in the industry, and now you're writing about health care. >> guest: it was only during last part of my career that i was able to see, the higher up i was able to climb, the more i could see and became aware of the practices that they engaged in to get rid of people who were sick and to meet wall street's expectations. i wouldn't have stay as long as i did in the industry if i'd known everything i knew toward the beginning of my career. >> host: wendell potter's book, "deadly spin." booktv did a long-form interview with mr. potter which you can watch at booktv.org. >> up next, from the opening of this year's miami book fair international, former president george w. bush talks about his recently published memoir,
"decision points." >> good afternoon, we're going to begin. welcome to this very special opening presentation of the 27tg annual mike book fair inter-- miami book fair international, and before we continue, i kindly ask that you turn off your cell phones or place them in the silent position. thank you. and now, ladies and gentlemen, it's my pleasure and honor to introduce the co-founder of the book fair and the president ofre miami-dade college, dr. eduardo padron. dr. padron? [applause] >> good afternoon, everyone.laus it's, indeed, a real pleasure for me to welcome all of you to miami-dade college and the 26th edition of miami book fair international. this is the official opening for the book fair that will go for eightop consecutive days, and th street fair that will take place
friday, saturday and sunday of next week. this is, without question, the finest and largest literary w event in america.fi and we're very proud of the college to be able to host this every year now for 26 years, and the community has been so responsive. visitor and members and residents of the community come together in a communion of books. the book fair has been labeled in many different ways, but my two favorite ones are tom wolf, the american author who saysavo that miami book fair international is the literary mecca of the western world, andw the other nice, nice label, if i should call it that way, is what former first lady barbara bush said about book fair, the miami book fair, she said it's an
embarrassment of riches. so i love that one. [laughter] you know, between now and next sunday we're going to have over 350 authors, some of them coming from different parts of thecomi world for the delight of the miami public. and during the weekend and during the street fair we'll have hundreds of thousands of people who will be visiting the fair as well as hundreds ofeet thousands of books for people to buy. i'd like to, as a point of privilege, introduce three members of congress who are here today, good friends of miami-dade congress and the fair, and they are lincoln diaz-balart, lincoln, would you stand? [applause] his little brother, mario diaz-balart. [applause]
and ileana ros-lehtinen. a proud alumna of miami-dade college. [applause] now to introduce our very special guest today, someone who needs no introduction. someone who's a cultural icon in this community and who has done so much as chair of miami fair international to bring books alive, to bring people together and to bring the best of the world in literature to miami, please, help me in welcoming mitch kaplan. [applause] >> thank you, eduardo.
it's really an honor to be introduced by one of my mentors, eduardo padron. we all know what eduardo has done for this community with miami-dade college, and this gift to the community which is the miami book fair, and let's give this college a huge round of applause as well. [applause]k also, as i stand up here i have to recognize as we're having ahe new book fair week the incredible work of the entire w book fair team led by a remarkable woman, a good friendy of mine who's been the heart ann soul of the book fair for many, many years, and that's the executive a directer of the florida center for literary arts, elena arian. [applause] and as eduardo said, it's an amazing week.it each night this week we have ans author coming in led by an
entire weekend, round the clock of author events so, please, pick up your fairgoers' guide,ai find out what's happening.ppenin but tonight's tonight, and this afternoon it's an honor to be sort of welcoming this program, to introduce the president and also to end gauge the president in a discussion, it's my honor to bring up someone who is books i've sold in our book shop for many, many years, and it's really a pleasure to meet him as well, and that's michael barone who's a graduate of harvard university and yale law school and, in fact, spent two years ao yale while president bush was there as well, although their tracks didn't cross then.heir he's the senior political analyst for the washington examiner and a resident fellow at the american enterprise institute. he's also a fox news channel contributor and co-author of the
"almanac of american co- politics"es.of mr. barone has written for many publications including "the new york i times" and the sunday tin of london. he a was previously a senior writer at "u.s. news & world report" and a member of "the washington post" editorial page. please give him a warm, warm welcome. [applause] >> well, thank you very much. ta it's an honor to be here, and it's an honor to be able to introduce the 43rd president ofc the united states, george walker push. [cheers and applause] george walker bush. [cheers and applause] >> thank you all.
