told me every time h ran the film as he was editing his dumentary heouldburst into tears. every timee showed that last... with the actors talking
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about what happened >> the truth is even as i was finishing the book the last couple months of it i couldn't bear the knowledge that he was going to die. i've lived wit this man for ten years and suddenly he was going to be gone. >> rose: to love shakespeare was part of the nature of this man? >> huge. nora and i talked about this when we were working on the book because she did a lot of research on the theater part of the book. think about what shakespeare... first of all, he memorized shakespeare. he could talk with aors, he could make all the moves the actors did. he knew it as well as any profession knew shakespeare and shakespeare's writing about tragedy and betrayal, wars, all the things he's dealing with. those huge themes are shakespearean, so he's loved him from the time he was a child. itas said when he got a copy of shakespeare's plays he couldn't eat or sleep heas so excited. >> but i thin the reason he was at ur americanousin" that night... because they had a choice of which play to attend.
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select gone to a patriotic musical number but they went to see "our american cousin" i believe because that play written and starred in by laura keene wa about class. it was about a frontiersman who stumbles into a house full of british aristocrats and high medy ensues but he falls in love with a high-born woman and their courtship was something that mary lincoln and abraham lincoln could certainly relate to. >> rose: this the retionship between edwin booth and laurie sdmooen >> well, edw booth and lauri keene had a long history together. she was his mistress and she helped launch his career. but in the story "our american cousin" i think one reason why mary lincoln was eager to take her huand to see... >> rose: because it matched her life story. >> it matched her life story. she embraced the hay seed. >> rose: so edwin booth, first of l, had this gay
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relationship? he was home... homosexual relationship with a guy named... >> rose: adam. >> and you have these fiery letters that yound. what did you mind? >> well, the leers are... >> rose: a part of... >> they are in a wonderful place called the player. this extraordinary club here in manhattan that edwin booth established in 1888 with the help of a few close friends, u.s. president grover cleveland, j.p. morgan and mark twain. and edwin lived in this club which was really a monument to his greatness to the end of his life and he left all of his paper there is. >> rose: all of his letters and everything. >> everything. and his father's papers. burned nothing. and perhaps he should have burned some thing (laughter) >> rose: well we should take note of the father. the fath is julius booth. >> corct. rose: who had come here from england. >> y. >> with his mistress. >> rose: without announcing to his wife.
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and then she comes later. >> exactly. >> rose: these were interesting people. >> when john wilkes booth was ten years old and edwin was 14 and the wife from england with avenging fury and announces to all of baltimore that julius booth is an adulterer and his ten american children are all illegitimate she proves this in the courts. it is a scandal. and john wilkes booth has to stay in baltimore and basically defend his mother's honor or, as his father says, answer charges of bastardy on the street of baltimore while edwin booth, who has been chosen by the father to carry on the family tradition of acting, gets to travel to every state in the the union as his father's assistance. and john wilkes booth face is alone. >> rose:hat ppens to julius? the snaert. >> well, this is a rich story. the avenging fury wife decides
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to punish him not only by creatinghiscandal that travels up and down the east coast and taints his reputation as a star b she sues him for evything he's worth. he's impoverishe so the only way he can recoup his fortunes and support his illegitimate children... >> rose: the gold rush. >> exactly. to go... gold has been discovered to california. >> rose: and he goes to the isthmus of panama. >> on foot! clue cholera-infested jungles! and they survive, which is amazing. and he takes edwin with him. again, john wilkes booth probably very much wanted to be on this trip. he dreamed of adventure. >> rose: he takes edwin. >> he takes edwin. and they get to california, edwin at this point is 19 years old. he's tired of being his father's guardian because julius is an intemper rat eccentric alcoholic but a sublime actor capable of tremendous displays. >> rose: so edwin comes back early. >> well, edwin abandons his
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father in san francisco. >> rose: and becomes a star in his own right. and so then the father tries... on his way back gets sick and... >> he's robbed of all the gold dust he's earned in california and comes home in a lead box. and the family has no money. john wilkes booth has to quit his expensive boarding school. >> rose: so it changes his life's trajectory. >> completely. >> at a certain point edwin becomes so well known that he becomes very wealthy and is supporting the family to some extent. but then when... >> rose: didn't he build a series of theaters? >> absolutely. >> but then johnill, wants to be acting as well. he's not a good actor. so as a result he would perhaps hurt the brand, as nora points out, of the booth name. so in 1860-- and this is critical, at this exact time-- edwin makes a pact with his brother that they will have to split up where they're going to act. he will take the north, edwin,
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which is all the prosperous... the populous parts and john will has to have the south. >> rose: that's where he runs into the conspirators. >> just at the time the country's map is spliting so they split. had that not happened, had he not been in the south maybe the confederate stuff wouldn't have gotten into his soul. all ese if i have fs. >> rose: we mentioned laura the actress which he had the affair with while he was living with this other g down at the theater. (laughter) >> yes, he got around. >> rose: adam. adam goes on to become what? the war? >> well, this is so amazing to me. adam bid doe creates edwin booth's startdom on the east coast. he's drama critic. so in the early 1850s, after they've split up the map and edwin gets to take the north. adam bad doe i his champion in print here in new york city where the voe of the critic is the most important and he elates edwin socially because at this time actor are outcasts
