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tv   The White House Famous Home  CSPAN  November 27, 2009 8:00pm-11:00pm EST

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campaigning priority for the year. thank you. that is the end of our proceedings. order, order. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] . .
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♪ >> i am is taking to you from the room where i have worked since april 1945. this is the president's office. >> down the hall and upstairs from this office is the part of the white house where the president and his family live. >> i never forget that i live in a house owned all the american people, and that i have been given their trust. >> this house is only on loan to its tenants. we are temporary occupants, linked to a continuity of
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presidents. >> i am so excited that you all are here. i have chosen a very public house with public tours and a wonderful private home for our president. >> this is the story of a house, located at the center of a nation's identity and at the focal point of of international events. its occupants have a chance to leave their own present -- legacy on the official residence of the president and the symbolic home of the american people. it is a place alive with activity, and quiet at times, where you feel the presence of the past. it is a public museum with a collection that helps tell the story of those who have lived here, an office building where momentous decisions were made
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and announced to the world, and a private residence to where first families can retrieve as an ever-increasing spot light is shone on them, created by the founders as a symbol of a new- found democracy and its freedom. it is built by free men and slaves alike, and its story of survival and growth over time mirrors that of our country. >> this old house has withstood war, fire, and bulldozers, just as its inhabitants have faced a stern test of time. >> it is the story of the house that in many ways no longer exists. it's inside having been burt, gutted, and rebuilt. but even those photographs are part of our nation's collective memory and our national heritage. and now, we walk inside the white house and through time,
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into its grand state floors where the rooms and spaces all tell stories of the past, and where history still unfolds. and passed to the velvet ropes of public tours to those places few get to see. as we export president and first ladies who have changed this home into what it is today. >> it is a place of rhythms based on the first family.
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>> there is a tremendous urgency about the white house. you have the tranquil state rooms, and nothing else this trend will. -- nothing else is tranquil. >> when they are here, at city is at its peak. in the west wing, political activities are transmitted to the world by the ever-present media. in the east wing, the first lady's staff plans both private and official events, down to the minute details. >> in the center, the resident staff works behind the scenes to ready the white house for those events. >> the house is a metaphor for the country, there is no doubt about it. it is roughly as old as the country, but it is as relevant as this morning's headlines. it receives a fresh injection of
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like with every family that moved in. >> when the family is away, there are no events, but changes that a first lady once made to the historic rooms in home get carried out. four days a week, along with all the other demands on the home, a constant stream of morning visitors come into this american house museum that stands as a symbolic home to the people of a nation. >> every time i come in here, it is still a thrill to see the beauty of it, the simplicity of it, the knowledge of what took place in these rooms. for those of us who love history, the layers of history that are still alive here make it magnificent. >> blog of the driveway toward the front of the white house. every time i do that, i am in all. suddenly i become a little kid who wants to jump up and down and say i cannot believe i am walking up to the white house. for me, is that what that allows you to go in that says this
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house really can be open to everybody. >> sitting in the middle of 18 acres known as the president's part, the white house has been home to each of america's chief executives since john adams, with west and east wings added. it has undergone many changes, but the courthouse still remains a place of them recognized. divided into public and private sections, its ground and first floors are open for tours. above that or the private quarters of the family. inside the central mansion, there are 132 rooms, with a floor plan that unites the ground, state, and second floor with a centrally located oval shaped room. on the ground floor in the central space is the diplomatic reception room, with the map room, library, and china rooms
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complementing it on either side. one floor up is the state floor, anchored by the blue room in the center, with the state dining room at 1 did the hall, the east room at the other, and the red and green rooms of to either side of the blue state parlor. on the second-floor private residence, the yellow oval room is the central space, ordered by the treaty room, lincoln bedroom, and the queen's room to the east of it. presidential bedrooms and study , the west sitting parlor, and the family's private dining room to the west. >> if you took the white house by the hair of ahead and pulled it up out of the ground, it would be huge. you would not even imagine how enormous it could be. to basement floors, the west wing with sellers and basement, the east wing, and under all that a bomb shelter. you would keep pulling and pulling and you would have a
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seven story building. >> the white house complex today is over 300 feet long and is equipped for a huge political staff as well as the permanent staff of about 100 who helped run the central mansion. it was not always this way. >> tonight, sitting at my desk in the white house, i made my first radio report to you. >> when franklin roosevelt arrived in march of 1933, the white house was 133 years old, and has been home to 30 presidents before him. perhaps no cheap executive before or since dave closer attention to physically transforming the buildings and grounds here than roosevelt, its longest resident. >> the fact is that roosevelt revolutionize how we see the
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white house and its occupants. >> base with the challenges of the great depression and world war ii, fdr expands the role of the federal government and increases the size of the white house complex to what we see today. on one side, he adds on to the west wing, bringing into its current size. inside, he has a new oval office built in the location that all presidents since have used. outside, he hires famous landscape architects to design the current look of the south grounds, with his beautiful gardens and groves of historic trees. on the other side of the complex, he builds up the east wing to its size to date. >> i wish very much that i could beat out there rolling age with all of you this afternoon. i had my eggs for breakfast. >> he loved the white house itself. he was interested in it, the
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years of planning. his work with the country was paralleled by endless work at the white house. he had an architect there at 7:00 every morning. he created the white house library and the east wing. he could not get the money from congress, so he waited until the war started and built it for war purposes. he was an amateur architect. i think roosevelt enjoyed his life there. everyone came to him. he would not have been happy in a rocking chair on the porch. >> why should i use a pussyfoot word? >> those who live and work at the white house viewed him either in a wheelchair or as this rare film footage revealed, in the metal leg braces he wears the remainder of his adult life, after contracting polio in 1921. partly because of his limited
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mobility, the white house is the center of his presidency, and he uses it and a handful of rooms inside it to his advantage. >> i am happy to address this evening in this unique manner. >> utilizing the growing power of radio and film technology, fdr transforms how the building is seen by the nation, increasing its visibility far beyond any president before him. >> franklin d. roosevelt had an acute awareness of the power of the white house. the main stage was in the historic house. >> just below the south portico is the entrance the white house reserved for the president, first lady, and their guests. leading and the first room of the home they see, the diplomatic reception room. centrally located on the ground floor, it is beyond the bounds of public tours, and is made famous by fdr. >> never before, since jamestown and plymouth rock.
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>> is here that fdr makes the first of many fireside chats to the nation during his presidency. mainly through radio, but sometimes allowing the newsreel cameras in four portions of his chats. like so many of the rooms are, it had very uses over the years, and its connections between different presidents and first ladies are many. originally a furnace room, in 1902 his cousin theodore roosevelt turns it into the diplomatic reception room as part of his work on the white house. as you look at it today, its main visual features are a legacy of first lady jacqueline kennedy, as part of her restoration of the home. >> is the room that people see first when they come to the white house. everyone who comes to us stays in here, comes through it and
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leaves by, so i think it should be a pretty room. this is wallpaper that was printed in france about 1834. is all scenes of america. >> but it is still fdr who had the biggest impact on the history of this space. >> we will know that we cannot escape danger. >> it is not only the president who is the master of public persuasion. mrs. roosevelt is the first first lady to hold regular press conferences. two days after her husband's swearing in, on march 6, 1933, she walked into the red room with a box of candy, which was passed around, and broke with 100 duty years of tradition. she became the first first lady
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to have a press conference. there were no male reporters allowed at her press conferences. >> as a result, all the publishers around country had to hire their first female reporter. they say that a whole generation of female reporters got their jobs because of her. with world war ii is the need for secrecy inside the white house. >> with the dramatic ring of action, the white house lets the nation in on an expiring secret, winston churchill is here. after a daring 10 day trip from london, the british by minister begin is face-to-face conversations with president roosevelt.
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>> he works with roosevelt, setting up temporary war headquarters inside the white house. fdr has his staff assemble his own war room inside the home. located next to the diplomatic reception room on the ground floor, and with his physician's office just on the other side, fdr's staff takes over what had been a lady's coat room and converts it into a hideaway office where he and a select few monitor and planned america's war efforts. >> you feel fdr in the map room. you know what happened there. it looks radically different. it had beat up old and metal desks and filing cabinets everywhere. it was the brains, the communications brains of the white house for the president personally. >> entering the map room while in his wheelchair, he traveled
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toward the center of the space, imagining what it would have looked like in his day. turning to the right and just above the fireplace, you see the last map made for president roosevelt. on it are the projected european troop movements in april 1945. >> he was always interested in the maps that show the locations of ships. he was always interested in where his sons were in relation to the war. he took an interest in at all, but he was extremely interested and well-informed on the movements of the military, and the information all came from there. >> he and churchill would spend time there. there is a story of eleanor witnessing them. she was not supposed to be in the room, but she saw them in the room playing with the pins on the wall, and she said they looked like two little boys playing soldier. they look like they are having a wonderful time.
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the anger of the war on her part, they should not be looking like they are having fun moving pins around on the wall. >> mrs. roosevelt wrestles with tensions inside the home. she and her head housekeeper fighting austerity reasons, believing -- dismissed all white members of the staff and hire only blacks at a lower cost. >> i like to talk about the white house, because the white house often is seen as the central american place. i want people to realize that part of that centrality is because it is a place that grappled with questions of race. it was a place that was reflective of its time. i want people to realize that what the white house is is a symbol of america, for good and
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for ill, a symbol of what is possible, and a symbol of america falling down and failing to meet its stated ideas. >> the employees today are as diverse as our nation's population. working behind the scenes, they provide continuity to the white house for different administrations, as well as making this place home and stage for presidential families. >> they are part of a sense of privacy. you do not see them sharing all their stories. they feel that part of their professional life is to do the work, but what is set in the white house stays in the white house. they have been the guardians of tradition, when it comes to helping new administration's understand what the white house is and how to use the white house. >> as the worker, the events they prepare for provide a window into the home today and it's unfolding history.
