tv Q A CSPAN April 15, 2012 11:00pm-12:00am EDT
about your father? >> he was a larger-than-life figure. my father no. very close and i still miss him every single day. what i remember about him was a kind of profound integrity that he had. the integrity is meeting the same person on the inside and a portrait of the outside. i have to say that my very first job out of law school was in the senate. there are all these dynamic figures. i remember thinking at the time i am not sure any of these guys
hold a candle to my dad. >> let's show the audience to your father was. >> i owe it to my wife in a yearlong campaign. he saved untold thousands of human lives. he left behind the comfort, safety, affluence of stockholm to go to budapest, to do his utmost to stand between the nazi war machine and tens of thousands of innocent victims.
he saved a vast number of them, my wife and myself included. >> he is talking about a humanitarian issue at the height of the nazi occupation of budapest had been a german ally. there occupied by the german. the final solution was implemented in hungary. budapest is the heart of the country. he came as one of sweden's most powerful families. he could easily put the war in mutual freedom. his only connection to the
sport's future victims was his humanity. they call the most from the north. they initiated a number of very innovative efforts to save the lives of many hungarians. he invented a passport which was really nothing more than a charade, a document that said the bearer of this past has permission from the royal swedish government to immigrate to sweden. it was just a piece of paper, but the piece of paper it say thousands of lives. not only did he do this coming he persuaded many of his colleagues to also begin issuing similar protective passports. he also had safe houses where
he hung the swedish flag. he tried to show diplomatic protection to these apartment buildings and then crammed as many people in as possible. my father was able to make his way to the safe house. every so often they would be rated. he was not there personally to protect and defend the many people who were taken from these houses. it provided a measure of protection. sometimes he would go when he got notified of a train about to leave from the train station, he would go person with his driver. he must've been a man a personal charisma, because he would demand to get on the train. he would demand that he let me on to find them.
they often would appeared he would go on to these cars packed with the hopeless and doomed, he was the moses of the north. he would take you with me. some people did. others had nothing but they would pull out a laundry ticket and he would say yes, this is one of mine. it must've been heartbreaking at the same time. people were only saved a few of the times that time. my parents went to find out whatwas arrested by the soviets when budapest fell. he disappeared. for many years the russians
claimed he had died early on in his custody. in the 1970's, rumors and evidence was leaking out that there was a swede in soviet mental hospitals by the name of wallenberg who said my only crime was saving jews. my mother founded the free wallenberg committee and tried to have him freed. my father's very first act upon being elected to congress and the 1980 election was this making raoul wallenberg a u.s. citizen. the only person after winston churchill to be honored by the government. 2012 is the centennial year of his birth. the lantos foundation, who i am president of along with the
swedish government, is really engaged in a yearlong series of commemoratives stints to honor him. one of the singular humanitarian of the 21st century. i had the most extraordinary personal moments a year ago when my first daughter was born on his birthday. it would have been his 99th birthday. she was born in copenhagen. he saved the world. i thought of this brave young jewish boy and girl stage by this incredible swedish hero and how not that many
generations later a little girl was a boring thanks to him on his birthday. it also happens to be president obama's birthday. my granddaughter has some very distinguished soulmates to live up to. >> believe it or not, you first came to our attention not because of your father but because of seeing you on this network talking. we asked you to come. it turns out there's a lot more to talk about. we will come back to this at some point. where you live? >> i live in new hampshire. the main claim to fame is that it was the first place of mary baker eddy outside of concord. i'm married to dick swett. i first heard is then, i thought who names their kid that?
he is from new hampshire. when i met him, in 1977, we will have been married 32 years, he prided himself on same that he would never have anything to do with lawyers or politicians. we joked that he married a lawyer and became a politician and ran for congress and served in congress for a few terms. >> when did he serve? >> 1990-1994. he was a moderate that got out in the mid been a revolution. >> how did he get to be ambassador to denmark?
