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tv   Book Discussion on The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe  CSPAN  May 1, 2016 7:45pm-9:01pm EDT

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in a collective box that have to be relegated to spokespeople. peter, you don't have a white spokesperson that speaks on your behalf, do you? maybe you do and i don't know about it, but i think i missed that memo. so when you look at cornel west, he's making a lot of money writing books about what black people should think and do and how he's the voice of black people. he teaches this stuff at princeton. allen west, on the other hand, is telling people speak for yourself. he was a loud mouth, in a good way, congressman. he tells it like this it is, ane is much more of a hero and a champion to me for the cause of black america than cornel west will ever be. [laughter] so there. >> host: a little bit from crystal wright. her new book, "con job: how democrats gave us crime, sanctuary cities, abortion, profiteering and racial division." you're watching booktv on c-span2. ♪ >> when i tune into it on the weekends, usually it's authors
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sharing their new releases. >> watching the nonfiction authors on booktv is the best television for serious readers. >> on c-span they can have a longer conversation and delve into their subjects. >> booktv weekends, they bring you author after author after author that spotlight the work of fascinating people. >> i love booktv and i'm a c-span fan. [inaudible conversations] >> good evening, everybody. thank you all so much for coming out tonight for this event. i am lissa muscatine, i'm one of
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the co-owners of politics & prose, my husband and co-owner, business partner, brad graham, is floating around in the back somewhere. and on behalf of our terrific staff, we welcome all of you to the event tonight. a few housekeeping matters, i think most of you have been to events here, but for anyone who hasn't, our guest will speak about her book x then we'll take questions at the end. we do record these events, we also have c-span here tonight. if you can possibly make it to the monas right here next to this pillar, we would be really grateful because that makes the audio much more enjoyable for those who are trying to listen who aren't actually physically in this space. also be you have a phone or other noise-making device on your person and you could possibly silence it or make it so that it won't make noise, we'd be grateful for that. and then lastly, at the end of the event, if you wouldn't mind just folding up your chairs and putting them to the side, elaine
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will sign books up here. we have plenty of copies up front. i think you all know what it looks like. and she'd be happy to sign at the end just up here at the table. i also want to just point out that we are coming to the end of women's history month. it's been a great month for us here at the store. we've had some terrific events. i think for me this one is the highlight. we have a whole table dedicated to books about women, by women, related to women's history. it's up toward the front of the store. and we are very, very happy to be able to celebrate this month with such terrific authors and terrific books. with that, i just want to say what a privilege it is to host elaine showalter at p and p tonight. she'll be talking about her new book, i think it's her tenth book. it's called "the civil wars of julia ward howe." i'm sure many of you saw that it was the lead review in the sunday new york times a few weeks ago, so congratulations on that, and very well deserved. [applause]
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it was very exciting to see that. and i'll get to the book in a minute, but i wanted to mention that several of elaine's family members are here tonight too, and it's just, frankly, not fair that so much talent resides in one family's gene pool. elaine's daughter is at the back, she was the one handing out the beautiful little m and ms. [laughter] she's a friend and former colleague of mine from the clinton white house, and i have to say she's too humble ever to say this, but she is one of the finest speech writers in the country. was then, has been since, till is now. still is now. her brother and elaine's son, michael, is not here, but you may know of him. he's getting terrific reviews as director of the new film hello, my name is doris, that stars sally field. >> [inaudible] >> and writer, thank you. deborah is correcting me. [laughter] and lastly, you know, this always happens at politics and prose, i swear to god. somebody always knows a little bit more, so thank you for that.
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and lastly, elaine's husband is a professor for many years and scholar -- i think, where did you go? oh, there you are, over here. scholar of 18th century french who is as devoted a partner and champion as any spouse could possibly be. the sort of spouse, sadly, that julia ward howe herself never had. but anyway, welcome to all of you family members. [applause] most of us know julia ward howe for having written "the battle hymn of the republic." and if we're slightly more studious students of history, we might also know that she was a poet and later an abolitionist and advocate for women's suffrage. but we likely don't know the depths of her misery in marriage, her secret writings or, on a brighter note, the company she kept with the cultural and political elite of her day. we become deeply immersed in her public and privacy worlds, and as the title of the book suggest, we become witnesses to
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her civil wars, her gallant but often tenuous attempts to match up her great gifts, ambitions and opinions against the challenges and expectations placed on women in 19th century america. i just love this book. and i'm not going to be shy about it. i love this book. and not simply because it's a great biography, not simply because it's a great work of historical scholarship, though it is surely both of those to. it's just narrative nonfiction at its best. it's an incredible story, a story that tells a much bigger story and in such a way that engages the reader to deeply and on so many levels that if you pick this book up, you will not put it down. and that should be no surprise given the author. elaine is a professor emeritus of english at princeton and the most respected feminist literary critic of her generation. her previous books all attest to her profound influence on the academy as she has reshaped scholarship about american women. for many intellectuals, that would suffice for career accomplishments, but elaine is
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not any intellectual or scholar. her daughter told me she's never been content to cloister herself in an ivory tower. she is, after all, at heart a teacher. and luckily for these, for princeton students, several generations of them have gotten to know that firsthand. and i might also say that here at p and p we also know this and i, frankly, cannot believe that we're so lucky, because elaine is teaching classes here now. and not surprisingly, one of our most popular instructors. in fact, i just found out a few minutes before the event started that there are only two spots left in her upcoming class on great short stories by american women, so if you have any interest, i would suggest signing up right away, and thank you for coming and teaching here. we really appreciate it. beyond her teaching and book writing, she's an enthusiast of popular culture, she's written tv reviews more people magazine, and she's a regular on twitter, and she has also confessed in print to a passion for shopping. describing herself as a woman
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and a feminist, quote: who never saw an earring i didn't want like -- [laughter] who has many back copies of vogue as victorian studies, whose idea of bliss is an afternoon in the makeup department at saks -- [laughter] so i'm thinking about her latest book and why it resonates so deeply with me and i think with so many others. i think it's because the many parts of elaine -- scholar, teacher, intellectual, feminist, popular culture enthusiast -- come together so fully in her writing and storytelling. this is, obviously, an important book, but more importantly, it's just a marvelous book. thank you so much for being here. [applause] >> thank you so much. is this on? can everybody -- that's the most wonderful introduction. i absolutely love that introduction. i'm going to start out with a bit of what we know -- >> please stand and sing this song with me. would you please? the battle hymn of the republic. you know the words.
