tv In Depth Craig Shirley CSPAN May 31, 2021 9:30pm-11:30pm EDT
heard best-selling author and historian craig shirley the author of the revolution december 1941 and most recently mary ball washington and the untold story of george washington's mother. craig shirley, you've written for biographies on ronald reagan. how did you divide them up? >> interesting question. they were divided up by chapters mostly political the first book that i had written was reagan's revolution and that was 1976 and
the primary challenge to gerald ford in which he narrowly lost and then the next book was about the 1980 campaign. i did another book called last act about the post election yearsle and didn't during those years he flew hot air balloons and did a lot of things long before he was contracted with alzheimer's. then i finally did another book on reagan. this is on reagan rising and it's that period 1976 and 1980 and it was a very important time
for the conservative movement and american politics. the panama canal treaty fighting and raised as an issue you had tax cuts raising is an issue. he was advocating a certain view of government and so it was a very interesting time for the movement and ronald reagan definitely that on the panama canal treaty to the nomination so now i'm working on two more
including his real true ideology and another one reagan's skill as a negotiator who was underappreciated in that regard so he was skillful it was as a negotiatorm but it's been a fun ride and there are a number of good historians i'm proud to be among the ranks. a. >> when you talk about the real ideology in the book that you have coming. a. >> it's a good question. reagan was never as conservative. he was much more pragmatic and much more temperate and his outlook on the world than a lot
of conservatives wanted him to be. including the reduction, the elimination of thousands of nuclear warheads in europe we were behind the soviets and needed to catch up to the negotiating table and agree and he was proven right. of course it only took 18 years before we saw the winning of the cold war and the structure of the soviet union. >> in your book last act you talk about the emerging legacy.
>> there isn't obama or bush or trump is, but there is reaganism. he would contend a separate distinct individual ideology. it's more of a hybrid between libertarianism, conservatism and other elements that go into it and he enacted much of it when he was president, not all of it to be sure but he had a different view of the world than most other politicians did at the time then or do now.
there's nobody who's shadow is cast more over the republican party than ronald reagan. he is the leader eclipsed even as the icon of the republican party. >> some would argue that newt gingrich that you've also written about and donald trump are the outside figures of the modern republican party would you agree with that? >> they certainly are. gingrich and the revolution of 1984, trump and his populace revolution four years ago all of them represent different periods and times and philosophies of republicanism.
and filmed commercials for gordon humphrey. i was there in the lobby and he was accompanied by two aides that quickly disappeared. so governor reagan and i sat there in the lobby incomplete all of this man we talked about high school and college sports and what we liked and what we played he was utterly charming andr kind in the conservatism t the time and the contender of the republican nomination and the generosity of spirit. those are the memories i carry with me the rest of my life.
>> you talk about how you sat down at this hotel lobby and you also recount in last act the story about the post presidency office. the phones were not hooked up correctly. >> that was a story that was given to me by president reagan's chief of staff in his post-residency. they had rented office space for the former president reagan in century city and ironically he was showing a terrorist disaster and secret service was known to impress the office that showed where the attack had happened but it was high up in the building and the office was being assembled and reagan wasn't supposed to be in the
office for several weeks or months and he had his own house in bel air to attend to. he showed up at the office today and here i am, what am i supposed to do. he ran around and rearranged the boxes and set them up in the office with a pad of paper and they thought he would be okay for a short time. but the phones had been routed incorrectly so they were not going to the receptionist desk. he would answer every one and reagan would write it down and
came out a couple hours later and handed the list and said these people want to meet so he epwas taken aback but everybody was called back and got their picture taken except for this one fellow after he was on the list and talked to fred ragan he wanted to come back and bring one of his neighbors and fred said no so he didn't get a chance to come back the second time. >> what are some of the top things in your view that ronald reagan accomplished as governor for eight years and as president?io >> that's a good question. he went to sacramento and thought he was going to do a lot more than he actually did in his first several years and then he got his feet wet and started to
address the government and enacted a huge tax rebate they are antiwar protests going on. it's one story that perhaps this apocryphal but reagan was at a college campus and the sign said make love not war and he looked at the sign and turned and said i don't think he can do either. so he had that to deal with and
tried to reorganize government the best he could and he did. he was a very successful governor. at the time, california had been the sixth largest economy in the world. think of that, just one estate alone he reformed welfare. police protection was to a greater degree and he dealt successfully with their concerns and complaints and things like that not that he could do anything but it meant a lot that he would talk to people and that's one thing he did as governor. the students would ask about the
weekly television show and they would answer all the questions so it was unheard of at the time. he became quite able to handle all the questions so even the la times when reagan left the presidency, they acknowledged efthat he saved the state from bankruptcy because it was running when he became governor he was running a million dollar a dayy deficit and was increasig by a million dollars a day and he turned it around to a surplus and saved the state from bankruptcy but he did what he said he was going to do when he
ran he was going to turn around the economy and restore american ground and he did all those things. he defeated the soviet communism and inflation when he was running the interest rates or something like 18%. inflation was almost as high. the value of a dollar wasn't worth today what it was yesterday. it was devastating to people's savings and especially citizens so he turned around the economy when he left the proof is in the pudding in the9 approval rating among all americans it was
something like 73% when he left office in january of 1989 and was higher even than fdr when fdr passed away in april, 1945. it had been the highest in a long time and he is still regarded today by the american people from washington, lincoln and franklin roosevelt. >> one of the critiques is that he spent a lot of time talking about deficits, but they grew under his stewardship. >> that is true. he later wrote in his memoirs thereon were two things he was disappointed he couldn't do more about. one was the deficit and the other he couldn't do more about.
