tv Capital News Today CSPAN November 27, 2009 11:00pm-2:00am EST
it. >> i was an alcoholic a bum picking up a drink. >> ok. >> if you had some advice for a newsroom managers who was looking for those first baby steps, could you give her or him some advice? >> -- to find a journalist who may be going astray? >> one of the difficult things when it comes to journalism is that ultimately it is based heavily on trust. i think applying just a little of the same skepticism that we apply to every politician -- find that same skepticism and
>> it was hard then, it is harder thanow. >> [inaudible] >> profoundly because of what i was doing and getting away with. there was a part of me that thought that i would be caught. that is part of a psychological thing. this fear that you will be caught keeps you from getting close to the line. once that fear disappears, it becomes easier to get there. you will hear similar things from people that have been written about. it becomes harder to trust
reporting because of the mistakes that do get made that you can see. i have progressed to the point where i can read a newspaper and enjoy it and put that camsame kd of skepticism. >> are you in contact with people in the newsrooms? >> yes. an initially afterwards, there were one or 80 of my former colleagues in touch with me. i would say it is somewhere
around two dozen. -- there were one or two of my former colleagues. one of the common things that you will see, even some that are still out "the times," is that many of them share something with me personally in the sense that they have been through something in their life where they have made an enormous mistake parent of the public might not know about that mistake. -- they have made an enormous mistake. the public might know about that mistake. >> did you ever try to make it right about those people that you lied to and about? >> yes. >> can you talk about that? >> nope. those are private conversations and they should stay private. >> and they were not private, that happened in the public.
>> let's put it this way, i have been in touch with some of the people that i have written about and i made apologies to them that the mechanics uses. -- that don't make any excuses. >> these are private conversations. whether they reached out to me, or i reached out to them, they allowed me into some private aspect of their lives and i should not drive them into this mess in a public way. >> thank you. >> you're welcome. >> i want to talk about the dead. you having a second career. i would like to know where did you get the credentials aside from your experiences to give psychiatric help to anyone? -- i want to talk about today.
>> i don't give psychiatric help. i am a life coach. in my role, i focus on mental health and i intend to work with -- when i work with people that have serious mental illnesses like by puller, depression, schizophrenia, i am and adjoint team member. -- i am an adjunct team member. i am working on triggers, mitigating symptoms, helping them communicate better with their treatment providers. i also assist people individually on my own who don't
have serious mental illnesses with issues like motivation. >> you are making all of that up. you have no credentials to do that. you are doing it from your life experiences but you've never had a day. -- you never had a degree. >> this is not psychology or social work. >> no, it is not. >> yes, it is. >> what is a peer to peer person to. >> they have gotten trying to do that? >> actually, no, that is not true. it is based on your experience. the national institutes of mental health and the national institutes of health which is
bringing more of here specialists, people who based on their own life experiences who can augment treatment by clinical professionals. you can quibble with the concept of it. >> [inaudible] >> i think that there are areas where those character flaws seem like they are gone. there are areas where i clearly can identify in my mind. i can identify character flaws that still exist today. one of the big differences that i am much more open with people
that i work with and family members and friends about what my flaws are and that tells me to set boundaries. these are areas that i will not get near. here is where i am doing for a while and i can help people learn from my experience. >> [inaudible] >> it does not. the experience of flying does not qualify you to do anything. -- lying does not qualify you to do anything. for you, the most significant amount of my life will be what happened in journalism. my struggle with bipolar disorder has been much more personally painful and
difficult. i have had to learn much more from that than my experience in journalism. for you, on the outside, the narrative for you is the scandal of the times. that does not mean that this is the biggest valuable our experience in my life. >> i have a quick question. do you have to prove yourself every day to everyone that you talked to and meet that you are telling the truth? >> i don't think so. it surprises me a bit of that i don't have to. i tend to be open with people about my background. i tend to share. i share relevant over you. usually the respons-- overview.