thank you.er please, be seated.s [applause] michael, before we begin, i do want to thank eduardo for his leadership of the miami community college. i had the honor of giving the graduation speech here when i was the president, and i am thankful that you've invited me back. mitch, i also want to thank you for promoting literacy as a new author. it's in my interest that you promote lit literacy. [laughter] i want you to know i did recognize the fact that you havd invited my mother, my wife, our daughter, and you finally got to me. [laughter] [applause] and finally, i want to thank you all for buying this book which i potentially sign -- personally signed, and i understand after this is over you'll get your
copy, and i'm grateful. >> well, mr. president, your book is entitled "decision points." it's not really an exhaustive p autobiography of your full life or your full president i. tell us what you wanted to do with this book. >> i thought it'd be kind of strange to start off, i was born in a log cab pin. [laughter] wasn't exactly the case. i wanted to, michael, i wanted people to understand what it waa like to be president during ain consequential time. i made a lot of controversialf decisions, and i wanted to give the reader a chance to understand the process by whiche i made decisions.unde the environment in which i made decisions, the people i listened to as i made decisions. i m and this is not an attempt to rewrite history, it's not an attempt to fashion a legacy, it is an attempt to be a part of the historical narrative, and it was a joyous experience to write
it. there is an autobiographical portion, and i put that in there to try to make the firstn decision of the book, why i ran for president in the first place, a logical decision for the reader. in other words, i couldn't just say i decided to run without describing the person who was returning, so the book starts off with can you tell me a day in which you haven't had ad ru drink?ri and i can tell you i wouldn't be sitting here as a former president if i had not quit drinking. >> who's asked you that question? >> believe it or not, it was my dear wife, laura. [laughter] she was, obviously, tired of met drinking.wi and as te the radder will --ing reader will learn, i becameing tired of me drinking as well. the book is very anecdotal, and it was really recreating therien anecdotes. turns out the president has got a lot of historical records at
his disposal, so there's diaries for every minute of my life as president, there are notes of national security meetings, there are memorandum of phone calls i made, and it was interesting to recreate a lot of the decision-making process from the historical records. but, of course, nobody could -- there's no historical record of how i felt or the e emotions i felt. and i tried to do my best to give the reader a sense of thedy emotions during some of the traumatic moments. >> host: your father was elected president in 1988. as a future president, you might have had a lot of opportunity for training at that point, bute what kind of a role did you play, what observations did you make in your decide's campaign and his administration?mpai >> well, first of all, obviously, a focal point of the early part of the book is my father.ship with my and i recognize there's a lot of psychobabble that was taking place during my presidency abous
the relationship between father and son, both of whom were presidents. the story is pretty simple. i love george bush. i adore george bush. and he was an incredibleore inspiration for me. and i learned a lot from him, obviously, as an observer. i learned true in the -- structure in the white house. now, i never dreamt i going to be president when he ran in 988. very few people dreamt i was going to be president. [laughter] >> i remember interviewing you -- >> including my mother. including you! >> i remember interviewing you in the texas delegation -- >> that's right. yeah, you weren't saying i'm interviewing a future president. >> well, i thought governor clemens might be. >> that's right. [laughter] you were just saying, i hope the bush stays out of trouble. >> well --[lau [laughter]>> >> here's what i learned.at i learned -- i watched ahed gracious man be president.
what's interesting is watching my dad be president was a lot harder than being president. in other words, when people -- i love the guy to the point whereo somebody would say anything bad at him, i would get angry. and frankly, at times, was rude and say so in the book. because i was defending somebody that meant a lot to me. when i became president it was much easier to deal with the slings and arrows of theand presidency having watched himch get through it. people say, oh, didn't the name calling bother you? not really.ad it bothered me for my dad, but not for me and i make that point in the book. >> tell us about the time you picked dick cheney for vice president. >> he's referring to a story in the book where i had made up myi mind that dick cheney was the right person to run with me. the vice presidential process is is really the first indication o as to how the potentialindi president will make a decision.
and i had watched my dad make his decision, and it was a very thoughtful process, and i asked dick cheney to be a the person o lead the process. the vice presidential pick alsoh ought to say clearly to the american people that the future president or potential president understands the most important role of the vice president is to succeed the president if something bad happens. so after going through the exhaustive list with dick, i peo decided that he would be thef th right vice presidential pick.eti i liked him, i trusted his judgment, i knew he wouldn't bep the kind of person that would be constantly second guessing decisions, and he could be president. and it would reassure the american people that iside understood the nature of the viced president si. so i told my senior team down there in austin about it, and karl rove strongly objected. rov he didn't think -- he thought that vice president cheney would not help us with the electoral college. it turned out the three
electoral votes in miami were really valuable. [laughter]th he felt like, he felt like picking someone from my father's administration would look too much like, you know, a continuation of president 41's administration. he was worried about his health, and he was worried about some of the policies that dick had voted on when he was in the u.s. congress. and so my management style wasmo that, to put carl and dick many this the same room at the governor's mansion in austin and let karl air out why he didn't think dick ought to be on the ticket. wha what's interesting is that dick agreed with him. [laughter] me so it took a while to persuade viceo president cheney to joins on the ticket. there's a lot of speculation about my relationship with him.n i will tell you this, i'm glad d picked him in 2000. and as i sit here in 2010, i'm glad i picked him in 2000.
