Krauthammer: Book Shows 'How My Ideas Evolved'

Monday, 28 Oct 2013 10:04 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Charles Krauthammer can be whimsical when explaining why he decided to put together a book of his most dynamic essays from the past 30 years.

"Gambling debts! I put my money on the [Chicago] Cubs and Obamacare and [Rudy] Giuliani '08. It didn't work out," Krauthammer, a Washington Post columnist who began his career as a licensed psychiatrist, told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

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Seriously, Krauthammer said Monday, he had been thinking about putting together a collection of his columns for quite a while, a project that resulted in "Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes, and Politics," published by Crown Forum.

"I began my journalistic career on the day Ronald Reagan was sworn in. That's the day I showed up for work at The New Republic magazine. I started out life as a doctor. And from that, [there was] the whole span of history through the end of the Cold War, the 1990s, 9/11, the aftermath, and now this sort of attempted return of liberalism under Obama," he said.

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"It's such an interesting time that a collection now would capture that history. And, as part of it, I wrote an autobiographical introduction . . . to sort of explain how my career evolved and how my ideas evolved."

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Krauthammer says two of the more interesting moments in his career as a columnist came when he was invited to private chats with President Barack Obama.

"It was with five or six other conservative journalists, off the record . . . to talk to him . . . a lot of people are saying, 'I wonder what they told him and what were they deciding on and what instructions' . . . as if I'm kind of the Manchurian Candidate!" Krauthammer said.

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"All I want to say is this: if you are invited to speak off the record, to try to get an idea of the workings of the mind of the man with more power on earth than anybody else, it is a betrayal of journalism not to show up . . . He's a thoughtful man, he's engaging, he's as charming in private as he showed himself to be before he ran for election. He's complicated.

"As you know, I disagree with just about all of his policies, but it's important to see how he fields a question, how he answers it, how he dodges questions, as a way to get a feel for how he makes his decisions."

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