and what we now know as the peace dividend, it was necessary to build up america's defenses since richard nixon's time in the presidency. gerald ford, jimmy carter and richardur nixon said you had soldiers, gis in 1980 that were actually on food stamps. we were flying airplanes over 50-years-old and meanwhile they were reckoning their newest technology. he knew if we didn't have a strong defense than everything else was academic and so this
was a deficit that was created by the buildup but it freed millions of people from other third world countries and soviet russia itself. then there was a price worth paying to free the millions of people who had been behind the iron curtain. >> you talked about his so-called true ideology as being more pragmatic than he's given credit for. it is that going to hurt his legacy among conservatives? >> i don't think so. i think that his legacy is pretty well cemented among the conservatives. in the simi valley it is still
the most visited presidential library which is out of the way it's off the beaten path and yet more people go there than to the kennedy library or the clinton library or the bush libraries or anything even approaching that. he still remains to this day very popular and successful. >> in march of this year you wrote reagan was a populist bit had at the articulation and intellect of a statesman. reagan, like trump, ran at a time when many had grievances against the establishment. unlike trump, he made every talking point optimistic and every speech uplifting,
something trump could never do if his life depended on it. >> yes, that is the essential. i'm glad you quoted that that is the difference between trump and reagan. reagan was reelected and had higher approval ratings. most of the philosophy is driven from ronald reagan and the idea whether it is conservative judges t or tax cuts not just to stimulate the economy but to expand personal freedom or increase the power of the individual, that is what he after he was elected he was meeting with a group of conservatives and said it's about creating jobs.
he knew power is finite and you can't put it here or there. it's either with the government or the citizenry. he wanted to go back to kind of the founders and the framers and move it away from the active citizenry and one way to do that was more money and that was the motivating force on the tax cut was expanding the power of the individual. he was very committed. you look at speeches and how many times he uses the words individual or individuality or something other. the core philosophy is a small respectful government with the
police force that could otherwise leave people alone. that was his philosophy. and we've done this starting in 1940s and evolved over the 40s and 50s. really i would say 1980 it was in 2017 that your book reagan rising the decisive years 1976 to 1980 came out. i want to play a little bit of video from 1976 in kansas city. >> if i could take a moment, i had an assignment of the other day. someone asked me to write a letter for a time capsule that's going to be open 100 years from now on our tri- centennial. it sounded like an easy assignment. the suggested i write about
problems and issues of the day and i set out to do so looking at the blue pacific out one side and the mountains on the other and i couldn't help but wonder if it was going to be that beautiful 100 years from now as it was on that summer day. then as i tried to write, let a your own mind's turn to that task. you're going to write for people 100 years from now. will they look back with appreciation and say thank god for those people in 1976 who headed off that loss of freedom and who kept us now 100 years later free and kept our world from nuclear destruction and if we failed, they probably won't get to read the letter at all because it spoke of individual freedom and they won't be allowed to talk of that or read of it. thisut is why here tonight, betr than we've ever done before,
we've got to quit talking to each other and about each other and go out and communicate to the world we may be fewer in numbers than we've ever been but we carry the message that they are waiting for they are determined what a great general set a few years ago is true there is no substitute for victory. [applause] f craig shirley, what did you hear? it's interesting i speak to so many of the political future. first of all, i wasn't there in 1976. it's now since gone. ithr was destroyed in a tornado some years ago.
i was actually working my way through college and slinging hash in s cape cod. on the floor that night she told me repeatedly many times she said it was the most thrilling experience of her life to year reagan gave this speech and i wrote the book and interviewed many people including a field director who was standing next to a supporter from florida and after reagan gave the speech, she mattered my god, we've nominated the wrong man. the nomination by 50 or 60 delegates and reagan h lost by 0
some, so it was very slim and narrow and these accusations over the years of the new york delegation and others but it was pretty clean as far as i could tell. there were accusations and the police were called in he said this is the first time i've heard of a politician telling the truth. but the speech itself is so important because reagan wasn't going to run, there were newspapers and columnists that saidas it's time i remember "newsweek" had an article called
off into the sunset writing about the political career at 65-years-old he'd been around the track twice and both times he lost. most people assumed, but he gave the speech and what's interesting is that that fall he was campaigning for republican delegates across the nation with endorsements and fundraisers and things like that and everywhere he went, the police officers, captains, flight attendants, everybody came up to him and said you've got to do it one more time, you've got to run one more time and it was at that point it convinced him to try one more time.
he wasn't going to try. that was probably it for him, but there was one time he was on an airplane. he would sit in the aisle so he could greet people and meet them as they were coming on the plane. a woman came on and embraced him and said you've got to do with just one more time. sitting next to him, and i got this years ago from one of the books before he passed away i interviewed him and he told me the story. this woman and embraced him and urged him to run again. he turned to mike at the time and said i guess i better do it one more time. i guess i better go. so it was the outpouring of that speech. it's interesting because usually it is the nominee who is the last speaker. he is the last speaker of the night.
