tv C-SPAN Weekend CSPAN July 4, 2009 10:00am-2:00pm EDT
strengthened, clarify rand i am illuminate the hearts and minds of the american people that they may stand by our declaration of independence and fulfill the plan as given to us in the constitution. remove from us the glamour and illusion that we may know and elect the sons and daughters of life who can lead this country to so do. and i thought that would be a fantastic affirmation for the people prior to any serious election. . . .no carrierringconnect 1200
up next, a series of discussions with a domestic policy advisor site continues with a look at how they present the policies to the president and the public. film producer ken burns on the national parks. >> domestic policy advisers for president richard nixon to george bush gather to talk about how they sold their agenda to congress and the public. this is hosted by the university of virginia and last 90 minutes.
welcome to this symposium hosted by miller center on the white house and domestic policy making. those of you who are watching this on c-span or through the miller center web site to be interested to know that there are four sessions like this and you can find them on line by going to the c-span or miller center web site. i am michael nelson, a professor of political science and a senior fellow at the miller center. it is my privilege to introduce not only this session, but also the individuals who will be the
principal discussants during the first half of this program, to be followed by a more general discussion. stewart eisenstat currently heads the international practice at covington and burlington. the reason we are so happy to have him here was he was a domestic policy adviser to jimmy carter. he has gone on to serve in the clinton white house and a variety of capacity including ambassador to the european union. he remains engaged in holocaust era related issues and has written a much praised book coming out of those activities, and perfect justice slave labor, and the unfinished business of world war ii.
we also have with us for this session, bruce reed, currently the president of the democratic leadership council. he is here because during the eight years of the clinton presidency, he was first deputy director and then assistant to the president and chief policy adviser to president clinton, famously associated with the landmark clinton administration welfare reform act of 1996. prior to that, deputy campaign manager for policy in the clinton gore campaign in 1992. prior to that, chief speechwriter for senator al gore. we are also happy to have with us jim pinkerton. he is known to us currently as a free press contributor to the fox news channel, a frequent
poster at phot -- fox from.com the reason we are so interested in having him here is the work that he did in the first bush presidency as a deputy assistant to the president's for policy planning. finally, among our former white house staff people, margaret spelling, not only a former staff person during the first george w. bush administration, but rarely among white house staff people went on during the second term to serve as secretary of education, and currently is president and ceo of margaret spelling and company. leading the discussion during this 90 minute session will be a
lawrence jacobs. he is the joan mondale share for political studies and professor in the department of political science. he has published handbooks including by my count, three just this year alone. one is a class war? what americans really think about economic inequality. and also the share, a book called, the unsustainable state. so without further ado, larry jacobs, take the chair. >> thank you, mike. we have been talking quite a bit about the making policy.
once the president makes the policy, the next step is how to sell it, promote it. that is what this session is about. thinking about how it is done, who does it, who is the audience, and what effect? let's start with you. who is it that takes the ball from those of you who designed policy and sells it? >> the president has very few real powers under the constitution besides being
commander in chief. article one is about the powers of congress. the president's real power is power to mobilize or to use the bully-pulpit and to be the salesman to rally the public and congress. in order for that to be effective, the president has to make sure that he has a white house staff that is organized to back his initiatives. he has to have an office of public liaison that is built into the policy process, not an afterthought to it. he has to make sure that his outreach effort is part and parcel of the development of policies. when major policies are announced, there is an outreach strategy. we had a number of flaws in the
first year which prevented that from occurring. we had a much smoother sailing there after, but the first year is critical, because that is one of the public forms the impression of the president. let me talk about the organization of the white house in that respect. the first decision, which jim cannon, a close friend who was in this position with president ford will remember, president ford initially had no chief of staff when he came and. -- came in. president carter followed that on. he adopted the spokes of the wheel organization, which six or seven aides had equal access, but no chief of staff to organize and coordinate the policy and the politics, the out
reach and the announcement of policy. this was a serious mistake. this was not done by happenstance, arguing against the centralization of power in the white house. president ford learned in the second half of his presidency of the importance of having a centralized chief of staff to organize our reach as well as policy, and dick cheney became his chief of staff. one humors antidote -- anecdote is the day of the inauguration. we or in the chief of staff's office, occupied by hamilton jordan. a broken bicycle wheel, with the wheel all broken, and dick cheney put a note saying, don't
follow the spokes of the wheel. we followed that advice. indeed, because there was no setting of priorities by the chief of staff, we had a multiplicity of priorities, and the salesmanship job became more difficult because we were at one of the same task trying to sell welfare reform, hospital cost containment, the panama canal treaty, and a whole host of other hospital cost containment and other initiatives. for a president to be effective as a sales in chief has to have a tight discipline on the priorities he will set. the chief of staff is where that stars. that was done later in the administration went vice- president mondale did that. your public a retest to be coordinated by the chief of staff to be part and parcel of the policy development process, not as an afterthought.
our first public liaison saw it as her job to represent the interest groups the democratic party to the president, rather than the president to the interest groups. that was changed by the end of the first year when an wexler was brought in by the comments -- commerce department. we ended up with a congressional quarterly rating of success in our legislation higher than it john kennedy's, and almost equal to that of lyndon johnson, because we did learn, and she was excellent and creating the first modern to reach effort, getting constituency groups in briefings, the president would come in for east room events. they were given their mission to try to sell our programs, and it worked. but only after a very difficult
first year in which none of that was in place, and we paid a price for that. having too many initiatives without having the public salesmanship part built into the process and the beginning. i would like if i may, since i was unable to join the conversation yesterday, be able to talk about for a minute the campaign promises. salesman ship starts in the campaign. jimmy carter was a democratic president sandwiched in between eight years of republican presidents on one side, and eight years on the other. he was not coincidently a moderate democrat. if he had been a liberal democrat he would not have been elected, even with watergate. it is important to understand that when he came into office, there was a mitch -- mismatch between the expectations of a highly liberal democratic
congress, who were looking for a revival of the great society after eight years of nixon and ford. instead, they got this moderate conservative southern democrat, who was a new democrat, the first new democrat. he was fiscally moderate, if not conservative, socially liberal on civil rights, on the environment and a whole variety of other issues. this was a new type of democrat. the problem with campaign promises, which are predicate for selling the program, is not what the public thinks. the public thinks that presidential candidates just promise what ever they have to to get elected and then ignored when they come in. it is the opposite. they are very serious about their campaign promises.
the problem is not that they are so often ignored, it is that they are made under sub optimum conditions of policy-making, under great time pressures, great political pressures, with a small campaign staff without interagency review you have when your president, without the kind of budget days that you would like to have. they are often slapped together under enormous political pressures, then you have to live with them when you come into office. the implications for breaking campaign promises, let me give you two examples with all the salesmanship in the world could not handle. toward the end of the 1976 campaign with the race tightening, the lead we had was withering, texas became a key state, and oil and gate gas was a very important issue there. i drafted, at the urging of the
then governor of texas a letter from president carter which was faxed in this process that we had back in this a ancient time the campaign plane, which said, if elected president, i will deregulate natural gas, which was a huge issue in texas, because natural gas had been regulated since the time of harry truman. when we put together the energy package, jim this schlesinger, there was no department of energy at that time, he convinced the president to abandon a campaign promise on the fact that john dingell and scoop jackson were dead against,
as were the democratic interest groups, deregulation of natural gas as an intake consumer type of thing. they had a meeting in the cabinet room which i can remember to this day. i was the keeper of the campaign promises. the president was serious about campaign promises, he said your job during the transition is to organize them and published them so that we can be held accountable. indeed, we were. this was published in 8 yellow book -- a yellow book. the president had this meeting where he was saying, we really should not do this deregulation, it will kill our energy billy -- bill. he said to me, what shall we do? i reminded him of the letter and the importance of it, and a sentence of which i had never uttered come i said well i guess
if can feel so strongly about it, if there is one you can ignore, perhaps it is this one. this turned out to be a bad decision. in the house of representatives, more than two-thirds of whom were democrats, natural-gas deregulation offered as a substitute for the dingell bill failed by one vote. when it went to the senate, natural-gas deregulation pass easily. that one item held the entire energy bill up, which had been our number-one priority for 18 months and created a cloud over the president's capacity to handle congress it is a good example of what happens when you abandon campaign promises. the second example was the $50 rebate part of our stimulus package. the president was persuaded that
with inflation beginning to rise that this is one we should abandon as part of our stimulus package. muskie, head of the budget committee had created a budget resolution to put this and after it had passed the house. he learned about the president's decision to abandon it, which was done at the instance of the secretary of the treasury by reading the tikrit. if you are going to abandon a campaign promise, lay the groundwork for it and have a very good explanation. otherwise, you will pay a stiff price. >> let me pick up on one of the comments that was made, which was about the importance that the promotion and sales part play in getting your pryor's straight -- party straight in p
karl rove fought through a calendar that had such discipline to it that selling the president's policy -- that was everybody's job in the white house. all of us in the policy shop. while we certainly had areas of responsibility, it was an all hands on deck approach. i can't remember the very first week of the presidency -- i can't remember the first week of the presidency talking about events in and out of the white house, in and out of washington. one of the things i think we
sometimes think about when we sell public policy is a public side of this, the strategic way to message of this out of washington in key states with key members. but the president does with his private time, a couple of the first thing that bush did when he came to office in the first week, was to have george miller and ted kennedy and john painter and judd gregg and the whole family over for the movie, to watch i can remember the name of it but it was about the cuban missile crisis. it is a surreal moment for me to what senator kennedy and president bush set on the first row of the white house movie theater watching this movie about center entered kennedy's brother literally feet away from the oval office in this movie takes place in the oval office.
these sorts of important, personal moments, these relationship building moments are as important as the public campaign -- effort to engender support. the way that we did it, carl did it, is we would look at the calendar, in white house time it is an eternity. education would be on one -- week 1 and 3 and 6. in the intervening period we would do public liaison thing and relationship building. it was very much a tactical kind of exercise. not a haphazard, this is our priority, everybody do your thing.
