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remember don johnson and the once again welcome to word on words our guest a familiar phrase helen thomas the book front row at the white house welcomed word on words you've covered at president a town from kennedy to clinton right and this book from you know the white house or the story of a that life in the white house with all those needs very superficial stories now very little about the monotony even assume that you like to get it really had been very lucky to really watch history been closed up and down to see the highs and lows of every presidency that i've covered free at administrations and i must always critical i'm wondering how could that lead every day every day is a new day well there you were a
young girl what's a and i use i thought organized a newspaper the eight when into the brains went straight ahead of you crazy been covering news ever since i can't believe that there is a quote from an interview that was done in nineteen ninety five report from francisco is asking something like this well ms thomas in those days when you want to watch in washington was more difficult for women in those days when you said where do you drop from meyerson a i guess you know i think this is a great great isn't real progress and they say where women never discriminated against just in journalism state law medicine all a man yeah teaching our nursing profession for women were
supposed to be some sort of you know i mean it's not very unusual not we have a woman heading a space mission unbelievable woman was a number one in a class of west point graduating classes here so i've come a long way well that the salem and space and then you've been sort of an outer space over the line there are times when it the album was a way of my mother's some administration that i wanna belong haha that i like my distance and the fan guy and very privileged role really to be an observer and they'll be a party let's talk a little bit about that each one of these presents if we have time for just flies by when i'm interviewing someone with them with insight center of fascinating and seriousness when is your book our crime
but let's let me just begin with kenya made and there is that st mel young jack kennedy and i say solo ninety people on married and he offers known around the car and helen what was it like and that was very dull by weight you regret all your life i gave my mind an old jalopy and we were at an embassy it had and in retrospect rob you say that he was or is that because it was you're personally was so you you second person by merriman smith the white house beat for upi and
he sort of that was the president's in interviews you to the job listeners that wasn't dead that reason i really i like that it would be a very superficial reason i got that kennedy was the most inspired president i have recovered all the rest were good in some ways but they're very pragmatic at that kennedy had his eyes on the stars anyone would believe they were going to land a man on the moon in a decade he didn't live to see it but we get you set goals you win for the first nuclear test ban he created the peace corps he lifted our spirits because he gave us hope and i think to his assassination killed a lot of hope i mean every day with a traumatic that into the world the world really stood still if anywhere you can you can go into places in africa mexico where they still have a photograph of a bud kennedy not as an icon but as a word as that inspiring
image and i think that's what he gave us and that's what we lack today but with black for many many years is someone who wanders you who has that vision thing as it so often ridiculed by do know is we have to always go forward we must and must explore the universe could never stand still this country remain out without a vision you will perish and i think that our country i will always keep moving even though it's very difficult to change the only thing that counts and in life and i really hope that in the twenty first century we will maintain our leadership will consider the alternative you think thirty years stories about canadian women have tarnished image maybe with young people but i identify compartmentalize like everybody else around lately i'm going to let
it is a manager though we've met then that big man can't defend themselves so i mean all the story and i'm not saying they're not true but i am saying that that was a different aspect of apply to first wife but i do think that he made a real contribution it during his short period in the white house i think they set goals that we think we can achieve it was really johnson who carried on the space program and made it happen to me and i think that we are every iranian leader in the world of real superstar superpower i think we have a great beauty thing great responsibility sometimes too much but they're in tears and i would hate the theme of going to another century two world wars korea vietnam gaulle or tell me that we have to lead for peace you are closer you on a baby watch when john john was born and every time the possibility
because the right and every time we'd leave after bp and then there came a day out when you worse i'm going straight out well this was a period when you'd about the number of hair and you get a deserving of baby well yes the time that every president i've invited by the outgoing president to come and now look over is no boat and meet him in the oval office and telling some of the deep dark secrets that they've never told the public i think on so worm kennedy went to see it harp this initiation pay and i had been at the hospital for ten days running corralling i'm asking him do you want your son to be president and so forth i liked his answer he said i just want to be healthy and anyway kennedy came out of his pants tree house and there i was and then of being at the hospital he figured deserted my goodness lyndon johnson you say that we had this very
large ego and then the most insecure credit and complex of the sudden like an inferiority formica thin and think you're at a bike and allied a parent i have a lot of secrets each entity that we know everything that it would be held against him in some way till he could operate mike davis was not only nothing but geopolitics he touched all bases he'd been senate majority leader a congressman nina capitol hill like a book and during the height of the vietnam war senator frank church jewish chairman foreign relations committee moved away from to support it out by johnson and his policies and the war there was a reception at the white house and johnson by church and he called them over the kid not just where do you get your ideas and vietnam and then after church said from walter lippmann the great
