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Doris Kearns Goodwin: Trump Doesn't Have a 'Girdle On'

Doris Kearns Goodwin: Trump Doesn't Have a 'Girdle On'
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By    |   Sunday, 30 August 2015 06:17 PM

Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin weighed in Sunday on Donald Trump's presidential bid, telling CNN's Brian Stelter on "Reliable Sources" that the Republican mogul is attracting so much attention because, unlike most politicians, he lacks "defensiveness."

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Below is a transcript of her remarks:

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN: Well, it certainly has been the most entertaining age of journalism. ... I mean, I must admit, like everybody else, there is something compelling about this kind of talk when these guys are talking against each other, when Trump has no political correctness button that he pushes. I think one of the reasons why he is attracting so much attention now is for years the journalists have gone after candidates when they make one silly mistake, they make a gaffe, they say oops or they say 47 percent or they say something that they then have to claim, I misspoke, I didn't mean what I said. They have to be defensive.

Trump has not an ounce of defensiveness. He turns it against the press. It may be that partly what we're seeing is for so many years we have asked our candidates to be authentic, but they fear if they say something that will get them into trouble, they have to put a girdle on themselves.

You feel like all the candidates have put this girdle on. They talk from a teleprompter. They talk from a script. And we are not seeing them. We are seeing Trump as he is. And maybe that's part of the appeal.

BRIAN STELTER: I quip about this campaign going on too long, but like it or not, journalists are helping provoke important national discussions by interviewing candidates like Trump and probing for insight.... Do you think there is a situation here — we saw a poll in Iowa come out yesterday with Ben Carson on the rise, suggesting that maybe we are going to see a continued wave of these candidates all fall. Are you at the point now where you think Trump is more than just one of these cycles that will flame out? It has been two months, more than two months since he started running, after all...

GOODWIN: No, it has gone longer than I think many people would have predicted.

Clearly, there is something about that outsider mentality. When you think about what Washington has been like for these last years, and people so upset with a broken system, with parties not talking to each other, with little getting done, there is a sense in which somebody who is not a politician, somebody who is talking against the elite, somebody who is even talking against the press, we have had that in history before.

When people feel anxious or they're worried about something or there is some sense that things are going on in the banks or in Washington that we don't like, a candidate comes along and he can sort of get that appeal going. When you see the combination of Trump and Ben Carson, that's a large percentage of the Republican Party choosing a non-politician.

And whether that's good or bad, there is something still about politics you hope is an honorable vocation, that people are going to feel proud of becoming politicians. But maybe that has been turned on its head as well.



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Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin weighed in Sunday on Donald Trump's presidential bid, telling CNN's Brian Stelter on "Reliable Sources" that the Republican businessman is attracting so much attention because, unlike most politicians, he lacks "defensiveness."
trump, goodwin, girdle
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2015-17-30
Sunday, 30 August 2015 06:17 PM
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