tv QA with Barbara Feinman Todd CSPAN February 19, 2017 11:00pm-12:00am EST
with professor barbara feinman todd. a with professor barbara feinman todd. then, justice ruth bader ginsburg and it will be followed by a presidential leadership survey. ♪ announcer: this week on "q&a," georgetown professor barbara feinmann todd. and how she was still able to did herself out of the washington swamp. brian: barbara feinman todd, your book is "pretend i'm not here," why the title?
barbara: the most salient reason is because i felt as if i was not here for many years. that other people treated me as though i was not visible. and that was in part because of the role i played. i was a ghostwriter. but also because it was easier for people who needed a helper to pretend as if i was not there. brian: why? barbara: because i think people don't >> people in washington want power. they want to appear powerful. needing help is seen by a lot of people i guess as a sign of weakness. brian: we are going to talk about a lot of the people, he -- but just name a lot of them so people know how involved you were with ghostwriting. barbara: i want to make a distinction right off the bat. a lot of people i was not helping as a ghostwriter, i was a researcher.
i was what is referred to as a consulting editor, i was a book midwife. so some people like ghost wrote for, some people it was in between, other times i was mostly a helper. brian: that includes what names? barbara: i helped hillary clinton with "it takes a village ," i was hired as a host writer. and then bradley, i was a researcher. i did some editing for them. some cajoling, nagging, -- get your nec, --t in the seat depending on who that was. that kind of stuff.
brian: my favorite is more a taylor. barbara: he was a republican candidate, in the presidential race of 1992. he was -- he still is a owner of a tire company. he is just a zany, wonderful character. and michael rose wrote about in a, made him a character campaign diary. michael went on to write a book. brian: let me show some videos, so we can talk about hillary clinton. here she is back on february 26, 1996. [begin video clip] mrs. clinton: i had so much help. i had friends who read every word, every critique. literally, i started making a list, i was nowhere near done. i just threw up my hands and said i cannot do this. i was afraid i would leave somebody out. >> was someone paid to spend time with you?
by simon & schuster? mrs. clinton: i think her for what she did for me. she worked with me for a couple months, she was not here for the whole time. and i think her for what she did to me. -- for me. i was grateful for that help. ] nd video clip brian: that is you. barbara: that is me. brian: what is your reaction to that? barbara: i see that and so much more, it is exposure therapy for me. i don't have much of a reaction at this point. i will say that acknowledgment pages can go into hundreds of names. mrs. clinton came up with 16 pages and she was afraid she would leave somebody out. that to me does not seem at a good enough reason to have an acknowledgment page, especially because i would be thanked in my contract. the thing about not been acknowledged is that i did not need the attention if i would
have been one name it in a sea of names. that i have been thanked for my good cheer or whatever standard line it is that people use. brian: how did, how did you get involved with her in the first place? barbara: i have done a lot of work for simon and schuster. bob woodward, carl bernstein, ben bradley, they were all published by simon and schuster, editor was myy editor. through that.w me she started giving me other assignments, some other editing assignments. there was some rewriting that had to be done, some line editing, they farm that out. one day i got, i had moved out temporarily to the eastern shore to just try and get some writing done.
this is embarrassing, i had gotten a fax machine, this was back in 1995. actually this was late 1994. when mrs. clinton was first lady. i had set up my fax machine wrong and it made the all not work. which i did not know. it is i was just in his house trying to call me. and i got home one day and there was this fax. i had somehow got the ring europe. there was a fax from mayhew and said, are you available? i have something really interesting. i picked up the phone and said yes, what is it? she told me i cannot tell you but it is a woman in washington. and are you available and the next few days for an interview? i said yes and she said ok and
she said the white house is going to call you. so i still think, maybe it is stiffer goer. i just cannot believe may be was going to be hillary clinton. then the white house called and said hillary clinton would like to meet you and talk to you about helping her on a book. can you be ready in a couple of hours? i said yes. it was an hour and 45 minutes try for a way and when they called i had been gardening. i literally had garden soil under my figure nels and so i had to transfer myself into a semi-professional looking human being and get in the car and go. so i went and she interviewed me and soon after i got the gig. brian: how long did you work for her? barbara: i worked for her for eight months. brian: something happened that led to a story you have in the book?
