Hardball | February 18, 2013
>>> we're back. today's president's day, a holiday for most americans. a day we honor our presidents and shop for mattresses for some reason and lots of books, of course, have been written about the exclusive club now. the exclusive club among presidents, relationships forged through the powerful singular experience of being elected president of united states . but that's not to say that these brethren aren't always rivals or occasionally are rivals. amateur psychologists might have a field day teasing out whether wmpld was trying to compete with dad in his unfish initialled business by invading iraq and going after saddam and the so-called black president , he was called that, bill clinton was accused by some of race simple for comments he made while barack obama was beating hillary clinton to the democratic nomination in 2008 . by the way, all of these presidents and jimmy carter will gather if two months at the dedication of george w .
>> that's down in dallas. anyway, david marinist won the prize in 1993 . he's the author of the new york times best seller, "barack
obama: the story." george bush is the co-author of "bush's brain." when you look at all of this, when you look at everything "w" did as president, being a hawk in the middle east , cutting taxes. everything he did seemed to be a 180 from the old man. is that a fair thing to look at in personal terms?
>> i think in the case of bush, chris, you almost had an in-house rivalry. the accomplishments and the interests of every father inform the sort of life that unfolds for his son. but bush was always trying to out do his dad whether it was in baseball or being governor instead of congressman. i think what happened in iraq was that "w" didn't think it was enough to invade iraq . he has his gun on his wall when he's president. i think that that was his way of saying ip'm ining i'm a bigger, tougher gu y than you. and ultimately, it's going to be his legacy that cost a lot of livings and a lot of treasure for one country to make that happen. and that was an important part of the psychology between two men that drove that point.
>> i agree with this. but you're basically saying, you're accusing this guy of the worst case of narcissism. it's all about what i want to do for my own personal reason that has nothing to do with anyone else. just me. i want to beat dad. that's a hell of an accusation, if you think about it.
>> listen, understand. that is a significant part of what drove this guy. beyond that, you have to also remember. there were economic forces, there were geopolitical forces and political forces within the prepubly c lly can party that was going on with his father forever and ever . i think we see the political forces that end uptaking us places that we wouldn't otherwise go. anyway, we all remember that bitter rivalry back in 2008 , only five years ago. but it was when obama praised former president ronald reagan that clinton really took offense. let's listen to this point in history.
>> i think ronald reagan changed the trajectory of america, in a way that, you know, richard nixon did not. and in a way that bill clinton did not.
>> i'm sure bill clinton didn't hear that. anyway, president clinton landed in hot water after he declared candidate obama's prior to that in jesse jackson .
>> jesse jackson won south carolina twice in '84 and '88. senator obama is not a good campaign here. he's a good candidate.
>> well, there you have it. let me ask you about a deeper question, not the cheap shots and the obvious analysis based on either side's point of view. and you know this better than anybody. the natural rivalry, the stuff that just happens because you have to be a rival. if barack obama is a transformational president, he's the guy that has the democratic successor elected. he's the guy that starts a real era? can he win and the clintons not win? or is there a natural rivalry here?
>> well, there is a natural rivalry. but, right now, that i hey're inextricably linked. that's what's interesting about this moment in history for the first time, really, starting with the last campaign. bill clinton was needed by barack obama and clinton loves to be needed. that's what carries forward. i don't think that dynamic will change now. for both of them to establish what they want in history, they need each other. and it's also true, and the reason bill clinton reacted so strongly to that comment about ronald reagan , is because bill clinton understood some of the truth of that. he always realized that he was just sort of a transitional presidency and he granted that he didn't have the opportunity that he felt to be a great president because no crisis arose that a rot of them shot. and for that reason, for the fact that barack obama is truly the first black president whereas bill clinton was sort of symbolically and loved, you know, the better part of his nature was his idealism about race. for those reasons, it created some problems between them. but, in politics, both of these men realized there are no permanent friends and no permanent enemies and they need each other right now.
>> did clinton like your book, "first in his class."
>> at the time, he kept complaining about it but reading a lot to his staff.
>> i have no clue and that's not really that important to me. i know that most of president obama 's cabinet has read the book.
>> thank you, guys. thank you, sir. and david marinist, author of