>> he had lost his seat in 1994 in part i think because he passed a very courageous vote on the assault weapons ban. it is a tough thing to do in a state like new hampshire. i think probably president clinton felt a degree of appreciation that he had been willing to put what he thought was the good of the country and as principles against his political interests. that was a tough experience. he had to wear a bulletproof vest on the advice of a police. some of our kids were pretty young then. it was a very difficult
campaign. it was very vitriolic and violence. a lot was directed at my husband. i was dressing the kids to go to a parade. we have seven. no twins. one at a time. we're very fortunate. >> they are all yours? >> one at a time. one of my younger children sort of looked at me and said "is this one of the parade where people heckle us?" you think is this what we want to expose them to? we started talking about my father. absolutely. not because i want them to have
the unpleasantness, but i want them to understand that when you do the right thing you do not always get the pat on the back. sometimes when you do what you believed to do the right thing you do get attacked. that is when your family need to be there and stand with you and show their support. >> when did you lose your dad? >> four years ago. >> my mother is not only alive and well but serves as the chairman of the lantos foundation. we determine the wanted to determine a foundation to carry on his legacy as a real fighter for human rights. my father founded young congressional human rights caucus which we are very proud has since been renamed the tom
lantos human rights foundation. the co-chairmen are congressman mcgovern and congressman wolf. >> a democrat and a republican. >> yes. >> i want to show what your mother is like so they can see the resemblance. >> you flatter me. >> it is not the question of republican or democrat. they could never get very anxious and excited about politics. it is democracy or communism or not. these are the options. he was basically always fighting for democracy. that was one of the core values of his existence. >> no. do you like her?
>> it is incredibly flattering. she's also an incredibly brilliant person come a very different from my father in different ways. he was an intellectual and an agnostic. my mother has been a very spiritual person. while very brilliant, she is more intuitive i think then my father. she is passionate. the whole family extends out not just to the children of her grandchildren. we do have this incredible commitment to human rights. it is the central value that our family believes in. i think it does come from my father. as she said in that clip, he tended to view things in that
big picture sense of democracy, battling against other ideologies, freed them and a world in which democrats could persuade. my mother was the one who took that the picture and helped my father and understand and recognize that it is changing the lives. >> one of the things in the background is the fact that you are born to jewish parents. what year did you do this? why? >> i very much consider myself to be jewish. >> do your children practice? >> we honor both traditions is the way i would put it.
it was actually my mother who converted to mormonism when i was a child. i did have the blessing and opportunity of having a very american experience and ability to create a hybrid of who you are and what you believe in. >> are you attracted to him because of the mormon tradition? >> i was not. he joined the mormon church after he met me. latter-day saints is an interesting one. it is very close to do deism. there are more ties there than
in some of the other dominations. they have a sharp break between them. there are other really wonderful strong similarities between these two groups. >> there are about 40 million jews in the world and about 12 million mormons out of 13 billion people. do you feel that when you go back? do you feel any discrimination? what does it mean that romney is a mormon? >> a lot have spoken about this as a mormon moment. when you have someone with such natural prominence as governor romney, this is the attention that has been somewhat marginalized and perhaps ignored or seen more through the
lens of the exotics of their history. we did not come to the mormon pioneer's background. i think discrimination would be too strong a word. having been myself in public life and having run for office, i do find there were on occasions people who felt at liberty to make assumptions or cast dispersant based on their presumptions about i happen to be a democrat. i ran as a pro-choice woman. i would have that challenge. people suggested that wasn't true. i said, why would you say that? >> you have children.
sometimes it would come up, it is your belief, it makes you skeptical. i think everybody runsinto those kinds of deceptions and a certain willingness to distort a point of view to fit those preconceptions. looking at the latter-day saint community, i think for the most part people will like and approve of what they see. it is certainly a community that has shown a lot of strength both in terms of the strong family as a personal responsibilities, patriotism. a lot of generosity. they can contribute in
financial and other ways. >> do you have to type every year? >> you never have to do anything. the most common theological doctrine would be this notion of freedom and free choice. sometimes it is referred to in to be free agency. the most important thing to god is the freedom of the sons and daughters here on earth. he put us in an environment where every choice is ours. a lot of observance do pay significant tie. >> i want to show you in 2011 talking about a subject that is afraid of all right now. >> from a western perspective that it is commonly narcissistic. it has been built up.
