DeFrank had a relationship with Gerald Ford that spanned one third of a century, and he enjoyed unprecedented access to the President from his earliest days with Nixon up until his death. How? He basically had blackmail material on Ford. I'll let you read the linked excerpts to see what it is.
But over the years he spent with Ford, Jerry (they were quick to point out it's incorrect to spell it "Gerry") said a number of remarkable things. Back when Bill Clinton was still in office, Ford told DeFrank that "... the presidential race in 2008 will be between Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani." That's not just politically astute - it's frightening. I suppose it wasn't much of a stretch to pick Hillary, but how did he pull Rudy out of thin air? The was before 9/11, before the invasion of Iraq, before the Bush years. The GOP was nominating a series of increasingly conservative, pro-life, "family values" type candidates, and he foretold the selection of a RINO from New York like Rudy? Amazing.
He also had some off the record comments on the presidents who followed him. Ford had been very complimentary of Ronald Reagan in public. According to DeFrank, his private view was far different. He considered the "former actor" to be inexperienced, naive, and possessed of an unrealistic and even dangerous world view.
Tom said Ford was no kinder to Clinton, saying that the Monica scandal showed that he had an addiction problem (sex addiction) and that he was shocked that members of Clinton's cabinet hadn't resigned in disgust after he "lied to their faces."
For political junkies and lovers of history, this book looks like a must read, which is why I immediately ordered it. A rare, behind the scenes look at what one of the real power players in American politics was actually thinking, versus what they were saying in public.
Safire also had some enticing zingers during the show. He was making predictions about candidates and probable running mates. Who did he pick as Hillary's choice for veep? Rohm Emmanuel. Yikes... if there was any chance that I'd be voting Democratic next year, that pick would certainly sink the deal. I can't imagine a less tasty combination - really, I'd sooner order a pineapple and anchovy pizza.
His choices for the Republicans were also surprising. Who would Rudy select for Vice President? Safire says he'll take Fred Thompson. And if it's Mitt who gets the nod, he's sure that he will name General David Patraeus. I didn't see either of those coming.
All in all it was a great interview. If you get the chance to check it out, I'd highly recommend you do so.
Update (by Ron)
Crooks and Liars has the video
Just in time for Halloween, semi-retired New York Times columnist, William Safire, made some frightful political predictions on this morning’s Meet The Press — some of which sounded more like tricks than treats. The predictions dealt mostly with presidential candidates and their possible choices for running mates.
How does an Obama/Feinstein ticket strike you? How about Romney/Petraeus? Would it not bring joy to your heart to see Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice running as John McCain’s VP? Safire also predicted a possible running mate for Senator Hillary Clinton, but you’ll have to watch the clip for that. *shudder*