he was, in my judgment, a superb vices president. sphwhrsh a couple of people. >> a couple of people that were not eager for you to run for president in 1999 and 2000 were two people very closely related to you. and there's some connection there with what you state is your piggest mistake -- biggest mistake in the 2000 campaign -- >> right. >> you're referring to my daughters. >> yeah.ther >> you can understand why.stak they just were graduating from the ideagh school, and of their father running and winning and they go to college with secret can service was just really not appealing to them. [laughter] michael's referring to theno biggest political mistake of mye life was not revealing to the people of texas that i had been arrested for drunk driving.as i'd been up in maine, and john u new come and i went to a bar, and he taught me how to drink beer out of a mug with no handsb [laughter]
which means you bite the edge of the mug, and you -- [laughter] and i had too much to drink and was pulled over by a policeman in kennebunkport, maine.poli i'd been called for jury duty in austin now as governor, and it was a drunken driving charge,w t i'd been dismissed from the jury. as i was walking out of thedi courtroom, a reporter said, hav yoube ever been arrested for drk driving. i said, i've been arrested when i was young. i felt baby boomer parents should not be visiting their sins upon their children, and i was deeply concerned that if i'n have said, yes, that my message to them would have been undermined. they said, oh, he's just saying it. after all, he became the governor. i think we will drink and drive as well. and it was a huge political mistake because five days before the election in 2000, the sealed
recordsda were unsealed and e dropped in the public arena. that was an easy issue to handle. of course i'd been arrested bute guessna what? i quit drinking. the problem is anything that changes the discourse with five days to go in a campaign is monumental. and karl and i believe that that revelation of the drunken driving probably cost two million votes. as people said, wait a minute, we don't need this. we thought he was one way, and he's another. they didn't really spend time discerning the issue, there was just a reaction. and it was a huge political r mistake.e if i had to do it over again, i, obviously, would have revealed at the appropriate time that i had been drinking and driving, i had paid my dues, i had quit drinking and probably shouldpaid have held the event at a mothers against drunk driving seminar.a >> we're here speaking in florida. did you think -- was there any point where you thought you might not get florida's electoral votes in that 2000e
controversial? >> it seemed like we had to win the race five different times, but i, you know, i wasn't sure, you know? when i think about florida, there's one thing that really does irritate me, and can that was the -- and i i put this inod the book in a rather gentle way -- but the networks called the election in florida before the panhandle of florida had closed their poll, and i'm confident it cost me a lot of votes. most of florida's on the eastern time zone, but the panhandle's in the central time zone, and so when i called the election atona 7:00 eastern, there was a lot of people who thought, oh, there's no need for me to go vote. i am most grateful for one of my early decisions and that was ona election day --te couple of things. one, people were urging me tode declareci victory, and my brothr jeb took me aside and said, don't do it. and his judgment was right. secondly, i woke up really early in the morning and asked jimmy
baker to come down here, my dad's dear friend and one of thb great public servants ever.c and it worked out fine.t but it was an interesting period. >> the, as president you met and dealt with many foreign leaders you write about at least some of them in the book in varying shapes and forms. you write, i have always been able to read people. vladimir putin, when you firsti met him, you said you got aople sense of his soul -- >> i looked in his eyes and saw his soul. >> and later you told him he was cold-blooded. >> yeah, i did. >> and did you read him wrong? this. [laughter]di did he change? what -- >> well, of course, let me tell you the story. we were, condi and i are in a room in slovenia, thankfully, they didn't ask me to identify e where it was when i was running in 2000.en i [laughter] pleasure i now know where it is, and it's a fabulous country, by the way. [laughter]s really one of the most beautiful countries on earth.