but this night in kansas city, it was ronald reagan who was the last speaker, not gerald ford, and it was a last-minute idea where reagan wasn't supposed to speak to the audience. he only came but ford knew he was the head of the fractured party with half for ford and have for reagan. at the last minute, they urged reagan to come down and reagan did interviews that night in the sky box. there was one interview with tom brokaw in the sky box, in which brokawme says are you going to address and he says no. but all of a sudden, 17,000 people wanted him to come to the stage along with the fords applauding we want reagan, we
want ron and he slowly leaves and goes to the podium and has no prepared -- the speech you play it is not on the teleprompter, there's no prepared text. imagine the pressure of a man who is lives on three networks giving a speech before 17,000 people with that type of a home run talk. it was a great reveal of reagan's heart when he talks about the soviet missiles being able to wipe out america in a matter of minutes. .. >> what do you think i should
say? he said you think of something. host: ronald reagan went on to win a landslide election. 1014 electoral votes / 62 for jimmy carter and walter wmondale. good afternoon welcome to booktv on c-span2 the monthly in-depth program with one author and we look at his or her entire body of work. craig shirley is our guest written seven books we talked about some of the reagan box first 12005 is next in 2009 then switching topics december 1941 in 2011 we will talk about that as well then the final years the last act
cannot 2015. reagan rising, 2017. and then citizen new also came out in 2017. and finally his most recent book, mary ball washington that came out in 2019. we will discuss that as well. this is an interactive program and we want to hear your voices. this number is only for text messages or please include your first name and city if he went through (202)748-8903 and will be looking at comments on our face but they don't our twitter page our instagram page. just remember @booktv is our handle their and finally you can
e-mailnd but tv @c-span.org. we will be scrolling through all of those numbers and all those ways of contacting us in just a minute so and we want to hear your voice. and we will be taking your calls in just a minuted as well. craig shirley in the midst of writing iger phase in ronald reagan do switch to december of 1941. what inspired back? >> guest: that is a good question. i remember at the host: craig shirley in the midst of writing the biography of ronald reagan he stressed december 1941 what inspired that? >> i remember as a child obviously i do not remember world war ii but every sunday
afternoon after church there was dinner at my grandparents house with lace tablecloth and white linens and they would be a big turkey or ham or roast beef served. and anson uncles and various relatives. inevitably the conversation turned to the war for my grandfather would say i bought the desoto before the war or sold that after. so world war ii was a national experience. everybody had victory cards maybe one third or one fourth that was all grown in america
during world war ii. and my father was a boy scout and they use the boy scouts for promotional posters in the locations that people will gather for those were bonds and other promotional items and the victory gardens. my grandfather tried to enlist three times after pearl harbor they said you are blind as of that you have dependence. after trying and failing four times or three times he went to the civil defense my
grandmother's were rosie the riveter one tested machine guns. she was in syracuse new york and was on the assembly line would pick it up and fire it set it down and pick it up the next one and set it down i saw the war industry badge one time but everybody in my family including my uncles pay that ultimate sacrifice that amounts from world war ii. but their oldest brother was a navy radio operator and was killed in action in the pacific his plane was shot down in southeast asia. ironically he was killed on his 21st birthday.
so he was a cherished memory for all of us. and he was always part of the conversation so with rationing and then to make olio for your bread. so i always had this with me but then i think what came out 20 or 30 years ago was a terrific book december 1941. but then the effect of december 7 and the civilians and how america literally changed overnight
and how the war affected the national mood something like three weeks after pearl harbor and fisher auto body parts they stop making cars. they issued proclamations that they could use. the ford and fisher stopped making cars by orders of the united states government and then they made 25 bombers they did that matter of three weeks. the government sent out to the radio operators you cannot use radio owners and operators you
could not broadcast they took loose lips sink ships quite literally and the instructions to these radio stations that everybody follow the orders of the government that the nation was at risk and was being threatened. so it is fascinating how much or how homogenous our nation was in 1941 versus today obviously the next was september 11 with the world trade center and pentagon and
our national unity after a couple of months they soon fell to bickering whereas we stayed pretty unified as a nation from december 7th and then stayedd that way until 1945 when the japanese finally surrendered to douglas macarthur. host: the book is divided by day.pa how prepared was the united states? and how much of a surprise was december 7? >> we had just come within
was stamped top-secret it was classified in the seventies but then andrew found it collecting dust in this from the office of naval intelligence and then i between the emperor of japan and also the office of naval intelligence where the japanese might attack the philippines and the hawaiian islands in this memo was prepared coming to the president and no action was taken or sent a warning out to the field commanders on
unemployment in 1933 was almost the same as 1941. the new deal it raise people's morale and gave them hope and from the original future but several things probably was a mistake that smoot-hawley raised tariffs and fdr did not cut taxes the way he should have. that's what he should've done to have the money into circulation and then the failure of the new deal in my opinion and in the head of consumption to achieve a
growing economy you need consumption. is not enough to fill the carbon you have to sell it and use it so gm or ford could make all the cars that they want but then people don't have the money to buy it then that is beside the point but then they go through all those many years in the us economy started to. and then also fighting the japanese in the pacific but
then that was difficult for great britain because then we were producing things that would be consumed and that was after pearl harbor with ships and planes and guns and everything was devoted toward the war effort that could be humanly thought of was national government led by the american people. host: you are not a full-time author. >> i wear many hats for many years i was coaching youth in high school i was going to
finish up my life with college but i also own a small public relations marketing firm here in virginia that helps conservative foundations and think tanks. and to help people like my partner kevin now we've been going for 35 years so i guess you could say that i'm also a farmer. host: that's hear from our callers now we know about your political history and world war ii history michael from florida. >>caller: high.