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some, such as the work being done here in the chocolate shop, offer a window into its storied past, as weeks of the executive mansion are being made for a dinner honoring the original architect of the white house, james hogan. >> james hogan was george washington's man. i think it is important in understanding the white house today to understand where it came from. there are so many things that are there and unique about white house life and usage that really come from that time. >> it was george washington, who never lived there, who created it, who laid the cornerstone. >> with the nation's capital
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scheduled to move to a new federal city on the potomac by 1800, in 1792, washington and thomas jefferson announce a design competition to build a president's house. after the selection of james hoban as the designer and architect, problem soon are risrise before the cornerstone s even laid. >> do we put it to the north, south, east, or west? washington came and took off his jacket and cited the white house, and drove the stakes into the ground for where it stands today. he also had a certain taste that was very out of style.
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the white house is loaded with carving, and washington ordered that. he wanted it. if you go out the north door, there is a 13-foot garland carved up roses into the face of the stone. you look at it and think it was stuck on. it was not, it was carved. just before his retirement, he said i think there is not the taste for ornament that there once was. >> entering the white house, just under washington's garland, you come into the state floor of the home, and into a lay out that he and the other early presidents would all recognize. today, with its state dining room at the west end of the hall, red, blue, and green course of the cross hall, and a large public hole at the east end of the floor. as you walk down the corridor, you come into the east room, the
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most public and perhaps boehme's room in the house, with a direct legacy -- perhaps famous room in the house, with a direct legacy to george washington. >> the east room, the great ceremonial, public room of the white house, was something in which he to get reticular interest. >> it is the grand ceremonial room of the white house. hear, public history unfolds in front of a nation. it has borne witness to historic treaty and bill signings. white house weddings, countless musical performances, visits by heads of state, and events celebrating its history. >> this house is for ever renewed by the ageless fidelity of its founders and the balance promise of its future heirs. >> it is also a place where the nation mourns together, serving as the room were seven of the eight presidents who have died while in office have lain in state.
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more than a place of mourning, the east room and its events are symbolic of a home where the unbelief history of our country is represented and where george washington's idea of a public audience room connects to our nation's past. >> it is a room that has always been sanctified by the portrait of george washington. figuratively, the washington's watch over this room, which in so many ways he inspired. >> it is this paying of george washington that is the only portrait hanging in the white house on november 1, 1800, the day his successor, john adams becomes the first president to occupy the home. >> the house was woefully incomplete. no rooms work furnished. the roof leaked. there was no running water. the grounds were littered with what you find on any
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construction site. he had to be very careful if you were walking around at night. it was not a very livable house. >> inside this unfinished home, at the bill adams uses the east room for anything but what washington envisioned -- abigail adams. >> she did use it as a drawing room. she set up clotheslines in theire. john adams was constantly compared to george washington unfavorably. washington was received in a black velvet suit, and adams had a black velvet suit may. he would stand in front of the portrait that now hangs in the white house of washington. he did not have many teas, and he smoked his pipe and smell that way. he would stand beneath that
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portrait. >> the backdrop to the adams river occupancy of the white house is one of political defeat and personal tragedy. within days of moving into this, the president learned that his tendency was going to be very brief indeed, because he had been defeated by his former friend, thomas jefferson. to make matters worse, he learned within days that there alcoholic son had died. it was a house of gloom for the remainder of the term. >> i pray heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this house, and on all that shall hereafter inhabit it. may none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof. john adams, november 3, 1800,
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written on his second night here. it is john adams lasting gift to thomas jefferson and all presidents since who have lived here. >> the state dining room, one of three dining rooms here in the white house mansion. >> as visitors go through the state court today, the have a president to thank for allowing the present -- allowing the public to come in for tours. his presidenence is spelled throughout the rooms. -- his presence is felt. >> it was the official white house dining room during the days of thomas jefferson. >> there is a particular feeling in the green room today of jefferson. he used that as his everyday dining room.
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i can imagine him with thomas paine. that is where most of his dinners took place. there were relatively small and always political. >> he was famous for having these meals where he invited everyone he knew who was brilliant to come to the white house and have these incredible dinners. president kennedy said never has so much talent been assembled in one room except when thomas jefferson dined here alone. these pieces would have been made in his era. they are probably better than anything jefferson could afford to put in the white house during his time. the wonderful portrait of benjamin franklin that hangs above the fireplace was paid when he was in england.
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the silver plated coffee urn that sits on that sofa table that was owned by john adams was probably bought when he was the american minister to great britain. in the federal. , but not too long after the declaration of independence was signed, it shows independence hall. you are talking about all the great people who had something to do with the declaration of independence and the early constitution. he became the first president to shake hands. talk about something you take for granted today. that was a defining gesture. next in addition to his symbolic impact, thomas jefferson is the first president to change the
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structure, adding colonnades of either side. columns to the west of the homes still stand today. he is also the first of several other presidents to occupy the white house, bringing in slaves to a home partially built by in slave labor. as was the capitol, just blocks away. >> slave labor was involved in the minds of the white house. there was that dichotomy, the land of the free, and here these people are slaves. >> when the white house was built, a lot of the labor in america was provided by african- americans, whether it was labor that was used working as carpenters, working as laborers. african-americans are really such a part of the fabric of america that they have helped build everything. what you have, even in the building of the white house, is really the kind of
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contradictions that are at the heart of america, contradiction of equality, of opportunity, contradictions of race. from day one, the white house is a symbol of all that was good and all that needed to be addressed. >> if you would like additional information on the supreme court, the white house, or the u.s. capitol, visit our c- website. there, you'll find links, public information, and history of the three buildings as well as the institutions they house. >> american icons, three nights of c-span original documentary on the iconic homes of the three branches of american government continues. saturday a 8:00 p.m. eastern, the capitaol, the history, art, and architecture of one of
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america's most symbolic structures. get your own copy of american icons, a three disk dvd set. order online at c- >> our c-span original documentary, "the white house, inside america's most famous home," continues. >> designed by washington, added onto by jefferson, and build to its current size by fdr, it is a home of constant growth and change. but one president who never orders a hammer lifted to alter the structure changes it forever. it is the window where he asked
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the band to play dixie that he speaks to a crowd gathered on the lawn. ♪ here, the room inside the white house where he writes and signs documents that change our nation. here, where he comes to grieve on a thursday afternoon following the death of his beloved son in this room, and here, where his body lay in state. >> physically, the lincoln's left little imprint on the white house. in every other sense, they left the greatest imprint of any president. they left a legend. >> the mystique of the white house comes from the lincoln period. there is no question about that. >> the house had 31 rooms, of which six or seven rashly set
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aside for use by the lincoln family. they are all on the second floor. >> these are the private quarters of our first family, where television cameras are rarely allowed. today the entire floor is set aside for the family's use. in lincoln's time, without the west wing bill, family life and the demands of the presidency share this same space, with bedrooms at one end of the hall and the president's office and those of his staff at the other. it is here where you will find the most famous room in the house. >> a remember walking upstairs, and to turn the corner and to see the lincoln bedroom, to go in the place where lincoln actually sat and wrote, where lincoln drafted parts of the emancipation proclamation and the gettysburg address, for me, maybe more than any other place in the white house, it is a sacred space.
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>> the most famous room in a home today is a bedroom, but in lincoln's time, it was anything but a place for rest. >> this room was the office in the cabinet room. he got here around 9:00. he worked through the day here, and to the most trying circumstances and under the most demanding routine they can be imagined, a routine that is nothing like what a modern chief executive is subjected to. in all constant interface with the public, and screened, no security checks, constant flow of people. >> he would meet with members of the public, and the incessant stream of office seekers. somehow he managed to maintain his sense of humor. one speaker came one day and griped and complained. he said i helped put you here.