i'm meeting with putin for the first time in 2001, and he's talking to me about soviet debt saddling the russian federation. and after about five minutes of listening to him talking about the debt, i said, is it true your mother gave you a cross that she had blessed in jerusalem? i had read about the cross andt his mother in a cia briefing. and the reason i asked him that is i wanted to learn more about the person. i was interested in soviet era debt, but i needed to know the type of person i was dealing with. and he then starts describing his mom and the cross, and he tells an interesting story about how he'd hung the cross, and he told the workman the only thing i really want you to find is the cross, and then he explained the workman's hand opening with the cross, and his countenance changed, and the atmosphere in the room changed. he said, it was as if it was meant to be, and i said, that'sw
the story of the cross. and so when i was asked a question, the conversation went on from there, but when i was asked the question, do you trust vladimir putin, in front of a huge press conference after our meeting, my answer was, yes. i could have tried to be clever like ronald reagan who had the great answer trust but verify, but that would have sounded like page rich. so i said, yes. and the reporter said, why, and i said, because i looked into his eyes, and i saw his soul.gir and in my memory at the time wao howul he, how the whole conversation changed when he was talking about something as precious as his mom and her gift. and then michael's talking about the last time i met him, russian had just invaded georgia and we're at the olympics, and i was mad. and i had spoken to his successor, medvedev, and made it very clear that the united states was objecting strongly to
the russian invasion. anyway, so we're at the -- in china at the opening games at the ceremony, and putin slides down, and i said to him after a conversation which we were both grinning and yet the conversation didn't, was pretty tough because we were on international tv, i finally said to him, i've been telling you for seven years, the presidentwe of georgia's hot-blooded.ars and president putin said to me, i'm hot-blooded, and i said, no, vladimir, you're cold-blooded. and so our relationship -- there's a lot of stories in between like the classic came when i introduced him to barney at camp david. barney's a little scottish terrier, little tiny guy who i adore, and putin kind of dissedr him. [laughter] and i then, and then putin kindly invited us over -- and he was a gracious host, by the
way -- he said, would you like to meet my dog? i said, sure, and out bounds coney. huge dog. and he says bigger, faster and stronger than barney. [laughter] yeah, he changed. >> he changed. you had a day that changed your presidency too. >> yes. >> you were in florida on the morning of september 11th, 2001, it took you a while to get backy to washington.ur >> it did.f >> can you tell us something about what it was like to beingt president of the united states that day?ha >> my role became clarified. st the priority of my administration changed from no child left behind or tax cuts or economic growth or dealing with the dot.com bust to protecting america. and when andy card said the second plane has hit the second tower, america's under attack, i was staring at young children.ar and my first reaction was angert and then my role became clear. the contrast between the evil of
the attackers and the innocence of our citizens starting with the youngest children made it clear my job was to protect you as best as i could. and i put in there that my everything after that, the decisions i made many of which are due to that attack that day. anyway, i tried to get home and was, frankly, urged not to come back. my instincts were to get back t, washington, so i flew around the country with two stops, louisiana and nebraska, and atwa about 4 in the afternoon i finally said, i'm going home. secret service said, don't go because people were very uncertain about other attacks, but i damn sure wasn't going toe give a speech to the country from a bunker in nebraska. i did not want to give the enemy in advantage. so for the only time in myime presidency -- well, there's another time i'm about to tellen you, butcy i overruled the secrl service. their job is to protect you, and it's important for the president to make their job easier, notr harder.
but i said, i'm going home.rote anyway, i got there, and we were in -- i gave the speech, and we're in a bunker at a national security meeting which is built four stories below the white house. s it's a hardened bunker, and the head of the agency said this is where you're going to say. and i said, show me the bed. so they showed me this thing that looked like it'd been purchased by harry truman -- [laughter] and i said, i'm not sleeping down here.u wi because i knew i needed sleep.m. if you're ever in a crisis, it's essential that you get rest in order to be able to clearly, think clearly. so we went upstairs and laura's sound asleep. i'm not asleep. i can't get to sleep. and i hear a man breathingd heavily, mr. president, white house is under attack. so i grab laura in a robe -- [laughter] i'm in running shorts and a t-shirt. i grab barney, spot the dog dutifully follows, and we're back down four stories below the
white house. and the young airman comes around the corner and says, it was one of ours. an f-16 over the city had the wrong transponder city and was flying back to andrews and everybody thought it was the final plane getting ready to hit the white white house. >> three days after that you spoke at the national cathedral in washington, then you went up to visit the site of the attack in new york. >> i did.afte the national cathedral speecht o was a very important speech to give. it was a prayer service, v christian,er muslim, jewish, religious leaders praying to heal the nation.chri and more, other religions as well. my each was god is good, we can count on god, and we're going to go find the enemy and bringbr justice. so it was an unusual speech to give from a church pulpit. afterwards, we flew up to ground zero, and i describe it in the book as like walking into hell.
the soot was still in the air, we're sloshing through water. i got down to the pit, and there was palpable blood lust. and these people didn't know me as president. these firefighters and rescue workers that had been desperately trying to pull out their friends. and, you know, i tried to console, and they didn't want to hear that. so when i got up on top of the fire engine, i reviewed the film the other day, and, you know,det we're here for you, we pray for you, we care for you, we love you, and they didn't -- the message they wanted to hear was we hear you and those who knocked down these buildings will hear from us. i finally got out of there and went, went -- drove down to the javits center. the road was lined with new yorkers, and giuliani pointed out none of them voted for you. [laughter]
truth doesn't hurt. anyway, so i thanked the rescue workers from around the country and then went to meet with families who still thought theiw loved one would come out of the rubble. it was an interesting position to be in. i had just come from the rubble, and it was awfully hard to believe anybody would come out. and so i did the best i could to be hopeful and reassuring. it was a 30-minute meetingi di supposedly. about two and a half hours later i left.but the last person i met was arlene howard who gave me the badge of her son george which i held up in the speech. up >> in the months and couplenths years that followed you authorized the cia to use enhanced interrogatione techniques or at least some ofda them thatt were proposed on suspects including khalid sheikh mohammed. this has been criticized as authorizing torture. >> yeah. >> by many of your critics in this country and in otherri countries. tell us your view of this.