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i know you do. ♪ mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the lord. ♪ he is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored. ♪ he hath loosed his fateful lightning of his terrible, swift sword -- ♪ his truth is marching on. ♪ everybody sing with me, glory, glory, hallelujah. ♪ oh, glory, glory, hallelujah.
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♪ sing it, glory, glory, hallelujah, his truth is marching on ♪ [cheers and applause] >> all right. [applause] thanks to my grandson, jack, for setting that up for me and for all the people at politics & prose for all the tech assistance. that's whitney houston, and it's 1991, and her performance, she was at the naval air station in norfolk welcoming home our troops from the gulf war. and if you see the video, which is on youtube, she is singing to about 3,000 military personnel. and by the end of this, she does a kind of gospel version, and everybody is rocking out. it's really kind of amazing. it's my favorite version of the
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battle hymn. and, you know, everybody has recorded it, elvis did it, johnny cash, joan baez and, of course, the mormon taber or knacking choir -- [laughter] all the ones you can imagine. this is the one i really like the best. i think it's tremendous. and it also kind of brings together the elements of the military and the spiritual and the rousing that i think have made it such a classic lyric. well, when julia ward was growing up in new york, she was a studious redhead live anything manhattan -- living in manhattan just under -- just lightly over five feet tall. and she dreamed as a teenager of becoming an important american writer. she says through all those years i had the vision of some great work which i myself would give to the world. i would write the novel or the play of the age. now, that did not work out. first of all, her father -- who was a very rich banker in new
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york, he owned what is now half of midtown manhattan -- he censored her reading of fiction. so she actually read very, very few novels as a girl, although she did sneak off to read -- [inaudible] she was not allowed to go to the theater, and when she wrote this, she had actually never seen a play. so this kind of vision of her future was quite unrealistic. but like many gifted young women in the 19th century, she turned to poetry as a safe outlet, a feminine outlet for a young woman. and, in fact, her own mother who had died at the age of 27 also bearing six children as julia would, managed -- within her 27 year -- to publish a few poems herself in the newspapers and in the ladies' annuals, these sort of fancy volume ares that were published every year for gifts to give women at christmas. now, in the end julia did
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publish several books of poetry, and she even wrote a few extremely unsuccessful plays. but the battle hymn of the republic, of course, that was her real contribution to the literature of the age. and if she knew when she wrote her memoirs in 1899, i've written one poem which, although composed in the stress and strain of the civil war, is now sung south and north by the champions of a free government. okay. so one poem out of the 19th century, but that's a hot more than many poet -- a lot more than many poets get and certainly more than most 19th century american boats got. and -- poets got. and she deserves her place in history and her place on the postage stamp and so on simply for that. over 154 years since she wrote it, fors become a part of not only the american, but an international repertory of music, about heroism, honor, justice, mourning certainly, spiritual mission. it was performed at the national cathedral in washington after
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9/11, and one critic has said about it that the battle hymn has become the closer. it is the music that accompanies the end of great american life. it was played at the funeral of bobby kennedy, ronald reagan and very recently nancy reagan too. and that was really extraordinary. i noticed that because very few women are included in the list of those who had it played at their funerals because very few women have state funerals, right? you don't really know about that. ..
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she wrote it in november 1861. michigan one. michigan to washington with her husband, doctor stanley and some friends from boston. that winter they are staying in the willard hotel which has a plaque for julia. that winter she sent it to the atlantic monthly. in february 1862, the atlantic monthly printed it on the cover and they paid her $5. within a short time it was the anthem of the union army and in
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1864 it was performed before president lincoln. then, in december 2012, 2012, the original manuscript of the song signed by how, this is the scrip she wrote in the willard hotel was auctioned by christie's for $782,000. that's quite an appreciation over time. i don't know who bought it, i would love to know who did it. it doesn't say. julia is not a new one, in fact the first biography of julia ward howe was published a century ago in march, 1916. that was very much in my mind in writing this book. i wanted it to come out to mark 100 years of that biography. it was into volumes, it is really a bug book. it is bug book. it is written by her three daughters.
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i am pretty sure, can't guarantee but i'm pretty sure it was the first substantial biography of an american woman. he for the 20th century, biographies of women were collected. you get a big volume and it would say celebrated women of maryland. or great women of the american revolution, that kind of thing. but a biography of one woman, two volumes long, that was really remarkable. a year after it came out in 1917, it it came out in 1917, it won the first pulitzer prize for biography. that was in fact the first year the pulitzer prize was given. it was the first price for a biography. virtually the first one that was given for a biography in english. when it was done, columbia university was running the award excuse me. and then nicholas butler who was
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the president of columbia said it was the best american biography teaching patriotic and unselfish service to the people. so unselfish, this is not the turn that we are ordinarily used to describe our great american hero. we we do not think jfk the unselfish president, it is not what were looking toward. and the doctors definitely edited the story of their mother's life to go over any selfish moments and particularly they presented their parents turbulent marriage as the union of two noble souls. on the other hand, this biography is not as didactic as you might think from that description. it's actually -- it's actually very hard to make julia ward howe's sound dull.
