Doris Kearns Goodwin Visits Buffalo

11:38 PM, Sep 21, 2013   |    comments
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photo courtesy: AP

Buffalo, NY -- Saturday night, Pulitzer Prize winning author, presidential historian and PBS host Doris Kearns Goodwin was in Buffalo where she delivered the keynote address at the 94th Annual Meeting of the Theodore Roosevelt Association.

Earlier in the day, we sat down with her to talk about presidential politics, Roosevelt and journalism.

"I've been living with Theodore Roosevelt for the last seven years, so anything related to him really gets to me," said Goodwin.

Goodwin visited the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site for first time Saturday.

"There's something about going to a place where a person of history once was that opens up your mind and heart to them. I remember when I was a little girl I was taken to Franklin Roosevelt's house and his glasses were on the desk, and I thought, I said to my parents, he can't be dead, he's left his glasses here. His cigarette holder is here. And it sparked an interest in Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, which I later wrote about," she said.

Her latest book, due out this fall, is about Theodore Roosevelt, his friendship with William Howard Taft and his relationship with the press.

"The main lesson you can learn from him is be used the bully pulpit. That's why I use that as the title. So that he was able to mobilize the people to bring pressure to get something done in Washington. Washington is hard to move and he was able to do it," she says.

Goodwin says leaders throughout American history have shared some very similar personalities.

"What it means is that leadership traits, I think, the best leaders share some of the same traits. They can communicate with the public, they have a certain kind of emotional intelligence, they have a personality that can somehow be magnetic at a certain period of time. Theodore Roosevelt is probably one of the most interesting, colorful characters we've ever had in the presidency," she said. "In some ways, Clinton had some of that same thing, you walk in a room and you know he's in a room. Somebody said about Theodore Roosevelt that they had seen two great forces of nature in the United States. It was someone from Britain. Niagara Falls and Theodore Roosevelt."

Goodwin's new book "The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and the Golden Age of Journalism" comes out in November.

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