you are always some amazing. this is so amazing because of the popularity of the positive conservativism which unfortunately as a democrat is the same ass trump but i think reagan needs a more precise metaphor otherwise it is solid it is i.c.e. or it is liquid. and he had a sense of that with that balance between positivity and abundance versus of fear and a mindset of scarcity. right now theth current context
with trump with this battle of one versus the other so what is important is this governance they use to blow up and created this thing which is the social context. host: before we get to the, one - - get too deep you are a fan of ronald reagan? >>caller: correct. >> thank you for your call. i am in the same camp myself as a fan of reagan and then to admire him less admirer of donald trump although enacted some very good policies and to help to drive the economy with
covid and vaccinations and all the other issues but there are issues i take issue with him and is personal behavior with what he said and the comments he made that were not very presidential. and that is his legacy. it still to be determined i think before we rationally address that if that was just simply detour in time or more important i think it's something more important that in the short and nuanced context i do think the evolution of the united states
and right now we are lurching to the left ever since bush from 1988 and then with barack obama and others and then moving to the left this is happened many many times but that we go through periods of great presidents and periods of less great presidents but i agree with michael the legacy is important and that's what i'm trying to do i just finished april 1945. that is the companion book from 1941. the reason why i did this book because so much happens almost everything happens april 1941
and roosevelt passing away and hyde park new york and hitler committing suicide, mussolini is taken down, the buddy campaign which was the final staging before the invasion of japan, auschwitz discovery, dock out was discovered, and the soviets there are just so many things that happen in these four weeks and i devoted that time in this book that comes out early next year. host: and ask colors from virginia go ahead. >>caller: thank you s so much for this program it is so interesting to look back and see things that i was not
aware of and that mr. shirley brings more awareness. actually have a program in the presidential library titled sharing that it is the proclamation to proclaim where he 1983 asking companies and nonprofits to do as much as they can to help the less fortunate that is the message that needs to come out even more in these times. i want to see if you could comment as a friend from president reagan using the information agency concerning the company of the future now and one other quick thing and
will having a relationship i believe calling into president reagan but donald trump's main mentor. >> charlie work was an old and dear friend he goes back to the hollywood days and came up to the many years later through that political framework and reagan r appointed him. not to radio free europe but through part of the government that they use to spend christmas together every year that is the bond of charlie and rick and i believe he was
the godfather to each of the reagan children. so geographically and politically they were a lot alike. a lot of people come away thinking the president takes your advice. rick was important to mccarthy in the subcommittee to investigate the sabotage during the time of the red scare during the early fifties. like to cast dispersion on those that he was a self promoter he made himself more
important to reagan so his framework how he would run the country and his worldview is already set. and then if he had any influence because there were several letters in the reagan white house and adding to reagan when they are in new york and then to stay away from them as much as possible but it was pretty outsized
considering who reagan was. >> sylvester georgia, good afternoon you are on booktv. >>caller: thank you. two things. first you the command of the uss ward but the other thing i want to ask you about between 76 and 80 i remember reagan debating about the panama canal and that elevates reagan international status. >> it sure did. that panama can now treaties everybody was talking about it in 1977 and 78 going back to
nds the isthmus was dug out and then the panama canal was created but in the sixties and seventies we always had control and jurisdiction but there was the anti- imperialism theme in america that we should return the rights of the sovereign now to the panamanian people that panama at the time was being run by a dictator that reagan would refer to as ten headed.
and there was a great debate inside the party over the panama can now treaty and was opposed to relinquishing the treaties and to have those in favor like john wayne and others reagan was leading a national campaign. and then the panama canal squad there was much debate in the senate and national television and newspapers across the nation for a long period of time they only pass the senate with two treaties by one vote.
so the jurisdiction of the panama canal returned to the panamanian people. reagan used it to a maximum advantage for himself to keep himself focused on other issues over millions of americans and it really helped him and the republican party. i interviewed president carter for my book and he pointed out thatco every democrat and republican voted for the panama canal treaty lost in 1970 or 80 as a result voting
for those treaties. it was a hot issue in the country at the time. this is just after the vietnam war. and it became an issue of national pride. i remember my grandmother was so hot about it at the time it was talk to her as one of the five wonders of the world. and it was important to the american people that we conquered malaria, and the french tried and failed to build the panama can now. we were successful so psychologically to hold onto that panama can now and then that was patriotic it wasn't
about american imperialism that sovereignty and rights and in the soviets were just itching to have the guadalcanal so for their fleet could be put in. so it was a hot issue at the time and by the way your neighbor who built the panama canal and survived that was a wonderful thing that he did. that was a great sacrifice. host: another pearl harbor survivor we are with author excraig shirley.