usually when i'm dealing with someone who is not a journalist, it tends to actually help humanize them for me or humanized me for them. i think that we're able to develop through me confessing that i am not this sort of perfect whatever who does not make mistakes and i have made enormous mistakes that are costly and painful. i think it helps develop a more on this connection that that kind of honesty goes beyond just the question of truth and not trees. -- i think it helps to develop a more honest connection and that kind of honesty goes beyond just the question of truth or not the truth. they know i can for gift because i can forgive myself. -- for givgive because i can
forgive myself. >> why should anyone trust you? >> it is up to individuals to make determinations on her own. people have to decide what they are willing to believe or not. it is not actually -- i would expect people to use the same skepticism or be as skeptical as possible. check it out, don't stop with just the idea. >> been around about the same
timaround the same time, there e two other instances of wrongdoing by professionals. what do you think about that? what do you think about them? how would you compare the way the media treated you and how they treated them? >> it is hard for me to say because my view of that coverage is absolutely distorted. it is distorted because i am personally invested. you could say, yes, i thought that the coverage of washington lee was decent or good. always, whenever you are involved in a story, it throws
off my sensitive meter. in terms of stephen glass, jack kelley, knowing the store is on the outside and not knowing details, i think that there are a lot of lessons that can be learned that are slightly different. some are similar. i don't really have any personal insight on why they did what they did. i have speculation based on what i've read. i probably -- if i'm asking for people to listen to me give my version of events and give me a chance, i should not analyze the motives of others who live not talked to. >> how would you compare the media handling of them? >> i don't remember the coverage as well.
i thought that my story because the times was writing the big story, it took on a completely different character than i think some of the later coverage. in looking at the jack kelly story, from my perspective, a lot of my own questions about why it happened never really got answered. i don't even know if there are answers available. >> [inaudible] in did you ever appreciate that fact? and did you ever enjoy your job?
>> yes, yes. >> you said that you are in a fog. >> yes, that is true. there was a point or a loved and enjoyed being in the times. -- there was a point where i love d. >> was a release the writi it re writing? >> yes. >> was there a hole in the fact checking process that you were aware of that allow you to deceive the public for so long?
>> i don't think it was other than this function. there is general this function. "the times," has many layers of fact checking. at the very least, one or two extra fact checking. >> how did you get around this? >> it happened because i think that we were stretched at that point. i don't think it could have gone as long if we had not been as stretched and people have not been as fatigue as they were.
>> some of the fabrications you could have made up to help people and tel. did it ever occur to you? >> the bell rings, that is my job. i was not as directed as it would take in to have some crusading thing. >> after all of this e-mail, did any other to list continue and confide in new that they had done the same things?
>> i don't want to answer the question. that would have been a personal conversation. >> jason, thank you. i did say that we would give the media a chance to ask questions. i guess, this would be that time. the rest of you are welcome to stay. jason, thank you very much. >> you're welcome. >[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> a look at joblessness among young black men. following that, the concord coalition talking about the national debt to. then the growth of islamic radicalism in the u.s. with a steven emerson.
>> american icons, three nights of c-span original documentaries on the iconic homes of the three branches of american government continues saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern. the capital, the history, art, architecture. -- the capitol. get your own copy of "american icons," online. >> free-lance journalist david axe was recently embedded with troops in afghanistan. in this interview, we talked to him about his experience.
>> this time, i went to an agricultural district to see a different facet of the war effort. >> are there commercial flights? how do you make those arrangements? >> there are, you can make the arrangements. that is not as efficient as the u.s. air transportation system but just a typical commercial flight. >> how concerned are you?
>> you ride in the same articles, you are required to wear the same gear. it is law enforcement yougear. you have the same protective measures that u.s. troops to. it is how her sophisticated stuff. logistics of the trip are dicier. -- it is sophisticated stuff. >> why? >> is a big country. it is rugged. the infrastructure is very poor. often when you have to contend
with the bureaucracy, corruption becomes an issue. for instance, i had to get a week-long visa extension just to get out of the country. i had been told that not be a problem. of course, it was a huge problem. the paper work and the officers, i had to yell out. it had thow old do you hook up e unit. -- how did you hook up with the unit? >> i flew into the capital and the first up was to get a press badge from the nato headquarters. i caught a taxi and was met at the gate and by military personnel. i was handed off to the air
force for about a week. they handed me off to the army for a couple of weeks. then the army handed me off again to the air force and the whole thing was said and done, i went and done. >> describe what it is like. >> it is big. it is a former soviet facility. a lot of that anthat infrastructure is still there. it is the biggest military facility in afghanistan by some measures. tens of thousands are there. mostly u.s. personnel. this is the main logistics' hub, a whole lot of aircraft flying in, on loading things, reloading things. it looks like a gigantic federal
express facility. >> you said it was mostly u.s. troops. were there and nato troops there? >> it is hard to find something that is not a mix. >> how closely did they work together? >> they work fairly closely together. there is a mentoring relationship. often, they bring along a bunch of afghans and they will go into the u.s. organization in a seamless way. they are there tagging along a lot of the time. at a lot of the coalition activities that are divided among national lines. the french have a forward operating base. >> that is exclusively theirs?