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link is response, yes, and what a mess you got me into. >> it is here where he signed the emancipation proclamation on new year's day 1863, following a link the reception downstairs. >> he had shaken so many hands that when he went into his office to sign the emancipation proclamation, his own hand was shaking and numb. he but the proclamation down and said if ever my soul were in an act, it would have been in this act. he put the pen down until he could pick it up and sign with a bold, clear hand. so that is a great moment to remember. >> with the emancipation signed, the battle of gettysburg still loomed. in the room today is one of the five original copies of lincoln's historic speech at the dedication of the cemetery there, and the only one signed by the 16th president. >> it seems to encapsulate the
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genius of the man. this very simple speech that was not appreciated much at the time it was given, and yet it is one of the great speeches in the history of the world. >> i could just imagine the struggle lincoln had, trying to figure out how do you make decisions, when first of all, your country is about to splinter. how do you make decisions about questions of slavery? in this space, he wrestled with so much more. >> it is here in the most historic room of the house work one first lady will leave her biggest imprint on the future of the white house. she reclaims part of the past and connects lincoln to his successors. subsequent presidents continue to use the room as their office
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until 1902, when the west wing was completed. it would be decades later until harry truman had the idea for a bedroom dedicated to lincoln. >> when truman redid the house in the late 1940's and early 1950's, he set up that room, the room we now call the lincoln bedroom, to commemorate the fact that it was lincoln's office. it was the room where he signed the emancipation proclamation. the room itself is that shrine to american history. >> the lincoln bedroom has undergone a variety of changes through the years. different administrations presented it in different ways. the first major renovation was under the guidance of first lady laura bush. >> the carpet was over 50 years old. i had worked with the white house historical association, art historians, wallpaper
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specialists, and we look back at the wallpaper lincoln had, the carpet he had in his office, and we did reproductions of those. >> the bed dates back to 1861, bought by mary todd lincoln as part of the white house refurbishing. it is 8 feet long, 60 white, made of carved rosewood. >> -- 8 feet long and 6 feet wide. >> we did have later photographs and the bed was still dressed the way she had dressed the, so we did that again. >> it was this bad, bought by mary lincoln and perhaps the most well-known piece of furniture in the house, that holds the key to understanding the lincoln families time here. >> it was one of mary lincoln's many extravagant purchases as
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she began a campaign when she got here to redecorate this entire building. >> he saw it and flew into the air raid, and said it would stink in the nostrils of the american people. -- he flew into a rage. >> the epic thing about this bet is that is where in february 1852, lincoln's son willie died after a bout with typhoid fever. after that, mary would never go into the room again and would never look at the bed again. >> she never was able to absorb willie's death in the white house. lincoln finally said to her once, he took her to the window and had her look across the river at st. elizabeth's mental hospital. he said mother, if you do not get a hold of yourself, you are going to have to be put there.
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now is the time to absorb it. >> the president, by contrast, would hole up in willie's room, often on a thursday, just to grieve. how the lincoln's handle their grief goes to how we see them today. in the case of mary, it really unhinged her. it was the final blow. in a curious way, the war of melded the disparate elements of clinton's personality. his grief, his sense of loss over willie somehow morphed into the nation's sense of loss, a sense of loss in millions of homes throughout the union. >> with the president's face showing the where from the force of the war outside his home, and his own family tragedies inside it, relief finally comes to a white house that has been home
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not only to a family, but to union troops for the past five years, as peace between the north and self comes in april 1865. -- between the north and south. with the civil war at an end, president reagan appears at dusk before a crowd gathered on the north lawn of the white house rejects president lincoln appears at dusk. he asked the marine band to play "dixie." >> he was looking at a crowd of several thousand jubilant people in washington. he was making a conciliatory speech, throwing the pages on the floor and his son was picking them up. >> in the speech, clinton talked about the fact that he thought that voting rights should be extended especially to blacks who could read and write, and to soldiers who had fought in the war.
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>> there was someone in the audience that night on the lawn who was listening. he turns to his friend and said, did you hear that? that means in negro citizenship. that man was john wilkes booth. three nights later, he shot lincoln at ford's theatre. >> that night was considered one of the turning points. every time i think about that speech, that second-floor window, that is what i think about. >> without the link and melodrama, the white house probably would not be there today. -- without the link and melodramcoln melodrama. >> in the decades following lincoln, the white house is once again rate in black, following
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the assassination of james garfield in 1881. inside, the home grows dark as well, reflecting the victorian taste of the time. as a structure, the building stays the same size, even as the country grows and the demands on the office and home expand. then, just after the peace treaty ending the spanish- american war is signed in the white house, president william mckinley will be more than the east room after being gunned down by an anarchist in buffalo, new york. the white house needs an injection of life, and the new president and his family were about to give it just that. [applause] >> welcome everyone to the white house. thank you for joining us tonight to celebrate teddy roosevelt's 150th birthday. president roosevelt once said, i do not think that any family has ever enjoyed the white house more than we have.
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>> he had this wonderful, rambunctious, entertaining family. this surge of energy. >> some of the stories after the roosevelts' time became a little more extravagant. i have trouble imagining spitballs on the presidential portraits of george washington. it certainly did not ever happen again, because the roosevelts were very observant of propriety. >> if you want to ask yourself to whom does the modern white
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house 0 the most, it would be president roosevelt. it is roosevelt was directly responsible for the construction of the west wing. >> and the roosevelt arrived, the up white house was just over 100 years old. it roosevelt draws this map, showing how crowded things are. with the needs of a large family colliding with the growing responsibilities of the presidency, the presidential suite of offices on the second floor where lincoln had worked are converted into family bedrooms on the east end of the house, and it has stayed that way ever since. when looking for space to but the president and his staff, roosevelt has his own ideas about what to do with the greenhouses and conservatories to the west of the home that had been started during the began in presidency. >> first he looked at the
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beginning conservatories, where the west wing is located now, and characteristically said, smashed the glass houses. equally important in reminding everyone, i am getting rid of anything that reminds anyone of james buchanan. so the glass houses disappeared, and on their site rises the west wing. >> considered contemporary at the time, the executive office building is one story tall. it is a rectangular office for the president, where theodore roosevelt hangs a portrait of his favorite predecessor. >> is no accident that he puts lincoln portrait in a place of honor. he said when i looked up at the portrait of lincoln, i often ask
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myself what he would have done. on the day that he is sworn in as president in march 1905, theodore roosevelt puts on a ring with a lot of lincoln's hair. there are few instances in america's history of a president identifying so strongly with a predecessor. >> as the west wing is being built in a four month period, they are busy making over the mansion as well, changing its official ceremonial rules and transforming its stake for into a stall more appropriate for growing international power. >> out went the potted palms and the huge stained-glass. he took it back to the federalist time.
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>> you see his legacy on the home. at one end of the state for, he takes the east room back in time, and at the other, he modernizes the state dining room to fit his needs for a place to hold bigger official dinners, enlarging it to its us today. >> when you walk into that state dining room, on one level it was simple. on another level, it was grant. -- it was grand. >> it is hard for people to imagine the debt that dining room is a third larger than it was when the house opened. >> by eliminating a staircase, today 120-140 people can be squeezed into that space. it created a much more impressive space for state
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dinners. the wall paneling oppose almost all of it to the door roosevelt. the only thing they roosevelt would not recognize their is that the walls were oak paneling and they were dark brown. then he had the animal heads that he hung all around the room. if he were to walk in today and see the white walls, he would say it was not exactly the way he left it. >> up over the mantel is a portrait of a colorful, perhaps perplexed abraham lincoln. it is a very powerful image. >> that painting was bequeathed to the white house by mrs. robert todd lincoln. he is alleged to have said it was the best picture of his
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father ever created. >> a lasting image left to run president roosevelt is still seen today. >> it is definitely here today because of theodore roosevelt. the mantelpiece is not the original, but it is a copy of the original, which was put there after the 1902 renovation with lions on the front of it. all the architects of the time love lions. he thought the american bison was what should be there. he ordered the alliance ricard as buffalo. -- he ordered the lions recarved as bison. >> when i look at that portrait
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in the east room, i have to think about the and the sergeant he could not get along with. finally roosevelt stops and said that is it, so he painted the thing on the landing of the stairs. that is how that superb portrait of roosevelt was done. if theodore roosevelt were to step out of that portrait, he would look round the room and think, my east room, because it is largely unchanged since the 1902 renovation. after 100 years of that room being kept very up-to-date, it got progressively more victorian and exotic, he thought it should
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be more stately, something eight european understand as a diplomatic set piece, or he could do his business with foreign visitors. those it was gutted in the truman renovation and the woodwork was replaced, the woodwork was copied to match what had been put in in 1902 and then reinstalled, the idea that their work gold drapes and white walls, that all dates from 1902. i think roosevelt would still extremely comfortable and pleased that when he left office, he actually got the american institute of architects to write a letter saying the white house should be left exactly as teddy roosevelt created it. it was a little presumptuous to think that no president and first lady after that would have a say in how it would look.
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>> on the state court, tourists can see the impact of teddy roosevelt and other presidents on the public part of the house. in many ways, his lasting imprint is what he leaves in a part of the home that only the first families and invited guests will ever get to see. ♪ it is the second floor private residence of the white house. since the executive offices were moved out during theodore roosevelt's time, the entire floor has been reserved for the
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family's use. it's here where they all come to live private lives out of the public spotlight. >> the white house has always been a place that had attention , the tension between being a public side and someone's private home. the visibility that they constantly face is part of the stress of being in that house. one of the challenges is to make peace with that, to recognize that to survive, you have to realize that it is ok that part of my life is completely in the public, even when i come home at night. the other part is to find that space that protection, find that thing that both lousy the privacy that you need, but also allows you to live in the house you are in. >> this is where we really live. these are the couch as we sit on
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in the evening when friends are here for dinner, to visit and talk. this is what is called the west sitting hall. we are sitting right by the big fan window that i think people associate with the living quarters, from movies they have seen. we spend a lot of time sitting here. almost every night, the president sits in a chair here and makes telephone calls at night. i love to come in late in the afternoon before he gets home from work and sit in the west window, especially in the winter when the sun comes in and it is warm and feels great on your shoulders. this is where i will come read. i do have favorites of the artwork. obviously the monet that was given by the family of john f. kennedy after his death. it is a beautiful painting. on the opposite wall is a genre painting with lots of figures in
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it. it is the california pacific beach coast, and there are a lot of figures to look at. under that is a painting of the south lawn of the white house. the pain is a very different view than the one we have now when you look out the window, which is now the washington monument and the jefferson mobile mormemorial. it is a different view that other presidents would have had earlier. our bedroom is right here on this side of the house. our dining room and kitchen are right here on this side. the dining room and kitchen or added by jackie kennedy. up until the kennedys, the family ate dinner downstairs in the family dining room. mrs. kennedy had little children, so she really wanted an upstairs kitchen and dining room. so this is where we eat all of our meals, entertain friends,
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and have family dinners with our girls and our parents and brothers and sisters, and other people who visit us here. >> if you like additional information on the supreme court, the white house, or the u.s. capitol, visit our c- website. there you will find links, photographs and other information at >> american icons, three nights of original c-span documentary's on the iconic homes of the three branches of american government continues. saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, easterncapitol.
