Program Details

Where the Buck Stops: Harry Truman on Presidents and the Presidency

Clifton Truman Daniel
Video Catch-up

Course Description

My grandfather always said what was on his mind, and he had strong opinions, good and bad, on the presidency and on the presidents who came before and after him. Taking on the persona of my grandfather, Harry S. Truman, I will give the audience an idea of his thinking on Washington: “There’s no question of his greatness. If his administration had failed, there’d have been no United States.” On Lincoln: “I thought he was wonderful, but it took me a long time to come to that opinion because my family were all against him and thought it was a fine thing he got assassinated. That’s an exaggeration, but not by much.” On Madison: “He was five-foot-four and tipped the scales at hundred pounds when he was soaking wet or had a bunch of rocks in his pockets. He was a brilliant fellow and had a crystal clear mind, but he found it difficult to make decisions.” On being a strong president: “He carries on the operation of the United States as the Constitution provides and has the willingness to decide what ought to be done and then put it over, regardless of the consequences.

About the Instructor

  • Clifton Truman Daniel is the grandson of President Harry S. Truman and his wife, Bess. He is the son of author Margaret Truman and former New York Times managing editor, E. Clifton Daniel Jr. Daniel is the honorary chairman of the board of the Truman Library Institute, nonprofit partner of the Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, MO. He is the author of "Growing Up With My Grandfather: Memories of Harry S. Truman" and "Dear Harry, Love Bess: Bess Truman’s Letters to Harry Truman, 1919-43". In addition to lectures on his grandparents and White House history, he currently portrays his grandfather onstage in the one-man show, "Give 'Em Hell, Harry!".