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in fact, when when it came out apart from the pulitzer prize, a critic in the north american review was puzzled by the biography because he said he had never, he cannot quite guess that a portrait of such a distinguished american, a distinguished woman somehow failed to develop that unity, that epic equality which distinguish the great biography. i think i think by unity he met a consistent personality of the central figure. julia's personality was not totally consistent with what people thought of as heroic. the reviewer went on to say that her life is a blending of saintliness and frisking us. the study of a virtue in the recurrence honest for jewelry. the deep intellectual interest in the capacity for joyous nonsense. julia loved shopping and
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fashion, and partying. you get while i was attracted attracted to her first subject to biography. shaping the lives of women who live that kind of public life to display epic qualities is a real challenge. it wasn't until 1989 that another biography of a woman, by a woman won the pulitzer prize for biography, took a long while for another one to turn up. in the middle of the century how mostly mostly appeared in a series of popular books about the childhood of famous americans, some you may remember on your childhood they had orange cover, they are in the libraries and all lined up, julie appeared as a girl in a story that was mostly invented, but very inspiring. in the 19 forties, she was was also hailed in the wonder woman comics as a 19th century amazon figure.
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finally in 1979, debra was a distant relative of the family and publish the first modern biography mine eyes have seen the glory. clifford was the first one who looked at the howe family archives which was the holt library in harvard in new york. massive, they're they're huge. she was the first one to look at them. she revealed some of the facts about this disastrous marriage. in the 1970s the concept of women's biography changed as the women's movement developed, carolyn in a book that she wrote writing a woman's life posted the question, she said it makes very little sense of what a women's biography should look like. where do you begin? do you begin with her disappointment that she was not a boy? how does she cope with the fact that her value is determined by how attractive men
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find her. if she marries, does the marriage fail or succeed? what is a successful marriage look like from a woman's point of view? so what i wanted to do with this book was to bring julie alive for a new generation readers. i wanted to consider these questions and also embrace the contradiction that made her book saintly and frisky. i especially wanted to think about her marriage as a domestic civil war. a battle for imaginative dominance going on between two strong people. in my pattern about her life she was fighting for her independence from the bonds of matrimony, at the same time she was writing slavery. her liberation coincided with the end of the civil war. now something about the marriage, she married doctor samuel howe when she was 22. it seem like the ideal match. he was said to be the handsomest man in boston. he was a foot
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taller than she was, he was 18 years older. after medical school he had followed his hero, i'm sorry, i'm going to have to cough again. , i've had a terrible cold all week. he had followed byron to greece and he became a hero of the greek revolution for independence against the turks. in the 1830s he went back to boston and he immediately became the first director of the perkins institution for the
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blind. a world famous pioneer of education for the blind and deaf, later he became a champion in the abolitionist movement and a real activist. but unfortunately, although he was a champion of the oppressed, in every area from the handicap to the slave, chev which is what she called him, after he came back from greece it's ironic that after the six years of revolution that greece ended up with oppression king. the king bestowed upon him an honorary title, the chevalier, so she always called him chev. he insisted that married men should be totally fulfilled by their homes and children. they should not speak in public. chev was really quite a brilliant man, he was a remarkable man in many ways but he was a very difficult husband. he decided where they would live and he would often, specially when you wanted to punish her said they had to live in the perkins institution which was a big, drafty marble former hotel in south boston, 2 miles from the center of the city. he. he took control of her income
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from her brother and uncles and he lost almost all of it in real estate speculation. most seriously for her, he for bid her to publish her poetry or to teach, or to lecture, or to preach. or otherwise to act in the public fear. it was his idea to have six children. he would have insisted on a children except their youngest son died and broke their heart. so he decided to stop at six. now shabbat was a bossy, very strange man and he makes wonderful villain. one of my challenges in writing the book was to try to imagine the marriage from his perspective. i did not want to make him just the classic villain. it really is a challenge for a biographer because julia was very close to her two sisters. annie louisa. she wrote to them enormous letters about what was going on in the marriage. chev had several very close male friends, specially charles sumner who famously was beaten up on the floor of the senate.