a story about bob woodward, what was it? barbara: what happened was, i'm going to give you the long answer. brian: fine. arbor: ok. barbara: ok. what happened is, i was having trouble getting enough face time with mrs. clinton. i kept asking the scheduler to put me on the schedule. she kept trying very hard. i kept seeing the scheduler, being a first lady is a tough job. i just was not getting enough time with mrs. clinton to get enough material to have the raw material to put it into a first draft. brian: this was for the book "it i believe youe," call that your title. barbara: yes.
so, what happened next is i got a call saying i should come over to the white house, there was going to be a debriefing, this is clinton has gone on a trip to egypt and several other countries. i should go over and get some material from the staff members. i went over and long story short, i end up in this solarium. a beautiful room in the private residence with these two women, and i did not know who they were. introduced to them. i did not recognize their names. and mrs. clinton came in shortly after. there were one or two staffers in the room. and they started doing what i wherecall an exercise they had mrs. clinton talk to famous people who have passed. people who she admired.
and it was an unusual scene. do with theng to book as far as i can tell. i mean, that was not something tot she was going to want put in the book. i mean, just from how i could tell. i think she was very fearful about putting anything personal in the book. it struckhe mood of me as strange. vulnerablemed very in it. and i did not really understand why i was there. it was another moment of i felt like everybody was pretending i was not there. and i do not mean that as in for me or anything, i mean i was invisible. why was i here? i was a flight on the wall.
so that happened in april of 1995, i had been there for a time of about three months. i went home and i thought to things, one that is weird, two i don't know how i can use that in the book. so i was still in the same predicament. wash was the deadline bearing down on us and i did not have any material. i did not tell anyone about that experience. i told one family member just because i was trying to work it out. it was one of those things where you go through things and you need to say it out loud to somebody else. tell the story, when you think, that's where. i file -- that's weird. i filed it away. and then at the and of the project, i think of was the end of september. it was in the fall.
1996. i handed the manuscript and. the publishing house signed off on it. the white house signed off on it. bob woodward, for whom i had fromd reckon the 1980's, 1980 3-1987, i had worked for at thest as a researcher post and then solely for him on a book you wrote about the cia. i left his employee in late 1987 but he remained a mentor. he remained a friend. he was somebody i would go to if i had some sort of problem. he got me my next jobs. he got me my job working with carl bernstein and then he recommended me to ben brantley. so he was there for me. personally and professionally. he will be offended by did me to come over.
to italy, he going knew i would be gone a month. he invited me over. a reallyer and we had nice, friendly, warm conversation and then he said, let's take a walk. it was a beautiful fall day. it struck me as a little strange. bob woodward is not one to just you know, invite you to take a walk. he is always working, he is always focused on what he is working on. we went for a walk, it was a long walk. i realized as the walk was going on and he was asking me about my work in the white house, that he was trying to as we call it in the business "empty my pockets." i knew what was going on. i had worked with the man for four years. was, i guess i was seduced
by the process. , i want it to be helpful. you know, i had always been in his role as the -- my friends and i would joke about it a lot -- a famous persons girl friday. a friend of mine gave me a postcard from an old movie, it was called idea girl. there was a young woman and there were these three white guys in the background. i had a piece of information that bob woodward wanted. i did not articulate that to myself, when i look back and i ask why i did this stupid thing, i think it comes down to that. i told him. i resisted, you know. i just spoke in general terms about what it was like being in
the white house. then i told him that story about being in the room during this unusual exercise. i told him, you cannot use it. there were only these two women in the room who were doing this. these two guests and then there were you know, one or two staffers and mrs. clinton. if you use it, everybody will know i was the source. and i was very worried about that but i trusted him. i worked for him for more than four years. much of that time was in his house. with his family. i became close with them. and i trusted him. it was stupid. i know that people who read my book and watch this interview and other interviews will roll their eyes and say come on. i am with them. it was stupid. who has not done something
up beingine just ended headlines. because what he did then was he went it and reported the story, he had talked to other people in the room. brian: how long after was this? barbara: i don't know the exact date with me. but it was late september, early october 1995. his book did not come out until june of 1996. so this was the fall of 1995. working on her book, her book was not coming out until january of 19 96. and then his book came out the
following june. in june, the day before the washington post excerpted his book, he called me and he said, i have to give you a heads-up. the story that you told me, i did the reporting and it is in there. you are not named. and i was furious. because i stated the obvious. but not naming me is as bad or worse as naming me. because they knew i was in the room. and i told you this but i told you you could not use it. brian: what happened? barbara: it came out, it was one of the big explosive things. begin oh, with woodward's books there is always you know one egg scene. you know, -- one big scene.