>> no, but french operations are mostly french, dutch operations are mostly french, american are mostly american. -- dutch operations are mostly dutch. >> did you get to see the supply operation coming out? >> yes, i did. i flew in a c-130 airlifter on a resupply mission to the south. "happened his that some shipments of food and water and other supplies came in, , was offloaded, broken in two batches, then loaded onto c- 130's for combat troops. taking off, we flew a couple of hundred miles through the mountains down to the south of afghanistan. the c-130 did it passover.
-- did a passover. operations like that happen every day. it is one of the major ways of getting supplies to the combat troops. >> those operations are fairly safe, they don't encounter too much and any fire or confrontation? >> the taliban don't have an air defense network. they could take a pot shot at your airplane with their rifles or an r p g. the chances of hitting something the height are a lot more slam. the cargo planes are very safe. >> do they fly along with air support? >> escorts are not required. altitude is the biggest defense.
this is fairly routine. conditions are rugged. the aerospace is crowded. any fire is not an issue. >> what is the mission? >> it there are a vast amount of aircraft doing things. some are surveillance planes up looking for suspicious activity. you have some that fly close air support missions. if they get into a sticky situation, they fired guns, drop bombs. >> is that an everyday occurrence? >> probably. and if i had to venture, i would say pretty much a couple of times someone drops a bomb in afghanistan. there has been a big push to
find other ways of dealing with the taliban. air power might contain the seeds of our own destruction because it is massive overkill and civilian casualties are a big problem. it might be better to accept some risk in an engagement and not bomb them than it is to risk killing civilians. >> the use of the drones has increased dramatically. is it any coordination between forces on the ground and to the operators of the drones? >> absolutely. you can think of them as manned aircraft except that the man is sitting on the ground. he is still talking to the ground troops, talking to air controllers. they actuallyñi use a chat progm that looks like an instant messenger to do a lot of the communication with their customers, the guys receiving the support.
they are fairly precise as far as these things go. they don't carry large weapons. this is a far cry from a b-1 bomber dropping bombs. >> what operations go on at the military hospital? >> that is the biggest and by some standards the most sophisticated medical facility in all of afghanistan. this is an air force office battle -- hospital that does everything from the surgery to trauma care. >> they can't take care of a lot of issues right there. -- they can take care of a lot of issue. >> the idea is when someone is hurt, toñi get them to their lo- term care facilities as carfast
as possible. you don't want them to be there for months. the idea is word that care needs, we provided locally, especially for afghans. there are afghans receiving plastic surgery when i was there. u.s. troops are moved out as quickly as possible. it combines medical care and an evacuation role. there is a tent outside the hospital. when the troops come in and receive the care they need, they are moved into the tent awaiting a flight. the flights move frequently. it is hard to catch these guys for interviews. any transport flight going home, it could be the cargo planes coming in with supplies. they put the wounded troops on there, often with a nurse or
some kind of in-flight medical care to keep them safe. >> you also spent time at a ford operating base. the air force and if you off to the army and then you went to a forward operating base. -- the air force handed you off to the army. >> this is the agricultural district. they grow much of the food that people in kabul eat. it is connected by road. >> is this a dusty road? >> no, this is a paved road. it is just a bunch of farmers, shepherds, "herds try to make a living. -- and goatherds trying to make
a living. >> why they have a base there? >> most of the people are farmers. one of the keys to bring in the population into the coalition fold and building support for the government among everyday people is to talk to these farmers in a language they understand. the u.s. army has a battalion in the province. three companies, each company, a couple hundred guys. one in each district. they are spending their time trying to understand what kind of farming is going on, how can we help? this is an agricultural commune that bears military fatigues. >> this is a pace that the u.s. has built?