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but he did not discuss his marriage with him except in very, very generic terms. we really don't know too much in his words about what was going on. i was talking last week in a boston bookstore about this and i met for the first time jim trent who is the biographer chev, it was interesting to me, we're not like attorneys in a divorce case, i have to tell you i have learned an awful lot from his biography of shep, it's a terrific book. it's interesting as the biographer of the wife to meet the biographer of the husband. i noticed a. i noticed a couple of differences between us. first of all, in the man the wife often plays a very small part. they're only a only a handful of references to julia in the biography of shep. on the other hand, the husband the husband of a prominent woman is central to her life story and i wrote a lot about him in my book. the second difference i noticed
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is that jim's biography called the manlius man which is how chev was described by his friends, if this gives you an idea what he must've been mike, the way he was seen by his contemporaries in the way he saw himself. for a while i thought about calling my biography the womanly s woman, but i gave up on that idea because first of all it's a very diminishing habitat for women, doesn't have have the same values as manlius man. really, juliet did not see herself as a parent time of femininity is all. in fact just as carol said she often wish that she had been a boyd. she she was very envious of her brothers. in the first decade of her marriage she actually tried to write a book about a creature of both sexes experiences life as a man and as a woman. this extraordinary manuscript which she never showed anyone
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but we know about it because of the heroic scholarship of a small number of house specialist , mainly gary williams who edited it and published it. gary are you here? yes. [applause]. gary was the first scholar i ever met, we we met in london some years ago. he is one of the most generous. and i am delighted he is here tonight. this is the book, the hermaphrodite published by the university of nebraska, it has a very sexy cover. we really oh everything we know about it to gary. in thinking about the marriage of the house, i was also influenced by wonderful book called a book by phyllis rose. it looked at the political dynamics of five victoria
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marriages, rose argued that marriage is a political negotiation, it is a story with story with two points of view, often deeply in conflict, sometimes luckily and i tried to see the house as writing and living two separate and parallel stories and i tried as best as i could to figure out what was going on in chev's head at at the time that julia was ready to her sister. he held most of the cars. but julia, and i want to be clear about this, she's not totally a victim. she totally a victim. she was capable of fighting back. in fact a woman who can write always has a weapon against the domineering husband. her first book of poems, passion flowers is her personal battle him and as a revenge book like nora heartburn if you know that book, she wrote after his split from charles bernstein. i want to read to you for my book. this is about julia when she was working on passion flowers in the fall of 1853,. she decided to write this book
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with the advice of longfellow who is one of shep's best friends were also kept it secret. many of the pollens were about the marriage and they are very strong. so, all of that fall she was thinking she was going to keep it a secret from shep, she she was not going to tell him that she was writing the book cannot publishing it. she wrote to annie, i have a great mind to keep the whole matter entirely from him. and not let him know anything until the morning the volume comes out. then he can do nothing to prevent it sale. in its proper form. dear annie, could one do this? he is known all summer that i intended publishing and has made no objection and not much comment. now shove disapproved of women publishing, married women publishing and he had the power to prevent her from making the work public. she also know also
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know he had little sympathy with the portrait, every now and then longfellow would bring him assigned book and chev would put it away somewhere. she thought that he really did not understand poetry and he would not get what the poems were about. so his lack of interest made her feel that it was safer to go ahead with publication, in any case it was very important for her pride not to seek his permission to write or publish. towards the end of december it arrived and checking them with unexpectedly taxing. she complained to andy about the endless plague of looking over these proof sheets, the doubts about phrases, rhymes, and, and expressions, tomorrow i get my last proof. then a fortnight must be allowed for drawing and binding then i shall be out, do you hear, so far my secret has been pretty well-kept. my book is to bear simple title, passion flowers. without my name.
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according to longfellow's advice , longfellow has been reading a part of the volume he says it will make a sensation, shep knows nothing as of yet. i feel much excited. quite unsettled. even a little frantic. if i succeed i shall be humbled by my happiness. now i will not write any more about it. well that was some christmas. passion flowers changed the balance of power in the how marriage. in both directions really, it changed julia's idea about her own emancipation. you want to know what happened i tell this whole story in the book but it was pretty intense. then the civil war also changed the 19th century ideals of the
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men and women. it changed assumptions about gender as well as race and it propelled women out of domestic confinement into public life and careers. at the end of the civil war, in 1865 julia made up her mind that she would no longer follow behind chev but she would dedicate her life as he had dedicated his to the highest needs of humanity. the need she saw and valued according to the convictions of her heart. in fact on their 22nd anniversary in 1865 she decided to go and speak to the women prisoners at the salem penitentiary that were celebrating the event. a pretty strong gesture. as she approached her 50th birthday in 1869, she had a vision of a new world of womanhood. during the first. during the first two thirds of my life she recalled, i look to the masculine ideal of character is the only true one.
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in an unexpected hour a new came to me, the world of womanhood. this discovery was like the addition of a new continent continent it to the map of the world. virtue mission became women's suffrage. she went on the road with the suffragist, she never stopped traveling, writing, speaking and working for women's rights. in her pretty lace cap designed by one of her son-in-law's she became known as the dearest old lady in america. that was not how julia saw herself at all. she refused to be stuck in the 19th century. on her 91st birthday she told interviewers that her advice to american women was be up to date,. [laughter] that's on the m&ms i think maybe. she was up to date herself, she
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took very readily to the telephone, the typewriter, the typewriter, the photograph, the automobile, and especially the elevator, including one the children had installed in her house so that she could send it divinely to the upper story. she entertained to the horror of the boston -- who wrote about in the newspaper she will say i will have to dinner anyone i like and he's a very clever young man. she took two walks a day until she was 91. she one. she ate what she damned pleased including fried foods, minced pie and champagne. two weeks before she died she went off to get an honorary degree from smith. of course there as everywhere she went, they saying the battle ham ham of the republic. she never achieved the level of unity of her relentless cheerfulness, unselfishness, unselfishness, piety and austerity that society still demands from its female worthies. she she remained an unsettling mixture of sailing