you know, there is always something. there were headlines all over the place, saying hillary clinton is in a seance. all kinds of sensationalized things. brian: did anybody point the finger at you? barbara: for your younger viewers, mary mccrory was a beloved respected legendary political columnist at the washington post. several years ago. about this column story and woodward's book and she said that i had been woodward's assistant and she basically connected the dots. and the new york observer ran a story and accused me of being the source.
brian: what was your reaction? barbara: i was devastated. i was devastated by my betrayal and my own stupidity. so, you know. there was so much going on. just about that and about other things. brian: let me go back. you say you were stupid but you were talking to somebody who was a friend and somebody worked for who you said, here's a story and you cannot use it. why does that make you stupid? and what was your reaction. i mean, what has been your relationship with bob woodward ever since? barbara: let me answer the what makes me stupid about it first. it makes me stupid because he is a reporter, first and foremost.
and it was a good story. realized thatave he might do this. i should not have taken that chance. and my relationship with him since then, he invited me to a couple family parties, and things. i went to one or two of them. i called him once when i needed a job reference. anas getting hired for illustrating gig and the person for whom i was going to be writing wanted a job reference from bobble woodward. it was not my idea but i called him and he did. anyn: have you gotten reaction from him since you publish this story? i have not.w the washingtonian called him up and he said that my account was not correct at all.
so -- brian: here is bob woodward here on another subject on this program in 1991. is a book you worked on. let's see what he says here. clip] video brian: what is the hardest? bob: i would say my book on the cia. they are a agency that plays a very dangerous game. the cia, they have been trained to manipulate and deceive. getting the straight story and getting to know the head of the cia at the time of the book. that is probably the most difficult as a effort. [end video clip] brian: what did he ask you to do?
barbara: do you mean what was my role on the book? brian: at the party. barbara: this is to completely separate stories. the party story, i actually taught journalism at georgetown. i just told this to my students. last week i told them the story. we are doing ethics right now. it was an example. you know, they always like to hear when there are fencers are real people. so it was an example of me as a young woman. i was 26-years-old at the time. doing something slightly unethical, it was kind of a funny story. it is a good teaching tool. this is what happened. --woodward found out that there was going to be a private party for bill casey. thrown by his daughter bernadette. i think it was a 50th wedding anniversary party for bill casey
and his wife. it was a completely closed party at the watergate. day, bob came out of his office at the washington post ben bradlee over. i barely knew him, i only knew he knew me as the girl who answered woodward's phone. to woodward motioned for him come over. he was running the washington post, he was executive editor. there was a conversation during which they decided that for the book it would be great if they knew who was invited to the private party and what went on. -- i don't know. let's send barbara. so what they decided was that i should get dressed up and i
should go down there on saturday night. this was before cell phones, so they decided that bob should stay home that night. b by the phone in case i got caught. arrested, whatever. enjoying thisy because he could see the blood draining from my face. brian: it was the watergate hotel. armor: it was the one again hotel. so i said yes, i will do it. so saturday night came around and i got to step in this black velvet cocktail party dress. sort of off-the-shoulder. so i went to the watergate, i asked the front desk where the party was. downstairs and there are secret service guys posted outside the door where the