>> my view is that we fight a battle to protect ourselves we against an enemy that is different from anyone we ever e fought, an enemy that doesn't believe in the geneva convention, an enemy that hides, an enemy who will unmercifully kill the innocent and that the only way to protect us is to be able to get good information.vet and so we captured khalid sheikh mohammed. khalid sheikh mohammed was the chief operating officer of al-qaeda. i don't know if they call themselves that, but that's how i viewed him. here's the man that slit danny pearl's throat because danny pearl was jewish. danny pearl had one of the greatest statements of religious principle ever when he said my grandfather's you, my father's jewish, and i'm jewish.athe and then khalid sheikh mohammed, you know, slits his throat. and we capture him, and i'm told
that he's got information thatu could lead, that could prevent another attack. i also was told that the interrogation techniques that wo were using at the time were ineffective. as a matter of fact, khalid sheikh mohammed said i with will talk to you when i get my lawyer in new york. i asked -- and the cia said that they would like to take over the interrogation. and they talked about techniques that were available to them that they thought would be effective in getting information from thif killer that could save lives. i then went through an exhaustive legal review of their recommendations understanding that there is laws against torture. of course, i wasn't going toag break the law to protect you. the legal opinions came back, nt and i approved techniques including waterboarding on three
people. in my book i make two points clear. one, the information we received from those on whom we used enhanced intergaition techniques saved american lives. and secondly, i could not have lived with myself had i not, under the law, used the techniques to get the information so that our folks could react and prevent attack.u and i'm fully aware at the time i made the decision that theret would be a lot of controversyre and a lot of blow black on this decision -- blowback on this decision. but my job was to protect youy within the law and within the constitution of the united states, and as i said in the book, later on in my presidency we had captured somebody who had information thatwe'd have gotten that could save lives, i would have done the same thing again. and finally just so you know, id the book i walk you through
getting this capability, this tool passed by the united states so it is now available to any president to use should he or she choose to do so. [applause] >> okay. mr. president, 2002, 2003, you 0 contemplated the possibility of military action against iraq. it was asserted by many intelligence agencies that he had weapons of mass destruction and programs to build them as he had done in the past. some of that information turned out to be wrong. how did that happen, and does
it, in retrospect, would that have changed your point of view, your decision on the iraq military action? >> yeah. michael, that's one of thosehose questions that i just didn't have the luxury of answering. in other words, i can try to answer it, but it just didn't happen that way, and this book lays out how history unfolded.ur i mean, i laid out a doctrine that said, the bush doctrine, that in order to protect the country, we had to be on theorde offense, we had to hold people to account who harbored terrorists, and we had to deal with threats before they fully materialized.ll that's one of the lessons of the attack of september 11th. plus, we would spread freedom as an alternative to the ideology of those who murder thetern innocent. and the world saw sa doom hussein as a threat. i literally mean the world. and i felt it was important to deal with him because the
biggest danger facing america is weapons of mass destruction in the hands of, in this case, a surrogate, had he so chosen to do us harm.ne one thing that's clear in this book, i tried to make diplomacy work. and this was an exhaustive attempt to convince saddam hussein, one, that we meant what we said at the united nations security council.e di by the way, there's a debate in my administration about whether i should have gone to the united nations security could could bet all.that some members say, no, you don't need to. give me 30 days, 40 days to disarm --im 2 >> your position in the book, as you say, is is that legally he was in violation of previous --e >> and so he didn't need one. on the other hand, what's interesting is i think it will interest people in america, i wanted there to be a coalition of freedom-loving nations whoth were willing to confront saddam
so that he would understand that it's not just the united states thatta was demanding he disclose or allow the inspectors in, it was a lot of nations. but those nations cannot act without a u.n. security council resolution. certainly not the case for america, but a lot of nations the leaders said, let's go to the security council. i wanted to grow -- then i started conducting cocohesive. we were trying to send signals to saddam hussein that if you defy the world again, there wil be consequences. and it's, you know, in terms of the weapons of mass destruction what i think people forget is that prior to my arrival in washington the congress overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling for regime change in iraq. and after september 11th
congress overwhelmingly passed a resolution authorizing me to usl force necessary to protect the american people. it is when the difficulties began after the liberation of iraq that people began to change their mind. which sometimes happens inch politics. [laughter] but it can't happen if you're the commander in chief. in other words, you can't be playing politics with the security of the united states and with those who wear our uniform. [laughter] [applause] [applause] >> anyway, it's a painful experience. i'mpa certainly not acquitting e pain people feel when their child is sent into combat and gets hurt or loses their life, but it's a difficult decision e president. and no president should ever commit our troops withoutnd serious thought about the consequences. >> mr. president, president obama spoke in his post-election