>> u.s. troops often fall in on existing facilities for the sake of convenience. this is the former site of a turkish operation. the company based is a former russian base back from the old soviet war. they have expanded and improved it. some of these facilities have a long history of commerce or conflict. >> as you move further away from the creature comforts of the air force base, what is it like to get your daily meals? where do you sleep? where do communicatyou communic? >> it depends on where you are. it depends on the nature of the mission. oin one region, there is not a
lot of active combat. for the most part, they are out there talking to farmers. so, they are static enough and the routine is set enough that the company there with leadership of a very good first sergeant has managed to build quite a nice bass. the food is hot and frequent, there is running water. he is fairly comfortable. in kendall parkkhandahar, many s are sleeping outside. the combat is always going on.
these days, the areas are overcrowded. the infrastructure for u.s. and nato troops was sized for about 50-75,000 strong. with new reinforcements coming in since the beginning of the year and still more planned, the major basis are overcrowded. there's no place to sleep, long waits for food. >> in the forward operating basis, you talk about an agricultural committee. what is the government like? >> spotty. the sub governor is co located with the american base. and this is actually the afghan security forces, the u.s. state department.
this is delivered and a good idea. these people are able to work together on a daily basis. it is a challenge working with the government. there's not mindset that they exist to provide services. that is what has to happen to have a government that works. >> it is that a state department role? >> increasingly, yes. you have seen a surge. when i arrived, coinciding with the arrival of a district support came, they have people to hang out with the local government to show them what it looks like.
the advance party was there. one man. there are volunteers that come over to work with farmers. >> how did with that team get? >> about a dozen people. you have a couple of hundred troops and a couple of dozen state department people. >> what is the local language and do you speak it? >> i do not speak it, it would be called [inaudible] i hired interpreters. >> you hire your own interpreters. >> it depends on where i am. it's fine with the troops, they
have interpreters. if i'm by myself, i hired interpreters. you don't know what language people are going to speak. you must plan ahead and think i will need a speaker for this district and then we get there and everyone is speaking a different language. >> do you think that they have enough translators? >> no, never. no one ever has enough and it never good enough. you might have your allotment but they might not be the best. that is a constant struggle. until we have a large number of americans speaking the local language or more american speaking -- or more afghanistan
speaking and english, that will be an issue. >> is what were you doing? >> i was with the next edition trending group with the u.s. air force which mentors the national army air corps. in other words, a bunch of americans that are trying to build an afghan air force mobled on the u.s. air force. i also spent some time with the 62nd expeditionary reconnaissance squadron which is a drone unit t. >> the unit train the afghans, this is a big part of taking on the security role. how to officials think that they're coming along? >> slowly. it is hard to be optimistic.
you will not hear them speak badly. you will see almost no progress in the years on my trip to afghanistan. >> why do you think that is? >> cultural. we have embarked on an effort to reform a culture, to change a culture. actually, reform, that makes it seem like they need to be like us. the initial goal in the war was to disrupt al qaeda and to do what it took to make that happen. we decided that meant he eradicating the taliban as well.
-- that meant he eradicating the taliban as well. 8 tw8 years later, there is very little al qaeda in afghanistan, very little taliban. somehow, the mission has become building a society to replace the taliban as a form of government. that is not going well. >> does afghanistan have a history of a unified military? >> i do not know. i not an expert on afghan history. recently, no. under the soviets 20 years ago, there was a partnership with
alamance of an afghan federal government -- elements of an afghan federal government. there is not a strong tradition of centralized government. >> did you ever see any evidence of the u.s. or nato forces trying to eradicate the poppy fields? >> no, i did not see the revocation. -- renovatiowhen it comes to pos is not on the forefront any more. the reason that the military cared about this was because they were a source of revenue for the taliban. it is clear now that they have multiple income streams and that is just one. it is also clear that trying to
eradicate poppy iies, you hurt e than you held. in eliminating the sole source of income for many farmers, you create new extremists and new enemies. it is better to find better ways to disrupt the taliban then try to disrupt many of their income streams that so many people depend upon for their livelihoods. >> tell me about the typical things that you witnessed. >> well, there are two drone units in afghanistan. one handles the north and one handles the south. the south is bigger and more busy. the numbers are classified. i would guess 100 of these drums. -- drumones.