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they are pariahs, they are on par with prostitutes. you're displaying your body nightly before crowds for money. acting wasn'an art. but adam is a pivotal figure because he says to the world through the medium of print... >> rose: edwin is good. >> a great american artist and he becomes, as you point out, the minute the wartarts adam signs up, he becomes the aide-de-camp to ulysses s. grant and the letters he exchanges with edwin booth through the course of the war are some of the best historical reading i've ever seen. he's a marvelous writer, so is edwin. and these two old friends share a bond. >> rose: and the woman, laura, young actress who was edwin's lover as well, she becomes a very good actress. >> oh, sheis an amazing figure. she is the first woman in the united states to own her own theater, to write her own play, to be her own director and star. she builds a theater on broadway
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here in manhattan called laura keene's varieties, not humbly flamed, that costs over a million dollars. >> rose: let me bring up one more character,ulia ward howe. >> well, again, julia wardowe took a liking to edwin booth and she was in a socially respectable high aristocratic kind of background. she, of course, wtes "the battle hymn of the republic" and >>. >> rose: and was a huge abolitionist. supported john brown. >> that's exactly right. they become friendly with edwin and introduce h into that higher circle tha adam heed to bring limb into. and he gets moved up the lader that john wilkes booth never does and that's the cane and ahbel saga. >> rose: who was behind this conspiracy? >> where there's a group of people. they were simply going to... they wanted to just kidnap him and exchange prisoners, southern an northern prisoners with him. but the night of the actual
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attack on lincoln also they wanted to kill seward because they thought the secretary of state might take over. they had to get rid of him. they had to get rid of the vice president. >> rose: didn't they go to seward's house? >> seward was knife sod badly he nearly died. >> rose: where was he? >> he lived in a house. >> rose: they went to his house? >> they went to his house. somehow the guy... there were three people who were going to be part of the assassination. the guy who was supposed to ll vice president johnson g drunk and ner carried out his task of killing him. so johnson got safe. but the man assigned to kill seward aually made himself get to the top of seward's second floor pretending to bring medicine to seward who had a carriage accident the week before and was in his bedroom. he knifed somebody on the way up. he got to seward's son at the top of his stairs, shot anymore the top ofhe hea the gun misfired but he took the blt edge, hit him with such force he fell in a coma. went into seward's room, knifed seward's other son, fanny, the daughter, is there screaming, goes to seward'sedside, hits him wi thenife with such force that his entire cheek is torn off but he missed the
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jugular vein because seward's jaw was wid from the carriage accident so seward finally recovered after days and days. and was scared for the rest of his life. at the same time, john wilkes booth is killing lincoln. so everybody here's about seward's attempt first. secretary wells and stanton come racing to seward's house, what's happened? while they're there they get word, wait, you better to come to ford's theater, something happened to lincoln. so it was an incredible night american history. and they thought by lobbing off part of the government that somehow the south would have its final moment in the sun bause they were losing otherwise. >> rose: incredible story. incredible family. so edwin booth dies as a hero? he dies wealthy? >> he's the actor king. he's lauded as a national icon. but the strange thing about this brother's stor i think is that it changes a lot of our ascensions about john wilkes booth. many people believe hwas a fine actor.
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someone who belonged on stage and made a living that way. that is not true. he was an embarrassment. he had never been trained. one in the booth family ever wanted john wilkes booth to step on stage. the father said the theater is a sea of vanity and those who have no talent think beneath the waves. >> rose:. >> rose: abraham lincoln was a hero for president obama. >> without a question. >> rose: cited often. >> absolutely. >> rose: lincoln's genius was what? >> i think lincoln's genius was two chings. the courageover his convictions, when things got tough he could see the long run and be able to have faith that what he was doing was right. but secondly he had a set of emotional skills that are very rare in politicians. >> rose: not emotional? >> not retaliating against people are mean to him, being willing to bring in all sorts of people around a table and not get upset if they disagreed with
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him. just having the ability to take credit... give credit to take responsibility when people failed. you know that word emotional inlligence, he made a king but he also had a great sense of humor which is something so rare among politicians. if he were here today he could be with jon stewart, he could be anybody, he uld be with stephen colbert and meet them eye to eye. that he was funny. how often have w seen a polician like that? not in a long time. >> rose: how do you think president obama's doing on those standards? >> well, i think the one thing he did care about, lincoln, originally, the emotional intelligence set of issues, i think he does have those. when you watch him around a table he makes sure everybody speaks, h listens to people with opposing advice. i think the thing you ve to learn when you get into the presidency is that a certain point you can't listen anymore. lincoln finally said "consensus can be paralyzing, you have to decide when to act." >> rose: wow. >> so that everyone around a
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table, for example, he debated emancipation for two months, three months, and everybody had different points of view. don't do it, do it, do it yesterday. he finally decided i'm making my mind up and issuing the emancipation proclamation. he goes to the cabinet and says "i don't want your ideas. i've made up my mind. but i'll listen to your suggestions on implementation and timing." so i think when you've got a consensus leader they hav to know when is the time to cut off the debate and decide what you want and bring everybody else in the country around you. that takes time. >> rose: does president obama have that? >> i think he's got in the him but i think he's got show it more. even right n. absolutely. >> rose: the book is called "my thoughts be bloody." the bitter rivalry that led to the assassination of abraham lincoln. congratulaons. >> thank you. >> rose: great to see you. >> oh, it's great to be here. captioning spoored by rose commucations
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