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tv   After Words  CSPAN  August 17, 2015 12:00am-1:01am EDT

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"after words" on booktv. claire mccaskill talks about her life and political career in an interview with politico editor . ..
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i had a teacher i loved, and he took me aside and told me i needed to quit speaking up so much in class. the boys were not going to like me and itwood lady-like, and it impacted me. i was hurt she said this to me. then, many years later in 2012, after my first debate with todd aiken, he told the press after the debate its wasn't very lady-like. so those two incidents re-affirmed in my mind that i have to communicate to other young women that it's plenty ladylike to be outspoken ask strong and opennated and ambitious. >> host: i was struck as a consumer over the years of a number of politicians' enemy mores, many of which are not nearly as frank and outsubpoenas your book is, which is -- outspoken as your book is, and'ing a member of the united
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states senate is an outlier. people are always blown away when i tell them that in the entire history of the united states senate, only 44 women have ever served from the entire beginning of time. so not are women not anywhere close to the 51% majority in the population over the united states senate today, even i you added up 100 years plus of hoyt they wouldn't have got ton 50. >> guest: that number are is much smaller because a huge number of those women served because their husbands died, and they were appointed for a short period of time, sometimes as little as one or two days, as the men scurried around trying to find the appropriate man to take the job. so, there really is a very small number, beginning really margaret chase smith and then -- that began the modern era of women elected.
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we're 20 strong now. i'd like to see a big are number but wore getting there. >> host: that what is interesting about this book project of yours, you address that head-on. you have a clear understanding that comes through throughout the become that you're a member of a very small class in american public life, which is the woman politician, not say that how it should be but i like you address that head-on. there's such a huge debate around this question of, are women errantly different in politics, in the military, in any sphere of public life, versus the fact that there's just such a small group you have the experience of an embattled minority. >> guest: exactly right. especially because you have to navigate. beginning when i did in my 20s, running for office, i was -- i was young and single and had been in a prosecutor's office where i was surrounded from all men. from the judges to the
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detectives to my colleagues in the prosecutor's office to the defense attorneys, with very few pensions, and then the legislate temperature is very male dominated in my 20s in and 30s i had to overcome a whole lot of stuff. a lot of sexist behavior,and i talk about those things and honest i'm not sure i handled it correctly. i'm not sure i did the right thing in all those instances, but i think at least the book will give young women the opportunity to understand how you can navigate around and get stronger and smarter and figure out a way to excel in spite of the jerks that kind of get in your way. >> host: i was struck by the fact that clearly you had a natural an thank you tied -- an an-anitude for patrol tinges and you tell that story about even in high school, mounting a very
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calculated campaign to become homecoming queen by systematically lobbying the lesser members of the football team, guys who didn't get all the attention itch was struck both by being so purposeful at such a young age, number one. number two, your willingness to tell the story, did you really know at the time politics is going to be my thing? >> guest: i did. i think i knew from the time i was in my young 10, 11, 121. i was told to say -- when i was seven years old, in 1960 i was told to say trick or treat and vote for jfk. so i was raised in a household where we were taught that politics was honorable mitch parents were not politically powerful mitchell mom had to stuff a lot of envelopes mitch dad was a committeeman, and they each worked on campaigns but not powerful, but i did get a sense it was interesting. i was drawn to it. and i did tell an embar'sing story.
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the first time i publicly toll the story that i actually mounted a secret campaign for homecoming queen. how lame is that? it is really embarrassing, but i wanted to put it in the book because it's a great example how you strategically think about your goals, and i wanted everybody to believe it i got it because i was so popular. i really pulled off a campaign and thought it was great way of reinforcing that strategy is important. >> host: i love that you told that story in the book. i have to say i've been a consumer of a lot of these books. there's a bookshelf a mile high filled with the memoirs of important figures who wear suits in washington, and i've never read an anecdote like that in any of their books. honestly. because a lot of their strategic calculation is, don't reveal too muchment don't say too much. and i'm really -- i am struck by that, you've taken a different approach children is to say being willing to sort of peel
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back the curtain more than usual. did that feel risky to you? >> guest: it did. i had a colleague try to talk me out of it. they said, claire, you shouldn't go there. you shouldn't tell people you were calculating how to become homecoming queen. >> host: they flagged that. >> guest: self things. their were two payments of things they want -- two pages of things they want met to take out. but this wasn't about dressing me up and making me look like i'm perfect and wonderful politician and i'm going to save america. this is really about the rollercoaster ride. it was painful, especially the personal part to talk about. my first marriage and the failure of that marriage, and the fact that my first husband was murdered, the father of my children, and dealing with all of that in this book, and the shortcomings of my mother along with her amazing role modeling of me itch don't think we do anybody any favored by trying to
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dress up politicians as if we're not real human beings who have made major mistakes and had major problems in our lives. if more people saw us as multidimensional and fallible and vulnerable, then maybe we could all communicate better and maybe they wouldn't be quite so cynical about government. so it's gotten me in a little trouble in some quarters, especially at home because i named names of missourians who were inappropriate to me when i was young. but that's okay. my mouth gets me in trouble all the time. a daily occurrence. >> host: talk about one example. we ran an excerpt from your book on plate -- politico magazine and it was one of the most read articles and i can see why. i peeled back the kurt -- curtain on your race against todd aiken. it was known you decided to
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become involved by airing advertisements in the republican primary campaign to basically get the nominee that you did get, which is to say the one you have the best chance of beating in november. that part was known you had run advertising you never told the story how engaged you were with that campaign. tell us about that now and also your decision to just sort of be up front with people now about what you were doing. >> guest: this is a really good example of where i want women to be more comfortable with strategic decisions that are high risk. i think there's a tendency of -- at least my friends through the years that have been in situations where they had to take a big risk. there's a reluctance to go there, i think, sometimes with women. i don't want to rock the boat. i don't want to take that risk. this was pa situation where millions of dollars were being spent on me at that time. beating me up. driving mying negative up.
