Original air date September 8, 1961.
In May of 1961 David Susskind had an edgy, one-on-one conversation with retired 33rd president of the United States, Harry S. Truman, who, even then, remained in charge. They covered controversial subjects, including conversations with England’s Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, and Premiere of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin.
Most of Susskind’s questioning centered around presidential history and how media tried to influence politics, including its commander and chief’s. Truman recalls how “these shenanigans” had been going on since George Washington took office. In fact, he notes, Abraham Lincoln’s dear wife, Mary, was mercilessly attacked by an unforgiving press corps, which, to that day, he found abhorrent. Truman never let it influence him, and remarked that television was helpful as there was no editor between himself and his audience.
Truman’s great leadership skills are summed up in his response to Susskind’s question, “Are there any decisions you made that you now regret?” Truman’s reply: “No. The worst thing you can do is make no decision. If a decision is wrong, then just make another one to fix it.”