mrs. reagan and nancy reagan and they did things socially together and it cannot be underestimated with the conservative movement to refine conservativism and with the john burke society and things n like that as part of that conservative movement. they were extremely close friends. also friedman won the nobel prize for economics when he was teaching at the university over free to choose and as a natural - - national
celebrity. i remember there was a series on economics but that inspired a lot of reagan's policies including the tax cuts and budget policies as a means of adding dollars to the workplace. host: the reverend hide from syracuse new york e-mails one of what was nancy's role in his success in what you think about the biography quick. >> i have not read the book yet i'm anxious to read it. i'm sure it's a very good book. she is a good reporter i have known her for years. and what was the first part of the question?d host: what was nancy reagan's role? >> nancy reagan was invaluable.
if reagan wanted to be a shoe salesman she would've made sure he was the best in the world she did everything she could when he wanted to be president of the united states she was an asset she was a traditionalist. she was elegant and beautiful in a very good mind on her shoulders she had a better antenna to detect people who are using reagan to their benefit and she was good at keeping people away who would not help her husband or hurt him. shear famously was involved in
sacramento when he was governor and then running for president of the united states one of the great romances of white house history from martha washington some presidential couples are more strange than others but they were not only a loving couple but they were a good political team although her approach was much more subtle than eleanor roosevelt she was equally effective as a first lady not as effective as eleanor roosevelt that behind the scene she wasry very effective and mrs. reagan was wonderful to me over the years especially starting on my
first book with a 76 campaign. i was having some trouble and she caught wind of it through a mutual friend of mine who was one of the president speechwriters. notebook had been written on the campaign it is a thrilling campaign with all the gubernatorial presidential campaigns this was very exciting and she found these files that the library had that were sealed they were not her priority like the presidential files were so she made them available to me for my exclusive use for my book for the 76 campaign and then to honor her memory.
and on the new biography in fact we covered her at an event at the reagan library in montgomery alabama. >>caller: good show gentleman i was celebrate my 60h birthday today. i want to share a story in regard to fdr. that he had two other brothers and i remember him saying he wanted his siblings one of my answer they were on their way to see one of my grandparents and the bulletin came over the car radio the japanese had bombed pearl harbor. my dad and my aunt looked at
each other. they were thinking the same thing. their oldest brother was see po chief petty officer stationed at pearl so a lot of things are going to their mind my grandparents did not have a radio. so my dad and my aunt didn't say anythingts to them when they arrived but then my uncle car called me and inordinate amount of times but as time went on my grandparents of course learned of it but he was in sick bay that day recovering from the appendectomy so think i'd he was saved. host: can you bring this to a
rap? >> yes.er >>caller: so nationalism was running very good my family worked in the achievements factory making military belts mybo dad served in the marines my uncle in the navy so it was a time of being proud to be an american and i just want to say mr. shirley thank you for writing because indeed it was the greatest generation. >> first of all, thank you and your family for your service and that was a time of great patriotism. every family sacrificed large or small ways.
through the war industry you are the plants or victory gardens or they bought bonds. that everybody made some type of sacrifice in world war ii it was a remarkable time that we may never see again at least not thatst level of focus. host: we have an e-mail, do the carter would have one reelection if the hostage rescue operation succeeded in 1979? >> that's a good question. i delve into this in my book and other writings and i talked to president carter about that. i think it is possible he might have one for the release
of the hostages he may have one reelection but on the other hand eagle claw happened once before the election so that was in a lot that was a lot of time with people start to focus on the real issues at hand unemployment and the soured relations with the soviet union and other things that were blamed on the administration. if anything maybe it made the election closer maybe not an electoral vote blowout. host: boynton beach florida go ahead.
>>caller: good morning how are you. i want to ask a question when i was six years old i was told i was taken out the bassinet when they declared war and thenme and it getting 14 metals but so about breckenridge so in 1945 in april from auschwitz my understanding and then going into the 1930s from the state department and then to single-handedly keep the information are you familiar with that story? >> to salute your brothers and your family and one thing that
you mentioned with president roosevelt with that economic failure was a morale success and that was in the defeat of the empire of japan and nazi germany. and winston churchill these two men literally save the world they saved europe and america from the axis powers. so not enough parades can for rank - - frankel roosevelt for what he did during world war ii there is no debate it is an
debatable that's the reason we won world war ii. yes i have heard that story but there is no evidence. i'm trying to remember that it was 1933 or 35 or something like that the us state department us government probably knew about these things but i would say nobody talked about this so i had to rely andnd what was available at the time which was documents in the documents of newspapers and things like that in nests when auschwitz and the other camps were discovered in
1945. that's what i remembered. so to be the subject of a very good book that's over when the united states actually knew about auschwitz. andwo if so why do we move to stop it earlier? that is a topic of discussion. host: 2017 your book came out is newt gingrich a friend of yours? >> yes. i consider him a friend i don't know if he considers me. [laughter] but it's about his time and then to establish himself certainly one of the leading political figures in america
today. you have to think long and hard to have as much influence as newt gingrich has had. and with that commentary and social media comments he e-mails me and we do it once every several weeks i did get unlimited access to him and his papers he was very cooperative for the book. and information from his campaigns and how we did the contract with america. he talked about everything. he talked about reagan and clinton and what he thought of gore.n and al
you have to go back to who was speaker of the house in the 18 twenties to find a national political leader who had as much affect and not the president today as these two gentlemen and that includes newt gingrich. i think they do may history and the republican party and his place in history is assured. >> does nancy pelosi have the same status? >> as a woman, yes. she is not the idea make newt gingrich isme where was she understands power better than he does she's never been ousted as speaker or
challenged. her party, certainly from a political standpoint is an admirable woman through her to ten years asor speaker of the house that she didn't do the revolutionary things that gingrich did and he did the house post office in the house bank and with his own party and did much more so than anybody else did. so they are similar and different she understands power better than he does he understands ideology and movements per than she does. host: in 2018 this was written