>> when you think of your experience in the clinton white house, would you describe it as disciplined and focused? >> yes, in this sense. president clinton discovered when he got to the white house that the best organizing principle for his agenda was the state of the union. our entire effort every year was organized around that speech. for months ahead of time, as the white house prepared the president's budget we had the state of the union in mind. that is the one that chance where the president gets to do what he could do in a campaign, which is set the agenda for the year. our state of the union ended up being quite long as a result.
it was important, because it was a chance to speak in and of filtered way directly to voters. if he can make a connection to the voters on the ideas, that is something he can sustain for a long time. the advantage of the state of the union is that congress is generally down, they don't have starkly have done much work in january and february. we always see that as our greatest opportunity. >> one of the greatest innovation in the clinton years was the --. >> we realize that precisely because congress was out of town and not doing anything, that we
did not have to save the state -- did of the union, with each successive year, we started leaking out pieces of it earlier and earlier. by the end, we were taking advantage of the christmas holiday. it was -- the white house is the center of the journalistic and political universe so you can get attention for but never your journey -- doing. they use that in the best possible way to roll of ideas. >> mr. pinkerton, there is a sense that george h. w. bush is not so comfortable with the tv camera. not at the clinton lao, or the level of bush 43, how did you think about salesmanship with the president? >> we had one benefit, we had
roger border, the only domestic policy adviser that had written a book on it before it got there. bush 41 was not a natural television aficionado. the real dilemma that bush 41 domestic policy operation had, and i was trying to pierce to eisenstaedt say, we were 9312. i serve working for bush 41 in 1984. i was there until 1992 to
observe these things. during that time, bush 41 was called a wimp. that was his standard epithet in the media. we always said, the real problem we have here is -- he is no wimp, a war hero, family man, everything. he had the dilemma that he was not entirely comfortable with his campaign, and what he was saying. it is fair to say that bush 41 was and is a conservative in the european sense of the word, he is sort of a aristocrat. it was not as if he was sitting around reading the conscious of the conservative. it was very aware that his
i can remember, we used to do a joke. does anybody realize that bush 41 is taller than reagan? nobody believed it it -- it. we said look at their pictures. into this context, lee atwater, who became the de facto head of his political operation, went over to the conservatives. we made an effort to get bush 41 on the right side of the tax issue, that grover norquist no tax increase, which under extreme pressure and over the objections of the ovp, we persuaded vice president bush to sign that in 1987. that was a fight. the good news is we thought we created campaign promises, i
was from ideological wing from inside the campaign i don't think we would have gotten him nominated against jack kemp, and bob dole who had the moderate establishment. we would not have gotten through. the problem is that when you have the situation like that, where he is nominated, and then the general election campaign was much more the true george h. w. bush, a thousand points of light, kinder and gentler, we had a program called -- which never even had a policy paper behind it. it became points of life -- points of light, then you get to the white house.
this is where i believe that the bush 41 white house was tested to anticipate professor jacobs very smart book a decade or so ago, politicians don't pander. when they get in, they say what do i really think and what ought to be done. now it is your job not to help me keep my campaign promises, but to help me do what i want to do. john sununu and richard darman' convinced president bush 41 that the tax increase was necessary. if is one phrase that people remember, read my lips, over and over again is we will not raise taxes.
and then there we were, talk about no sales job. there was a sequence about how this happened was if i remember this right, they posted eight memo on the white house press office bulletin board saying he will be open to tax revenue increases. it was april of 1990. gov. sununu said we are for tax revenue increases. that does not mean tax increases. we will cut the capital gains tax and that will make revenues go up. speaker foley and majority leader mitchell said they will not sit still for this. so they made up over a month, say you are for a tax increase and we did. that is history in terms of lead the 15th descending on us --
louis the xv. if your public liaison officer and if you're involved in the formulation of the policy, there is a decent chance you may get somewhere with it. but if it comes because the president and the chief of staff and budget director decide to break a secret camp rain -- campaign promise they ever made, then your chance of success for anything other than a tax increase, your own political future is jeopardized. that is where we fell into the category of disappeared from history. people don't even remember you are there. >> for one thing, when he was cia director, he briefed president carter elected during the transition.
i was the only staff person involved and gave world-class briefings. i would say to jim, the 12 years of republicans after carter that it would have been 16, had it not been for ross perot running. i say that knowing that bill clinton is the great political icon of our time, with enormous skill. with the conservative tag in the country still had not exhausted itself, even with bill clinton's fantastic political skills, if ross perot had not divided, i think jim emphasize again the point i was making in the presentation of the risks of appearing to back off the campaign pledge. it was more visible with a no
tax pledge of president bush won then it was natural gas deregulation. i would like to turn to a similar situation. when you make a major priority something that was not part of your campaign, the campaign really is the opportunity, as the candidate to lay the groundwork being the salesman in chief when you are elected. if you suddenly pop up with major initiatives at the beginning of your presidency that were not part of that political landscape during the campaign, you also run into problems because you have to jerrybuild a political -- one was the so-called hit list for water projects that very much
filled president carter's notion of dealing with government waste. he had to have been perhaps the only governor in history to block the corps of engineers project when he was the governor appeared he saw these as wasteful and inefficient, which in many cases they were. this touched the nerve endings of almost every major the member of congress. because it was not part of the campaign, when it came up at the outset of the presidency, it caused a furor on capitol hill and diverted attention from the major priorities they were trying to sell, and created eight new, now issue which again complicated our public our reach. the second and more significant was the first energy package, the moral equivalent of war. looking back at that, it was prophetic when one looks at where we are in the energy
picture today. by making this the number one domestic priority at the very outset of the presidency with a fireside chat reminiscent of fdr. when that had not been a major issue in the carter for a campaign, energy was not a major issue. the notion that there was an urgency about doing it was not part of that debate, and then suddenly bringing that on was courageous, but it was politically very difficult. it was one of the reasons among others that it took 18 months to get this very difficult package passed. there had not been a sort of public preparation for this. you had to build a public out reached strategy without having anne >> are involved.
>> i wanted to talk about how presidents sell their process -- policy to the press. the press is a two-way street between the white house and the press. the press is dependent on the board house for information. -- the white house for information. the white house has its own sense of the story that it wants to tell. that is very different from the situation that bruce reed mentioned. president bush was described in the media as the filter. how did your white house think of the press and how to manage that two-way street? had he earned respect of the media by playing by their rules, and using it to achieve purposes that the white house needed? >> we still a page from
president clinton from -- about leaking nuggets before we went in. we use the get the heck out of washington effectively. you often got much more favorable responses in a regional media in a big and small cities, taking members of congress along. i would say that the bulk of the sales job on policy was done not in washington, but out in the country. >> if you look at press coverage, the viewership of local news is higher than the viewership of national news. do you target particular news people? >> sure. it was not particular people so much as particular places we
knew we needed to get it for a variety of reasons. it is no accident that president obama is going to arizona, new mexico and key places. the purple states are the purple states and will continue to be. that is where they will spend their time. places that matter and places that you need to be thinking about only. he did not spend a lot of time selling the message in texas, george w. bush. he did not need to. i want to pick up for a second on something you said about the issues that are not part of the campaign, and how important that is pierre for the -- for us, that is immigration. in 2000, something close to bush's heart, as incendiary as that is now, it was a sleeping
dog of them. pete wilson had gone through his sort of thing in california, learn from it, we did the total opposite in texas. we never had this english only schools issues. we began to work on it very early in the of ministration. it is one of the most complicated policies. every agency is implicated. net -- and then at 9/11 came, and we stopped. in 2000 and 2004, we did not talk about it much on the campaign trail. then to try to build a constituency around and then a rush limbaugh was impossible. >> mr. reed, the clinton white house very skilled in terms of what house operation, very capable folks in the press room. the press secretary, people who
are well respected to this day. was there tension between the energetic effort between to push a political line, coming out of the communications office verses perhaps the need of a press secretary to earn the respect of the media joe friday, just the facts ma'am sort of approach? do you see tension there or not? >> there is always a tension between political advisers. let me make a couple of points about marketing in the white house. i have to take issue and correct this for the record. you forget that in the 1992 campaign, the anti-washington mood was so strong. it wasn't all george h. w. bush's the fall. it was so overwhelming, we would
have won the right inside. i work for the greatest presidential campaign for all time. he would be the first -- at the end of the day it is about the product. because the white house and bully pulpit is is what everyone is watching we assume that is the white house is great advantage. in my view, the greatest power of the executive is not selling, it is doing. the president has the ability to take action that back up his policies and that some of his policies better than any speech or any press secretary or any spin operation can do. it took us awhile to realize that. after the '94 elections, when we did not exactly have a complaint
congress, we realized that they were not going to do anything we wanted them to do, unless we forced them to pay attention. we developed an aggressive strategy, doing executive orders and other types of actions to force their hands. one that i worked on the most, welfare remarks, we did about half a dozen executive orders on child enforcement and welfare reform. about the middle of 1996, republicans who had been trying to stop us for welfare reform, finally said if the you are doing it anyway we might as well go along so we can share some of the credit. >> let me explore this idea with you on president clinton decided that the doing is what you -- it was about. the notion about the bully
pulpit presumes going through the usual legislative process. you put a proposal up and work it through the usual process where it is passed and the president signs it or vetoes it. what you are suggesting is circumventing this entire process. is your conclusion then that presidents are fairly ineffectual using the bully pulpit? >> i am not saying circumvent it. in politics, the most important thing is to win the argument. you cannot assume that just because you have a bully pulpit -- is the greatest asset for the party that has the white house. the other party has several hundred people in congress and around the country who are all trying to get the talking points, and cannot do it in as disciplined a fashion. at the end of the day, you have
to win the argument and convince people you have the right idea. we face hundreds of millions of dollars of advertising programs against tobacco bills, for health-care plans, the advantage of of the bully pulpit arose over time. when you are the only one talking about your diet -- ideas come it is great. it is very important for president to focus early on on the quality of their products. everytime a white house -- i think we have a communications problem -- that is a red flag this is your product status. or if you hear that they are born to relaunch an initiative,
the titanic is coming. it is not possible to relaunch a bad idea. >> if you look back at how most presidents who are perceived to be the most successful one a second term, reagan, clinton, bush no. 2, they all have a person in the white house in carl rose case he was not chief of staff, -- karl rove, he was not the chief of staff. these are people who were highly experience in washington, and to have the capacity to pull together policy and politics, salesmanship and substance, and organized bobwhite house in that way.
that is what we missed in the first year. bush was a good domestic advisor, but was benefited by having a president who was world class and also having an organizational structure to pull that together. and the same with reagan, where jim baker was a master at that and with karl rove. there is no substitute to that. you simply have to have one person who is designated to pull that together, and organize the out reach and the policy. that has become a major lesson in the carter presidency. in the clinton white house there were several that took their role. let me come back to this issue about the press filter. marlin fitzwater remarked about the media and the white house
relationship, a friend or an enemy. i am paraphrasing. did you, thinking back on the way the media treated you and your administration, was it an enemy or a friend? them to be in the meat -- honest, enemy. we have to go back to the cbs news and was dominic, rush limbaugh was minor. he had come on line by then. he supported bush in 1992. he was a very strong anti rush -- ross perot voice. it was understood that another word not use then, the mainstream media were not for bush.