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american icons, saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. get your own copy of american icons, a three disk dvd set. order online at /store. >> and our c-span original documentary, of the white house, inside america's most famous home," continues. >> outside the family dining room, the connection to prior first families continues in the long center hallway of the home. >> pat nixon is the one who painted the walls yellow in this large called you are looking down. it is a wonderful color, because this is really an interior hall. no other windows, so the yellow
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is a great color for an interior hall. this base really does feel like home. cracks in the middle of the family's living quarters is the yellow oval room, that is the most formal room on the second floor. it reflects the home today, and our country's past as well. . . >> he loved to play cards in that room. he would play poker with his cabinet officers. there was a wonderful story that he had a traditional part in the
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night that congress was set to adjourn. the minute the speaker of the house called to say that there were adjourning, whoever was the head winds -- was ahead wins. but results were at -- but roosevelt would answer the phone and pretend it was somebody else. then he would have someone else calle and he would say, i win. it was really where he could relax. this is a very warm house the way that is decorated. this is the south facing room. even on a cold january day, the sun pours then these beautiful curved windows. i will have tea in here with heads of state.
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the president and i have met with the dalai lama in this room. a lot of this room was done by jackie kennedy. we did have a luncheon for queen elizabeth and prince philip the day of their thanksgiving. we were able to point out the mental set -- the mental set that were get from her father -- mantle set. there are years of history in nearly everything in this room. >> it is a roomful of history and a houseful of the stories of those that live here. while some residents thoroughly enjoy their time here, those
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that claim to have not can leave a lasting impression on the white house. >> you better start studying the presidency of the united states because one of these days, you will the president of the united states. if you ever get there, you will be sorry that you are there. the best day ever was the day that i left the white house. dodge the president is determined to make the house a home for his family. the home that they move into is a hundred and 45 years old and begin to show its age. >> when that truman came to see the white house on a two were -- a tour, she was appalled. she could not imagine living in that gloomy place. >> the roosevelt moved 13 van
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load of furniture. the place looked like a hotel that people had moved out of. it had begun to creep a lot and worry people. >> the wooden home is writing in is deemed a fire hazard. the first alteration detriment makes is to add an amenity -- the south portico is missing something seemed controversial during this time. located just off the oval room, the balcony is where the first family can come to relax while looking out over the south lawn.
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something president truman deemed essential. >> he wanted the balcony for convenience. they have a beautiful view, and they would watch the fireworks on the anniversary of the nation. the trumans loved it. queen elizabeth and everyone in the world enjoy it. >> president truman is criticized for changing the architectural look of the white house. >> something that hasn't been done before, something that will desecrate a national treasure. it was very characteristic of harry truman. he saw the relaxation.
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everybody has been grateful to harry truman for making it more liberal -- applicable. -- more livable. >> when willard fillmore was president, mrs. fillmore insisted on putting a bathtub inside the white house. you should have read the newspapers, what a terrible day was. they never could catch up with ms. fillmore, so they never did get to lynch her. and i'm glad because i wouldn't put a lot more bathtubs. >> after adding the balcony, a complete reconstruction of the home is necessary due to the structural weaknesses after 148 years of use.
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volume the outside walls that george washington had built during the original construction, president truman mandates that' base de untouche. the project would take years to complete. >> how they did it is an engineering masterpiece. they put for still lags -- legs to hold up the top floor. -- four steel legs. they emptied the house and the vessel, bringing all of the parts into the shafts and out the window openings. the day they were bringing a dump truck in, they had pickaxes. they were about to chop it your way wider. -- the doorway wider.
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they said the stop. -- he said to stop. they said they had to get the dump truck through. he said, take it apart. so they did, and the house was literally an empty vessel. dodge the fortified the inside -- the fortified the insides with steel instead of wood. and what we see today, he makes a change that impacts and important part of white house ceremonies thereafter. and in an historic event, he shows off the newly rebuilt whitehouse in the first ever televised horror of the mansion in 1952. -- tour of the mansion in 1952. >> teddy roosevelt had built it
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when hail to the chief was played. german thought it was awkward and that he looked funny. he had it redesigned. it provides the photo opportunity that you see in the neighborhood -- the papers. >> there is no doubt that it is a state setting. one of the most important props and that stages the grand staircase which is most famously used at the time for state dinners when the president and first lady had their guests from overseas make a ceremonial procession down debt staircase -- and down that staircase. when you think about the way that harry truman affected the white house, he gave us the balcony.
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he gave as the grand staircase which is anything but relaxing. >> it was true and that made it possible for the president to stay there. it was lucky that what happened happened when he was there. he had the vision and the sensitivity to historical objects. >> more than one century before harry truman rebuilds the white house, another president will have a similar task before them. in the spring of 89, rebuilding the home is the farthest thing from their mind.
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-- spring of 891809, rebuilding the home was the farthest thing from their mind. >> she was very -- she was extremely gracious and well received. the issue is a smart, a political wife. she was good for president madison that was not the most outspoken or greatest orator. she brought these people together that probably would never have been caught in the same room. she would invite both sides of the aisle of congress, diplomats of countries that were not speaking to each other. they just couldn't resist her. she had low necklines and wore
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her turbines and things. she was sort of a character. she was the consummate hostess, i think. but in a really clever way. she sits in a red chair, and the fabric has always sort of, lamented the fabric of the chair. it was clearly an inspiration for the red room. it was yellow before madison. the red paint was really interested in the 18 twenties. -- 1820's. she loaded them with things they came out of the archeological digs in egypt, and classical figures, sea serpents, dolphins, things like that. it is very sculptural furniture.
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two of the most interesting art objects in the room are the bust, and the portrait of his daughter. the fact that dolly madison is connected to that story. president madison had died the year before and she moved back to washington. she was the most important woman in washington. president van buren was a wi dower. she introduced angelica to her husband to be. she became the de facto hostess of the white house. largely, as a result of dolly madison doing a little matchmaking. >> directly east of the party room is the blue room of the white house.
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in 1814, dinner was set. the party coming was not invited. two years into the war of 1812, british troops enter at 7:30. the head towards the white house. >> it is one of the biggest melodramatic moments of the white house. mrs. madison was looking through the telescope and she was absolutely terrified. nobody thought that they would really burn the building. one slave that was the last one to see the white house wrote a memoir. madison sat with monroe and had a glass of wine. they took off.
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they locked the doors just before the british came that night. they had 22 javelins' that had rags on the end, all of them lighted and the throne -- thrown. it burned until the early morning rain came that pretty much put the fire up. it was a big stone box with ashes at the bottom. it was a tremendous jolt for the american people. >> below the first lady saved the portrait of washington, most cannot be saved. >> that was one of the byproducts, they were considered
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terrible cowards for running. >> with and jackson's symbolic victory in january of 1815, the war comes to a close and helps restore part of the madisons' public reputation. >> they said it will be rebuilt. it will be rebuilt as it was. >> you can still see the original burn marks left by the inferno. if james madison had seen these stones, the house was rising again just as george washington designed it. with construction taking over two years to complete, they will never live here again. it is time for a new president to make their mark on the home.
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>> there some of the oldest remaining items, and they were brought to the white house by the president and first lady whose influence is seen all around the home. >> the blue room is the monroes. and one of the most authentic in the house. i would probably go back to the monroe period. that is where the wheels of the united states really began to
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turn. monroe thought that the era of good feelings would last for ever and political bodies would dissolve. people began moving west in large numbers. james monroe were very into french everything. he wanted all the furniture to come from france. he spent a lot of money bringing things like these clocks. many of the things that he acquired are still in use. when you see our earliest things, if you have the wonderful chairs and sofas that are in the room, they were acquired by president monroe from france. he was criticized for buying
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french things and not american. congress in 1826 passed a law that the furniture must be of american manufacturers. this is much more of a period room, that the wall is from the same time as the furniture and the paintings. it was where the munro's would probably feel the most comfortable. this is wallpapered that is vintage. >> [inaudible] -- [unintelligible] >> it is a museum that helps tell the story of this house. it is a private home that
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reflects the past. the furniture and objects to you see here today were sold off at auction until one presidential couple begins to bring it back to celebrate the history of the white house and change its future as well. >> the administration produced a concept of how the white house could be done to convey and empower the message of these distinguished pasts. it is an old house of state. the thinking behind the concept is that it is hard for most people to think of that, to come up with it. they know there is something
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special, but how? they made the definition visual for people. >> the thing i care about most is to make it more of a museum with more pieces of beautiful fish -- furniture. >> in 1962, a record number of television viewers watched as jackie kennedy shows offer ongoing efforts to bring back the history of the white house. ingathering and displayed presidential pieces, she makes it into what we see today and set a precedent for future first ladies. >> every first lady has had a significant impact on the house. she came with a vision of the white house as something more than just a house. they were having a million visitors come through to see where the president lives and works.