it is a free media. russia has been retreating combat not advancing. that is a cause of enormous concern. putin has been meeting this retreat from a democracy that i think we in the west were hoping would be taking russia. we have been involved in the case of the russian billionaire who was russia's most successful and wealthiest businessmen who became a target of putin because of his wealth and success, but as he began, russia was making it very messy and uneven. he's sort of had an evolution
where he was becoming somebody you absolutely solve the rationed future lay in becoming a modern society. they were becoming a completely legitimate western-style company with an independent board of directors. they pay more taxes than any other corporate entity. in the political arena, he saw this was taking pressure backward. this was unacceptable. he became the target of an utterly politicized legal
prosecution/persecution. he was convicted. he had served about eight years in prison and was due to be released. the first trial had been a sham. if the first trial was a sham, you could say "well, some taxes weren't paid." nobody was paying them. pretend fears this man. he has been determined to keep them locked up. in the long years of the imprisonment, he emerged as a cross between the count of monte christo and nelson mandela. he has become something quite
>> he ran for the senate? >> i started to. i did not run. i continue to run. i began a campaign to run. >> the governor, we spoke. she shared with me that she had decided that she did want to run. as a democrat, i felt she was probably our best bet. it was hard. it turned out that it was a great year to be running into democrats. we had a great slogan. "you work, hard, they should oto, make your senator swett."
we are lucky in new hampshire, it is a very exciting place to be involved in our quadrennial drum up of presidential politics. we do a heck of a job here. i want to give a shout out to the granite state. we do a super job. but my husband and i had the opportunity to meet with the candidates that year. this is still in the tradition of the jackson democrats. i am sure it is familiar to you.
it very simply was someone that was tough on foreign policy but progress of. >> let's show a brief video from 2003. >> undeclared are independent voters can pick up a ballot. we are going to be targeting a lot of efforts. they tend to be republicans but there are more moderate. we think they are going to want to pick up a democratic ballot. >> looking at the world as it has developed all you ran for the house. what is a democrat today? >> let me tell you why i am a
democrat. i am a democrat because the most fundamental shoot for me is whether we tried to create a society in which the broad base of the middle-class has a chance to find their american dream. we can achieve that by focusing upon policies that opened doors for those that are trying to get into the middle class. traditionally, republicans have more of that trickle-down notion of how you have a vibrant economy. i am also a democrat because i do believe, looking back over the modern history is the party
that has been at the leading edge of opening the doors of opportunity as widely as possible. when i ran for congress often talked about my parents coming year. >> what year? >> they came in the late 1940's. >> were they married? >> no. they got married in this country. there were literally childhood sweethearts. it is really a wartime scope. >> where did they land when they got here? >> my father landed in new york. he used to tell the story of being on the boat. of course he was pretty in a
seated by the time he came over here. he came over on a scholarship. he won a scholarship. they have a cafeteria on this boat. a dining hall. he had a trade. he was going through the line to get food. at the end of the buying was a big bowl of fruit it was such an incredible thing. there were oranges and bananas. he wanted one orange and one banana in a thought it would not be permitted. it was a navy ship i guess. my father very politely said excuse me, are we to take just an orange or a banana. my dad had a charming hungarian accent and acts this out,
saying the man said you could eat all the bananas and oranges you want. it was a different life. >> when did mom come? >> she came a little bit later. my father by that time was living in seattle washington. she came to washington state. littlee we're on this a bit, what happened to both of them when the russians tried to get you? >> my mother and her mother were saved through protective passports. it was a portuguese passport. he persuaded other colleagues in the diplomatic courts to follow his examples.
they were able to get out of a false portuguese passport. it is a very dramatic story. it'll probably take all the time it takes. it really has not been told. my mother comes amid very glamorous family backgrounds. her father and had the largest jewelry store in all of hungary. she is cousins with the sisters. there were three of them. magda was thought to be the most beautiful of all although she never became an actress. she was actually working at the portuguese consulate. there was a connection there. the family got to know the general. it was not completely random. they did have a relationship there. my father had been taken to a slave labor camp. hungarian troops were there. my father escaped. he previously was recaptured and badly beaten. he managed to escape a second time.
there are some incredible stories we have of close calls. >> what is the impact on me being the daughter of to holocaust survivors? is there any? >> it is profound. it is something i try to pass along to my children. it gives you enormous perspective on life. you learn to look at things through a very different lens. in our family, not only did they personally face existential threat to their existence, but they face them as part of a targeted race. a lot of terrible things happen around the world every day. whether through violins or car accidents. we can see existential tragedies that the fall families.