cocktail party was going on. and i said, and this is the part where the teaching moment comes in for my students. i said, i am always late for these things. they laughed and i laughed and i went in. i go in his room and i was the youngest person there by about at least 30 years. and i go up to the bartender and i get a club soda. i was to much of a girl scout to even do the real thing. i was so nervous. i get a club so that and i am milling around this room and 50 people are really not even that many people especially if you know nobody. there was nobody for me to check-chat with. i am sure somebody thought i was or something.e so i'm standing on the edge of e-commerce vision going on and i feel this hand on my shoulder. that is why i told you the dress was off-the shoulder. it was a hand on my bare shoulder and here behind me i
hear a woman say, i bet i know who you are. i turned around and i say i bet you do. and she said, aren't you suzy garman? she was a wall street journal journalist. deal, maybe tenure sugar. i am not sure. you know, outing myself i said, look there's henry. and there was henry kissinger across the room. and i shot over to henry kissinger who was talking to a bunch of people and i just stood there. --n i ran into the bathroom i don't have the best memory -- and i wrote down a bunch of names. and my cocktail napkin little purse. i had a place card from the dinner and i wrote down a bunch more names. one of the service -- secret
service guys makes a joke about my small bladder. then they ring the bell for the dinner and that was a problem. it was a seated dinner. it was going to be musical chairs. i went to the payphone and i called and said i have a lot of names, i know who is here, basically can i go home. he said it would be great if you stayed for the toast, go get more. it is good what you got, but go get more. which is a great journalism lesson. i go back into the room. everybody is sitting down. they start giving toasts. i run back to the bathroom and i write down the quotes. i go back and i see a woman who works for the one-a-day looking at me suspiciously and she says, is everything ok? and i started coughing and i said, i do not want to interrupt the toast. i have a call. she gets me cough drops.
i take one and i run back to the bathroom and i write another quote. then i see her talking to some but he also looks like hotel security and they start walking towards me, i've run up the stairs and down the street in my stocking feet. you know, waving a cap. it made it as a paragraph. with none of the storytelling jus, who was there. what the toasts were. but it was a paragraph in the book. so that was the party story you were referring to that i wrote about. bill caseytory is suffering a seizure, it turns out he had a brain tumor. he was in georgetown hospital. in bob woodward wanted to go interview him. and he decided to send me first to try and find where bill casey
was. because he was there under an alias, they were trying to protect his privacy so it was hard. to the hospital and i started walking around and wantt like i just did not to do it. the man was dying. it just seemed pretty -- it was not a big moral thing, i just did not feel comfortable. so instead i went in to kill some time. a not want to go right back to work. so i went into the chapel there and i sat down and i was just thinking about, i am not cut out for journalism because i really do not feel comfortable following and chasing people in this way. i went back and told him that i could not find him, this was the truth. brian: had you found him would you talk to him?
were you going to talk to him? barbara: my memory was not that he expected me to go into the room and interview him. he wanted for me to go no one is going to recognize me. no one is going to notice me. pretend i'm not here. if we were to start roaming around the hospital, people recognize him. the idea was that if he knew where casey was, he could go right there. i was like an advance man. brian: but he did go there. barbara: i went back and said i could not find him. so woodward went. he did find him. he came back. super excited. he values control. self-control.
he was really excited that day. he told me exactly the story that he then put in the book. brian: which was? barbara: which was that he asked casey why they did the whole iran-contra deal, and casey said because i believed. and people took great exception to this. they didn't believe that casey couldn't speak, that he couldn't -- that he was out of it. bob was very clear on what he heard. in the hospital room that day. brian: how soon after that did bill casey guy? barbara: i get remember. a couple months.