they liked him well enough, personally fond of him. maureen dowd wrote a piece for the new republic i think in 1989 about the ralph lauren organization of america and how reporters, all secretly wish there were prince charles living on an estate summer. they identified with bush 41 on that score a little bit. they admired him, but they did not vote for him and did not agree with him on policy. >> there is the left-right issue about the press. but more about the institutional issue. we talked about the way in which the bush white house was encumbered by the president's handling of his campaign promise on the -- i am being diplomatic. you look at what most economists
would say, this was an important part of the clinton successfully to on in creating budgets surpluses. it wasn't part of the press coverage than. as an example, weighs in which the white house is organized, institutional coordination of both developing policies, and no tax pledge is an example of that. is that an advantage with the press? the fact that you have a president who is not skilled with the media, who does not have this sense of importance in maintaining these campaign promises, the political repercussions, the media will have a feeding frenzy on this kind of backtracking? >> let me associate myself, you
said the borders of personnel, you said one aim in particular, jim baker. this is from the 12 year. until 1993, reagan's domestic policy was pretty effective. who was running things, not that, but who was prime minister? jim bakker. strangely enough in the bush 41 era, a foreign policy was an astounding success with the reunification of germany and the coalition. where was baker then? he was at the state department. one person can make a huge difference, and whether he is available or not. he did have an uncanny sense that even at the press does not
like you, you can still make them your ally and get things done. you can convince them that if they don't support you and right nice address about you that the crazies will take over and that will be bad for the country. there is the sense that in that cosmology, baker can say comic if you don't support me gingrich will run the country and that will ruin the country. so you can make use of them on that. and the bush 41 white house wanted to, even on more domestic issues could -- a supreme court confirmation, clarence thomas. there was the case where the
bush 41 white house pulled together pretty well. we did a pretty good job in getting something through in about the most adverse circumstances in the pre media break up that you can imagine. >> presence would be most effective as salesmen on things in which there really believe. you can have all the organizations surrounded them you want, they have to believe. one example in which i worked as a private citizen with president bush once white house was on selling the congress, a reluctant congress controlled by democrats at that time to give him the authority to send troops to kuwait to oust saddam hussein come to help get a coalition of democrats together. the point is, this is something
he really believed in. he was very effective in selling a reluctant paul -- public and congress and getting a coalition of democrats and republicans for what initially had been a very unpopular and unnecessary operation. when you believe something, a president can be a much more effective sales purpose -- salesman for a reason. that is a helpful segued to another sort of issue, how effective our presidents, you opened up by mentioning that the president has extraordinarily constitutional party and national security, the bully pulpit, the ability to mobilize the public is perhaps our greatest strength. i am curious, we have an administration represented here who has had a variety of
experiences, introducing partial privatization, the health-care effort, the effort to reverse a malaise in the country using the crisis of confidence speech. these are all historically notable examples of presidents investing a lot in this promotional effort, the citizenship part, and it not working. are those exceptions, or is it really a clue that may be we are overemphasizing or exaggerating the power and influence? >> i was going to mention that. the president's, if he is personally very familiar, very committed and knowledgeable about an issue that matters, to the good, it mattered in my case on education. president bush, whenever we prepared remarks, he knew the stuff and he took off and felt
it in his heart and people knew that. there was also true with social security. we have an expression in texas, when the horse dies, get off. we did not get off the dead horse, i guess. the point is, sometimes the president is the one who is taking the microphone for good or bad and we are running the play. >> we have an exaggerated sense of the power of the pulpit or not? you mentioned social security and the horse died. the president did not get off. >> i think he was a true believer -- and i think we will get into this later -- in hindsight, we learned that we should have opened with immigration and not social security. it was too complicated and
wasn't to be. but he was highly committed to it, and that was that. >> the 1977 energy plan and the 1984 health care plan and social security, all domestic issues. on foreign policy, it is different. you can invoke national crisis. look at jimmy carter with the iran hostage thing. you can get a lot done. them i think presidents have a lot of power. the political system and the coverage of white houses dramatically overstates the importance of marketing messages, and undervalued the importance of the product. the job of a president is not to talk the country to things it does not want to do. the job of the president is trying to figure out a way that
washington can take the country where it needs and wants to go. we had enormous political talent in the white house. we had the greatest salesman, but there are in a country that wants a lot of action to solve the problems, but is deeply skeptical about government's ability to run a two-car funeral my old boss used to say, that is a difficult tightrope to walk. a policy approach is not a marketing plan. >> one of the striking things is that ronald reagan's name has not been mentioned yet in this discussion.
had an idea of what he wanted. the first thing is that reagan said he wanted to reverse the rate of federal spending, the rate of growth of federal taxes, the rate of growth of a federal regulation and to reduce by half the rate of growth of one item to bring double digit inflation down. he gave this message over and over and over again. he produced a set of plans that were optimistic initially. they did create something in which he could take a republican senate and a democratic house that was somewhat reluctant and
pass this budget reconciliation act and the recovery tax act, the most striking landmark pieces of legislation. the reagan felt deeply about tax reform. he felt the tax code needed to be changed. jimmy carter and gerald ford have both tried without success. we were preparing a state of the union address. reagan wanted to have him there that he was going to go for fundamental tax reform. you mentioned the word taxes, and people think you are trying to raise taxes, because we had gone through the 1982 tax equity and fiscal responsibility act which was a major tax increase in wake of the deficits that emerged.
reagan ended up raising taxes 12 times while he was in there. reagan said, i get to give the speech. i will modify its so that the secretary of treasury will deliver a plan to meet a december 1 of 1984. after the election, and then we will do it in the second term. he was relentless in the first 10 years of his second term in talking about tax reform. he was going everywhere like north carolina. one person said my people down there to not care about tax reform. i want to come talk about this or that.
a pulled the political system kicking and screaming to the notion -- the plan that he advanced was dramatically modified ultimately. he adds to do an enormous amount of negotiation to get through. reagan was determined and an office in pursuit of that. he had a plan whereby he was consistently getting heat. what happened with respect to no new taxes'? presidents like all of us are prisoners of our experience. george bush's experience as vice-president is he had seen
reagan's a deal with a deficit problem that emerged after the 19811982 recession. keep -- 1981-1982 recession. he negotiated a deal. there was the budget by conciliation act of that year. we had another bipartisan negotiation called the rose garden compromise of 1984. the stock-market crash in october of 1987. another bipartisan negotiating package was put together. we now have three examples of where a republican president would deal with a democratic congress pulling together a
bipartisan deficit-reduction package. bush tried in his first year to solve the deficit -- the opposite problem by doing it all on the spending side. he got about 60% of the what he wanted it through. then the economy started to slow and doesn't numbers started to rise. others came in and said you are going to face a doubling of the deficit if you do not do something. he announced that he would deal with this on a bipartisan basis , and put together a bipartisan group -- his initial inclination would try to do it on the spending side. that had never been done before. all of this compromise packages had included a spending
component and a revenue component. the treasury secretary told him, maybe he needs to raise taxes by not charging marginal rates. when people think of the income tax, they think of the marginal rate. a gasoline tax increases -- closing a loophole here and there. you can have a revenue component as long as you hold the line and say you're not going to do it with respect to the tax marginal rate. as a result, he said the only way i will do this is if the democrats will agree to budget taps on the spending side. president clinton did not throw them overboard and breaking his predecessor's policies. bush's problem was that he did
not prepare the groundwork. he did not explain to the country clearly enough why he was doing what he was doing. as a result, it was interpreted as a reversal of his pledge without any groundwork being laid as to why you need to do that. as a result, he was severely criticized in damaged himself politically. >> we are going to turn to you to comment on this. he started off talking about the importance of policy and the sales being integrated together -- not coming up with a policy and then down the road developing a strategy. it's the story we have heard from these men about what happened with bush on the new tax pledge an example of how not to do things? >> yes, it is.
we have all tried to be frank about our own dealings. a comprehensive energy bill on the country is an example of not laying the groundwork. we ended up passing at three major energy bills. we broke the 40 and not on the price of crude oil which have been controlled -- we have alternative energy conservation -- we had a whole package at the end of the day. it was not until the third packages that the groundwork had been politically laid with the public that this was critical to the public. they did not understand, in 1977, there were no huge runups in oil prices. there were no gas lines.
we did not perceive as we should have our dependence on foreign oil. notwithstanding the boycott of one year -- these are examples of the policies. they were the right policies. president bush was right to do this, to demand the tax increases. the policies i am suggesting i think right. but that is not what being president is about. it is the failures that often times overwhelms the successes. >> others have been talking about good policy not being enough. you have to have this sales element in the promotional part
and the political connection to your base. is that the way you see it? >> on one level. one person said something that was striking. he said the task of the government and president is not to pull the people where they desperately do not want to go, but rather to take them where they need to go and want to go. that raises a very important question which is a classic question of democratic government. what happens when the people need to go somewhere, but they desperately do not want to go there. that seems to me is where there
is an opportunity for presidential statesmanship of the highest order, but also other things. we can all think of examples as adults. we have been living through a time frame where president after president has been unable to persuade the people and take the people towards certain fundamental truths to deal with a certain underlying problems. we may eventually learn from that. i am preoccupied with the question of how in a democracy which is a populist democracy driven more and more by media coverage one way or another.
i think fox and msnbc.com are the image of our awful future. i was talking with one person at breakfast this morning. he said we will not have news pretty soon. we will have democratic news in republican news. how are these circumstances can a president more effectively closed the gap between what the country needs and what the people want? >> is that the way you view this challenge? >> i do agree with him that cable news has conquered american politics in a sense. how much lead as an uncompromising goes on as opposed to getting on the air to
go after the opponent. all of the various groups of people tend to get pummeled. it is from the various media corners up there. it is a terrible challenge. what ever happened to -- it is hard to identify tha certain group, becker may get not up in the primary. i do see the wisdom of a comprehensive energy policy that takes a look at things like oil and says, we should not be exporting hundreds of millions of dollars to our moral and a main. those issues -- mortal enemy.
those issues are important and need to be dealt with. >> i want to talk about taking the public where it wants to go. the president can get the right salesmanship organization to take the public where it did not realize it wanted to go, but where it needs to go. they have to convince them where -- debt that is where they wanted to go. panama canal is an example of an instance where the public and not want to go in that direction. we had 25% support when we started the sale of the panel cannot treat. this was an example of the proper integration of a policy, but one that was very controversial. it was done with an enormous
public outrage, going to swing states, giving republicans and others to validate this. we got to the place where 65% of the public supported it. at that place, the public was convinced this was an important piece of our future. on a comprehensive energy package, why did the speech happen and what it the unmitigated disaster that it is perceived today? it happened because we had a second energy bill and the third energy bill. the president, when he came back from the tokyo deet seven summit, we had an energy -- tokyo and g-seven summit, we had
a speech for him. he said the public will not listen to me on this topic. i have to step back and talk about what my entire presidency is about or i will never get anywhere on energy. that led to the camp david retreat in experts coming together. there was as violent an argument as i have ever seen in any government in which i had been in. it was about the speech. you cannot cancel an energy speech and not given energy speech. people do not want to hear a speech about the american spirit. they think we are the problem with double-digit inflation not that they are the problem. the compromise ended up being giving this speech and then saying the way to deal with this crisis is having an organized
principle which is energy independence. putting that as a second part -- the speech contrary to my view was an astounding success. that is not what is perceived now. it was a great success. his pull shot up 35%. it was like the good old days in 1976. there was a political resurrection. what changed the speech was bearing the headline just as we were getting headlines about the cabinet firing. squashing all the momentum that that speech developed was the result. it is a question of prioritizing things and not trying to make too many things at one time. the speech itself was not a
problem but that was the problem. >> the talk about presidential salesmanship. it is often described as a big shot. the president goes out in the country like obama campaign for health care reform. the semi bush differ so security. the idea is that the president mobilizes americans by going out. congress hears this and becomes more supportive of the president's legislation. there is another view about that which is a little more skeptical which is members have a good view about policy and are concerned about constituents and other reasons for not being mulled over by the president. what is your view? it's presidential salesmanship a way to win over congress?