in the atlantic about newt gingrich. >> few favorites ined modern history to lay the groundwork during the two decades in congress replete with name-calling and conspiracy theories and obstructionism and america's political culture and permanent dysfunction. >> i reject that. you had animosity with the parties for eons going back to the civil war they were at war with each other. and then the party to eliminate slavery and men died as a result. in between us to political parties and newt gingrich is not to blame for that he is a
host: new jersey please go ahead with your question or comment. >>caller: thank you mr. shirley what do you look at c now after ronald reagan taking one or $2 million is that unseemly even if it wasn't? an>> i really don't know what to think about it like the former presidents like the clintons this is a first when i remembered in my lifetime. >> thank you it's a good question. and then to settle for a lesser amount and then the
japanese were willing to pay so why not? probably for a momentary point in history with that legacy that is still regarded as one of our greatest presidents early it is iran-contra if you talk about thesi reagan presidency or his hard-line early on in the soviet union. and post- presidency. and then i may have advised him to do something else.
host: what is your take on iran-contra? >> it was arms for hostages under that amendment. and with the logan act. and oliver north who is in the notes to what he was doing. and then gone from the supremely confident who is become the role model. with white house chief of staff and donna reagan who is supremely incompetent and
and it was a month long debate in washington and in the united states. host: we have about a half hour left went to get to maryborough washington your most recent book. you write, mary washington use the façade of motherly virtue for the desired to control her son in the same way of the imperial overbearing maven and washington wanted independence of his own life and to get away from his demanding mother. host: how could you discover that quick. >> . >> through letters contemporaneous accounts and the obvious truth for instance
when washington was 14 years old they were still under british rule he wanted to enlist in the british navy. so mary wrote a letter to a relative and it came back and said under note circumstances let george into the british navy. and with thatis british. that royalty was first in the british admiralty that one
third of the reddish cabin boys they were washed overboard or killed in battle there were many ways they died at sea. and they were serving with some sailors. their ships and trained them to become seamen, so he would have been with a really rough crowd, maybe dangerous crowd and a really rough crowd, may be dangerous crowd. and so she told them to become british cabin boy. she change the course of history in that decision and may have saved his life as well for their other times to end her life where she change course in history or spared
his life or both. >> which got you started on mary about washington? so back to my favorite presidents third george washington and ronald reagan. i think they are fascinating individuals. they both had many different interest in pursued navy careers and politics and things like that. after i discovered books written about washington, it seemed to be petered out. but the way to get washington was to book about his mother because no one had ever done a book about maribel washington before. i live on the middle peninsula of virginia. the vault family, her descendents are thick as thievesev down there.
there's a lot of paperwork, a lot of history, a lot of history there. including, she died -- mary herself died in her 80s. she died of breast cancer. just a couple years ago a ball descendent woman who owned an antique store in the northern neck of the woodsds she too died of breast cancer. fold the genealogical trail of this 250 years inflict this woman as well. she had an anonymous influence on her son her entire life. ands i wanted to record, write this book about him but how he was influenced by her. she was a single mother raising six children in a century that was not re- hospitable to women. women could not vote what we
don't know, few people know is women in that era could not even own property. unless there holding onto their property from a deceased husband for the son what she was doing, holding it for george washington. she was a strong and capable woman because she had to be strong and capable plus it was a tough century for women. but especially so for her as a single mother. so she again is somebody that is fascinating. you cannot find everything out about her. i had to limit it to what i could discover. for instance i can discover
and nobody can his where she's burieded. nobody knows where the mother of george washington is buried. meditationon rock where she used to go this a big outcropping of rocks there who's called meditation rock. she used to go there with her viable. and think and meditate, she may have been buried there, she may have been varied in her cottage, nobody knows. i was limited in how much i could write about her. because not everything is known aboutry her. not everything that should be known. we know everything about roosevelt's mother, we know about them. but maribel washington we don't respect steven pennsylvania please go to your question or comment for greg
shirley. >> hello mr. shirley. i appreciate being on today and your insights. i would like to ask a question on the more personal level for president reagan. it is my understanding he appreciated his staff. when a staffer would have a significant event inn their life such as a marriage or maybe birthrs of a child he would personally something to the staffer, i appreciate you answering that. >> sure thank you. [inaudible] a debatable relationship with thest staff. some staff he was different other work curiouser personallyal involved. but in the issue of marriages
and births ofas babies and things like that he was deeply involved. would write them a little letter, he would bring them into the oval office for a photograph. they where there was a zone of privacy or inte him and reagan people cannot penetrate. on the other hand this was a man who would write very tender letters to people when he was giving them donations. there is one famous story when he was governor, he is to get a pile of news clips every morning and get a bunch of letters every morning. he got hundreds of letters the staff and break d it down to that hate letters, the love letters andte the people in need letters. he read one from this woman who was in need out in indiana. she was raising her two children by herself she was
having a difficult time. he wrote her a letter back and sent her a check for $100. and she could not believe the president of the united states are letter and give her a check. yes this is ronald reagan signature. reagan later the next month is bouncing his checkbook at his desk in the oval office and he noticed this woman he donated the check to not deposited the check. so he got on the phone course the white house gives indication office's famous essay i knew this girl she had brown hair and get on the phone five minutes later. without a name, address or anything like that. same as for checking on people. track this womanot down, got her on the phone and asked her why and she said i'm sorry
mr. president i want to keep it asir a souvenir reagan to look at him and send you another check, don't catch both of them. they were moments of great tenderness he would donate personal effects to the college we went to school, so many times he showed affection and warmth and kindness to peopleli. like for instance white house staff is big things like that. one department was the speechwriting department. he probably had the best set of speechwriters in the history of america with the exception of ted sorensen. a marvelous set of speechwriters.