brian: here is some video of ben bradley who is the ultimate boss other than kay graham at the post. >> you think a bunch of people in the beginning. barbara feynman was my researcher. she writes books herself. she is now helping hillary clinton. i'm not sure i'm supposed to say that, but i just did. brian: the reason i said hold that thought, because when you talk to ben bradley, just the two of you about bob woodward, what was his reaction? barbara: i have actually never seen that clip. after i worked for woodward, i worked for carl bernstein. i did a few other things, and then been decided to write his autobiography.
he hired me on woodward's recommendation. he got a book deal to do two books, his autobiography at a book he ended up never writing called how to read a newspaper. the way that we decided to do the book, i was the researcher and he was writing it. the way we decided we were going to pull the book out because it had been many years since he had written a book. i would interview him, and then a series of interviews. then i would transcribe the interviews and sometimes make suggestions and sometimes just give him the transcript.
that would be the raw material for him to work. we went for the most part chronologically. we would do one a week or one every two weeks. we would sit there for an hour or two and talk just the way we are. when we got to the watergate section, it turned into a longer discussion about -- other things came into the conversation. one of those was he said that he had a residual fear in his heart that may be some of the details of watergate had been embellished or exaggerated. he didn't use those two words. he had a residual fear that some of it was not quite right. i don't member the exact wording.
later in the conversation, it turned to the casey death bed scene. i told him the story that i had gone to the hospital to look for casey, and not found him and come back and then bob went. bob told me what happened. he expressed a little bit of doubt about just this tiny bit of doubt about that. i think that in the conversations that ban and i had, it was a quiet place to reflect, and it was a place where he could say things that he had control over. it was for his autobiography.
those transcripts are in his papers, which were given to the center at university of texas austin. it is all out there in the public now. he was not thinking about posterity, or maybe he was. my point is that he felt free to say those thoughts that we all have. i included this in the book. i'm not saying -- there is not a big headline here saying then bradley doubted -- it is ben bradley reflected on this reporting and just had some moments of reflection. brian: over the years of this program, a name that has been
mentioned more than anybody else is alice mayhew. we may be the only network that has any video of her because she won't talk to us. back in 2003. >> this is a book. the subtitle is war and peace, vietnam and america october 1967. what we needed to address was does vietnam seem like a very long time ago? is it still relevant? can a writer with the resources and the talent and the meticulousness and dramatic drive bring it to life in such way that it is relevant now? brian: who is alice mayhew and what role has she played in your life and many others?
barbara: alice mayhew is a legendary editor. she is still working after many years. she has edited some of the best writers and thinkers that our country has seen. she is not somebody who likes the limelight. i am not surprised you have not gotten her on the show. i think she should talk to you, because she is so good at what she does and she really has an obligation to share that with the next generation. she is a genius editor. brian: what does that mean? barbara: it means a lot of things. she is somebody who can hear a pitch for a book idea and just know instinctively whether or not it is a good book.
whether or not that is the book you should be writing. she is a terrific line editor, someone who goes line by line and fixes what you do. she prods at just the right moments. she is a tough love editor. she is scary. i was afraid of her because i respected her so much. she was and is -- i don't know her anymore, sadly -- but i had so much respect for her, and she in my life, she was an older woman who was an amazing model. brian: why do you think you had no contact with her after that? barbara: she recommended me to be the ghost writer for it takes a village.
she was not the editor on it. nobody told me this directly, but when i heard at the time from people, that she was editing other books and it would have been a conflict of interest for her to be the actual editor on it. she recommended me for it. hillary clinton is a huge moneymaker for simon & schuster. i was collateral damage in that. barbara feinman todd versus hillary clinton. if you are simon & schuster -- yeah. brian: why did you wind up writing this book for morrow, owned by harpercollins? barbara: my literary agent sent it out to several publishing houses.