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and some for skewness but she did not mine. as she declared, i do not desire a static disembodied sainthood, i do not wish to advocate any one of the attributes of my humanity. i cherish the infirmities that that bond me to my kine. i would be human and american, and a woman. these are words for a biographer to live by and glory glory, hallelujah for that. [applause]. if anybody has questions i would love to hear them. >> if you could make your way to a microphone now be great, if you're trapped in the middle i can hand to this mike. >> how long did she live after her husband died,. >> he was 18 years older, he died in 1876, they're 1876,
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there married for 33 years and she lived 34 years after after her death. >> it changed tremendously. one of the first things that happen, while he he was dying they had what seemed a reconciliation, she says in her journal, i had my double bed moved in, they had separate rooms friday the how long. she moved the double bed in the room of his double bedroom. the last few days they shared an she thought it was a wonderful ending. a few days after she died in they read the will and he had left her nothing in the will. not only that but he said in the well, to julia i live nothing because she is so capable of taking care of herself. of course he had spent all of her inheritance. she came to him and she had inherited one sixth of her fortune so when he married her
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she was an heir to a tremendous amount of money and property. he lost it all. so she had a tiny little income left and basically from the moment he died she had to support herself pre-much to the end of her life. eventually her son helped out and her daughters helped out. so she was lectured everywhere. she wrote for money, she didn't get much money for lecturing or writing at that time but she was pretty active. on the other hand, she wasn't able to do things that she had always streamed a beam. in some some ways we used to say in the she became the man that she married or you marry the man that you want to be, after chefs death heat she became a public figure. he was was a famous speaker and traveler. so she in some ways took his life on. she was very happy though, she
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traveled all over the world, traveling is incredible. in the age before doing this on steamship, everywhere she went around the world twice, she went to england like we go to new york. so it's pretty amazing. thank you for the question. >> i'm really looking for to reading your book because i knew very little about her. i i just glanced, i'm italian-american, so i found that you had something on i telling immigrants that aside from being a suffragist and an abolitionist that on page 236 she said she became involved with new social issues including the abolition of the death penalty, protection of a telling immigrants, ending affairs, the pennsylvania coal miners strike, and the rebellion miner straight, and the rebellion of the armenians against the turks. she took these positions, but did she take these positions and
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publicize them through writing? did anyone listen to her? >> yes, they did. especially did. especially in boston where she became really a great public citizens. mostly toward the end she wrote a lot, she traveled very late in life she did a lot of speaking on the west coast. she used to go to the massachusetts state house regularly, whenever the legislature was in session she would go and address them. she did it that way. she was. she was very busy, she opposed lynching. she really was committed to just about all the social issues at the turn-of-the-century, and there were a lot. >> my second question since no one is behind me is it did you access the houghton materials that harvard for this book? >> yes i did, but not all of them. i could have not of done except
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many other scholars who had been there before me and written about it and published. it is enormous. really i don't know how long it would take any single scholar matter how dedicated to reproduce. the how families a very big family, it is the entire family, samuel is in it to come all the sisters and brothers, on's and relatives and relatives and everybody so it's huge. i did read it of course she had terrible handwriting, there's a great biographer and they said a couple things you should keep in mind when you decide whose biography to write and the verses did they win the penmanship prize question. [laughter] and julia did not when the penmanship price. so that was my big mistake. but i did look. my husband came with me, cannot have done it without him and we sat in the houghton library and i read julian he read shed. and then we would trade things back and forth. that was kind of fun. >> did she adhere to any
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particular religion? >> yes, she went through several, she was very, very interested in religion. i would say more than being devoutly religious she was very interested in the elegy. she had a lifelong fascination. she was brought up in the calvinist household, she really rebelled against that. but, herself a was that she came of age during the great age of transcendentalism. she knew the transcendentalist who were friends and she very quickly, through them became interested in the unitarian church. she was really a unitarian for most of her life. she read she read widely and all religious traditions. she said that these and for her conversion that she was reading
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something, i think it's it's in an essay and she was suddenly struck by the fact that the god she was worshiping must be the same god as the japanese and this was sort of a cultural religious comparison. she had never thought about that before when the idea hit her, the whole idea of religion change. but she preached often to. especially when she was traveling. she traveled a lot in central america and the caribbean. when she was there she would often take the opportunity to preach in a local church. who religious writing is extensive but i did not really deal with them in this book. >> following up on that, i had forgotten this until you just started talking about it but there is an interesting mention in the book of her when she is in rome studying or meeting with the rabbi which was sort of
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interesting i thought. >> yes, she was a great linguist. she learned greek when she was 60. that was most fun, her idea of a really great afternoon was to read greek. she knew six languages and when she was in rome she found a rabbi in the ghetto, this was in the 1850s and he came to tutor her and hebrew. very remarkable. she was very interested in religion generally, she generally, she was not at all anti- somatic. on the other hand, she spent a lot of time in rome and she really did not like the catholic church. she did did not like what she saw there. it was not a particularly good. for the catholic church it was just after the revolution, the
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failed revolutions in italy so she was extremely cynical about that. everywhere she went she was fascinated and she traveled a lot in the middle east, she went to harriman, she was very interested in islam, everything was sort of intellectually fascinating to her. >> you have to read the book to know what else he found in rome. >> thank you. does she have any attractions at all with emily dickinson? >> none. as far as i can tell she never read a word by emily dickinson. but emily dickinson only published seven pomes during during her lifetime, emily dickinson's poems were not published until very close to the end of the 19th century. as as far as i can tell julia never read any of them, she did read whitman which is interesting to me because she was exactly the same age as whitman. in the book i talk about the way , the odds were so much