what made the holocaust so scary and the impacts of profound on subsequent generations, it is that the eventual threat was targeted because of who our family was, because of being jewish. that is why about the faith traditions we have. there is no way i could ever not to be jewish or profoundly identify with that heritage on mine. too many of my forbearers suffered so much to bring that
tradition and that culture and that faith down to me. by extension to my children, it is very profound. that is now what i do, focus on human rights globally. >> i have to ask you who these people are. i'm going to name them slowly. >> is it a test? >> it is. >> chelsea. sebastian. >> yes. keaton, chanteclaire, kismet, atticus, and sunday. >> those are my seven children. there are stories about how each of those names came. sebastian is named for his great-grandfather who was
killed in the holocaust. he is now finishing up at yale law school. i would not be surprised if he became a human rights fighter. i am a deal undergrad. >> where did you get your law degree? >> the university of california. his middle name is amadeus. keaton is my third son. he's very bright and new internet start up guy. he is named after the english poet. >> chante. chanteclaire.
>> she was just somebody who i wanted to give a french name to. we thought it was time for a french name in the family. it means to sing clearly. >> kismet. >> chanteclaire was supposed to be the last child. i said this is kismet. that is how she got that name. she is 22. >> atticus is named for the great lawyer, atticus finch. he was named atticus omega. alpha and omega were done. people said, you may want to change that.
we did end up with one more amazing daughter, sunday phoenix. sunday was the end of the week's worth of children. if i would have known i would have seven, i would have named them sunday, monday. she was named phoenix. she was born after my husband's was in that tough campaign. the phoenix is a wonderful symbol. >> you lost the 2010 race. >> i lost in the democratic primary to a woman by the name of anne custer.
it was a good experience. in the primaries and both parties, it is increasingly the case that people who are probably moderate and proudly in the center of that political spectrum, sometimes it is a difficult place to be in a primary race. i think that is understandable. i am not sure it is healthy for our political system. i lost badly. i did not do very well. i decided maybe i am not cut out for politics.
i managed my dad's first campaign in congress. i managed my husband's first campaign in congress. i came to recognize that as much as i loved it, we are the real hardcore. i have no desire to be cured. you're a huge hero of mine. maybe i can do more and contribute more not as candidates. >> what is the lantos foundation? >> it is a human rights organization. our mission is to work to see to it that human rights remain an essential component of american foreign policy. when we are evaluating our policy moves globally, human rights can never be the only consideration. it has to be part of the dialogue. when we are reflecting our best
values, we generally succeed. when we abandon our values, the war on terror or the policy with russia and the upcoming issue of whether or not, should pass the accountability act, whether or not we are going to stay on record as saying that human rights matter in russia and china. >> how much money does your foundation have? >> it is a very small organization, but it is a substantial endowment. i will not go into too much detail but it is close to $8 million. >> how much do you spend every year? >> under $600,000. we are small.
we like to punch above our waist. we are able to leverage alliance of partnerships with others. >> i want to run some video. >> human rights are individual. whether the rights of individuals are violated in the soviet union or iran or cuba or south africa, it is our responsibility to stand up and speak out. >> it came from the state department. if he goes through with this invitation, it will be the
american policy. they put pressure to stop it. my husband could tell the entire state department to go fly a kite. that is what he did. >> i have to be careful how i asked this. why is it people fuss over the dalai lama? this man has retired. he was born into this. people call him in your holiness. he represents what? why is it that people get him so much respect. >> the dalai lama is one of the great spiritual leaders of our
time. he sense that when you're in his presence. one of the things that is always so remarkable to me is he aware [inaudible] bring in people are a dime a dozen. he does not fit that tradition. it is both the power of his teachings and even more than that. that emanates from him which is extraordinary. there is another side to it. he has been depressed by the chinese. they need economy and respect. there have been efforts that
swamping the tibetan homeland for the character of tibet. he had to plead for his life. it is about some very important political and human rights issues. it is the convergence of him as the man of great intellect. his writing is very brilliant and profound. this has joined in a river with the broader geopolitical issues, repression and religious autonomy and respect and preservation of the tibetan culture and nation. it is the onslaught of china. their obsession in hatred for this peaceful man is inexplicable. >> hollywood stars often pick a country and began to represent them. i do not care whether it is the
sudan or tibet or richard gere are clooney or whatever. why are we putting this money on him when there's nothing special other than you so good when you're around him. a lot of time is spent. people just want to take on a cause. explain that to people who are cynical. >> i am not a cynical person. i am always said when i come across people like that. i would say he represents a kingdom and a land that is an iconic symbol of something very profound. it is something about the. the world that needs to remain what tibet is. there are just eight universal
human rights. why is the attention focused there? there are enough tragedy's to go around. we do not seem capable of giving equal attention to all. there are some reasons why. >> you gave your first award to the dalai lama. so it is the honor of its. it is a small organization. there's not a lot of prize money attached. we would like someday to be able to do that to advance the human rights of that individual. our second recipient was the famed writer and holocaust survivor. a recipient last year was the hero of hotel rwanda.
