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Bret Baier on lessons from President Eisenhower's farewell address

Bret Baier on new book
Bret Baier on new book, lessons from Eisenhower's farewell address 06:10

President Obama will deliver his farewell address Tuesday night, following a tradition set by his predecessors.

Some presidential goodbyes are more famous than others. President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s speech introduced a phrase that still resonates today.


“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex,” Eisenhower warned on Jan. 17, 1961.

About 65 hours later on Jan. 20, John F. Kennedy was sworn in as the 35th president of the United States. That time span is the subject of the latest book by Fox News Channel anchor Bret Baier called “Three Days in January: Dwight Eisenhower’s Final Mission.” 

“Eisenhower did a lot of that of forecasting a blueprint for the country going forward. But his main point was really a warning about certain things, a warning not to let go of bipartisanship. Really try to work across the aisle,” Baier said. “The warning, of course, the famous line about the ‘military-industrial complex,’ he wanted to call it the ‘military-industrial-congressional complex’ because of the tentacles that business would have into American politics. And that cycle of working government and then going to lead a corporation or a board.” 

The book begins with President Eisenhower meeting President-elect Kennedy at the White House and ends with President Obama meeting President-elect Donald Trump at the White House.

“Eisenhower was really concerned about the smooth transition. He wanted to make sure Kennedy understood that when you hit the Oval Office, something different happens. It is a different feeling, a different onus that is on your shoulders,” Baier said.

Donald Trump meets with President Obama at the White House 07:38

Like Mr. Eisenhower, Mr. Trump has not been elected to public office before becoming president. So what could Mr. Trump learn from the former president?

“He has a lot of power because he’s known around the world, Donald Trump. He, Eisenhower, would urge caution and balance and measure. And having dissenting voices. And also that bipartisan push,” Baier said. “Eisenhower worked with Sam Rayburn and Lyndon Baines Johnson to get a big highway project through, the interstate highway system. Donald Trump could do the same with infrastructure.” 

Watch the video above to see what Baier had to say about anchor Megyn Kelly’s announced departure from Fox News.

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