>> we have to be careful of -- if we identify the person that won the virginia lottery last week. [unintelligible] i believe that members of congress are the most effective political organization. they know what people think about the stuff they are trying to do. if you can have public events that change some of those meetings -- the total one meeting and then go to another town meeting and it is
different -- if you undertake a big public promotional effort, these guys will say public education did not move the middle. then you slide backwards quickly. they may say, i may move back. i think it has to be -- you take your life in your hands when you do these things. if you can do them to make them work, you can change the world. if it does not work, it will slide backwards. >> there is a toxic alliance
that is the culprit on why some of these are things cannot get done. there is a toxic allies between the unions and the archconservative is for lack of a better word. they tend to team up on immigration, trade, health, welfare. the town hall meeting happens and the members of congress are and an accurate polling body because the people that show up at those things are members of the toxic alliance. it seems to be playing itself out over and over again including right now on health care. >> i think it needs to be said that president ford had a low
record of success. the reasons or obvious. he had no mandate when he was elected. i think 40 seats in the house change in 1974. he was confronted with a house that was 2-1 -- in senate, i think he had 37 democrats. get tremendous confrontation. he was not the best salesman for its programs around the country. i think he was a first-rate manager of the white house. he will learn how to manage the white house after the first few weeks.
he never really succeeded. he did not come across very well on television. it was a marvelous-in the office to work with, but put him on television, and he looked exactly what he was. he was a dull must honor. he could not project the image he wanted. at the presidency is managing and the other half is selling. roger talked about how effective reagan was. the master and negotiation was jim bakker. one person was anchoring the
right and protecting them in whatever he was going to do. they presented him in these many movies that showed reagan was the best. he was a fascinating man. he would sit there, and you would think he is not going to be able to do that. but when he got that microphone and the camera, and he could perform very brilliantly and show himself in whatever it was. he had a republican senate. this was a very responsive republican senate. they did an effective job of the vote on the budget.
president reagan himself was very effective at mobilizing the republicans in the house and a number of democrats in the house probe from the south. he could get it done. his success was in stopping the worst from happening. i think he had 67 vetoes. it is very good on defense. if you were a basketball player. >> what we need to remember with respect to reagan is that there were three phases. the first was when he came in. he won a big election. the republicans have finally gotten control of the senate.
in midterm 1982 election, the republicans lost 26 seats in the house of representatives. suddenly the working coalition in the house was gone. the town of the negotiations totally changed. it was like a different presidency after the first two years. in 1986, the republicans lost control of the senate. now you had both houses that were outside of his control. it was a different situation again. president can do a lot and be an effective spokesperson. the context -- eclectic -- clinton is an example who had a different presidency after the election.
>> i want to defend the american people. reagan was a great communicator. he got out before the consequences of this fiscal policies became in effect. one of the unfortunate consequences of the reagan era is that the political world began to think that the office was some kind of magic. if you could talk to people the way reagan did, that is all that matters. it is not the most important thing. americans are the most practical and result driven people on earth. that can work to a politician's benefit if we can produce good results or it could lead to his undoing if the policies fail. we should not get enamored of the political pixie dust.
it is very important to have a bond with the american people. it is to enable you to be honest with them about where the country needs to go and figure out how far they can go towards that. there is no point in trying to take a country where they do not want to go out and will not go. the challenge is to show them what the right thing for the country is and persuade them about it. if you are not doing that, and your policies do not live up to that, then you will not do well. >> president carter as part of his early energy package tried to get a very modest tax as a conservation measure. president clinton tried to get a tax that made all kinds of
sense that would give rebated back in it did not cost anything. here we are in 2009 in which our dependence on foreign oil is twice what it was when richard nixon said we were going to be energy independence in 1973 in 10 years. here we are more dependent than ever. the whole global warming issue is here. most of us would say, let us go back to gobtu tax and have a 50% gas tax so we could ensure -- encourage people -- let us tax the products we do not want and give it back to the american people -- no president is going to take that on. there is a time in which you know the public is not going to listen.
i think it is a very tough judgment call between what the right policy may be in which has been found unsuccessful and how much the public will go for. >> it is my unhappy duty to call this s landing discussion to an end. i thank all of you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> we will have a 50 minute break. we will come back after that.
>> up next, we will show you the ceremony unveiling the statue of president ronald reagan at the capitol. then we will have ken burns on national parks. and then we will have conversations with the daughters of president lyndon johnson. presidential domestic advisers that work was nixon to george w. bush talked about the lessons they learned while serving to keep residents. sunday at 4:25 p.m. here on c- span. >> these places remind me of a modern cathedral. >> walter kirn would like to see if you changes to the
higher educational system. >> i think these wonderfully concentrated islands of talent and wealth should be opened up to the larger society, not purposely kept separate, which they still are. >> "lost in a meritocracy." sunday night at 8 on c-span. you can listen to it on the radio. >> a new statue of ronald reagan was unveiled in the capitol rotunda last month, five years after the former president died. nancy pelosi and mitch mcconnell were part of this 50 minute ceremony.
this congressional tribute to president ronald reagan whose love for freedom inspired our nation to embrace our best hopes. thank you for his ability to plant seeds of confidence and to lift liberties lamp until freedom's light was seen around the world. made this statute in his honor -- may this statue in his honor remind us of america's opportunity to remain a shining city on a hill. and motivate us to discover and do your will. lord, give us grace to love what
the california delegation for all of their efforts in making this possible. on october 27, 1964, ronald reagan gave a national televised address is the supporting barry goldwater, the republican nominee for president. while he was later defeated by lyndon johnson, many americans watching that day immediately sensed that reagan would one day become president. the title of his speech was a time for choosing. he crystallized the voices for boaters, what a vote boy, self- government, or would they be submitting themselves to being ruled by the late in a far distant capital?
he was accompanied with a vigorous defense of america's greatest abroad. he reminded americans that they did have a rendezvous with destiny. as california gov., ronald reagan proved over and over that he has the mind of committed conservatives and the temperament of extraordinary leaders. as president, he use his skill to communicate a vision of america exceptional as some. it was not as a vision that moves people his way. he was always quick with a smile or a self-deprecating joke. he once said, i have left orders to be awakened in case of a national emergency, even if i am in a cabinet meeting. he had the polls and the respect of the average american.
ronald reagan developed an alliance of margaret thatcher, pope john paul the second, and these three gifted individuals led the west during the nightmare years of the 1970. together, they changed the world. we honor president reagan's lifetime of achievement, and we honor his legacy at economic and political freedom. early in his presidency, he had some tax cuts offered in part by fellow conservatives who would be honored to be here today. jack kemp. the tax cuts of reagan work as high as 70%. this allowed on the penurious to build, expand, and create jobs.
his economic policies inspired the largest peacetime expansion in u.s. history. the growth was predicated on free trade, low taxes, deregulation, and improving runaway inflation. i've recently had the opportunity to tour santa barbara. i saw the desk president reagan used to sign the tax bill into law. the free-market policies set in motion was responsible for creating 35 million new jobs in america through 1999. this is another part of his legacy. here is a piece of rock from the berlin wall. those walls came down because of
his relentless commitment to freedom and his insistence on american victim -- victory in the cold war. he was not afraid to say the soviets or the evil empire. reagan rejected the moral thoughts of his day that were blind to the distinction between tyranny and freedom. he said america was a city on a hill set apart by our liberty. he said, freedom and dignity of the individual had been more available and assured here attention in the other place on earth. three years later, commemorating the volume warriors, fallen warriors, he said we always will remember, be proud, and be prepared so that we may always be free.
today our freedom is defended by an aircraft carrier and sailors on the uss ronald reagan ship. their motto is peace through strength. ronald reagan's legacy will be around for generations to come. you will see the wisdom of life described by shakespeare by studying his life. all the men and women are really players on the world stage. one man in his time will play many parts. ronald reagan played his part brilliantly. he had words and deeds that inspired his countrymen to great heights. he had a great vision for his generation. we're honored to and his likeness to this great hall. [applause]
nation's history. many today are too young to remember what a difference he made. rather than reciting a history lesson, let me just say this. when america thought our best days were behind us, ronald reagan showed they still lay ahead. when the world thought freedom was in retreat, ronald reagan proved that liberty was still the strongest force in history. when many thought freedom should negotiate with tierney, ronald reagan had the courage to call tyranny by its name and say freedom would win. ronald reagan is remembered as one of the giants of the 20th- century. he deserves our admiration, and
he deserves this statute. the real one of reagan stood taller than any statue. we know the source of that strength. she is here with us. nancy, together, you and president reagan lifted our nation when we needed it most. america is still grateful. you will always have a special place in our hearts. when ronald reagan began the journey that led to the sunset of his life, he remained optimistic about america even then. as he put it so memorably in a handwritten letter to the nation, i know that for america,
it will always be a bright dawn ahead. holding firm to the ideals that he embraced throughout his remarkable life, we can say the same. inspired by the example of ronald wilson reagan, which can pay an even greater tribute than the monument that we dedicate here today. we can build a hopeful future he always called -- saw before him. that is the living tribute we l this great man. it is the tribute that his memory and this nation that he loves deserves. [applause]
>> ladies and gentlemen, majority leader of the united states senate, the hon. harry reid. >> from his earliest days as an actor, to his profound partnership, a state has always felt close to ronald reagan. the same week he became governor of california -- when he first sought the presidency, one person manages campaign. when he went down the street in the white house, this man work here in united states senate. he was the no. 1 confidante of the president in the senate.