political columnist and jackson said wow the next time you need a dam in idaho you get there ha ha you talk also about his empathy moment your life when you're really down and we pick you up oh is that what i'm reading what was on foreign and the riots week havoc in the city and it was watching the news come in over the news tickers oh it had three degrees in the oval office than me get the new zealand called an ap reporter in the middle of the dictation aborted said you got it all wrong at it before it cleared the wires you also so that you could want but he was committed to detail in the extreme
and that that he was reading those new stickers about the drug burning and marinos the us on that last call sector and said flee and glass and you save detroit wood burning in and i take a little by man me that lack of the local teams that are still eager to look to the apartment you are pentagon and that and then there was nixon the most complex of all persons i can play it for me yet it back flight and even its own cabinet members would say that he always make choices the good two roads to go i always say and he always took the wrong road ahead today somehow
didn't understand that he may could have won the election and seventy two without even let me out of the white house he read that my share support popularity and they had to have it all it really abused power and use the federal agencies for its own political ends that it ended one outlet that celebrates ruins of little while accomplishments as ryan says he had traveled eyed during this hiatus between nineteen fifty one and fifty eight when he became president he traveled all over the world and he really learned very quickly but this is a romanian so forth that communism was not monolithic that russia and china at each other that malian troops on the border and you know you know divide and conquer you critics like that so that was part of the reason for the breakthrough to china certainly do try to exploit this edition he has
used decision to have church services is something new in one of the something to do with a little eggs and shazam that i never realize was was there and he you tell a story about that religious art of recent sometimes he was quirky he walked out the office one day walk out of an office down the card on the way to his office and just alluded to have your face to face and suddenly air should raise for they try to do think that he had come from his hideaway office an effective up with built in cross creek i was running down the street to get to the pressure to make his speech we all believe going to resign and there it looked like get warmed over i mean you knew that the die was cast and i'm down to show he said
i said well good luck mr president needs that we pray for me and i really did field commander center tragedy about it all and you can tell there is no joy in the fall from grace of any president and that's that and i think that everyone every american is affected by all the things that happen in the white house one way or another everything comes to the white house his presidency was really just wonderful in some ways he had never really inspired me one day his life ambition was to be speaker of the house that he almost had given up the idea into buckets they would throw in the towel and not run again in the lightning struck and i'm a nag they get gang think he did like to restore confidence in the presidency stabilize the country in the aftermath of watergate and they made a real
contribution but i think the pardon made it impossible for people to think about the living will and i suppose i think that did hurt him alive and that but he always maintained he never regretted it called the latino heritage you deal with that that question of whether you know hey really had a deal to provide a pardon before he took the office not until it has begun to receive out that you write about it in a very factual am based on my own forces not of bob woodward mostly in a different way i mean he very well indicates that that not only big grosses of that book that indeed there was real concern ford was going to suggest that they asked him to continue all of them to not at the twenty one what's your sense
of what really happened was there a deal cut before the president resign i don't think so because i think that there are you know forty a very kind man and he new a hollow nixon was suffering the idea that he might act and trial or even be impeached or leave go to jail for applying and i do think there are mixed and obviously wanted to find out what would happen to him if he did decide to resign but fords advisors are very very much stronger and much tougher much more political and down even though ford might want to say yes of course i will take care of you i think that they stop him from at it is i think that there may have been something that certainly something in the air black and always been suspicions but i don't think the deal was cut i do think though that after a
nixon went into exile and thankful many families very disturbed that he was really work brought with that anxiety and i think that they probably call the white house made the appeal in terms of the pardon but i don't think a deal with cat we can do it sometimes assassination always track presidents kennedy losses like an assassin brazilian almost did but we forget that twice proposed date the most unlikely candidate for eleven you think now because it was that a man who really evil hit a trip are tremendous outpouring of love i mean were there any with any if you go and buy that and again these women was a man had a rational course there are
totally irrational at abu ali bonafide like a good job big where there is none of time would you say that they are doing really a bit about the barn for the corner i didn't get a good chance that there was a lot of the lead you mean ford was popular and so forth that data and i think there's a lot of confidence in him but there was always a suspicion that may matter you say that carter came to the office i really a stranger to washington and that tip o'neill and all bird tried to show them the way to go long trial risen along in a new environment that was farmed each candidate john i'm not the one running against washington and they are washington the american people or washington i mean it can ripen routes again was as a caddie shutting down their thinking republicans learn a big lesson and if you shut down the