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against a 19th-century american woman poet. she is a same age age as whitman they both grew up in new york, at the same age he was running around the city totally free, he says going through the theater every day and every night, taking everything and she was not allowed out of the house without enormous number of chaperones, she was not even allowed to go to the theater. it's so different, the range of experience that he was able to draw on. when she finally read whitman toward the end of the 19th century and got interested she did not like him very much. she did read some works but experimental european poetry and she took to that. i do not what she would've made of emily dickinson, fascinating to think of it. emily dickinson is the one really important woman, american woman poet of the 19th century. as whitman is the one important mail port of the 19th century. not a good century for poetry because they were so restricted
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by piety and by their sense of poetry is very serious business and you had to use a certain kind of vocabulary. she uses often vocabulary like me thinks that nobody ever talks it. she could write in the vernacular, her best bones are like that. in the battle hymn, think one of the reasons at such a good poem is partly because she was writing to music, the rhythm forced her to use a much more forthright direct vocabulary. the only real rk is him in the battle hamm is my nice and that's biblical, there's a lot of biblical language it's not the kind of reared, if she had read dickinson, so direct and vernacular, it would've totally changed it's one of those things that you only wish it could've happened, but no. >> how did her children view her
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and how did she view her children. >> she really adored her children and they adored her. she had not planned to have six children and she's pretty outspoken to this for her sister. every pregnancy is a disaster which he finds out. she has names for the children while she is pregnant, i'll call this one dolores and stuff like that. but when they were born she adored them of course. and they adored her and they said she was absolutely a wonderful mother. very playful. very imaginative and very engaged in all of their games. he he was two. they were good parents. they had a made a good parenting team. when the children grew up and they wrote the biography and they actually read her diaries and they read the letters, they found out, they cannot really believe it. they had to smooth it out in the
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biography but they really didn't believe it anyway. they had their own image and this cannot of been true. they really adored each other, maybe a little trouble here and there, they said it was the marriage in the end of two very turbulent people but they really adored each other. interestingly, they grew up one of the sons died as a young child, one of the daughters died so she had three surviving daughters and one son. the. the son became a very distinguished scientist but when they grew up it was the daughter she was closest to. the sun, in some ways it is really a lot of chef, i don't know if he was like shove himself but he had a career a lot like shep. he was always getting honors for international bodies, but the relationship she was very close
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to the daughters. the daughters were all writers. i think wonderful think wonderful writers. laura, the oldest wrote 90 books. , amazing. in those days they could really turn on. florence, the second one not as much but quite prolific and i think. entertaining way. mod the youngest one also had a number of books. there was look down on mod because i thought she was spoiled and frivolous. but eventually she became a historian and moved to newport where she is quite a revered citizen in the town. >> hello, you said that her plays were disastrous, was that deservedly so or was she ahead of her time, or was the subject
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matter not one that lent itself? >> i don't don't think her plays are that good, but i'm not sure they are ahead of their time but there into categories, some of them are just so cerebral that you cannot imagine making a play out of them when she was a young girl she was trying to make a play out of the rising balls of the roman empire and stuff like that. she did write in a period where in principle she was not supposed to publish anything but she did, she was just damned if i do that. she. she wrote this play which was produced in new york which was kind of a melodrama in italy and i have to say i lost the title right now. it opened in new york and ran for about one week. the new york critics just hated it. they thought it was scandalous
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and incoherent. then others disagree and think it was kind of an interesting play, her brother, sam ward who was a lobbyist the king of the lobby they call it almost invented lobby. he was was a great supporter. he's always terrific. not very many other people did. and then then she was trying to write a play about her politics. that was the place she worked for long time long time and her dream was to have edwin booth play, then there was a course the assassination. there is an incredible thing they're very close friends of edwin booth who lived in boston. they went almost all of his performances. when they found out that john wilkes booth had killed lincoln, they were in double morning. the whole town and edwin boots estate off the stage for a long time and that kind of fell
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apart. >> i was wondering how many of her works, either plays or poetry had her name on it at the time of their publication. >> i think by the end of her life probably several day because a lot of them were brief prints and they were to be collected, in the early part of her life, the first two were anonymous, then then they would be published by the author of sort of thing. but by the the end of their life they didn't have her name on it and sadly, and i think inevitably, the poor tree really decline toward the end, after passion flowers chevrolet crackdown, any kind of
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growth that she was developing as a poet and i think she was talented and gifted as a poet but i don't think she had any chance to develop that gift, he really crackdown in terms of said strict matter. she really did not know any poets, if she had known emily dickinson, can you imagine what might've happened. the point she knew, longfellow, whittier, they were very genteel poets, no no one really reads them anymore either, she did not know anyone who is really challenging her. she's really didn't know any other women who were writing poetry, by the end of her life these books were coming out with her name on them and they were still getting reviews, but even the critics were saying she has become the average poets. someone who started out incredibly unconventional bowl and excited and new, it's not there anymore. but i think what also happen is
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that when after the end of the civil war she decided she was going to go out have a public life, poetry became less interesting to her. a lot of women in the 19th century both in england and america and probably other places as well turn to writing, sometimes fiction, sometimes it poetry because they are bored from all of the other profession. i think julia would have made a great professor. she was so intellectual. she would have been a great professor at harvard. that was totally impossible. harvard did did not hire, do not give women tenure until the 1970s or something like that. so, that was out. a lawyer, politician, anything like that. a minister when she was very attracted to. none of those things to. none of those things were open to her. poetry was the channel into which they poured all of their creativity, anger, protest, and intellect.