when the president ask for things important, he was there. the president trusted him with many important and difficult classified assignments. he sent this man to the philippines and brought the nation back from the brink of civil war. he is with us here today to honor his good friend. he was so close to president reagan, that some call them the first friend. no one was more important to president reagan than his first lady nancy. it is wonderful to see you, mrs. reagan. we had one full-time visiting with you before you came here exchanging stories about reagan. you are here today smiling as always. one person said when he carved the statute we are about to unveil, he was honored.
this is a fitting place to of ronald reagan. it is near the hall where the new president began his first term. it was under this dome that president reagan began his second term. on that bitter cold day at the height of the cold war, president reagan warm and reassured america with his confidence. he said history is a ribbon. it is a journey. as we continue our journey, we will work with others.
he traveled many places and left an enduring legacy i. the people of nevada have always been proud to call ronald reagan our leader, and our friend. [applause] >> ladies and gentleman, the speaker of the united states house of representatives, the hon. manciple o.c.. >> it is a distinct honor, i know for my colleagues as well as myself to welcome so many distinguished guests on this very special day in the capital. the unveiling of a statue in the capital is always exciting. rarely are we able to do it in the presence of an immediate
family member. today it is a great privilege for all of us to be joined by the former first lady, mrs. ronald reagan, mrs. nancy reagan. we are honored by your presence. [applause] president reagan and mrs. reagan had one of the great love stories of all time. the american people benefited from that. the support, love that she gave to the president were a source of joy to the american people. it was a strength to the president of the united states. mrs. reagan, i hope you know we honor you not only for your
support of the president's, but for turning that support and love into action. your support for stem cell research has made a significant difference in the lives of many american people. it has saved lives and found cures and given hope to people. it is appropriate that we gather here from both sides of the aisle and chambers of the house. i am pleased that my predecessor is here. [applause] we're also joined by the former governor of california. [applause] president reagan understood that
by partisanship was an important. but michael is here. -- bob michael is here. [applause] i could introduce every one of view. the president understood there is a value of bipartisanship. he never questioned the motives of the person because he knew people in public office love our country and acted on behalf of the american people. his friendship with chip o'neal is legendary. that friendship was based on their irish heritage. it was characterized by grace, charm, and good humor.
we have a special pride we share as californians to unveil the statue today. when president reagan was governor of california, he went over to the chambers to deliver the state address. it was around the time when the legislators will in a birthday cake. the president blow out the candles. someone called out to him and said, did you make a wish? without missing a beat, he said, yes, but it did not come true. there was the speaker of the assembly with whom he did not share much political ground.
reagan, and all of us who take the oath of office know that our first responsibility is to protect and defend the american people, and that is why it is so appropriate that reagan's statue has contained within it chunks of the berlin wall as a symbol of his commitment to national security and success. [applause] president reagan said that we must not only preserve this land of freedom, we must cast it further than those who came before us. that is my responsibility. but with the unveiling of the
>> ladies and gentleman, mr. frederick ryan, jr., chairman of the board of trustees for the ronald reagan foundation. >> on behalf of the ronald reagan presidential foundation of would like to take this opportunity to convey our appreciation to the congressional leadership of both houses of congress. in the ronald reagan spirit of reaching across the political aisle, congress has just passed an obama has signed legislation creating a commission on the
reagan centennial. they will recognize his accomplishments and celebrate his legacy on the occasion of his upcoming 100th birthday, and in many ways, we at the foundation of you this event today as the kickoff of the centennial celebration. our warm and sincere thanks to speaker policy for hosting us today. [applause] in building the presidential library and establishing the ronald reagan foundation, it was the president's desire that these organizations always be looking forward and not back, focusing more on the future than the past. ronald reagan possible lease and principals are timely. every bit is relevant today as they were recently when he was elected president. the statue we are about to see
is spectacular. however we gather today for a purpose more important than unveiling a piece of art. today, we remember reagan's contribution to our country and celebrate his legacy of placing his life here in the dome of the most hallowed ground of american democracy. president reagan would be humbled but incredibly proud to receive this special honor from the country he loves. i know he would insist that this recognition is not just about one man but about the values he stood for the work he did to make our country and world a better place. we are delighted to have people who worked together with president reagan at both ends of pennsylvania avenue.
these are more than just staffers and reporters. gathered here are many people who form the body and backbone of one of the most enduring chapters in our country's history. i'm delighted to have the chance to introduce a man who was front and center in that story. first as his chief of staff, then his secretary. james a. baker. [applause] . >> thank you very much. members of both bodies who are here, nancy, ladies and gentlemen -- i know i speak for everyone here when i say thank you, thank you for your
magnificent service as our nation's first lady. most of all, for the love and support you gave our president, because you created that superior space from which he ventured forth and change the world. as this ceremony sponsors him, it also honors you. [applause] ladies and gentleman, there are many people deserving recognition for this beautiful sculpture of president reagan, including all of the members of congress to honor him with their presence here today. but two other individuals play especially important roles. first of all, john rogers.
we are here today because of his financial generosity as a patron for this magnificent bronze. john, you served reagan with distinction in and out of office and now you have served his memory and his legacy. second, the chairman of the board of trustees for the presidential organization, fred ryan -- it was the foundation mission that reagan was in this hall, and your vision turned it into a reality. you have done a remarkable job. if anyone belongs in this collection, it is ronald wilson reagan.
[applause] like samuel adams, he was an american. like henry clay, he was a superb orator. like george washington, he was a truly great president. like will rogers, because the gipper and oklahoma's favorite son was there, they both starred in the movies, love horses, and were great at telling jokes. when ronald reagan walked into the oval office in 1981, our nation has faced a number of crises. vietnam, watergate, oil shocks, an economics trouble.
public confidence was low. experts said that americans best days were behind them and we ought to lower our expectations. but reagan's optimism would have none of that. we are not, as some would have us believe, doomed to end inevitable decline, he said in his first inaugural. we have every right to dream and to dream heroic dreams, and so, we did. president reagan demonstrated the power of big ideas and was guided by values and principles, about taxes and spending, and about national defense. most of all, perhaps, about the essential goodness of the american people and the greatness of america itself.
he never wavered. at the same time, the idealist was a principal pragmatists. he would fight the good fight and win winning all that could be one, except a compromise is dictated oftentimes by political reality, she would declare victory and move on. so you say, well, how did he do? when he left office in 1989, the melee of the 1970's was a distant memory. america's economy was more than six years into a boom that would continue almost two decades blogger with only the briefest of recessions, until our present difficulties began.
in 1989, american pre-eminence had been fully restored. he had strengthened our military and talked earnestly and productively with our historic adversaries in moscow. the fall of the berlin wall 10 months later was a test to the wisdom of his policies. after restoring confidence and setting the stage for the end of the cold war, ronald reagan retired from politics and retired from public life. when the lord calls me home, whenever that may be, he wrote, i will leave with the greatest love for this country of ours and eternal optimism for its future. you will remember, we did him a final farewell five years ago
right here in this capital. with the deepest respect and with love and with tears, and with a renewed appreciation of what he had done for the united states of america. that signing -- shining city on the hill he saw so clearly and that he loved so dearly dearly. fittingly, now comes this magnificent bronze statue of this great american. it will stand forever as a silent sentries in these hallowed halls, to teach our children and grandchildren about that which once was, and to inspire them with visions of what can be accomplished today, tomorrow, and on to the generations. may god bless america and ronald
the last time i was in this room was for ronnie's service. it is nice to be back under heavier circumstances. i want to thank everybody here for your support and kind wishes and everything that has been said today, and the lovely, lovely singing. it is so beautiful. thank you so much. that is it. thank you. [applause]
will remind people of the many blessings of california, and all that visit here are blessed, along with nancy reagan and generations to come will see this work and remember the words and work of the 40th president of the united states of america. everyone will be blessed who hears this exhortation and takes it to heart. let us speak shy no longer. but us go to our strength and offer hope. let us tell the world that a new age is not only possible but
probable. for the sake of peace and justice, let us move towards a world in which all people are last three to determine their own destiny. may god bless you all, and god bless america. [applause] >> ladies and gentleman, we thank you for turning us today. please remain in your seats for the departure of the official party.
[applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, thank you for attending today's service. >> president obama leave sunday for a trip to russia, it leaked and ghana. he will meet with former president mchale or truck. he will be in italy wednesday until friday for meetings with the pope, and donna will be the last stop on the trip. check out our website for the latest on the trip, an update
on c-span's coverage. calls on our first president for the state's. and also, p.j. or rourke, and his passion for cars. find out what is on at booktv .org. >> filmmaker ken burns talked about work at the massachusetts historical society, finishing programs on national parks that will air on cbs. he is known for his programs on the civil war, baseball, and jazz. it will last about an hour. [applause]
>> good afternoon. how is everyone doing? i really honored and delighted to be here. i am a member -- i am not sure in good standing, but i have been a member for a long time of the massachusetts historical society and as a documentary film maker specializing in american history i cannot begin to tell you what a place like this is -- ground zero. we do not begin to do a film without our relationship about the historical society. i have a great opportunity in my professional life to interview president of the new york public library. after an extremely fascinating and interesting interview on the meaning behind the statue of liberty, and he then took me on
a long tour of the miles and miles of stacks at the public library and i found myself galloping one-quarter down after another to keep up with this polymath of a man. suddenly, he just stopped. surveying his library, he said this the dna of our civilization, and i thought for us writers and filmmakers to spend so long researching in these magnificent institutions dotting our landscape goes to our sense of who we are, not just the record of where we are, but a guide to where we are now. paradoxically, also a road map to where we're going but i have
just enjoyed meeting of the librarians and archivists. it is already a great pleasure to be invited to date. i do not want to take too long lecture in at you, but we of reached such an important milestone in our country that it might be wise to just for a few seconds think about where we are right now. distractions, the things that can compel us away, and our first act began when thomas jefferson initiated our creed. we are one of the rare countries on earth where we know exactly where -- when we were going. and the declaration, we held our
troops to be self-evident that all men are created equal, it began. but the man who created those words own more than 100 human beings, and never acknowledged the hypocrisy and never saw it fit in his lifetime to free any of the things he owned and so set in motion a narrative that has been bedeviled but ennobled by a question of race. it seems to me that our second act began november 19, 1863, when the 15th president was add -- asked to add a few remarks to cap the dedication of the natural -- national cemetery of the greatest battle ever fought in the hemisphere, the battle of
gettysburg, which would be one of the most important turning points. the president was asked to add just a few of corporate remarks and he startled everyone by speaking up partly to a minutes. it stanton history as the greatest speech in the american language, the gettysburg address. and he was saying we do need all men to be created equal. he was certain that we were having a new birth of freedom. but as almost no, it would be 100 years before we actually addressed the questions lincoln brought up that thomas jefferson had not dealt with at the time of our founding. fourscore and five years after
the sentence was wrote, 4 million americans were owned by other americans. we would have to play for 630,000 lives to settle at least in paper the issue of hypocritically promoting themselves as being for universal rights. in some ways, you can see the history of the u.s. and i can't even chart the vague notion that all men are created equal. it is good that nobody asked what you mean, because it could be said all white men free of debt, which could instantly exclude more than half hour audience.