thyou can hang missiles on bombs on these things. they had a bunch of different sensors in the noses such as cameras, radars. they can stay in the air for a long time. they can stay in the air for a day. it is possible for them to orbit for a day. they are looking down, taking radar snapshots of terrain. >> what altitude? >> i don't know. that is probably classified. many thousands of feet. sometimes you can hear them but he cannot really see them because they are too small. >> did you see a unit in action
actually attacking a specific point? >> no, the drone units in afghanistan do not actually handle many attacks. the drug operations are bifurcated. most of the drone operators, the people who steered them, they sit in these trailers and they see what the drone seas. most of them are in las vegas. they work at air force base in nevada. the guys in afghanistan just launched and recovered them. they're also responsible for some small areas around the air base. what happens is that this is a 24 operation. the people are constantly tracking them out to the air strip, launching them, and then they pass them off to the guys and las vegas. the guys in las vegas, they will fly around for a day or so and
then they will return control to the people in afghanistan. then they will get to keep the drum for like an hour -- drone like that for an hour. >> is the image that good? >> they are very good. the radar will take pictures of the terrain. in the morning, you take one snapshot. you come back in the evening, you take another. you compare them. if you see differences. , he might have spotted a bomb. the taliban will come in, they will. when you're not looking. if you have those two snapshots, you can spot brit has been very apparent that is a lot of what they do. -- you can spot and it has been
very apparent that something has changed. >> what is the experience about the multiple deployments? >> a lot of the people of were with were fairly young. front-line infantry guys are often teenagers. many of them are on their first appointmentdeployments. the senior guys have been at this for a long time. i hear a lot about morale in the news in the u.s.. it is funny because it seems like they're talking about a different war or army because i'm not sure that morale means anything in afghanistan. if might for other armies but for the u.s. army, this is a professional army. probably the world's most professional army ever.
they are highly trained, highly educated, extremely well equipped come up fairly well compensated -- well-equipped, fairly well compensated. these guys do a job because they are doing a job. they're doing a job that some might not believe in but they are doing a job. they are able to separate their emotions and personal feelings and even their personal politics from the job. i guess if you really boils down to an emotional motives, usually they are fighting for the person next to them. it is impossible to generalize
about an entire army when it comes to morale. you could sit down and talk to one soldier about this. they might have to take a the gripes. the army is actually pretty good about dealing with those in terms of mental health professionals. the army is making an effort to expand to give people more time at home. for years, i have heard that the army is farying, overstretched. from a planning purpose, that might be true. it is not like the army is imploding. there is not a psychic collapse going on. >> you were in afghanistan during the start about the debate about how many troops should be sent. what is your sense?
>> there is a growing sense of realism that no one will get everything that they want. general mccrystal has set a high bar for what he considers adequate resources. what is the number he is throwing around, 40,000? there is an understanding that that is not necessarily going to happen. if it does happen, it will not happen fast. what is happening is that officers are making do and they're finding ways to make do with fewer troops. a lot of these people to embrace the idea of the population centric counter insurgency. your goal is to protect the population. you can excise whatever extremist elements have managed to get into the population. you need a lot of troops to do
that. what is emerging is a kind of hybrid shut agee where you protect major population centers and you try to win hearts and minds and through indirect means outside of those major population centers. >> was last time you were there? >> 2007. >> how have things changed? >> there is no major progress to report. the challenges that i sauna in 2007 are the challenges that i saw in 2009. -- the challenges that i saw in 2007. there might be some differences in certain localities but broadly speaking, seeing built a huge country. -- it is still a huge country.
i am not sure that troops are the answer. it is clear to me that more than the taliban, the enemy as corruption. the enemy is a government that has declined to pull itself together. it seems that most senior officials just want to get rich. they want to gather power for themselves and they don't care about afghanistan as a state and certainly don't care about the constituents. you can kill taliban all day, you will just end up creating more by creating matermoratyrs.
you cannot win this war until there is a government that takes this seriously and that is not happening. >> what was the most interesting thing that you saw this trip? quest getting shot >> and getti. there was an ambush when we're coming back from moscow. a truck was destroyed but it survived. -- but the occupancy survivts survived. i've come to believe in american technology. i don't want to be the person who feels invincible when he
attracted millions of dollars worth of military equipment. i do. we absorbable to bullets, everyone was fined. then we shot back. -- we absorbed the bullets, everyone was fine. the tree line was just demolished. the sheer quantity of firepower that they dropped was hilarious and on inspiring because it was massive overkill. we killed a cow. that is bad. >> how are you able to maintain oyour calm? >> it is not easy.
they were using the patch to fire grenades. i was only able to shoot video and side of the vehicle of the infantry there with me. it was tough because i did not want to shine a light in their face. i was only able to get little snippets of video. this is something that they don't do often. they realize this is not really their job. what was your impression of how they were after the fire fight? >> they have all done this before. there was a young man in the back of the truck, a great guy. i ran into him at lunch a few days later and we were talking about a firefight.