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she herself realized and she says it at a certain point, i'm never going to be a great poet. this is not the way i'm going to fulfill myself. but i think i am a good speaker. she went on the road, she worked very hard. she said she studied, she got the other suffragist to teach her how to talk. how to deal with roughnecks, insulting them and throwing things at them, all of this kind of stuff. she really studied how to do it she got very good at it as a speaker. that was very fulfilling for her. so for her. so the end of her life i think she felt she had found her vocation in doing that. she never stopped. the poetry really trailed off. she continued to write, poetry and i think some of it is really very funny, but funny, but none of those were published during her lifetime. >> there is not the suspicion that she was the author of people just did not know. >> oh the book came out, it was
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published anonymously, boston was a small town, everybody knew within a week what was. she told shiv and there is no record and her letters are hers of that conversation which must have been really something. but everybody in boston new. they created an incredible sensation. some people were very shocked, hawthorne who was in england at the time, he was a council in liverpool, he got the book from his publisher and author and said i think it one of the most outstanding american books of the time. he said along with walden, throws walton, this is one of the two books i would recommend to someone would want to read
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american literature, but, but she should be whipped for writing it. [laughter] that was kind of the general opinion. it was really scandalous thing. and particularly women she knew in her women friends were very hostile to it too. >> one more question you have talked a lot about her closeness in her writing to her sisters, could could use just say a few things quickly about her more intimate circle of female friendships? >> will will that is interesting, when she was growing up she did not have any real close female friends until she was almost 20 years old. that was because her father who is very much much a strict calvinist, he felt that society was attempted into sin and since
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they had so many brothers and sisters, and cousins cousins they should only mix within the family they lived within a emily compound in new york on broad street and the house they lived in eventually was sold and became brooks brothers which i thought was very appropriate. they looked in a fabulous managing, but she was not able to mix with other girls, socially. she never knew any other young women. she thought it was a great loss. then in her 20s after her father died she made her first woman friend who remained her friend for the rest of her life and who lived in boston, they met in newport, that was a tremendous boom to her. they shared so much and it was mary boone who introduced her to the transcendental and into the unitarian church.
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and who supported her at every juncture in her life. so that was really tremendous. she really did not have that many), she had a lot of women friends in boston, they were not very close. she found boston a very chilly town socially as i guess other people did too. >> once she got into the suffrage movement one of the reason she took to it so much is because a suffragist were so sisterly, her own sisters one moved to rome, one lived in new jersey and then in california. they. they were her closest companions when she was young. not until the suffrage movement did she really have intimate women friends and particularly, mary livermore who is her closest friend and who is very warm, and motherly. motherly. she talks about how they traveled together and how
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wonderful it was to her, how bridging and enabling, how much fun, how terrific. no matter how bad the weather and how the mood the audience and how terrible the food or whatever it was, traveling with mary livermore made it okay. >> i think we have time for one more question and if there's no takers i will ask it, but i am happy am happy to have someone from the audience raise a hand. >> i feel like an auctioneer, my question, night do not want to give away too much of the book because there's so many nuances and intricacies of the relationship in the book which is one of the things i love so much about it. the relationship relationship between her and shep, this repressed sexuality and romance that you feel is part of the source of tension between them. i'm just wondering if you would dare speculate, if they would've been more tolerant time where they could be who they really were, who would've they been
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exactly? >> i think the ideal model would've been elizabeth and robert browning who she knew, she was very jealous of both of them. i think that was the model for her. she knew a lot of women in boston who, in principle had very companion marriages but as it turned out i don't know how much she knew at the time, none of them did, lucy stone for example, she thought all that's a wonderful marriage, it marriage, it was not such a great marriage. but the browning's really had the marriage that she wanted and he totally supported her and it was very romantic and he was very handsome, and it seemed like the perfect match. it could have been very interesting. he was certainly the most exciting man who came across her path i think at that time in her life. she waited until she was 22 to mary to marry which is
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quite old for that. and he was definitely the most suitable person that she met there should have been perfect, in the beginning of the honeymoon, although they were on a steamship sounded like it started pretty well, but it just didn't. i think it has to be blamed mainly on him, i think she was so much younger, she was so inexperienced in certain ways and he was such a workaholic, then she started having all these babies. so it is impossible really to know, but potentially what could've been between them is there an electric in one of those things. you imagine a parallel life, another place another time what they could've dug, they should've been one of the great romantic couples of history. >> but there was a recent that he was still a bachelor at 40, right.
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>> i mean he goes off to greece and he's. >> there is speculation about chef sexuality. he was very attached to his friend male friends. notably uninterested in women. he kept a lot of journals, he was in greece for six years and passed up all the temptations or pretty much all of them and was not even interested, particularly in there's some speculation that he was most sexual and emotional feelings were directed towards men and especially charles. >> but it's hard to be sure, certainly i think myself we've talked about i think charles sumner was much more likely to have been gay, sumner what they used to say about sumners he did not get married until his 50s or something and they used to
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say he isn't going to get married because he doesn't want to make any woman a slave, something like this but he was just going away from it as much as he could and his marriage lasted a very short time and his wife ran off with somebody else. but chef, i think was at least bisexual at that if anything. in that age they did not really go with these feelings or issues. they had a lot more leeway to express himself. so his letters to sumner are very passionate, and emotional and intimate. they were very close, he he does not write like that to julia. at all. it is not there for him. but i don't think he was incapable of it. i tried the end of his life and have this reconciliation people think that he told her he had been having affairs.