federal government you are in trouble the federal government and there are so many games there are the natural knew that if anything happened in the state the first thing they will turn to the federal government for all the errors all the mistakes and so forth it nice to know that it's there and i think that they're running against washington for them once they get there they get very comfortable thank you a lot of what the limit one chairman and knowingly little bit more time you begin to enjoy it for me after fifty years fifty people they had free press home like twenty ships tripling it mildly john mccain i mean as you know the law says they are like you've got term limits like yours as a reporter with a micromanager or would use and there's also a length it had made a great contribution that putting
human rights at the center of the foreign policy but i think that you know my message calling it really a manicured garden ritual leader his up his mother was an oil minister liu were quarters say something like that sometimes when i look at my children had been a virgin sour mood ii lager i thought and i mean she was that great copy and a pewter said anything against your mind and a few it's so bright he let the chips fall where they may need to be ted kennedy we love to write about behavior know what's coming out of them out next you know sometimes we forget the president but georgia
did not go ha ha ha but what i reminded of that when you wrote about the pain joint which still at a loss of the office when <unk> i think that he got he was very cavalier about i could take it or leave it out but i think they get him a lot harder than even expected and it took him a year to come out of the year you know and then the decompression chamber now with free free at last well they're that tiny between bush who really didn't meet galen well and then president clinton a president reagan who you say talk to people better than anybody in terms of even before a microphone for fifty eighth in the first job was in iowa as a broadcaster when he left dixon illinois he never looked back meaning that the depression era and so forth and then was
handed out the deep debbie ph text and so forth but so he totally attuned to the camera and a microphone and probably at all therefore when he learned that the white it could deliver that speech was a great flair and he also re wrote this speaking at a stable of speechwriters but he painted on language which really didn't communicate well you say also but there is that there is very real which she related to be in a very meaningful way to quote the cornell great ap reporter and the most talented writers suffer from often i think it's your mind go especially a brilliant minor minor you know that mean heartbreaking but it heartbreaking for anything anything to happen in terms of
the person who lunch watch president reagan had trouble at times dealing with me at iran contra affair and you very candidly with well i think that you never allow a second government be set up in the white house he really good in effect let his advisers takeover and with the runaway government and i think he made a big decision spector nobody wanted to impeach president joe reagan and it was a very mixed search committee that with this that you are holding the hearings and so forth i think that he was too well liked to even move in that correct gen kelly the table to get through it appeared no question that the rollout of abuses than that this situation what's your view of liberation i think in
terms of foreign policy there were strong wind i think that people like gm and but he missed the boat parallel economy that's where clinton was able to fill as his campaign strategist understood that the country was hurting and i think that push didn't really have to relate in that sense you know it's been on foreign policy and and even though his popularity with up to ninety percent after the gulf war the great victory of forty eight gear when they went to the polls they decided their pocketbooks hounded off your possible for us to be doing the number two hundred years ago china while athens georgia one that we don't want to leave aren't our view is there i guess you're at the first moments in a word of the scene and has
found this morning they were words without talking about the about the present president and interviewed him i think it's a brilliant man eighty three me articulate man one of the better politician of our times i think that is higher i've been in the right place and it is his legacy stands monica lewinsky would be that he is truly an education president he has really harped on education and the need to open the doors to a ruined was how to be qualified to go to college and so forth and that had been the main point to the figure's it went back through the brady bill which even reagan and bush would not support gun control in any aspect of family leave bill if they had been dedicated to be a welfare program the welfare people especially the disadvantaged by amanda peet you took him to hear sanders than that he had a
role in foreign policy became adopters first few years totally ignored for a party put on the back burner and then the roof fell in terms of body and so forth were a waffle didn't know which way to go but i think he got it back together and it is considered a man of peace in terms of my viral into this religiously with his i don't think totally destroyed i think yeah people maybe
A Word on Words
Episode Number
Helen Thomas
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Nashville Public Television
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Duration: 27:46
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Chicago: “A Word on Words; 2801; Helen Thomas,” 1999-07-12, Nashville Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 19, 2024,
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APA: A Word on Words; 2801; Helen Thomas. Boston, MA: Nashville Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from