it was unusually long firefight. they usually don't hang around but they kept shooting. he talked about his mind set when he is in a situation like that. he said the key to surviving is to not care about surviving. if you think too hard about protecting yourself, you don't take the steps that you know you need to take to resolve the situation as quickly as possible. as soon as they can get out of the vehicles, they get out of the vehicles and they gained some high ground and looked around at the enemy and then call in artillery and mortars. that requires getting exposed. that is scary but in the end it is safer to take care of the problem than it is to just let them shoot at you forever.
you survive by increasing death. -- embracing death. they have not taken a lot of casualties and a lot of the reason is that they are willing to confront the death. >> you mentioned the training, do you see that inaction? >> yes, and 18-year-old who within seconds of getting blown up and peppered with gunfire is calling in artillery and coordinating the movements of troops all over the place and is firing his own weapon and dealing with a reporter shining a light in his face all at the same time while maintaining a pretty pleasant attitude. that is very impressive. >> how do you make sure you have
enough tape, your batteries are charged, all of that? >> well, i did not spend a whole lot of time sleeping outdoors in the desert. every night, returned home to a nice little face and had a very good first sergeant there are responsible for building the house and getting power and things like that. he really cared about his guys. i could plug things in that night and recharge them. it is expensive work. flying over there and miscellaneous expenses that you accumulate. it is not always easy and comfortable but it sure beats embedded with the taliban as an american, i will probably make it through. >> thank you for your, thank you for joining us.
♪ >> i am talking 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 by 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 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 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 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, into its grand state floors where the rooms and spaces all tell stories of the past, and
about the white house. you have the tranquil state rooms, and 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 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 house really can be open to everybody.
>> sitting in the middle of 18 acres known as the president's park, 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 are 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 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 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 revolutionized how we see the 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 it to 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 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 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. >> 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 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 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. >> 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 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. 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, 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 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. 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 hoban. >> james hoban 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 scheduled to move to a new federal city on the potomac by 1800, in 1792, washington and
design competition to build a president's house. after the selection of james hoban as the designer and architect, problems soon arise before the cornerstone is 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. 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 most public and 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. 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 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, abigail adams uses the east room for anything but what washington envisioned. >> she did use it as a drawing room. she set up clotheslines in there. 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 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 their 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, 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, they have a president to thank for allowing the public to come in for tours. his presence is felt throughout the rooms. >> 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. 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. 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 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 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- span.org 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 america's most symbolic structures. get your own copy of american
icons, a three disk dvd set. order online at c- span.org/store. >> 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 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 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. >> 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. 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 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 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 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, 6 feet wide, made of carved rosewood. >> 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 she began a campaign when she got here to redecorate this entire building.
>> he saw it and flew into a rage, and said it would stink in the nostrils of the american people. >> 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. 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 lincoln'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 not only to a family, but to union troops for the past five years, as peace between the north and south comes in
april 1865. 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, lincoln 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. >> 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 lincoln melodrama, the white house probably would not be there today. >> in the decades following lincoln, the white house is once again rate in black, following 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.
>> 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 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 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 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. >> 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 grand. >> it is hard for people to imagine today that the 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 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 father ever created. >> a lasting image left from 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 lions recarved as bison. >> when i look at that portrait 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 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. >> 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 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 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 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 memorial. 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, and have family dinners with our girls and our parents and
brothers and sisters, and other people who visit us here. >> if you would like additional information on the supreme court, the white house, or the u.s. capitol, visit our c- span.org website. there you will find links, photographs and other information at c-span.org. >> 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, the capitol. 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 c- span.org/store. >> and our c-span original documentary, "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 hall you are looking down. it is a wonderful color, because this is really an interior hall. no other windows, so the yellow is a great color for an interior hall. this space really does feel like home. >> in the middle of the
>> this is a room that i have had a baby showers and met with the dalai lama. we had a luncheon for queen elizabeth and friendprince phil. we were able to point out the mantel sat that were heard gift from her father to president truman when she visited the white house as princess elizabeth. there are years of history in nearly everything in this room. >> it is a room full of history in a houseful of the stories of those that have lived here and
altered this home over time. >> 1 if you will be president, i don't advise you to try to be. the happiest day i ever spent my life was that day i left the white house. >> when the left, the president is determined to make the house a home. the home that into it is beginning to show its age. >> when they began to see the home on tour, they were appalled. there were marks on the wall where the pictures had been panther she could not a magic live in there. >> the roosevelts took an lot of
stuff out. the place looks like a hotel that people had moved out of. it began to worry people. >> in the east room, plaster begins to fall. the home is rodding and his team they fire hazard. it is obvious that drastic changes needed. -- the home is rotten and is deemed to a fire hazard. as you look at the film shot by president truman, the south portico is missing a feature that you see today. located just off of the yellow oval room, this is where first
families can come to relax while looking out over the south lawn without having to go through the public part of the house. >> he wanted the balcony for convenience. living in a cage was not appealing to him. everyone that has lived there loves it. they have a beautiful view. mrs. reagan used to livke it. >> president truman is criticized for changing the architectural look of the white house. >> this is a metaphor for so much that goes on. something that will desecrate a national treasure.