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i'm not sure about that either. sounds like he did but you don't really know. it would be interesting, the letters are all story so you don't really know what all happen if they were affairs i think they must've been pretty limited. i don't think he was the kind of man to do that. certainly his sexuality sexuality and think it went into his work. speemac's i think you can tell from the last hour that this is an incredibly fascinating story and a fascinating woman in with women around her. we have copies of the book up front if you had not had the chance to get it. please do, elaine will be happy to sign appear. thank you so much. thank you all for coming out today. clapmac if you don't mind folding up your chairs and putting them to the side, you will make our staff very happy. thank you. [applause]. [inaudible conversation]
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[inaudible conversation] >> when i to knitted on the the weekend usually it is authors share new releases. >> washing nonfiction authors on book tv is the best television for serious readers. >> on c-span they can have a longer conversation and delve into their subjects. >> book tv, weekends. they they bring you author, after author, after author. they spotlight the work of fascinating people. >> i love book tv and i am a c-span fan. >> ed, and your new book, going red going red where the 2 million voters that you talk about in this book?
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>> the 2,000,000 voters voters referred's to voters and 17 counties in seven key swing states that republicans wanted 2004 but lost in 2008 and 2012. so we are looking at those counties in places like florida, virginia, ohio, north carolina, new hampshire, colorado, and wisconsin. wisconsin is actually an interesting case count because republicans have not one wisconsin yet because of some of the changes that occurred the last few years i think they have a pretty good opportunity there. the idea is to find out who those voters are because the key theory in this book is the reason why republicans win local estate elections in those counties began when presidential elections is because they have lost to the voters are at the national level on the local
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level. >> let's go to hamilton county, ohio, cincinnati. for some of the voters in your view that republicans have lost and how can they get them back? >> that's an interesting case, hamilton county is an interesting case, hamilton county is an interesting case because it's the only county with a net population loss over the last few decades. all of the rest the challenges are more about population growth, people coming in from other parts of the country carrying what they will call their native political set of elections with them. hamilton county is the one where people have had a significant population decrease over the last 30 or 40 years. the people who left our people who did not have the economic mobility to have them ability to leave. so blue-collar workers who don't necessarily work in high firms, their working to put food on the table. republicans have an opportunity to make a case for economic liberty, based on knowing who those particular people are in hamilton and what those
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particular issues are, the problem that you have the with republican party, in hamilton i should mention by the way, at one point it was one of the most republican counties in a very republican state. even when ohio would occasionally vote for a democrat for instance with bill clinton, hamilton county was very republican. it was a very red county. over the last two presidential elections they voted for barack obama, very blue county. so, one of, one of the reasons is that republicans will message the economy by using an ideological, philosophical argument that what i say is that a 30,000 foot level, free markets, lower regulations, but that's all, they don't talk about the fact for instance in cincinnati, the epa is requiring the city of cincinnati to separate their
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sewage system from their other system. it's a sensitive project, something they've been doing with other cities around the country as well. these are older cities that have emerged system and they want them separated out. the city of cincinnati put together a plan to comply with the epa, the pa accepted it and afterwards they discovered they could do it for about 40% less and still feel the goals and epa refused to reopen the issue. as a result, you people were going to pay hundreds of dollars a year extra and utilities in a city where people don't really have that kind of disposal income. just because the epa will not go back and reopen that process and allow this city of cincinnati to do it less expensively and more efficiently. so if you you come in and talk about regulations stifling and people take money out of your pocket, as a presidential candidate you should know about this issue with the metropolitan water district and whites costing them hundreds of millions of dollars more than it should and why that's going to come directly
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out of the pockets of the constituents. if you talk about that, that makes the economic issue much more personal, there's a much greater economic connection. that is what brock obama did in 2,082,012. he learned about these communities through his fabulous organization his fabulous network of people he rolled out across the country, and so when they're talking about issues like the economy and making government work better, they would look to these local issues and get their investors to talk about it and say these are the type of things that i'm going to fix when i become president. that is one of the reasons why people had such an emotional connection to beaufort brock obama 20,082,008 and why it sustained for 2012. >> the states you have picked and looked at are essentially must wins for the republicans to win the presidency, florida, wisconsin, ohio, colorado, why
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is wisconsin a special case? >> republicans have not one wisconsin except into landslide victories, reagan won it twice in his election, but normally this is a state that stays pretty blue. scott walker got elected in 2010, in it's a very divisive issue in the state of wisconsin. but it is is paid a lot of dividends, in fact one that just came out in march or late february showed the state and the government's saved about $5 million over five years. so stay away from layoffs, they were able to use money wisely, that is that is the type of message that republicans are talking about usually what they're talking about trimming government and making things work more efficiently. there's nobody there for the republican message that scott walker and the wisconsin
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republicans have opened up. so that is better than colorado, that is certainly better than new hampshire, new hampshire is all elect oral college votes is considered a key state for both parties to win because it says something. wisconsin, if republicans could take wisconsin and put it in their column i think it is feasible to do that, then, that resets the whole midwest for republicans in a way and winning wisconsin would show that strength throughout the entire region, that i be very difficult for democrats to counter. >> and what is your day job? >> i'm sr. editor at i do it twice week podcast on politics and culture, i also write columns for the fiscal times of the week. >> in this election season, has
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any of the candidates done what you're suggesting here and going right? >> i think is you take a look at the primary races so far think ted cruz has done it good job of getting on the ground in iowa especially. also in texas, he knows taxes very well at his home state. oklahoma as well, were hearing a lot of things about the ted cruz organization that tend to make me think that he is on the right track in terms of what we're talking about here. with the exception of iowa which is oklahoma and texas is pretty easy, so we don't necessarily know how he's pulling in swing voters in those states, when you're only working within the republican party primaries, it's not a great analog necessarily, but the organizational level is there for ted cruz i think marco rubio's marco rubio's organization is decent as well. donald trump is the variable, if the republican party in


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