press conference, and his last question about the strength he's gotten from speaking with families of military members and members that have fallen. you write about this in the book. can you tell the audience --wr >> yeah, i do. i write about it a lot because i want the american people who read this book to understand the incredible strength of character of our military families. and so i tell the story about a woman jailed valerie chapman,ht her husband was one of the early casualties in afghanistan. and i go to see them, she and her two children, 5-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old daughter. and i talk about going eye level with the children and telling them how courageous their dad was and how i fought back the tears because i didn't want thes to see a weepy commander in chief, i wanted them to hear the words your father was an heroic person. and after the meeting valerie handed me a pamphlet, and she said something to the effect that, you know, if anybody questions this, you show 'em
this x. on the pamphlet she wrote, john did his job, now you doem yours. and so there's a lot of meetings like that where the strength of character of our people come out. i mean, we're a blessed nation to have incredibly brave, courageous people who volunteer in the face of danger and theirt families who support them. [applause] >> mr. president, some of my friends in london didn't thinkdt that you would get along very well the british prime minister tony blair. he's london style, sophisticate, third way -- >> i'm not a sophisticate? is that what you're suggesting? >> well, i'm just say what some of my friends were saying. [laughter] >> tony blair and i became fast friends. i admire him aad lot.re h
i admire him because when he gives you his word, he keeps it. i admire his sense of humor. laura and i spent a lot of time with he and cherie, and i made a lot of friends in thehim international arena -- john wi howard of australia, for example -- i better not start naming 'em, but i would say tony and i ended up with a very fast friendship. what's interesting is i found it to be unusual to find politicians or people in electe office to be ablear to look beyd the horizon. and i thought tony blair could do that in a way that was very strategic in thought. and i believe had the state -- heads of state need to be strategic in their thought and have a long-term view of issues. and tony had that view. >> now, you did have a few debates with cherie blair. >> one on the death penalty. yeah, i did, one on the death penalty and probably lost. i made it clear to her, he waspb objecting to my position when i was governor of texas in supporting the death penalty --r
and as president. i said the death pen thety saves lives. and she didn'taf agree. >> upreelected with a majority of the vote, the first time in 16 years that a presidential nominee got a majority of the popular vote. you had political capital. you went in on the social security issue first and only later in 2006 pushed for changee in our immigration laws. >> right. >> with those were notimmi successful endeavors. what have you learned from that or -- >> well, if i had to do it over again, i probably would have run the immigration plan first. i -- and, but i didn't. so i pushed social security hard, and the truth of the matter is congress didn't want to reform social security. and there's an issue i feel, in all due respect to my friends from congress, where congress is more reactive than proactive on
the issue. and i didn't get support from either party. nevertheless, i pushed hard on the issue because i think it is essential that we reform social security. it's unfair for young americans to be paying money into a broke system. and it didn't work. on the other hand, i made it clear that i didn't go to washington, as i said, to play small ball. i went there to deal with problems and not shy away from them because there might be bad political consequences. and so social security failed, and then i ran the comprehensivm immigration reform plan whichcu was widely praised after i gave the speech there in the oval office. nevertheless, the issue got away. i mean, the issue became, youe know, the rhetoric on the issue is very difficult, and somebody was nervous about the borders, and i understand why people aren we ought to enforce our borders, but automatically naming amnesty made it difficult to get people to pay attention. i have no regrets in trying both
issues. that's what you do when you're elected to office. you try to solve problems. in both cases i was unsuccessful. >> mr. president, in "decision points" you have a chapter on iraq which goes into 2003 ask a lit -- and a little bit into 2004. and then you have a chapter later in the book on the surge where you talk about how in the spring of 2006 you start, you came to believe that our strategy in iraq was failing and that you needed to make changes in that.ed t that resulted in the surge strategy which, i think, is generally agreed to be, have w been successful. how did you turn the -- how -- why did you change your mind, how did you turn the government around on that? >> well, first, i changed my mind because i felt we were beginning to lose. and a loss in iraq would be a mayor blow to the security of the -- major blow to the security of the united states. would have meant that the sacrifices that had gone onte
prior to that moment would be in vain, it would embolden enemies, send shock waves throughout thel middle east, and i've always believed in our freedom. freedom exists in everybody's soul and that if we could get the right strategy to bring security in place, then people would be given a chance to express their desire to live in a free society. but the problem is that the get politics, we push politicsin first, p and we're very successl initially in terms of as constitution, but the security situation deteriorated to the point where democracy couldn't take hold. and i decided it was just, it would have been catastrophic as far as i was concerned.cata so i asked hadley, i asked security adviser, get some options. it took a while to implement it, and i walk the reader through why -- changing yourout mind on the strategy in the