but however they those words are, they permitted us to have a future as we have continually and marched it. we debate the fate of the unborn, talk about people with different sexual orientations. we could say that the history of the united states is jefferson cropping a pebble into a pond. we began our third acts last tuesday at 4 minutes past 12 wed barack obama took the oath of office and became the 44th president of the united states.
i have been attempting over the past 35 years to understand how our country works. i have lifted up the hood and tinkered with what does work and what does not work and necessarily bound into a lot of subjects, topics and individuals and undertows and contradictions and paradoxes that are of course the history of any country magnified because of the extraordinary nature of this republic.
these have been diverse topics and none of them chosen with any game plan. i'm mostly interested in how you tell a good story. i am feeling like there is a digestion of facts and throw them back at you in some recognizable form. 10 years ago or more, i was working on a biography of mark twain, an unusual and complicated individual. he had a phrase -- he was one of many humorous to some of the 19th century, and if you read their stuff, it is not funny anymore. john wilkes booth assassinated
lincoln to the point of laughter and applause. he got a terrific left and he thought that would muffle the sound of his shot. that was not funny for a number of reasons. mark twain said it is not that the world is filled with fools, it is just that lightning is not distributed right. and i promise you that that will be funny 1000 years from now. if the pessimist in twain actually lasted that long. his personal history is so fraught with a series of
tragedies that belie his writings. we had the great fortune to interview russell banks, and we spoke about huckleberry finn, which he insisted was not only twain's best work, but also our iliad and hour odyssey. the we shared most of the same traditions with our european ancestors secreted those works, because of our place and who we are are grappling with other themes not present in those works. duane alone among writers in the 19th century had been able to fully integrate and deal with the question, and they were raised in space. the physical geography. i realized as he spoke those
words and we were able to work them into our biography that he had in some way described the ark of my own professional career, that i had been engaged with not only the question who are we, who are these complicated people who like to call themselves americans, but also dealing with american life, race. it is the hypocrisy present at our beginnings, the thing causing civil war, our criminal life, our social life in terms of lynchings and false confessions and the way in which race has always been key to how we get better.
i think what was less tangible was his idea of the physical space of america. for the first time in history, great masses of people began to move around a lot. you could literally spent centuries in europe -- to the same place and not travel more than 50 miles from your home. all the sudden, a good percentage of the population found itself expanding westward, discovering itself in this landscape. thomas jefferson, the founder and third president, of course, every political party claims him as their own. small government folks do, big government folks do, and everyone in between. people forget that he doubled the size of our country by
paying $15 million to france for the louisiana purchase. everyone knows that. he then got congress to authorize money to find out what 15 million was happening, and meriwether lewis told him about the white house and included the room where he lived, telling him what they had found and had not found. he related the treasures, the treasure house of the unprecedented, someone said. that is the western part of the united states. jefferson was convinced once again that we possess a growth of continental proportions, and
he was certain it would take hundreds of generations of americans to fill out the land that lewis and clark had claimed and begun to turn charts for the u.s.. we began to feel a great sense of loss. it was not just the land, but we have lost the passenger position. there became a movement that had begun a long time before that if indeed we had separated, this would not just be a political and social reinvention, but a spiritual and religious one. we have to acknowledge one of
the great geniuses of protestantism, that i can worship god the way i want to. so in this blank sheet, this garden of eden, we were going to do that in fits and starts. and what developed out of a country that had said that a democratic impulse to work, people could be responsible for how they govern themselves, we also with emerson began to understand it might be possible to worship god in nature better than one could made by man. these physical spaces could be the kind of moments of awakening that in that great paradox of human character that as i perceive my insignificance, i am also made larger and connected.
connected to some higher spirit and an apprehension of a wonderful designed nature and kinship with the creation. john, you are a great discipled emerson and thoreau. you took out farther, arguing that we needed to set aside these places before the extractive and acquisitive energies so much part of the american life will take them away. ironically, in 1864, in the middle of the civil war, went to a dozen casualty's a day came to washington, president lincoln signed a bill creating yosemite park, this beautiful tract that they have fallen in love with. it was given to the state of california to administer, and we had set in motion for the first time ever a government on earth
had set aside a tract of natural land and to preserve it in perpetuity for all of the political, social, spiritual, religious reasons and more that one could derive from these places. sick -- the mural was not just an ecstatic holy man, but wonderful science that could prove to the leading geologist of the day, a man in whitney who has a mountain named for him, that yosemite was the work of glaciers. he was able to prove this and made an enormous contribution. he had been beaten by his father until he memorized the entire new testament and half of the old testament and felt liberated that he could communicate to his countrymen a
sense of the joyous possibilities of religion not based on that kind of narrow view of things. instead, an exuberant expansion in nature. he became the great profit of these spaces. eight years later, after reports of louis and clark, and other mountain men of that. there was this amazing place in the rocky mountain where the mud boils, geysers shot into the air, there were funerals releasing this on dudley thing. people dismissed the original call, one party came through in 1869 and reported discoveries back to eastern newspapers.
they said they are sorry they do not print fiction. they did in fact discover that the yellowstone area contains treasures. everything was happening close to the process is, and you could look at the u.s. and see it as a spiral nebula,, where three substantial tributaries, eastern and going to the gulf of mexico and the atlantic ocean, and it flows into the columbia area,
and many people believe that the green river has its origins to south of yellowstone, the principle, which therefore should be like the missouri, the principal river of the colorado. but you have almost all of the significant waterways beginning in this cauldron that is yellowstone. after congressman convinced their colleagues that it was worthless land, that it did not have much to offer, but at high elevation it represents places for farming or grazing, it was deemed that this worthless land could be created into another park, a second park. and this grant signed into law.
. this land was 96% in the territory of wyoming, 1% in idaho, and 3% in kansas, none of which was an entity they could give it to. so it became a national park, the first in the history of the world. for the first time in human history, land was set aside not for the pleasures of kings or noblemen or the rich, which had been a case up to this point, but for everyone and all time. that was a significant thing. they had no idea they were creating something, and congress did not appropriate anything to administer this national park, but going back to what had been said to us, having dealt with this question of race, with
baseball, with jazz, with a film about thomas jefferson himself and jack johnson and many other things, most recently on the war, we have also been trying to deal with this question, the history of the west, but unbelievable intersection of myth and reality, with a film on the humorous story of the first trip taken by his -- horatio nelson 100 years after lewis and clark set up, we have been trying to explore and come to terms with the magnificent land that is still there, still apprehensible in the western regions of our country. 10 years ago, the same time we were finishing with mark twain, one of the writers of this city
decided that we could do a history of national parks. not a travelogue. not just pretty pictures of nature and wildlife, but it is not a recommendation of which life. really a history of the ideas and individuals. there is a sense that this is the declaration of independence applied to landscape. as the hero or -- theodore roosevelt said in 1903, he was praising the parks for their essential democracy that they were for the enjoyment of everyone. i have had over the last 10 years and gratifying experience.
in the beginning, it was to scenery. we were saving the most mountain peaks, amazing, the weirdest, strangest geological phenomena, the grandest canyon on earth. but it began to evolve. we began to understand that the species should not be treated as pets or animals and the zoo, but they were part of vast ecosystems, and we had until 1916 a bureaucratic meredith of people charged with trying to save, and the idea again continues to expand. we have seen places like gettysburg, where the greatest battle in the western hemisphere
took place. historic homes. we had monuments that did not enjoy the same protection, often an interim step before that acquisitive energy does protected. it is a wonderful amalgam. their 58 national parks in the service system that has 391 units now, and even places of shame. we have places where it illustrates our greatest mistakes as people, that a great country can learn from those mistakes. there are set to the andersonville prison camp as well as the statue of liberty.
we have saved the sand creek site, a brutal site of massacres of an unarmed indian women and children. shanks village, pennsylvania, the site of the historic action on 9/11 is also a national parks site. we have found in engaging in the parks in this last decade what banks was talking about with regard to at least the portion of despite the presence of the national park service, this is famous but also on known, of every race, crass -- class, creed, all from have fallen in love with a group of people and pestered their government to set it aside. there is no national park that does not enjoy it back story so
compelling that it animates pages and pages and hours and hours. pbs will begin broadcasting are six-part, 12-hour series on the history of the national parks, calling the national parks, americans' best idea, a provocative subtitle. we had stolen that, or borrowed it, i guess, from wallace stegner, the writer who said it is the best idea we have ever had. and it is interesting that it operates on a kind of macro paradox. democracy is so messy, and it says we should save this for
ever. it has to be a horrible, horrible conundrum faced every day as the visitation goes from a handful of tourists, some of whom are watching indian battles like yellowstone to approaching the parks service. it has fallen back as our young people get more into video games and computers and we are in danger of losing the very intimate connections that all of us have to the parks, which brings up the other micro- paradox. that is, and i spoke earlier about standing on the rim of the grand canyon, understanding the precambrian shift exposed by the colorado, a 1.7 billion years
old, nearly half the age of our planet. and as he contemplates his grande canyon, you are made to feel so small. one of the commentators in our film spoke about finale in alaska, speaking about his atomic insignificance in the face of it. we are made better, and we are connected by an infinite memory. who is holding your hand? we connect to a sense of who we are. it is a continuing, and there are very few things in american life that we can say that about, that we can go now and film and it can be exactly as it was.
it qualifies as a great idea. i've gone on longer than i intended to. but please, do not be shy. let's now have a conversation. yes, there are microphones up here in the middle. >> he spoke -- what to do with this? ok. you spoke of the declaration of independence as the first act of america. have you thought about delving into the prologue? i'm thinking of john winthrop and the government of massachusetts, who were the first to deal with hands race
-- space, race, natural resources, and the first to deal with somehow regulating, if not ending slavery. >> the answer is yes. it is so difficult, though, when you have subjects who have not been photographed, because you have to rely on -- i do not really like reenactments that much, and we use them sparingly, if at all. i feel they have become lousy. if you want to reenact, you can make a historical film.
you end up with drawings and paintings that are cartoonish, and it is difficult to understand layperson is. you watch the aging of this being and for the course of the civil war you understand that there is one major portrait of lewis and clark. we have been unafraid to dive into that, and we have a lot of ideas about. revolutionary subjects. the only fair thing to say is i cannot promise. if i were given a thousand years to live, i would not run out of historical topics. so much of our dna is replicated for other individuals and heroes that deserve attention, and my feeble excuse
baseball and american views. i have been particularly -- it has been a wonderful experience. i have been looking at jewish roots and baseball and a lot of things that play into that. i know that you are doing a sequel. another baseball is a big interest of yours. now you have something coming up for 2010 which i think is the 10th inning? >> it is a continuation of our baseball series. we were able to put out the nine episodes that is from the origins of baseball up to about
1992. so much water has gone under the baseball bridge both good and bad that we felt we had to open up the series. we are working on a 10th inning which will be out next year. it is animated by the controversial things. one of the teams we followed -- we followed an international team and an american team. we picked the brooklyn dodgers who had the horrible experience of being moved but didn't win a world championship. with followed the boston red sox. -- we followed the boston red sox. we felt compelled to share with the general public the generous
outcome that had taken place. [laughter] [applause] >> do you have a question? >> yes, i do. it is interesting you mentioned the red sox because the thing that ties them together is manny ramirez. that ought to be very interesting. i just wanted to ask you what form that will take and what progress you have made? from my own point of view, i think there has been heavy influence as far as jews and baseball are concerned. from one commissioner going down and with players such as shawn green and others --
>> thank you for your question. that is great. anyone else? >> the first lady took my question, but since you do not have the time to make a film about one person, who would you suggest could do justice to his story? >> no one else. [laughter] you will have to wait. there are many great filmmakers. i have not ruled out. we have a program that extend another 10 years of products. it may be in the next 10 years. there are lots of great filmmakers. one series has been on for 20 years or more. >> i will wait 10 years. put me on the bus. >> sure.