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i don't know that everybody is seriously interested in the furniture, but they will last if the president has ever sat in that chair. i think she wanted to give it a new importance by being a museum as well. >> in addition to enhancing the public spaces of the white house, mrs. kennedy leaves remarks elsewhere in the home. as you travel at the grand staircase that harry truman built, you enter into the treaty room, given its name by president and mrs. kennedy. today, is a private office of the -- >> so many trees have been signed in his room. this says that this room was during the administration --
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hear, the treaty of peace was famous. after dedicating the new refurbished room with vice- president johnson were so much history unfolded. >> an agreement has been reached on rate of forces of misery and destruction under international law. this treaty is not the millennium. it will not halt the production of nuclear weapons. but it is an important first step. a step towards peace. a step away from war. >> it is a room still steeped in history. as with many rooms in the white house, it changes over time it. >> they never knew what to do
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with it. when president bush the first came in, he converted it into a steady that had been a steady before mrs. kennedy. that is the president's office in the house. that is where he works, meets people. it has been that way since george h. w. bush. >> there is a portrait of mckinley watching a treaty being signed on that very desk. and in that room, there is a portrait of grant. if you read the book and realize that there were several pieces of furniture that were used by grant. that is really my favorite painting. general sherman and grant or with lincoln in march of 1865,
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is certain his generals to have -- these were instructions to make sure that his dream prevailed after the civil war. late afternoon, i do some of my reading or writing. i have dinner with laura and get back to the treaty room to end my day here. i reflect their, and i like it. >> i consider our history to be a source of strength for us in the white house. i think the white house is worthy of the closest attention and respect by americans that lived here and visit here in your part of our citizenry. that is why i am glad that jackie is making the effort she
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is making. other first ladies have done it, and those that come after us will continue to drive in to make this the center in the sense of a historical life. >> it is a concept. the whole idea of the historic house, that a young person could get the impression of that period of american history. was right yet entirely. -- that was her idea entirely. >> if you want additional information on the supreme court, the white house, or the u.s. capitol, visit our web site at you'll find links, public information, and history of the three buildings and the institutions that house. that is that
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saturday at 8:00 p.m., the capital. the history, art, and architecture of one of america's most symbolic structures. get your own copy of "american icons." it is $24.95 with shipping and -- plus shipping and handling. >> our original documentary "the white house, inside america's most famous home" continues. >> lyndon johnson very much
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enjoyed being the center of attention. he wanted a full-time staff of 22 people whose job it was to film and tape and photograph and otherwise preserved for posterity, the president. it has been an unparalleled record. >> lyndon johnson's years -- >> allowing cameras into the residence to film not only him but his family as well, we see how i first family lives inside there. and more importantly, get an understanding of the most powerful office in the world. >> you can think about this from here. the lights might be on until 8:00 for 9:00 for 10:00. sometimes, he doesn't come home to dinner until after midnight.
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it is not very far from in the commute, but in terms of his responsibilities, there is a great distance from here to there. >> is the commute from home to work that everyone will make -- and all of the president's make. from the past and future president into the most powerful office in the world. the oval office. >> every man that has occupied this office has sat in that chair or reclined in this chair is dedicated to doing what he believes was for the best interest of the people of this country. >> after president taft build the first oval office in a different west wing location, fdr relocates it to where it originally was so that it can be accessible to a president in a wheelchair.
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>> if you think about how much of the world has its origins in long ago events, and there were otherwise names and a textbook, it makes a place not only special, but almost people-like in the emotions that it generates. the paintings on the wall. the comfort on the floor. behind the desk. these change with each presidency. it is also, in many ways, a mirror. what bust's does he keep on the credenza behind the desk? what heroes as he enshrined?
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-- does he in shrine either in statuary or portrait form? what books are in that room? it tells me a lot about his -- about the man behind the desk. >> is probably the piece of furniture in the white house that has seen more history take place than any other. the desk given to president rutherford b. hayes by queen victoria in 1880. used by president kennedy in the oval office, it travels around the country as a memorial to him until president carter brings it back to the white house. >> i see the ghosts in that room. he has three television screens and his ap news tickers. not only for his need for the news, but to see how he is
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portrayed in the media. >> for maybe the first year-and- a-half, he knew that when he was in a good mood, the whole white house would reverberate with his vitality. however, what happened in those last years when vietnam took away, he felt his legacy cut in two. it came -- it became more forbidding place. prior to his decision to withdraw in 1968, he used to have a recurring dream that he had become paralyzed. and outside the door of the room where he was laying in the red room, his aides were dividing up his power without consideration to him. he would have to wake up, take his flashlight, and look at the picture of woodrow wilson. touch the picture, persuade himself that wilson was dead and he was alive before you went back to sleep -- before he went
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back to sleep. >> he was surrounded by protesters. some of them chanting, lbj, who did you kill today? his daughter and his wife heard the echoes of those chants. >> i will not seek or accept the nomination of my party for another term as your president. >> with lbj desk being readied for removal, another deft way to the same room, signifying the white house tradition of peaceful presidential transitions. >> [unintelligible] >> it is an office that he aspires to for much of his political career.
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inside of it, he and mrs. nixon at the museum collection of the white house after. >> nixon's contribution to the white house is enormous. you could use it as a set for the nixon movie and it would be pretty authentic. they brought the white house to that state. it is a home whose occupants are still under siege for most of it -- much of his presidency. to the watergate scandal at the end. the white house became a place for president nixon. >> his intellectual privacy. he would hold up at his favorite room and a white house. the lincoln sitting room. he loved a fire in the fireplace, and was his habit, he
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would turn the air conditioning up as high as it would go and start a fire. it was important for every president to have a place in a time where he can think. for nixon, that is what the sitting room was all about. in the and it turned out to be a place of security as well as memories. sooner or later, every president bonds with lincoln. nixon famously compared himself to lincoln in the sense that he justified the abuse of power under watergate with the wartime setting in which his administration pointed out. just about every president do tend to get close to lincoln's
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ghost. >> ladies and gentleman, the president of the united states of america, mrs. nixon -- >> we leave with high hopes, good spirits, and with deep humility. always remember, others may hate you. those who hate you don't weigh and unless you hate them -- don't win unless you hate them. and you destroy yourself. >> it was a farewell to his staff, it was also a farewell to the white house family.
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>> [unintelligible] even smaller countries are much bigger. this is an to the finest house, but this is the best house. -- this isn't the finest house, but this is the best house. >> i think he meant it on a personal level -- at the king is dead, long live the king. and as a historical symbol. no one who spends any time in that house can fail to appreciate it. nixon is implicitly was apologizing to the country. it is perhaps be stretching a little bit of that house and its history. >> it is the best house because it is the heart that comes from
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those who serve. >> the home undergoes another series of changes, reflecting a new family and the events that will shape the history of the white house. >> is universally recognized as the symbol of democracy. most of all, however, it is the home. >> the first change that the ford family makes is on the perception. >> of the thing about the ford family was held normal they were. she said that she would go if she had to, but she won't change out of her blue jeans. they will have to take her as bait -- as she is. i do not think there is any example and the whole history of the white house where people seem less impressed by it.
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>> that was the great strength that the fords brought to the white house. that they were like us. in a time where the house was staned by scandal and public unrest. >> president for basic change, removing the oval tap office taing system that brought down his -- t --aping syste -- secrect taping system. >> he found out later that they had not been removed and hit the ceiling big time. they had to repaint the office
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there was so much. >> the biggest change brought about during the ford administration is one thrust upon them, the country, and the home in 1975 after two assassination attempts on his life. >> it caused the secret service to restrict the president's activities. presentations will be held at the white house whenever possible. more people come to the white house in history. there is much more activity now than there ever was. >> today, the white house is busier than ever, placing more demands on the first family and the home. two levels above the activity is the third floor of the white house, and a place for the first family to get away from the demands of their public life below. a place never before seen by
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television cameras. >> it has always been a particular favorite of the first family. it is a real escape. when you talk about the white house as public property and you have 5000 people a day going through the house, they want to get away from them. it is a very cheerful room. it is open to the outdoors. very on ornamental. very unofficial. just a place to get away from it all. it is camp david inside the white house. it is really very much being invited to g-- >> it is a place where president eisenhower barbeques outside on his patio. 25 years later, when president
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reagan returns to the white house after the assassination attempt on his life, in a room built by the coolidges. >> these velarium was there because of -- the solarioum -- solarium was there because of the coolidge. the legacy is more than is often assumed. the third floor, the old attic, were the result children played was transformed in the bedrooms in storage space. but most importantly, it was coolidge's room.