it wasn't just order takers. or a think tank inside the white house. newly turn on the swelling of the things like that. came from the brow of the speechwriters. sometimes reagan would accept them sometimes he wouldn't. he washe involved in every one of them. it would add and write paragraphs around things like that. is very involved with them. and then grew to course really, really appreciate and love ronald reagan. strack here just e-mail from margaret and a place i think you've probably been, dixon illinois. thank you mr. shirley extensive information on ronald reagan. i live in dixon, illinois, the church he attended still going. the school he attended is now a museum.
a public library has a large section on reagan i will check in there to find your book. i once lived in reagan's home before it became a historic site. >> how about that is that a wonderful story? yes in the dixon many times i've attended his church several times. there are two statues of ronald reagan in dixon. down at the river where he was a lifeguard. he saved his 70 lives as a high school lifeguard. statues at his boyhood home little clapboard house there in dixon. it is very important. it's also important to remember that he moved around many times as a childhood. his father was a salesman for
its well known he was an alcoholic and he took jobs in many locations include chicago, dixon, other places in and around downstate illinois, western illinois. this is important there are number of home so that he lived into. attended church there as well. he once joked he was served food and a women's sorority. joked later it was best job he ever had. >> george from manassas virginia texas into you can comment on the importance of the radio show president reagan did between 1976? and, he goes on to set heard president reagan speak in 1975, it changed me. it felt like he spoke only to
me, was this common? >> what a wonderful letter. i'm glad he brought the radio commentary. it was so, so important. this was anet era before cable television and the internet, you're limited in forms of communication. the television, local radio and syndicated radio that he had newspapers and wire services, magazines things like that personal letter spoken word. communication was much more limited in that era. that made his radio announcements very, very important. he did over a thousand radio commentaries in his lifetime, before his presidency. they were five minutes apiece, five days a week. sue had to keep your wits about yourself to make sure radio. commentary was topical.
there radio studio and west allonge angeles. literally at the corner of hollywood and vine. he wrote many of them. some were written by pat buchanan or peter hannaford. but he wrote the massed vast majority of them. several books have been published about his radio commentaries.ad they were syndicated on hundreds of radio stations around the country including a radio station inra syracuse. i would hear the radio broadcast there and my parents home in syracuse the 1970s. of course millions of people listen every day and have an effect on his ability to mobilize eventually seek the presidency one more time.
there were lots of people who listen to reagan and later became reaganites after his common sense commentaries. >> host: mark and st. paul, minnesota, hi mark. >> caller: the recollection of the joint address to the congress, president biden indicated that trickle-down economics is never worked great i'm curious as to what mr. shirley's take would be on thatha comment? and the economic legacy of president reagan in general, thank you. the mixing to a glad you brought it up. i heard that in biden's speech to congress of the night two. of course is nonsense there is never trickle-down economics. it was an unfortunate comment, phrase that was created by david stockman who is in reagan's budget director and then resigned and remains of
the stain on his record today. so it is a false argument it is a false church. it would be a waste of time to try 2ingage. you cannot argue with the result. and eight years reagan created 19 million new jobs. he beat inflation he beat interest rates turned around nations morale. the proof is in the pudding. as they say. rothe proof is reagan worked as an economic and cultural and social and political forced from 1981 -- 1989. >> craig shirley wrote recently and newsmax quote we've had great presidents and we have had bad presidents. and at the moment we are stuck with one, joe biden, will at most to be just mediocre.
my hopes are not even that high to be honest. >> my op-ed can be low rougher than my book writing. i tend to stretch myself. i think eigen's problem today as he has two fundamental beliefs to solve people's problems. reagan, when accepted the nomination for president of the united states and detroit in 1986 they assembled delegates there. said don't trust me, trust yourself. did not see essential difference between the two parties or should be the party of thehe individual. a party that believes in themselves. the i other is on are inherently ineffectual in solving their own problems and government activism is necessary as a means to solve their
problems. that is summation orally of what biden said. historically wrong in the context of what reagan did. i mayay write another op-ed about that. >> host: barbara virginia please go to their question or comment. >> caller: i have a comment. and the comment is, i cannot believe that he sat there and saidid no one made money off the iran-contra affair. there is no way for you to make that statement. if you have no knowledge of that. you have the cia, everybody they know, all of the politicians were getting paid to look the other way. and thehe military-industrial complex is the corporations around the world. which is why itnd was done and who had it done.