spring -- >> beginning and during the spring, but i needed to seet: i options.sp >> the announcement comes in this january '07. >> that's right. but i needed to see options17 before you can actually make a move, so that took a while to develop the options. but then i needed to convince people in my own administration, and then as don rumsfeld told me, he said, you know, we need new eyes.n an and the truth of the matter is i needed in order to make the plan work i had to have a newe secretary t of defense. in other words, people would not have believed it was necessarily a new plan unless there was somebody else saying this is a new plan and was introduced to bob gates as an option. and then that led to needing new generals, and so we needed a lot of things to happen. really what happened is the 2006 campaign interceded, and i feel very strongly that the commander in chief should not be makingco key military decisions in the midst of a political campaigncii because it sends signals to our
troops, you're nothing but, you know, you're being used for tr political purposes, and that would be a major mistake. and so one of the lessons for future presidents if they choose to read this book if you, unfortunately, are commander in chief, don't play politics with military strategy.n't [applause] >> [inaudible] we had, mr. president, we'll do three more questions. okay. >> mitch is getting ready to the hook on -- put the hook on me. >> in the book you recount how you had experience in handling hurricanes in 2004 and 2005 where you say they had a competent governor at that time. [cheers and applause] and i'm -- >> what do you expect me to say?
[laughter] >> then comes hurricane katrina in 2005. >> yeah. >> you were accused by a singer of not caring about black people.trin >> yeah, look, it wasn't just one person. this was an opportunity for people to use the response to katrina as a way to label me a racist, and i didn't like it one bit, and i express significant displeasure. you know, you can call me names, which they did, but being labeled a racist is something ib just, i couldn't stomach then, i can't stomach now. t just unbelievably -- it's just unbelievably unfair.elie i mean, katrina was, you know, a case of, as i put in the book, i prided myself on making a decisions, it was just a delayeo decision. in other words, it took me too long to make a decision.just i did something not very smarti either which was to fly over new orleans, have my picture taken
on air force one, and then they put the newspaper in the paper so it looked like i didn't caret i do remind people, however, the federal response started initially after the storm hit, 30,000 people's lives were saved by the united states coast guard. and as i said when i went down to new orleans, there wasn't one helicopter pilot or rescue coast guardsman had said, i'm not taking you off that roof becausl you happen to be black. they were picking people up all colors, all races, all ages to save life.rs the question is, should i have put federal troops without the capacity to protect themselves in new orleans. and we probably don't have enough time. my advice is read the bookt because i walk you through the h law that sayros the president cannot put troops for law enforcement in the united states without either declaring thees situation an insurrection or
being asked to do so by theclar governor of a particular state. and if i had to do it over again -- and i was swayed, just so you know, by the broadcasts of the area where there was shootings and snipers and all the things we heard about, many of which did not, turned out not to be true. but, you know, if i had to do ii over again which you don't get to do, i'd just put the 82nd airborne without the capacity to defend themselves, and i think itou would have changed the psychology of theca whole and situation quickly. >> mr. president, i don't recall you speaking a lot about africa or aids issues in your 2000 campaign, but your administration did a lot onamp that. i think a lot of people aren'tod aware of that. l can you tell the audience --f >> well, condi early on when i was getting to know condi and courting her to try to become my national security adviser and i talked a lot about africa. and if you think about africa at that point in be time, you haven to think about the pandemic of
aids. any policymaker couldn't, you know, say i want to do something with africa and not immediately go to the aids issue. and i did. and i walk the reader through some very poignant scene about what laura and i saw when we went to africa, but also the strategy to spend your money that, ultimately, saved million of lives. als people say, why did you do that, and i think there's two reasons why. one, national security reasons. we face an enemy that can only recruit hopeless people, and i think there's got to be nothing more hopeless than a child watching their parents die ofha aids and nobody helping. and we have the capacity to helf in america. and the other thing is i believe it's important to live by is certain principles, one of by which to whom much is given, much is required, and i think a a nation we're better for it, so
i do devote a chapter called lazarus because many people were talking about after the pep far program, that's what it's called, after it was implemented many people were, said people were like lazarus, they're rising from the dead. i tell a funny story -- i think it's funny. so josh bolton, my dear friend and second chief of staff after my dear friend andy card was the other chief of staff says, bonoe you're going to meet bono. he said, you do know who he is, don't ya? i said, yeah, famous irish rock star.is and just as josh was leaving the room, i said, and used to be married to cher. [laughter] and i kept my poker face as long as possible. [laughter] so there's a lot of moments of humor in this book because believe it or not, my administration in the midst of
