Presidents use the power of speech to persuade, console, encourage and inspire. On a “BullyPulpit” Edition of Truth, Politics and Power, Host Neal Conan speaks with linguist John McWhorter about the distinctive cadences of President Barack Obama plus extended conversations with former Presidential speechwriters Peter Robinsonand Paul Glastrison the purpose and meaning of the rhetoric of the presidents they wrote for – Reagan and Clinton – and President Trump’s prolific use of twitter to send messages that are both often petty and untrue.
After Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former National Security Advisor, admitted that he lied to the FBI and agreed to co-operate with the Special counsel, host Neal Conan and his guests re-evaluate the case for obstruction of justice on a “Plea Deal Edition” of “Truth, Politics and Power.” Plus a conversation with Dana Priest of the Washington Post on why two presidents fired Flynn, and what we can learn about what might be going on inside the Trump White House, from a look back at the besieged administrations of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.
From Korea, Vietnam, Kosovo to the War on Terror, presidents have gathered more and more authority to start and conduct wars on their own. In a “War Powers Edition” of Truth, Politics and Power, Host Neal Conan asks how the commander in chief acquired that authority, why Congress has surrendered its constitutional role and whether there are any checks and balances on President Trump’s ability to launch a nuclear first strike on North Korea.
Legions of lobbyists and lawyers obscured the facts on tobacco and cancer for decades…even when tobacco companies knew their products caused cancer. Host Neal Conan talks with writer Alan Schwarz, who found that the football industry followed the same pattern in response to discoveries about the long term effects of concussion, and with Science Historian Naomi Oreskes, who argues that the chorus of climate deniers also follows tobacco’s lead, and that the result, will be global calamity.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has overthrown the political order to install his 32 year old son as Crown Prince. Mohammed bin Salman now controls the army, police and the National Guard, He’s also in charge of an enormous program to modernize the economy. As the head of a new anti-corruption unit, he’s arrested hundreds of prominent Saudis in what some describe as a purge. And MBS, as he’s known, is conducting aggressive proxy wars as part of an escalating conflict with Iran. On the next Truth Politics and Power, host Neal Conan discusses how Saudi Arabia’s radical new policies destabilize the Middle East. Plus the history of the US-Saudi alliance from FDR to President Trump.
With Europe in chaos at the end of WWII, President Harry Truman called on a logistical genius to sort out food delivery to Europe …disgraced former president Herbert Hoover. Hours after he was sworn in, Lyndon Johnson told Dwight Eisenhower, “I need you more than ever.” From political exile, Richard Nixon phoned Ronald Reagan with advice on the Soviet Union, and Reagan took it on himself to teach Bill Clinton how to salute. In the next Truth Politics and Power, Host Neal Conan talks with Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy, the authors of “The President’s Club,” about the co-operation, competition and consolation among presidents and their predecessors.