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>> it is as it has always been. a reflection of our country and the times in which we live. >> the secretary of the treasury will announce that from now on, the two blocks of pennsylvania avenue will be closed to motor vehicle traffic. closing pennsylvania avenue is a practical step to protect against the kind of attack we saw in oklahoma city. i won't allow access to the president to be curtailed. the closing is necessary because of the changing nature and scope of terrorist action. >> i think 9/11 is one that i will never forget. working here obviously changed the president and the nation. we still feel that today. it was a day, for those of us that were here, will never forget. it was such a sense of
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helplessness. there was a mission he needed to accomplish. not knowing what was happening. 9/11 changed a lot of things. if the president and first lady want to go up for a walk, they can't. >> i do running. there is a track that president clinton kindly put in. people yell, you can hear them yelling. after 9/11, if the president is outside of the south lawn, nobody is on the fence. >> there are moments of loneliness when you live here because you are so where -- so aware of everyone that lived here before you. you are encouraged to think there is always a feeling of encouragement. a real strong faith in the
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american people and our ability to overcome challenges. >> the level of security dramatically increase. the amount of visitors being able to come into the white house dropped to zero for quite some time. they have found a way to safely allow visitors back again. >> if you think about the impact of 9/11, there'll be an assessment of whether or not we overreacted. it is important symbolically that as soon as the president and security feel comfortable, they began to open the white house again the tourism. the white house is all about symbolism. we will continue to live our lives and not be held captive by whatever.
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>> today, after many months of anticipation, we celebrate the opening of the newly designed pennsylvania avenue. i know this process has not been easy. >> from the surrounding streets to the historic date that has been here since a year -- and jackson's time, it will always be a work in progress. >> are you excited to be here? cool. >> the white house is still -- people are going to continue to wrestle with that. an african-american president will find real strength. this is the house that was built
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by you, but not for you. this was a house that symbolized all that was best for america if you do your part for what is best for america. and now you're getting to do, getting to be what your ancestors want. what they wanted was simply to be an american. >> what is so special about this place, your feeling connected to people that lived here a century ago. the fact that it is all in this one house is an even more explicit sense of the past, present, and feature. i often think of personal stories from the lives of presidents that live here before us. everyone knows the white house as the major american landmark that is both home and office to the president of the united states. i hope that people also know it
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as a private and personal home for the families that live here. >> the white house has been and hopefully always will be a place to which americans feel emotionally bonded. that is the case regardless of who happens to live there. that connection, the special aura is something that i think goes back over 200 years. it grows with the passage of time. >> i am absolutely convinced that the appearance of the white house will never change. it is too valuable as it is. it says too much in the means to much to the presidency. it will always be open in one way or the other. i don't think that image will ever be changed. it is better protected today that it ever was.
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-- than it ever was. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009]
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>> if you want additional
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information of the supreme court, the white house, or the u.s. capitol, as it there, you'll find links, public information, and histories of the three buildings and the institutions they house. that is at "american icons." three nights of original documentaries on the iconic ho mes of the three branches of american government continues saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern. the capital, america opposing most symbolic structure -- america's most symbolic structure. you can get the three discdv dvd set. order. -- order at c-
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>> this year's tree is a douglas fir from west virginia. here's a look at its arrival at the north portico. [indistinguishable conversations]
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the >> tonight on c-span, former new york times reporter jason blair on journalism ethics. also a discussion of u.s. troops in afghanistan with freelance journalist david axe.
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and another chance to see "the white house: inside of america's most famous home." but first, jason blair talks about the scandal he was involved in. this is one hour and 25 minutes. >> welcome to the 48 institute on ethics in journalism in washington. my name is edward, i hold the ninth chair. what happens in this auditorium will be happening for the next hour or hour and a half. and it is the public part of a much larger and age it rigid arduous educational undertaking. -- much larger and arduous
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educational undertaking. students from our ethics class have joined with a distinguished group of journalists and academics to wrangle over the rights and wrongs of cases. that seminar takes up about seven hours. i know i can hear your disappointment, but i want to take a moment to recognize these fellows and thank them for coming here. for them to come here is a mark of exceptional gallantry. the first is cesar andrews, coming off of a career from the country's biggest newspaper change -- chain. he led the free press 2009 puliztetzer for local reporting.
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john is an award winning producer for cbs news sunday morning in new york where he has produced more than 150 stories. michael gettler, currently with pbs. he was a foreign correspondent and editor, and executive editor of the tribune i. the associate dean for columbia, she joins after a 31-year career with "the philadelphia enquirer ," which in her day, was an outstanding news organization. with both ph.d. degrees, john
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became an academic in northern new york city. reed williams, formerly with "the daily progress." and she heads of the committee's freedom of information and open government operations. she teaches at the university of maryland and american university. please join me in giving these fellows a warm round of applause. [applause] tonight, -- i used to work with a reporter that covered federal courts and went on to become insanely successful journalist that spoke to many movies and big budget movies with the likes
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of bruce willis, colin farrel and samuel l. jackson. he said to never change flights to the last minute. if anything happens, you will be there at the lead of the disaster story. so the rule was, never make it easy for reporters to come up with a mindlessly that contains what appears to be some poignant fact that some things up. -- sums things up. when i invited our speaker, i ignored that rule. it is rather strange, jason blair speaking on ethics? why not bernie madoff speaking
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to financial planners? i wrote back that because i was intrigued by this somewhat medieval ethical notion, it would be just to punish students. perhaps he would like to keep out of the next ethics committee. -- keynote on the next ethics committee. i am in the business of helping train the next generation of journalists. regardless of what you may have heard, there will be a next generation of journalists. i have had the privilege of working with some of them. they're going to be even better than we were. and we were very good. they're calling will be to engage the people that are at the center of major events of their time. not through e-mail, but up close. our speaker is one such person.
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that is not to complement him, that is a state of fact. it is the kind of person that we should be prepared to engage in to confront. i also want to know as much as i can about the gsmart, idealistic people that do things that are personally and institutionally destructive. this is tricky stuff. when you talk about context, people try to think that you are switching responsibility. it is the culture of the wicked "new york times." that is not important. institutions often unwittingly do aid and abet. to some degree, it does to the village. the misunderstanding of context may explain, but cannot absolves. we appeal our capacity for
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compassion and forgiveness. . . this is a university symposium. it is not a press conference.
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he has agreed to take questions from the media afterward. i will ask the people to come down to the stage. now maybe people will be welcome to stay. i will ask and to let the reporters do their jobs pit. the last thing i want to do is muzzle the press but . this is not a town meeting. if any the has been preparing a fiery denunciation, save it for another time and place bu. too often our brothers and sisters provide discourse in the media. please, refrain. he is in centerville, virginia.
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he was a reporter from "the new york times." he had a front-page story that he "had enacted a journalistic fraud." they said it was of a trail of trust. -- a betrayal of trust. it said that he mislead readers. he fabricated comment. he concocted scenes. he selected from across -- photographs the been the more he had not. they found that the 73 stories he had written, 36 had potential problems. they took this very hard.
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they ran more than 7000 words. by comparison, when the paper finally recognized it covered a weapon to mass destruction the and the knowledge mitterand 1100 words. it was published on -- ran -- the acknowledgement ran the 1100 words. it was published. they were forced to resign. to some observers, it looked like the affair was a tire that was a being handled recklessly. he who longed to matter ended up
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marrying in ways he had not anticipating. that was them. i read a profile of his reemergence. we got in touch. here we are. perhaps now he has a chance to matter in different ways. i'm here neither to praise him or to bury him, but to present him in a hope that history will contribute to the presentation -- preservation of journalism that we all need and love. [applause] >> thank you. can you hear me? are we good? it is always nice to visit. there are few parts of the world that are so beautiful.
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when i was first approached about speaking at washington and lee, i was hesitant about reopening an old wound of m ine. i was convinced there were more lessons to be learned from my experience. i believe that of and could it is the duty of all citizens to do all in their power to aid in the restoration of peace and harmony." i believe it is my duty, despite my new focus on psychological coaching, to do what i can to aid a journalism students by providing him guide it on how to avoid the rocky road. my intentions and my hope is that this will be myoblast public comment on journalism.
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reduce my last public comment on journalism. -- my intentions and my hope is that this will be the last public comment on journalism. i am at peace with the knowledge that there is no one or nothing to blame for my troubles but myself. i have been accused of attempting to deflect blame for fabrication of plagiarism on the of the " new york times" protection of journalism, race, and a lot other people. those accusations are as big untruths as the lies idle. i am here because of the choices i made. it is in this choices that we find lessons to be learned. it is a very fine power to affect change. it has helped me appreciate the human condition. it has taught me learned how i went from being a person who
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pledged to comfort the afflicted and seek the truth into a man who left deep scars on his chosen profession. it may never make up for what happened, but it has the potential to help strengthen the profession it wounded. i recognize i am but one of the voices. i realize that viewing my experience through a looking glass, it provides inspiration. "the deep parts of the minds are like a wound to the body. after the care has been taken to heal them, there will be a scar left behind." when a my favorite newspaper movies is the "the paper." it is by ron howard. it is a drama about a newspaper
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tabloid. it stars robert deval and michael keaton as the young workaholic. at the end, the editor in chief character is sitting in a bar with another. he asks the their juridical question. his wife is pregnant pedipal. a guy break into an apartment. he has a gun. he says, i blew your wives bring in now. what do you say. what you think i say? it is ridiculous. he responds, that is exactly my point. it is never one big dramatic choice. it is little situations every day. you are either there are you are not. if you wait for the guide to the gun show up, it'll be too late.