trauma was pretty light-heartedn at times. we got along well x there was a lot of joy amidst the grief. >> finally, mr. president, there's two older women who appear at various points in the book, and and i'm wondering if you could tell us which one was more formidable, queen elizabeth ii or barbara bush. >> yeah. well, i tell -- you know, my mother, i put in there that -- well, i tell a lot of stories about my mom. you know, i adore my dad and my mother as well. i used to tell people when i ran for governor of texas i had my daddy's eyes and my mother's mouth which would generally get a laugh, but it's true. [laughter] my mother's formidable. youh. know, when i told her i ws going to run against ann richards, her reaction was, yout can't win. [laughter] thanks, mom. [laughter]
she's unbelievable. but i tell -- >> what'd she tell you about the marathon? >> oh, yeah. so after my dad lost in '92, i decided that i'm going to run i out my frustrations by training for and running the houston marathon. at mile 19 their church, st. martin's church, was there, and it just so happened i go running by the church righton a about the time the 9:30 service empties out, it's like 10:30 or however long the service lasts. and my dad, there's my boy, he yells. and my mother says, there's three fat people ahead of you. [laughter] [applause] >> that's not what you heard for the queen? >> no, if queen. so laura and i went to buckingham palace and had a
majestic stay, and i asked the queen if i could see her corgis, and they came in, you know? beautiful dogs, they're very well behaved, and i mused -- to myself, of course -- thankfully barney's not here because he'd be barking for scottish independence. [laughter] let me conclude by one story in the book.be first, michael, thank you very much for being here, and thank you all for your interest. there's a lot of stories in the book -- [applause] i was giving a speech, you remember the speech i gave in bucharest welcoming romania tobu nato? just before i got up to the podium, there's like a couple hundred thousand people there. and they were here, they were there to hear the american president welcome them to nato is a big deal for peopleam who had just come out from underneath communism to know that an attack on one is anck
attack on all. and there was a lit balcony amidst the kind of drizzle and dimness of the day. and i said, what is that? they said, well, that's the balcony where the tyrant gave his last speech. and it was a memorial to freedom. and the president introduces me and a full rainbow appears. it was a startling moment.n hi and i stepped back to take in this rainbow and then said, god is smiling on us. and the reason i did is because the rainbow ended exactly behine the balcony where the tyrant had given his last speech. thank you for coming. [applause]
[applause] >> thank you. thank you, michael barone and president bush. what a great way to kick off the miami book fair. thank you all for coming as well. we w hope to see you throughout the week. and if you've prepurchased ahope book, they will be availableed outside. i think there'll be a line or something you can get into. and if you haven't prepurchased one, there will be some for sale, too, right outside as well. thank you all. we'll see you this week. are [applause] [inaudible conversations]
>> this event was part of the 2010 miami book fair international. booktv will be live with more coverage from miami book fair today starting at 10:30 a.m. ian. and to view our schedule of coverage, visit booktv.org. >> david lynch, when did the luck of the irish run out? >> well, it ran out about two years ago in the midst of a global financial crisis which really exposed some failings of an irish economic and social model that had brought great change to ireland over a quarter century. my story starts in 98 this -- 1984 when ireland was poor, stagnant, troubled, and the country over the next 10 or 15 years rose to be the richest in europe, had a cultural vibrancy it had never had before and was at peace for the first time in generations. and then as any fatalistic
irishman would expect, things went badly off the rails. the country ended up in a housing and credit bubble that was even larger than the one we've had here in the united states and now faces some very difficult choices. >> how did ireland rise in the '90s and '80s? this. >> well, in the late '80s they got their public finances straightened out. that allowed interest rates to come down. they attracted a lot of investment from the u.s., company like intel, citigroup, gateway, microsoft all poured into the country. they negotiated agreements, tripar tide agreements between the government, labor and business community to make investment predictable, devalued the currency in '86 and again in '92, and it all ended up with a growth miracle that was dubbed the celtic tiger. after years of really no growth at all, ireland was a real back water, almost a third world country in europe in the
1980s. in the mid '90s the economy ticked over and started growing at 8, 9, 10% a year, year after year, to the point where by the year 2000 for the first time in modern history the irish on a per-capita basis were richer than their former colonial masters in britain. >> so where does your book end? >> my bookends about four or five months ago. it comes full circle from the bad old days through the best times ireland's ever had into this disaster, this crisis of the past few years, and it brings the story right up-to-date, ends primarily with the nationalization of this rogue bank, anglo irish bank, that was responsible for much of the bill that the irish taxpayers are now getting stuck with. and it ends, though, on a fairly hopeful note that the irish having demonstrated a fair bit of resiliency over the centuries