one of them was morrow. henry faris is my editor. he was alice mayhew's assistant when i was bob woodward's assistant. when we fell out of touch, we had not talked to each other and more than 20 years. i asked my agent among the people she shopped it around to. we had just fallen out of touch. i had followed his career and he had edited a lot of great books, including dreams from my father, barack obama's book. i just thought that he -- if no other reason, i thought he would get a kick out of reading the book proposal. brian: you went to occidental in
california, then went to uc berkeley around the time that barack obama was there. you studied writing. you also in the course of this book tell the story of a ghost writing you had with senator bob kerrey. barbara: it wasn't ghostwriting. i was his researcher and his editor and i was his knowledge. nudge.wledge every person who has gone into war has struggled with the question did i do it right? i struggle with that question privately since february 1969 when i lead u.s. navy seals on an operation under which we received fire, returned it, and then found only apparently innocent civilians had been killed. for more than three decades i have carried this deeply private
memory with a sense of anguish that words cannot adequately convey. brian: before you talk about his experience in vietnam, you tell a story in the book about the birds. barbara: yes. brian: what's the story? barbara: for about a decade, my brother, sister and i owned a house, a small house out on the eastern shore. it is situated on a marsh. it was a place that i would go to to write or to just take friends there. when bob was writing his book, the demands of the senate, it was very hard for him to get good writing time and focus, and for me to be able to work on the book with him.
we decided to go out to this house on eastern shore for a weekend. nobody had been to the house for a couple of weeks. i opened the door and went in, and there were several dead birds in the house. they had flown down the chimney and the flu was broken. not only was cold air getting in, but it was cold out. a bunch of birds came in and they got trapped in the house and i guess starved to death. it was a bad scene. they had crashed into some walls , some pictures were askew. i was really upset. i went upstairs, and my bedroom
was in the top of the house. there were two birds that were up there, and they were dying. they were still alive, but they were dying. i got really upset, and bob was downstairs. he had never been to the house before. he was looking for a bag and something to clean up and remove the birds bodies. i told him about the birds upstairs. he said just go outside and i will take care of it. and he killed the birds. they were suffering and they were very close to death. i was not thinking clearly, because i was so upset by the scene. i did not get angry at him, but i felt very upset and i either said or thought why did you have
to do that. brian: what impacted that have on you and what does that possibly relate to the story in the book about vietnam? barbara: i used it as a device to get into a discussion about me not understanding as a woman who has never served our country, who has never seen combat who has never been around violence, i use that story as a way to talk about how it is really a learning process to me working on the book with bob carey to try and understand how he felt and what he had been through.
this, the clip we just saw, that has not been revealed publicly yet. there was a reporter who wrote the new york times story that the reporter turned into a book. brian: which said what about bob carey? barbara: there was just this whole big controversy about what did bob remember had he and his men killed women and children cold-blooded, where they were criminals -- war criminals. bob wasn't writing a memoir about war. his father had fought and his uncle had fought and died as a
result of being captured. i felt uniquely unsuited to help on this book the further we got into it. i struggled to understand what he was struggling with, because a good researcher, a good ghost writer, has to really at least for a short time slip into the skin of another person and not only sympathize but empathize. brian: another story, this one is complicated, but it is margie margolis who started in this town as a reporter, married a congressman from pennsylvania. she ran and won one term.
her son is now married to chelsea clinton. >> i think what we need more of is we need the body to look like the rest of the nation, which it does not. we are 11% in this body. 11% does not legislation make. we made the first step in the right direction. i think we are a long way from being the kind of representative body that the constitution said we were supposed to be. it is baloney on white bread with mayo right now. brian: she is the one vote that helped bill clinton pass a budget and she lost the next election. how did you get involved with her? barbara: my agent -- i had a different agent at the time, who
is a terrific agent up in new york. she had been trying to sell a novel that i had written. she called me up and said the bad news is that i can't sell your novel. the good news is is i have a gig for you. how would you feel about ghostwriting? she said it was for this new congresswoman and was going to be a book about the year of the woman, which is what they called all these women being elected and coming to serve in congress. i would write the whole book and i would interview her and the other women in congress. i would write the book. it had to be done in six months. it was a big break for me. i was working for ben bradley.