some people did not like that. >> people were basically the advocates on behalf of the presidents of rwanda. >> he is a friend? >> no. he was in some ways the savior of rwanda. he was the one he brought to an end the genocide. he deserves credit for many important things he has done for his country. he's also a highly authoritarian leader. he is a man. he was a hotel manager. he did the human and decent thing to do, to give refuge to
people in the hotel. they view him as something of an adversary. >> let me ask you this. why has it near father -- [inaudible] >> he did as much as any human being. >> what did your mother? >> i do not know the answer to that. my mother was awarded the centennial prize by the hungarian government. did they are doing a year-long wallenberg year. they had important things.
opening on april 19, there'll be an outstanding exhibits on raoul wallenberg in the. for who wants to learn about him in a manageable exhibit, it will be opening there. my mother was awarded the centennial prize. >> i want to show you a little piece of tape. this is with your niece charity. something happens after this particular performance. >> i thought it was appropriate to sing my grandmother's favorite song. ♪ when you walk through the storm, keep your head up high
and don't be afraid of the dark >> that was four years ago. >> she had two double lung transplants. she just returned to washington from the cleveland clinic. her first one was successful but in the lungs went into rejection earlier than we hoped. she needed a second one. bless the incredible surgeons at the cleveland clinic. they saved this beautiful opera singer's life. she literally just came back to
washington where she lives with their husband. >> how old is she? >> i believe 28. >> do they call your sister annette junior? >> we call my mother nemo. they are both very diminutive. >> why did charity have to have the lung transplant? >> she was diagnosed in her early 20s a condition. it means that they do not know why she had pulmonary hypertension which can be brought on by a lot of things, smoking in various other things.
she never smoked a day in her life. >> is she still singing? >> that is the remarkable thing of it. she is not lost her voice. as she regains her strength, she will hopefully be able to regain her singing voice. she sang at the lincoln center in 2011. >> dick swett is doing what now? >> he is running a business called private prosperity which aims to bring out sustainable economical development to the developing world. it is working in a number of places in the world. >> what is left for you? >> i felt incredibly blessed in
my life. i have parents that were inspirational. i am now excited about the work at the lantos foundation. we are involved in the holocaust initiative. we step list it in conjunction with a partner memory. we are involved in anti trafficking initiatives. it is a pretty privileged life to be able to try and do something when you see great wrongs in the world. i tried to imagine anything more satisfying. >> katrina lantos swett, thank you.
>> the easiest way to get a hold of me is through the foundation. i am always available through that. i will let anyone who's interested on behalf of human rights globally, we welcome their outrage. -- outreach. >> thank you very much. >> it has been an honor. >> for a dvd copy, call 1-877- 6625-1766 for free transcripts or to give us your comments, visit us at www.q-and-a.org. "q & a" programs are also available as c-span podcasts. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012]
>> next, remarks by imf managing director christine lagarde. after that, the president of the export import bank talks about future funding of the bank. in the ceo of delta air lines discusses competition and consolidation in the airline industry. >> tomorrow on "washington journal," a roundtable on the week ahead for congress with meredith shiner of roll call. irs taxpayer advocate nina olson talks about how her office helps taxpayers navigate their returns. this discussion on federal programs that provide direct job training and employment assistance to low-income individuals over 65 years old. >> frankly, we owe it to our