>> -- put me on the list. >> shirt. >> -- sursure. >> i watch your stuff. i either lean back in my chair or jump out of it and say who took the pictures? after all the time he spent doing this, do you ever get that feeling or are you very jaded? >> no, not at all. until the digital age took over and then leave, we would go to archives and, with a two by four
and a groove and a metal and put it on a table and put up a photograph and hold them by magnets. i took my camera and took a few shots. i treated it like the feature film maker would and establishing shot. a closeup, an extreme close-up, a wide shot. i would look at them and listen to them. this was the only record we have of that moment was the factory smokestack giving up a bellowing sound making lots of noise where the troops tramping in the cannon firing in the backs cracking in the crowd cheering.
this is what i care about in my life. what happens is there is no voters. each project becomes better than the next. -- there is no jadedness. each project becomes better than the next. we in the present think that because we have survived, we are somehow smarter or better or different than those who went before us. it is not true. the 10,000 or more years, a human beings are the same. the conversations they have are no different. what ever you want to call it, it is the same. we love, hate, feel jealousy, passion, in the same way that has happened in those before us. we labor in this historical vineyards to remind people of that.
human nature is always the same. the lessons we can learn from the past and not hallmark but things we can bring into ourselves, our spirit, that makes us better in the end. one of the accesses to those times and the most important one is the word. what we are never frightened by it. we know in the beginning, was the word. we look at pictures and maps and all of the different visual materials we are drawn to along with the diaries and letters offer as extraordinary ability to time travel. we extend to them the sense of equality to us as human beings and not being arrogant and thinking that we are better than
them. we may know how to use the computer but we do not know how to issue a course. they did not easily -- they could easily figure out the computer just as we could easily figure out how to shoot a horse -- shoe a horse/ . >> i was wondering, i have been thinking a lot about my old neighborhood. i have lived in boston all of my life. my neighborhood was the first one to be taken after the second world war with the urban renewal began all over the country in all of our cities. there is a lot to be said about what happened during that timeframe. the loss of neighborhoods, people who lost some places -- there is so much to cover. >> it is the heart of what we are talking about.
>> we had the west end exists in the minds and hearts of people. they opened a museum here in boston. people were so disturbed by what had happened to them that all of these years they have been fighting to maintain the memories of their old neighborhood. now they have that. have you ever considered doing something like that with great human interest, all of the mistakes made and give a lot to talk about. >> people say, how come you have not done something on the constitution. i say i do something on the constitution every single film i make. music is not just the notes but the into girls between the notes. that is the case when you engage a film. you are able to bring in so many
other things unspoken. my mother died when i was 11. about 30 years after that, i was talking to someone who reminded me that what i did for a living was a wake the dead. he says you make jackie robinson and lois armstrong, live. it was a wonderful thing. it may be possible not to turn to a specific neighborhood but all of the work i do is waking the dead, taking these places, making the neighborhoods and small towns and cherishing those very few places where things stay the same like national parks. baseball, a 300 hitter means the same thing to my daughters as a means to me as it did to my father and mother and my great
great grandfather as he fought in the civil war. history is often the embracing of those things that are durable. >> when i spoke of the west end, i was using it as an example. >> i understand. all of our work is about neighborhoods. it may not be about the west and specifically, but the neighbors of this country. >> some people felt lost as if they lost a person they love it. there is more to it than meets the eye. i cannot go into it now. i cannot take up all of your time. >> it is so interesting that in the creating of national parks,
particularly in the east, there are a few instances in north carolina and eastern tennessee as well as the national interest was to create a park with the elimination of the home for many people, one way slaves, their descendants, the descendants of the cherokee, the scotch irish who had moved in. in this new series, we detailed the pain of that loss. >> as somebody who has provided the photos to you, i'm kind of curious if you would speak a
little bit about your evolution of running an enterprise and talking little bit about how your enterprise itself is able to continue to produce this wonderful stuff. >> the man answered your question is, pbs, and the men met some people i work with. they are responsible for these things. -- and the wonderful people i work with. they are responsible for these things. i was saying this earlier.
i moved 30 years ago to the village i live in now. i woke up and realized that halfway through my first film that i had become a historical documentary filmmaker. i better get at the big city and the temptations of real jobs and move to a place where i could live on nothing and continue to do the work i love. neither of those things have happened. the second best decision after moving there was the to keep making these films. the national parks is a huge production with many episodes. we may have 18 or 20 people working for us. i am not a full-time employee of my own company.
we have a nucleus of about five administrative people who are full-time. one editor. the rest of us are project to project. we get funded differently from the theatrical film model. we raise money from corporate underwriters like the bank of america and general motors. foundation support is also a source of money. the park foundation is an example. we have gotten money from individuals and government money from the national endowment for the humanities and the funding of public broadcasting. none of this is easy. no amount of success makes it easier to do. it is a continual, necessary process. it allows us the combination of doing it with people you know
and love and doing it in public television which insulates you from all of the pressures that come from the media-driven advertising-driven society. it permits us to do something or i can say i have the best job in the country. i get to travel and meet extraordinary people. i get to understand our strengths and weaknesses. it is a tenuous existence. those of us live in this village, i didn't think we would trade it for anything else. >> can you give us a sense of your productions? quite the national parks is about $50 million over the 10 years we worked on it. that is the highest budget we have ever had to do.
there was an extraordinary amount of travel and editing time associated with it. the shooting ratio is the amount of footage shot compared to the amount of footage that is used. travel also brought the budget up. everything is on the screen. if you saw our physical plant, it looks a lot different than another location that we were at. >> i work for a nonprofit primary source that educates tissues about world history and culture. can you speak to what you see is
the importance of students learning about u.s. history in the context of world history and connecting those stories. i do nothing is done enough. >> that is such an excellent question. it is not done enough. i have been withdrawn to several subjects. for a long time, we had to oceans that isolated us. now that we have reached a level of maturity and can get out of the immaturities of the past, we are engaging with the world which is important. educational outreach is important. we actively work with pbs and
its distribution arm to get these into schools. we always have education outreach connected with every project. the national parks is the best ever. we work with teachers to help direct us with the curriculum and denise they have. one of our founders is from san francisco. they funded a portion of our film challenged us to think of new ways to expanded. many minority groups do not feel the same sense of ownership of the park that many of us do. many foreigners do. if you go to a national park, english is often their second or third language after german or
chinese or spanish or something else. that is a remarkable testament to how important these national parks are to the world. we produce a 45 minute film which features the diversity of individuals committed to the park. a hispanic biologist was the first person to turn the park service's eyes toward species and the protection of the habitats of the animals rather than just the parts that are exhibition places. the zoological parks. he closed down the dumps that attracted the bears so that people could get their pictures. to learn about launcelot jones, the son of a slaive who refused
to sell something in biscayne bay. or the original african american buffalo soldiers -- they were the caretakers of some parts before others came. african-americans, native americans, latino, and asians will not be there without the photographs of one person in this started out in a laundry room of an explosive -- exclusive resort. he became a great photographer. it's a wonderful stories to tell. a good deal of our promotional tour will take place in
neighborhoods and schools in those communities that we think are underserved from miami to las vegas to the albuquerque to san diego. it is very exciting. we must continue to speak in a way that is a relational to the world. >> thank you for being the corner storne for preserving our history. what are we leaving our future historians? >> we all are thinking about that. there are general assumptions that are not true.
there was a wonderful list printed about soldiers' letters home. some of the systems that originally recorded the e-mail is so antiquated that you wish you had a piece of paper. there are some people who are preserving some of the old computers to be able to access the material that we thought would always be there. it is terrifying. the proliferation of mechanical reproduction of visual imagery has exploded. it's a wonderful thing. now we have access that we never had before.
now we have a video of police brutality where we only had a picture. we have intimate moments of our lives recorded on film are available. our system has been dumped down -- dumbed down. we have one of the greatest forces on this planet which is the english language. it has been able to absorb so many other traditionalists and s
able to speak to so many things. if we said we can learn everything on a two-minute youtube clip, if we continue to go in this form of abbreviation without the rules of our complex and beautiful language, we are in danger of constricting and squeeze and of that which is most precious to us which is what we have been engaged in today. this possibility of human communication and being able to tell stories with one another of finding ourselves in that kinship -- that is so important. thank you for this opportunity. [applause]
[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> this week on "america and the courts" april fall of supreme court nominee sonia sotomayor. -- a profile of supreme court nominee sonia sotomayor. that is today at 7:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> these places for miami of modern cathedrals. >> walter kerirn would like to e some changes to the educational system. >> i think there should be some
changes made at princeton university. things should not be kept separate purposely. >> he will speak about his book on "q&a" on c-span and sunday night at 8:00 p.m.. >> at the state of texas recently concluded a yearlong observance of the 100th anniversary of the birth of former president lyndon b. johnson. his daughters were at the ceremony. his all modern west texas state university which is where his daughters spoke. -- his, moders alma mater is tee
weddings and the birth of babies. we are delighted to have them both with us today. linda and lucy. we welcome our moderator. [applause] mr. middleton was a speechwriter for president johnson. we had planned to hear from one person as a moderator. but his health made him unable to join us. he is seated here however. barobob was also a speechwriter
and served as president of this university. he gave as wonderful oral history for our centennial celebration of lyndon b. johnson. the exurbs are included in a commemoratives magazine that you will receive as you leave the lecture today. we are in the process of enhancing some of the recordings before we call them -- we file them prominently in our archives. -- permanently in our archives. this man credits lbj with his own success.
