Kennedy Historian Schlesinger Dies

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Listen: Tavis Smiley and Arthur Schlesinger talk about the Iraq war and the 2004 presidential election.

Arthur Schlesinger talked with Tavis Smiley about President George Bush's foreign policy. He said the war in Iraq, billed as a preventative war, had turned America into the world's judge, jury and executioner. Because of this policy, America is hated today as never has been before, Schlesinger said.

Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., the famed historian and Kennedy insider, has died. He suffered a major heart attack while dining with family in Manhattan on Wednesday night. He was 89.

RENÉE MONTAGNE, host:

One of the last public acts of Arthur M. Schlesinger was to oppose the war in Iraq. The prize-winning historian has died in New York at the age of 89. He suffered a heart attack. He is the historian who coined the term imperial presidency during the administration of Richard Nixon. His most famous books were about the Kennedy's and he was an aid to President Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He also lived some of the history he wrote about.

Mr. ARTHUR M. SCHLESINGER (Historian): We were receiving evacuation notices, those who were members of the White House staff for example. But I think the general feeling was expressed by Robert Kennedy when he said that he was damned if he was going to abandon his wife and children and that he would confront any crisis with his family. I think that's the way most of us felt.

MONTAGNE: Arthur Schlesinger, who died last night, was not afraid to be identified as a liberal. He once said that being a liberal means regarding man as, quote, "neither brute nor angel."

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MONTAGNE: You're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News.

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