it was very characteristic of harry truman. he saw the comfort, the relaxation that indeed balcony would provide. they are grateful to him for making it more livable. >> all innovations usually cause trouble. mrs. fillmore insisted on putting a bathtub. you should read the papers about what a terrible day it was. they threatened to injure for putting the bathtub and the white house. i put more bathtubs and when i rebuild the white house.
a complete reconstruction will include more bathtubs. >> the historic and outside walls that george washington had put in, it is mandating that they stay untouched but authorizes the gutting of the entire white house. >> how they did it is an engineering masterpiece. they made four steel legs to hold up the top floor. all the way into the ground. below the basement, where the subbasement was to be when the house is finished. they brought them thru window openings and into tribes. they dug them down.
them. the house was literally an empty vessel. >> filling in the empty shell of the mansion, truman told a white house for the future for define the inside with steel instead of wood. while he preserves the historical interiors to what they have been in the past. he made a change that impacts an important part of the white house ceremony thereafter. he shows off the newly rebuilt white house in the first ever televised toward the mansion in 1952. he came down on the brand new grand staircase that he designs. >> it was changed because
president truman thought it was awkward to go down. teddy roosevelt had had it put in. it was very awkward. he had it redesigned. there was a lot of thinking and working. the stair provides the photo opportunity. >> there is no doubt that this white house is a stage set up and one of the most important crops in the stage is the grand staircase which is used at state dinners. it is interesting and ways that
harry truman affected the white house. this was so that presidents could relax on the porch and he also gave us the grand staircase which is anything but relaxing. >> he really preserve to the white house for all time. it was lucky that it happened when he was there because he had the vision and the sensitivity of objects of historical things. >> more than a century before, another president and first lady will have a similar task before them. in the spring of 89, rebuilding
political wife. she was good for president outspoken or greatest orator. she brought these people together that probably would never have been caught in the same room. 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 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. -- complemented the fabric. 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.
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 widower. 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. 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. 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 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.
that is where the wheels of the united states really began to monroe thought that the era of ever and political bodies would 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 are in
the room, they were acquired by president monroe from france. he was criticized for buying 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. >> it is a museum that helps tell the story of this house. it is a private home that
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 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.
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 --
in 1962, it is just an idea. signed in his room. this says that this room was during the administration -- 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 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, 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. a source of strength for us in the white house. i think the white house is worthy of the closest attention lived here and visit here in your part of our citizenry. that is why i am glad that
jackie is making the effort she 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 c-span.org. you'll find links, public information, and history of the three buildings and the institutions that house. that is that c-span.org.
>> american icons continuously. 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 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 -- have a profound effect on how they view the president and how events can shape that as well. >> 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. 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.
>> 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. -- the carpet 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? -- 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 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. himself that wilson was dead and he was alive before you went back to sleep -- before he went 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.
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. from the vietnam protesters at the beginningto 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 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 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.
>> [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 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. >> the kids went on with life as
though they were still in their house. i do not think there is any example and the whole history of the white house where people seem less impressed by it. >> 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
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 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 -- >> it is a place where president eisenhower barbeques outside on his patio. 25 years later, when president
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.
>> 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 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. 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. >> 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 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 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.
>> if you want additional information of the supreme court, the white house, or the u.s. capitol, as it c-span.org. there, you'll find links, public information, and histories of the three buildings and the institutions they house. that is at c-span.org. "american icons." three nights of original documentaries on the iconic homes 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 disc dvd set. c-span.org/store -- order at c- span.org/store.