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his character was divorced. all he had was the paper. rarely are our choices in life prison it as a major dramatic question. if they were, and to be easy. if i could ask whether i want to destroy my career, a trash my profession, and under llie journalism, i would have declined. difficult choices really present themselves in one dramatic question or one big decision. instead, our most important choices present themselves and small baby steps. one step at a time that may
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not seem related to the ultimate outcome. one day, you can turn around and found herselyourself cross a liu never knew you would go near. i see it in my own life as a journalist and other areas. one of the first questions students should ask me is about why i got into the profession. it they can have a hard time swallowing the notion that i got into the profession because i was curious and wanted to help people. my recent -- resent is not sound as noble as their own. it is hard for people to cross the idea that i once was so much like them. it is an important premise and
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looking at my career. if you buy the idea that i became a journalist for such a noble reasons and i crossed the line, you can believe that you can. recognizing that anyone under the right circumstances of any thing is the first deatstep agat guarding against the evil. i have been interesting in writing as long as i can remember. i was interested in journalism as a high school students. i can still remember the stories in the "washington post" that propelled it to the profession. one was about the life and death of a student that have been my friend. i saw the heating power of journalism. one was about a class student who had been denied by health
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insurance. thousands of dollars were raised and the insurance company reversed the decision because of it. i began writing to the high school newspaper and spend the summer after my senior year and a local community paper. i was taught by greekats. i had internships at the "washington times" and many others. this experience led to my being hired in 1998 as a summer intern at the "new york times buckle ." we were mentored by the best.
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we were expected the only one of us would be offered a position. in the end, the majority of us were selected to return. a few of those shows to pursue other options. i enter the profession to help people and then became convinced that to help them i had to have the greatest impact on their lives. to have the greatest impact, i needed to work with one of the best newspapers. i became convinced that i needed to have the best stories to have the most impact. somewhere along the way, i've lost sight of the very reason that i entered journalism. once that was lost, i was a grievous -- anchorless and climbing aimlessly.
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no one came to my door with a gun and asked whether i wanted to shoot journalism. it was not simple. at the core, i am to blame for my choices. there are a number of profound and factors that contributed to creating an environment for my ethical transgressions. we had the new editor who put a greater emphasis on speed and impact. i am sure this editor did not intentionally decide to sacrifice accuracy. he said that he believed the week to do things faster and more powerfully with the same amount of accuracy. the focus on speed and impact had a result to sacrifice some accuracies. it reallocated resources and left less time being devoted to the reporting of writing and editing of each story. this likely contributed to other problems.
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there is the battle fatigue at the times following the september 11 attacks. we were a mostly in the middle of a never ending marathon that taken 12 of their editors and reporters. i recall crossing the line that time. once i did, it was a much easier to cross again. my personal struggles are not relevant to the questions. my recovery from a alcohol and drug abuse, while life changing in a positive way, with a harbinger leading the way for the into ted -- intensified presentation of mental-health system that added fuel to the fire that was initially ignited by my character flaws it burn
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brighter. one of the major problems is the focus is often more freely on the best practices when we can learn the most from the worst. it sets firm boundaries and it teaches how good people do bad things. if premier the belief that only that people do bad things, been good people have no reason to learn that it is at all. i would like to address my feelings about the times. it is a wonderful newspaper. the editors came to my rescue on the day of my resignation. the major -- made sure i was getting the medical attention i need it. i am very grateful for them.
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thank you for listening. i think we are going to start the question and answers section. there are a number of topics. feel free to follow up and ask any question. there is someone with a microphone. there we go. >> he talked about how you recognize the impact be made on in the journalism as a pill. -- you taught the how you recognize the impact he made on the field but not the individuals. what is your feelings toward them? >> from my perspective, it is
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the senate i've talked about much. the most painful part of it for me is the damage done to journalism. there is a recovery the had to occur. the issues that shuttled with the most personally -- the issues that impact the muster will personally are ones you did not know about because they are my friends that felled the trade and like -- to question our friendship. then there are subjects of the stories i have not talked about. i think that -- one of the things the semi friends love,
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they love to make the point that the weapons of mass destruction -- it and treated to a war and all these bad things bil. i tell them the story of why i got into journalism. it was to help and heal people. i ended up truly hurting them. i heard the subject and sources of the stories and people who read them and believed some parts of were not true. but is any time what you are falsifying the stories that you considered bet i am hurting people? >> no. it has little to do with a fund i was personally am. -- fog that i was personally am. when it cleared, it got me into
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a psychiatric hospital. a year or so later is when i started to deal with some of that. and maybe painful connections. -- i made the painful connections. xd>> when you first wrote your first lie, were you aware of what you are doing? as a journalist, you are so passionate about what you read doing to help people. another part of journalism is pursuing the truth. were you conscious? >> in my notion of helping people was helping them through the truth. this kind of relevant to the question of journalism ethics.
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the point that i made about the emphasis being put on speed and impact post-9/11 burda there were a lot of changes. it is a news% that valued -- unused room that valued integrity above all else. [unintelligible] people were getting closer and closer to different kinds of ethical lines. i think collectively with in the newsroom, we all getting closer to that. by the time we were there, i had completely lost sight. i was climbing the ladder and i didn't even know why. the first time for me was a matter of expediency.
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it involved situations and the making up a last name for someone who not give a last name. when that line was crossed, it is that much easier. it is not to say that during that time did not have moments where i was wondering what i was doing. was not a blur of madness. i would cross the line and tell myself i would never do that again. i had no accountability. i was unwilling to be honest with even my closest friends.
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i did not face whatever consequences were there. attlee's the month had accountability. my only accountability was myself -- i would at least have had accountability. my only accountability was myself. >> you were acknowledging that you are lying to yourself. >> p.s. biyes. >> you mentioned that you are climbing the ladder. you did been very far career wise. -- you did advanced very far career wise. there were signals before your editor commented that you have not the bill all his expectations. why you think you were able to drive so fast despite the doubt?
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>> some has to do with internal stuff. i can only speculate about it. why one individual editor's warninghmiy have been ignored. there are different reasons. i cannot really speculate about why the system broke down. i can tell you from being at the paper at the time the tension that was created by a new executive editor and sending the message that you are not good enough before i got here. you got to do it better,çó fastr and get them to get hit by the september 11 attacks. the section editors get replaced.
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[unintelligible] the communication was not good at that point. just like i talked about the notion that an unintentional ethical choice was emphasizing speed over accuracy, it is the same thing with organization. we have accountability. when the structure is designed poorly, when it broke down and people decided not to pay attention to each other, they were not terribly making medical decisions, but they had ethical implications. i hope answers it.
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>> you must recognize that what you have done has caused particularly injuries to black journalists. what can you do or say now to alleviate some of the harm? >> that is a good question. that harm has done by covered in, and the others had made. i cannot predict what i do what i do not do. this question is my role. when i was at the paper, i was an advocate for diversity and a ggender diversity.
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on one hand, as an advocate for diversity, i found myself wanting it both ways. when i ended up in trouble, i want to be able to say you cannot extrapolate. i think it is unfortunate, because when you look at it, i think race played very little role in either my rise or my fault. the people who commented and said it did, not only are they uninformed, and they were not ever close to the situation more information. compare it to any other reporter that they hired around that age or any of my colleagues and mine were far above all of them.
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if you look at my fall, it has to do my personal things and not my race. to advocate along the lines you should not equate race to black journalists is buying into a false argument. it is a silly argument that is not even worth in gauging and. the people that will run with that will not ever change their minds. >> i have a question for you. you use the term baby steps. how is it that you use the term baby steps to describe the decision you made to go to a coffee shop instead of getting on a plane and going to west
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virginia to interview the lynch's. how is that not nailing the gun? >> that was the running part. that was not the beginning. the baby steps started long before them. >> why did you recognize that? >> it is not that i did not recognize the. why did i not stop? i do not know. if i were to answer -- this get into the part where to into this question, and then it says some of for the argument i making excuses. you can also look at the fact that i was in mitscher and i had this character flaws. all these things are -- i mr mmature and i had this
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character flaw. all these things are part of it. that is where i have a chance to change them. i do not see those as baby steps but their ethical decisions begin with baby steps. we talked about the monica lewinsky story. if you get the ethical small steps the started in arkansas that led to that day, we know it starts with small things. yawping get a big choice, but by that time, you got so close to the line -- >> you do not recognize it as a big choice? >> it is interesting to put it that way. it is like erosion, slowly compromising year.
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you know it is a big deal just like the guy tv on his wife knows it is a big deal. but it all started when he started going to the strip club and the synthesized himself. it is that part. it is not that you do not recognize it is a big choice. it is that you are desensitized to it. [inaudible] >> there are many points where i will up. i did not know what avenue to take. there were clearly moments where i realized, what am i doing? i need to stop. the fighting in the next step in restocked the number of people at the paper but rather to help me, it would have stopped.
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it is on me. i understand your point. sadly, it is what happened. >> was there any moment when you are sitting at a copy shop in brooklyn and you saw a light you printed any thought about it? >> the whole coffee shop thing. it is more of being in my apartment. there is a time of literally a time frame of two months where i only love my farm in a handful of times. i literally did not leave. the book brought stuff over to me so i could survive. -- people brought step over to me so i could and ssurvive. i do now remember the paper that much or the stories.
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>> what will you thinking of yourself? >> it is not like i noticed when i did it the first time. for me, what i was thinking is what i said before. i have to stop this. it is important to understand that there are a lot of different motives for why people lie and cross of the goal lines. and this particular case i view it as a combination of character flaws and the fact that because of my sickness, i was not able to do my job. a normal sick person says i am sick and i can i do my job. instead, i tried to force its
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and get the stories done anyway. in my case, that is what was going on. >> we are taught that it is a good thing that journalists do not have a licensing board. given your situation, people might think maybe this is something that we needed to bourbon these kind of things. what is your response? >> i do not think licensing boards will help of the old problems. -- help ethical problems. >> you said you view your mistakes as a character flaw. did you view it as a character flaw then? did you like consistently in your daily life outside of your news stories? >> more than i do now.