much of his book was done but not all of it. i felt he really didn't need me anymore and i set up this opportunity. he said go with god. i went and i interviewed -- i followed her around, i interviewed most of her colleagues, most of her female colleagues. she edited it. brian: what did you think about the things are female colleagues said about her? you talk about in your book that it started to sound familiar and started to sound they were being very careful with what they said. barbara: they were not talking about her, they were talking about congress. what i started to notice was that everybody was very careful about what they said. that is because it is really
hard to get elected to go to congress. you have to be careful about your messages, particularly for women. they were very guarded. they were very careful. that really brings us back to your very first question, which is why is the title of my book pretend i'm not here? and that's because i was having trouble getting these congresswomen to be real, and to let their guard down so they could tell me interesting stories. i tried a new approach one day and said let's pretend like we are making a movie, and the movie is about you and you coming to congress. what would be the opening scene of the movie? and they would be this pause, and you could see this spark that was opening them up. they thought of something. they were so afraid to say something. i said just pretend i am not here.
that helped relax them. i started to get better material for the book. when i was looking for the title of my book and was reading through my manuscript and saw that anecdote, i said, the title of my book. brian: here is one of the ads run back in 1996 when he ran as a republican in the primary. >> trade problem that has cost americans hundreds of thousands of jobs. it is too simple for politicians to understand. we move customs up to sidney nebraska. think that will cut down on their profits? they make it hard for us to trade over there, we make it hard for them to trade over here. and we get our jobs back. would you call that fair trade? >> no. brian: so, you said michael lewis got you into this job.
barbara: i did ghostwrite it. morry taylor would go on radio shows and tell everybody about this nice little jewish girl who was a ghostwriter. he was the antidote to working in the white house. i came out of the white house gig and all this stuff happened that we talked about. i got deposed by the whitewater committee because i slept over at the white house when some rose billing records having to do with whitewater were found. just all this unpleasant stuff happens, and i was literally in my apartment packing up boxes and i was going to move to key west, and michael williams called and he says what are you doing? and i told him. he says i have got the perfect gig for you. and i was like i don't think so.
he said no, really, you want to do this. it's the best money i ever made. he was just a lot of fun to be around, and he really helped me get my sense of humor back. he reminded me that it is he reminded me that it is important to take -- to take things seriously but not take yourself seriously. brian: grew up in jenkintown, pennsylvania. married how many years ago? barbara: 20. brian: one son? barbara: one daughter. she is 19 years old. brian: we are about out of time. washington is a town where everything is measured in polls and fundraising dollars. you are either up or down, in or out. you are good or you are bad here
-- bad. you are a conniving opportunist or a do-gooder. you value yourself only by whether you are perceived as a player or not. what is your feeling about washington, d.c., now? barbara: i was just outside of washington. i live in arlington. i love arlington. washington feels like a unique place. it is what i know. i suspect that any power hub has the sorts of things that you read about in my book. i have a love-hate relationship with washington. it's where i met my husband, it's where i raised our
daughter. i teach at georgetown university, which has been infinitely good and kind to me. i am tired of washington. i am particularly tired of washington right now, and the idea of living here under the trump administration sends chills down my spine. brian: our guest has been barbara feinman todd. the title of the book is "pretend i'm not here." it's all about journalism. the subtitle is how i worked with three newspaper icons, one powerful first lady, and still managed to dig myself out of the washington swamp. thank you very much. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] ♪
>> for free transcripts or to give us your comments about this program, visit us at q and a.org. programs are also available as podcasts. here are some other programs you might like. "washington post" columnist sally quinn talks about her life and career, which includes being the founding editor of a blog. a "new york times" correspondent discusses his book on the business of government -- this town, two parties and a funeral. and a "new york times" reporter
on her life and career, including covering hillary clinton's presidential campaign. you can watch these anytime or search our entire video library at c-span.org. >> c-span's washington journal, live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up monday morning, the american enterprise institute gary schmitt will discuss his recent piece about presidential power. next, a look at recent tensions of nuclear powers north korea, russia and iran. and lauren wright joins us to talk about her book on behalf of the president, presidential spouses and white house communication strategy today. be sure to watch c-span's washington journal live at 7:00 a.m. eastern sunday morning.