he said johnson and lewis my ability to run the university tremendously. i watched how he dealt with people and issues over the years. i would handle a crisis and ask myself how did i have enough sense to do that. i would realize that is what lyndon johnson would have done. this president, we are really glad you're here with us today. [applause] we are eager now to hear from our speaker. mr. middleton, i turn the program over to you. thank you. [applause]
>> it is a privilege to be here. we will go over the highlights of the lives of these two women during the president's team of their father. -- during the presidency of their father. luci, how did you learn that her father had become the president of the united states? >> i like to say thank you before we began. not only was lyndon johnson a graduate, but so was his grandson and the apple of his eye and my son-in-law. three of the great men in my laife graduated from this
university, and i owe all of you a great deal of debt. [applause] i'd like to start off with a question which is how many of you remember november 22, 1963 know exactly where you were and what you're doing? would you raise your hand? i think that says it all. i am no exception. when i went to england and visited with the family of my has been, it was not just an american experience. it was a worldwide experience. the difference for me is it was a penetrating moments that would change my world for a lifetime. a member 22nd, 1963, i was 16 years old. -- november 22, 1963, i was 16
years old. president kennedy was shot. people turned around in my class and said, i do not want to hurt luci. our teacher was a survivor of the bataan death march. nothing baphased her. she said there will still be spanish. [laughter] everyone was listening to the bells of the national cathedral. they rang and rang. without a word, 400 young women stood up and marched single file
to the gym which served as our chapel. two girls were cutting line. i thought, oh my gosh, and my best friends with them. we went to the gym and we felt immediately on our knees. they announced that president kennedy had been shot and the governor had been shot. all of our prayers' were needed. we were dismissed. no one said a word about daddy. i knew he was there. our rant searching for fresh air. i heard a young woman say, man on campus.
that was a big event and all girls' school. [laughter] i looked and recognized it was a member of my father's secret service who had been left behind. i knew the reason why he was coming. i ran the other way as if i could avoid him. he ran to me, grabbed me, and i remember being on his chest saying no. he said, i am sorry. i said, no. no one ever mentioned what the no was all about. it was unmentionable. he said that it was ok. they said they believe the uncle is going to be ok.
we wilent. some 30 years later, i took one of those young women who had come to meet me in the house of the school and her daughter who was 10 years old, i told them this story. i turned to my girlfriend and said, what happened to you? where did you go when i went out? she looked at me as if she cannot believe my ears. she said, you do not know. i never left your side, she said. i went home with you. i said, you went home with me.
she said, do you remember when we got in the car and they asked us to get on the floor. we cannot see through the window because we did not know how great these events would be or if they would be coming after the families as well. i realize this post -- what this post-traumatic syndrome is all about. this was a day that changed the world and the day that changed my world forever. >> thank you. >> lynda, you were not in washington at that time. >> know. i was a sophomore in college and i was waiting for my dad and the kennedys to come. i had a ticket to the dinner.
it is very special. i was going to get to go to dinner, this celebration for the president. then the president and mrs. kennedy was going to the ranch and i was going to go with them to spend the weekend with them. of is very excited about it. i went to class that morning and i came back to my dorm. i came in at lunchtime. someone said, i hear they are in dallas now. i said yes. i worry about dallas and one other place. earlier that year, there were problems in dallas. general walker had been shot. someone had shot at him. there was a lot of upheaval.
president nixon had been attacked in venezuela. i tossed that off. i finished lunch and when up to my room. i got this phone call from my former roommate. she said, stay where you are. i am coming right over. she came over and got me. she said that her next-door neighbor had a radio. this is 1963. none of us -- we did not have televisions in our rooms and a lot of us did not have a radio. someone turned the radio on in her the announcement. she came in gaza and took me to this room. -- she came and sat me and took me to this room. we all fell to the floor and started praying listening to the news. a secret service man came up and got a pretty soon.
my thought was, they were saying that president kennedy had been shot. daddy might have had a heart attack. his secret service agents percent to the bottom of the floor of the limousine and laid on top of him to protect them. he did not know what had happened. some people thought that daddy might have been hurt as well. i made the decision that if there was nothing i could do for mother and daddy that maybe i could go and at least be with the, the children whom i had grown up with. there were good friends. their father had been shot. he was in serious condition at the hospital. i went to the governor's mansion. i stayed there until i heard from my parents. i was living in a dorm with 300
other girls. the only had girls living in the dorm then. i was on the third floor. there was no way they could protect that. we did not know what was going on at that time. it was a very scary time. i stayed there until i heard from my parents. they called me there. then i came to washington for the funeral. >> you both were involved in the campaign that your father ran. he had been in the white house less than a year when he started his campaign. one of the unique aspects of that campaign was the whistle stop that your mother took for the south. what was that like?
>> it was exhilarating. it was very exciting. we were on a train. there were a lot of wives, daughters, family members from the south. they were very brave people to get on that train and ride through the south. mother believes that even though there were people in the south that did not like the civil rights programs that daddy had worked for, she did not want to turn her back on the south and say they were not worse campaigning -- not worth campaigning with. we got on the train and started going. we would stop and make speeches every whistle stop.
there were people down on the train tracks waving us on. the concern was not so much for the people who would shout evil, nasty, horrible things like ladybird is the judas and other bad things. you also had supporters they're cheering you on, some courageous white people and a lot of african-americans who were there looking at the opportunity to vote. many of them for the first time. your concern was that these groups might get into a fight. these people who work for segregation and these people who were there to support you. that was a very scary thing.
we knew that when not get as the right kind of press. we would go to some stops. mother would be shouted down. she would say, you have had your turn to talk. now it is my turn. one of the things that i thought about was the fact that we did this and the spouses and the people like one mom and whose husband represented new orleans. the people like senator roland johnson from south carolina. his people suddenly were upset about the civil rights movement. he was on that train supporting daddy. when we would go through and they would shake their fists and a horrible things, he was right there with us. they gave their political lives, they risk their political
lives as low as their physical lives for something they believed was important. one mother got to charleston, that beautiful city, she got out to have a tour of the city in one of the course-drawn characters. as you went to the city, there were people who would pull down the window shades on her. there had been threats of bombs. they sent an engine ahead of us to make sure that if they had put a bomb on the tracks, it would be blown up instead of us. it was a very scary time. it was very exciting to see the wonderful people of their who cared about the south and were
willing to be out there risking their lives politically and personally. >> in gilad but campaigning in a unique way. >> and? [laughter] >> tell us about it. >> my father decided that 16 i could either possibly be an asset if i felt like i was part of the team. or i could definitely be a liability. lyndon johnson, you heard about the lyndon johnson treatment. it did not really encompass pressuring for me.
it was flattering and seducing. he told me, i cannot be everywhere i need to be. there are so many millions of people up there working their hearts out, sacrificing their time, talent, and a treasure for me. they need to be thanked. i cannot be everywhere i need to be hearing the problems and needs and concerns of people across this country. i need you to go and be my eyes and ears and make that difference for me. i believe sam. [laughter] -- i believe hied him. [laughter] adolescents can be inartistic time when you're 16.
-- can be a narcissistic time when you are 16. my father recognized that i would enjoy that if i were interviewed and ask questions by people everywhere we went. he gave me homework. it was to be able to name three people i have met and three things that were important simi every yvette. it sounds like it is easy. i covered 26 states by myself a 16. can you imagine that level of trust in a young person? i felt that trust with a heavyweight in a great sense of responsibility and pride.
i had the acknowledgement that the teacher would be asking if the home or had been done and i would be held accountable. could not i at least remember three people and three things that were important to them? it got me out of myself. it was a lifelong lesson that i thank him every day for. i can guarantee you, before i leave this room today, i will have met three people and found out three things that were important to each of you, because it is a lifelong lesson that i treasure it from lyndon johnson because he believed a day without learning was a day that was wasted. that is what the campaign experience was for me. i recognized it was something
that was so much bigger than myself, a chance to meet in no the great people of this country. a chance to go and dine with mayors and senators and congressmen and with a fireman and nurses and members of unions. i did have a baptism by fire by an man that large his political skills that texas state university. he recognized that his young daughter had a chance to learn and grow and have an experience that would forever mold her
life and in bridgett. he needed to make sure that i got the homework that i would -- so that i would get a lesson i needed. >> you both talk about some historic times. you were at the signing of one of the most important pieces of legislation. >> i was present for the signing of the 1965 voting rights act. i was a young girl. i was on daddy duty. if mother was not able to be with my father and there was a significant event taking place, either lynda or i would accompany him and be that family support. ism i would be going down to the
east room in the white house were so many of these events took place. i would be an eye witness to a great moment in the history of america. about a told me that i would meet him in the diplomatic reception room because we were going up to the capital. i had not fit that into my schedule. i probably had a date. i knew this was important, but i thought, daddy, why every going to the capitol? daddy first warned about teaching in these hallowed halls. he looked at me as if the most important lesson of his life his daughter had failed to grasp. he said, we have to go to the
capital. it is the only place to go. as a result of this great legislation becoming the law of the land, there'll be many men and women who will not be returning to these hallowed halls because of the decision they have made. and because of this great legislation that we will be signing into law, there will be many men and women who will have the opportunity to come to the halls of congress who never could have come otherwise. this past january 20, i stood with 2 million other people watching the drama lyndon johnson come true when president
obama became president of the united states. [applause] when president obama became president of the united states -- i had a flashback and i thought about the day in 1965 when i stood behind my father in the halls of congress and watched that legislation signed and recognize that as a result of it, many men and women had been able to come to congress and come to the presidency who never could have otherwise. it is a great moment for me. there are a lot of personal moments. august 6, 1965 was my wedding
date a year later. july 2, 1964, i was not there downstairs in the east room when the public accommodations act was signed. my dad took a few moments away from that most momentous time in history that change the world forever to make sure that his little girl had a note from her father. it was my 17th birthday. the best birthday present any person ever received. the day this country shed the shackles of the legal segregation. those highly intense personal moments, my birthday, anniversary of my wedding, both were days where lives were changed forever in the united
states of america. by an accident of birth, i had the distinct privilege to be a part of it. >> some of your historical memories involved in other president as i recall. >> absolutely. harry is looking at his watch. our family motto is lose your breath, lose your turn. [laughter] a said he would like to ask us some questions and please speak about 3 minutes. we cannot even say hello in three minutes. [laughter] i cannot tell you all of my memories of president truman. i had great affection for him. i remember how he had been vilified