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[laughter] it required lying outside. i did see it as a character fall. -- flaw. it fits with that pride, fear, anxiety, and things that motivate them. i've studied reasons why people live. -- lie. i think there is a fundamental weakness that you see as you run to my stories. it is an unwillingness to admit weakness or ask for help. when you push yourself to the wall, and you'd do not say you need help, it has implications.
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>> i read an interview where you are quoted as saying he thought journalism was more about the relationship in connection to had and less about writing. >> where did you read that? was it with the quotes around it? >> it was. but who? >> mike corona? he was the man who had interviewed the. it was at a small school. >> of the high school. >> you told him you got your internship at the boston globe because the associate dean had pretty much offered it to you. journalism is about who you know and not about the writing. >> i do not recall ever saying
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that. i will try not to comment directly on the story. journalism and vase networking and relationships. -- involve net arcane and relationships. -- networking and relationships. does he have influence? yes. do they paid to you? yes. that is normal. >> did you ever take an ethics class? >> yes. >> we spoke of your immaturity. do you think the fact that you did not graduate from maryland, did that compound maturity?
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>> other than my own personal insecurity and my own self worth, but did not change terms of what journalism classes i checked the bil -- i had taken. >> [unintelligible] everyone assumed to have finished your college? >> there were plenty of people who knew clearly, including the hiring managers. for a story about journalism ethics, you read the facts better out there, you will find factual inaccuracies. there are people who are making comment on things they clearly were not involved in. that is one of the issues. the editors who needed to know
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knew. i did not feel there is any ethical issue there. the editors who then replace this editors did not know about it. it is not my job to pass on information really, it is not. you would expect there been normal communications and personnel files. >> from your perspective and experience, have you seen -- what is the prevalence of falsifying stories and of lying? >> i cannot speculate on that. >> do you see things where we have to worry about another jayson blair? >> this is obviously not a onetime case. we have had situation since
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them. when you -- i do not really know the answer. but i ask because be read the paper. outside what we think maybe kind of wrong, you have had experience in making things up. >> find a story that is written about this event and what has been written about me. see if the combined a copied word for word summer. this is not enough on journalism. --a knock on journalism. a lot has to do with laws. do we have a problem of plagiarism? yes, we do. how much is in the mainstream media? i do not know. >> for a large part, you are an anomaly. that is what we are told. in the real world, are you an
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anomaly? >> i do not know. i cannot answer that question. do i know other people? >> yes. >> i do not know what is really going on right now. >> are the standard as strict as we think they are? >> i do not know how stood you think they are. >> we are taught in your not to plagiarize anything. >> those are the standards. >> you got away with, is factual inaccuracies. >> i am probably not the best person to answer them. i have not paid such close attention that i give you an honest answer. i think some other cases the for themselves. >> you mentioned that some of your -- what you did was based
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on character flaws. do you think they are inherent? were they learned? where they learned? have you changed? >> i do not really know the answer to that question for anyone. more importantly, it has been identified what they are and guarding against them, recognizing in myself -- going through something. i didn't know i was capable of doing something i did nothing those capable of doing. it has opened a door for me to examine myself in question all things about my behavior is and what i value in life. it has made me a much better person. i do not know where it originally came from.
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>> you said the one of the reasons you went astray was because fewer climbing the corporate ladder. was there a point when is studying about the quality of your writing? -- when it stopped being about the quality of your writing? it became more about where you could go. >> it is more pavlovian for me. it is about delivering what they wanted. the audit did not want a fabricated. -- they obviously did not want it fabricated. >> the title of your talk is lessons learned. what lessons do you think the business has taken from your case and what lessons do you
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think it should have taken from her case? >> that is a good one. i think that's -- you are the one who said anomaly. my story is an anomaly in many ways because of the largeness of the. it is not an anomaly in terms of the journalism in general. when we see something happening, we want to separate ourselves from it. it amazes me better at night. often we learn the most warmly but if the similarities that exists between us and people who do good things.
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i being that the lessons learned related to systems to get plagiarism, those were obvious. some of the more subtle ones that do not fit within what is happening -- speed and accuracy had an unintentional impact. to suggest that the model for journalism is changing and becoming this web based, faster model, which is not a bad thing -- but to suggest it does not have some ethical implications seems a bit silly to me. the thing that people -- it is easier to walk a way with lessons of age are. reading hr -- to walk away with
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lessons of hr. >> you were talking about that it was easy to fall. what makes it difficult for a but people here to understand is that the lies that he made our kind of going out of your way. it seems allying actively create a bigger web for you. i'm curious as to how you walked around the newsroom. >> i was not in the newsroom. but there was times, but i was rarely in the newsroom. >> did you ever talk to editors or other reporters that you were working with? >> yes.
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>> was there every time you talked about the stories were you had to remember the lies? >> journalism can be a "what have you done for me lately" business. i think that' when you had been -- bradley -- whether you had a front-page story or not, they were always focus on the next story. in general, opposed 9/11, a lot of my colleagues were caught in that new york city after work. something changed. we spend a lot less time talking about our work. it goes back to the idea of not having accountability at that point. that would have been helpful for me.
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>> [inaudible] >> no. i will through you my microphone. you are asking whether it would of been easy for me to have just been in the bill it photographer -- had just been there. a photographer called me to tell me he was there or near their. the day there. -- there are near there. [unintelligible] given how sick i was in the way i was sick, traveling was not going to happen. if i had tried to travel, it would not have happened. the one time i did try to travel, it was a disaster.
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it is not that the fabricating was easier than doing the actual work, it was that getting -- it was easier. i have two questions. the first is, just from listening to you talk, it sounds like -- this sounds silly, but were you hoping to get caught? >> there was a pardon me that did not want to get caught. you can see that in the last few days.
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i was hiding everything they did not know about. they tip that's part -- they took that part of me, conceding that i made mistakes. i definitely did not want to be caught. some people did have inklings. i would go back and forth. >> it sounds like a runaway train. >> i think there is some truth to that. to suggest that it was just running and wanted to get caught -- it was more like
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getting caught in turning around and now i want to get caught. it was a little messier than the narratives we like. >> the next question is more serious. to strip away the coverage that has been made and think about the legacy of the plan hundred 52 year legacy and the legacy of journalism -- do you feel -- there have been plenty of people who have had impacts on plagiarism. the way that it all happen, do you really truly feel the impact? -- impact on the trust and rippled across journalism? that is a key idea here. >> is a key point here. it is one of the papers that
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people look to for the truth. it was a hard road. i think it was also particularly a hard blow in many different ways. i think i have a good understanding of the impact it had. what i believe it did was give people -- a lot of people who were distrustful of the media and continue to thbe -- it gave them an example to make the point that they wanted to believe or say when ever they disagreed or did not like a story. yes? it had a huge impact. >> this is actually a question i should ask somebody else, which is the first source you
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betrayed. some you just made up. many of these were real people. you said you had a great quote posted-9/11. if the person did not give their last name. you made up a last name. i would rather ask that person but they are not here. why would they read what they said, read their first name, read another last name, in the "new york times" and not call them up? then you are getting away with it. we have been talking about editors and colleagues. what about the sources? >> i probably should not answer this question. since some of the people have givingiven me insight on why thy did not call, not everyone reads
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the times. we can start there. even when some people to see the coverage, things are wrong or mistakes are made. if they ran away and tried to correct in all, that is what they would spend their time doing. what these people say to me is, in the figure i got it wrong or i screwed it up. it was an honest mistake or something like that. they put it in that context. i should not answer that question. i told you. >> [inaudible] [no microphone] >> that is true.
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there is no reason you should be compelled to believe anything. that is your choice. i would tell you to do what i do and the same thing i encourage everyone in my life to do, which is -- you listen to what people have to say. you compare it to the backs -- facts that you know. make sure that they are facts. you collect information. you make the determination about the credibility. >> that is a good response. you talked about? -- you talked about facts. >> you are welcome to come to my office. when you come in, i listened to them to determine if they are lying. i collect information. i check it against facts.
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i make a judgment about whether it is credible. i ask them whether they are lying. it is the same thing when you listen to anyone. you listen to what they have to say. you listen to the collateral information. he make some determination about whether you find it credible. i and is offering this. -- i am just offering this. i am not trying to convince you. >> i will go back to covering the world from your apartment. from today's perspective, talk about the culture of the "new york times." you should have been turning in at a minimum your expense accounts. your aug. not paid that much.
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>> -- you were obviously not paid that much. >> it is a matter of the particular time, not the newspaper, the actual time. people have been on an extended time. incentives were not getting turned in. >> that is an indication of a culture. for you to speak in the broader sense. >> what? >> a sign of black culture. 0 -- a sign of lax culture. >> there was a standard policy that said you have to have your expenses. certain bureaus did have to have that. if you are trying to get a more
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general question -- what not that at all. -- >> not bad at all. what lessons have you learned that could be shared as a lot of these folks are going into the corporate world? >> i am not qualified to answer that question. it is hard. i do not think i can really answer that one. i understand where you are going. i do not think i necessarily have the knowledge to answer. >> i was curious as to whether or not, what you are writing these stories, you are proud of yourself? >> no. >> you are conscious of it. >> correct. >> it is hard for me to


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