and then you say reagan paid the price politically, big deal. i should have gone to prison. >> host: is i barbara and virginia, craig shirley? >> of anguish up a barber down is undecided. when carmine new rochelle, new york, hi. >> caller: good afternoon to you. mr. shirley, over the years i have heard rumors and suspicions that when president reagan was running for the office against jimmy carter, had representatives and iran talking to the iran leaders as to not release the hostages because when election time came around. maybe you could shed some light on that? space a good question.
there's no evidence. there are several books when was by gary six i think is summed up this book forer us. who charged george bush met with representatives of the aisle told to keep hostages in iran to the 1980 campaign to enable reagan from winning. nothing could be further from the truth. george bush should not fly to paris, france. not fly to tehran, he's the united states all the time. note representatives of the reagan campaign or anybody the cia military or got better but with delegates. these are conspiracies that have no basis. in fact there made out. it's entirely untrue. i will tell you i interviewed
for the 1980 campaign he told me, he said the reason we are released on the eve of the inauguration of ronald reagan was the iranianse were terrified of reagan and obama. they felt they couldh push each other around. they didn't feel they can push reagan around her there were terrified because regular take military action. they said in iran i release the hostages is a simple fact. >> for over in-depth authors would like to ask him or her what they are reading currently in the current books. here's the responses from craig shirley.
ventures of tom sawyer, 1865, katherine drinker bolin tom wolf the bonfire of the vanities and larry mercury lonesome dove. currently mr. shirley is reading james swanson's end of days. napoleon hill's think and growd rich, f john beauchamp's franklin winston and michael dobbs one minute to midnight. a lot of history titles there, mr. shirley. one stood out to me that was napoleon hill's think and grow rich. what is thatat about? >> that book has been around for 100 years. my grandmother georgia turned me onto it as a young boy. it is kind of a different two,
it is inspirational but how you achieve success with your spiritual means, your economic social means. just to re-energize my thinking every couple of years now. when i hire a new pr firm i gave them a copy of think and grow rich because he is so much useful information. >> another book you chose your rereading cs lewis' the screwtape letters, why? >> i love cs lewis. he proved that you can be spiritual and be a libertarian. and his case he was a
christian and libertarian. it teaches the lord's work is the double what he is teaching how to ruin people's lives. things to avoid things to know about. the house is burning down and somebody a box of matches or if someone you hand them a firehose. what's going on society and culture what to avoid really is a good spiritual and practical book. will there in new york please go ahead. so that good after him as surely how youou doing today? >> guest: good how are you. smooth them to good i'm hanging in there. >> guest: thanks for asking. >> caller: the reason for my call i would like toik ask you
on eight reagan documentary a ago.onths it is to be fairly accurate. stuart will or what were your thoughts about it? what your thoughts? >> found it to be very interesting documentary. i've watched past making documentaries like american experience. this was a little more in depth. since she's the expert was it accurate? >> it was not accurate. was not accurate was a misprint is made by a man who used to work for michael dukakis when he was writing the united states. one person, is not approached about doing an interview. i think he knew i would not cooperate in the way he wanted. one person who did cooperate later told me he saidd he had been duped was selectively
editedal. another liberal attempt unfortunately to besmirch the reagan legacy. a much better treatment of reagan's life is an epic movie coming out for release in the next several of months. i happen to know the producer. he is a straight up guy. he is using several reagan books as basis. it's not a documentary at the theatrical movie. dennis quaid is playing reagan. so be much more accurate portrayal of reagan's life and career that documented this.
>> host: craig shirley would you say the produces a straight up guy, sat a way of saying is coming at it from a conservative point of view? >> i do not know what else problem is. i know him socially but i do not politically. i have known him over many years. many years he's been working on this movie, raising the fundsnd. i've always judged him a been on several political with him. i've judged him to be straight up guy. there's no agenda. documentaries pro reagan i'm looking forward to this movie. i'm not sure, i'm not going to be happy with it. i believe is going to the downgrade of this life and career perspective often heard
over the past four years about the media and donald trump. this faced a hostile media? >> you betcha. downright hostile or the "washington post"'s most despicable endorsed him i believe every democrat running since adlai stevenson in 1952. the newspaper coverage was heinous towardsds reagan. the same with the "new york times". very tough on reagan. to support tax cuts he knew he
could not get a fair shake from the media. not as possible as those are professional governance, that tempered the media that is less prevalent today. issues like shows and things like that were much more respectful of the other side of the aisle than they are today. now they are just downrightw hostile. abc, nbc, cbs, "washington post", near, times. alternative media is around the three networks five, the washington, c-span, other broadcast outlets are people
who are in the right like they're getting a fair shake or at least t getting a chance to tell their point of view without being filtered or editor or whatever. >> host: craig shirley is on four out of acre% ronald reagan couple more the works but he's written about world war ii, another went in the workspace also written about neat newt gingrich in maryborough washington the mother of georgee washington. he's been our guests on in-depth on book tv