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they are all in millions being spent. i saw three candidates with basically the same puttings but one of them had a record of saying things that were very extreme, and i knew he didn't have a filter because his views came from a deep religious view of government, and i knew he would not ever filter those out or be careful the way he talked about them. so we decided in summer of the primary season that it would be great if we could send a signal to republican voters how truly conservative he was. so we polled and spent money on a poll to look at what is it about todd aiken that republican primary voters like. so i did an add -- ad, all very above board. this is claire mccaskill, i approve this message todd aiken is too conservative for missouri, and we listed this thing. >> host: you called this the dog whistle campaign. >> guest: right. we were sending the signal to the republicans that todd was their guy and also communicating
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to independent voters that if he got the nomination, this is somebody who is a little different in terms of this view of the world. so it was a two fer. helped us with independent voters in regard to todd aiken and help him in the primary, and i worked. he went from either second or third in the poles, depending on which ones you were looking at -- most of these were public polls. >> host: your private polling reinforced -- >> guest: what was out in the public. so we ran the ad and watched him climb in the polls. he then won and then exceeded our expectations in terms of what he would say. >> host: exactly. his famous comment was right after the primary victory. go back to the primary campaign was closing in. i was very tight, and there was an extraordinary moment where your campaign really directly got involved with the aiken campaign, you personally as well as your pollster, connected with
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either supporters or people to get a message through to aiken about a key advertisement he was running. >> guest: i'm not sure the message got to aiken himself. what we saw was that mike huckabee is very popular in missouri, and anybody who was looking carefully what was going on in missouri, knew that mike huckabee was popular. he was talking about thing wes talk about, fought and family, conservative values, and we knew that add -- mike huckabee is good on television. a powerful ad. they took that ad down and put up another ad about path and family and in the flames of freedom, about it was flames of freedom and weird and -- just our opinion, collectively, within my campaign, it wasn't -- >> host: you guys would be good republican strategists, too. >> guest: well, if you know the state and you know the voters. so we -- i reached out to a couple of people knew, knew consultants in this world. you ought to tell them we don't
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the think that a very good add. then somebody from their campaign called our campaign, and i told the pollster it was fine to talk about them in broad generalities why the huckabee ad was good. and and they took our advice. there was no polling data. we gave them what we thought, and literally within hours -- much to our surprise we were like, couldn't believe they were taking our advice, but they did. so, i've given my advice to hundreds of candidates in my career. this is the first time i had a future opponent take my advice, but they did. >> host: it's a remarkable story, and i find it striking not only that you decided to tell that in your book, but this is the kind of thing that we all know, we all assume, occurs actually all the time in american politics, but the transparency around it, the willingness to talk about it publicly i think is -- usually that's left to the hollywood
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versions and house of are cards and that sort of thing. >> guest: right if think transparency is good always. and i -- i probably felt a little defensive. i wanted everybody to know there was nothing we had done. nothing we had done that wasn't above board. that's why it was -- it wasn't done through third-party committees or through operatives. i it was our campaign, and i think it is a great example of being strategic, and i thought it would be great for women to see a woman's campaign engaging in that. a lot of that kind of stuff goes on. not always, above board in men's campaigns, and so i thought it was important to show strategic -- as kolbert would say, stratergery. >> host: there's the word calculating, the negative version of strategic and is applied offer to women in
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public -- often to women in public life or big roles in executive jobs for example. struck by the fact your book as a quote from cheryl sandberg on the cover, whose book, "lean in" generated discussion about the questions, how women can get ahead. there was a huge backlash in some circles around her statements that women basically should be strategic, calculating, and be willing to embrace and plan their careers north be so zero sum in their thinking around childhood and being mothers, and that has a career killer for women, but just to think much more straightforwardly. jo there was controversy around it but we agree completely. this book -- because is tell so many personal stories about any children and my family issue i want young people to see you
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don't have to do it all perfectly but you can do it all and prioritize your family in a way that everybody is healthy and happy, without sacrificing a hard edge maybe, might be termed a hard edge by some, toward your career advancement and this notion that you have a good job and don't rock the boat and don't ask for more money because they're giving you a little extra time off and that more valuable to you than at more money. ask for both. ask for a little more time off and a little more money. i agree with sheryl sandberg about this. i think this book is in the vein >> host: i'm struck by the fact, as i'm sure you are, on the one hand that probably resonated we you, valuable advice, don't be afraid to sort of take your career in your own hands. on the other hand when you look at how few women are -- have reached the upper levels of whether it's american politics,
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american media, american companies who i think we're at five to seven percent ceos dnr. >> corporate boards are terrible. >> host: are terrible. women leaders in any position, including journals, including politics, astonishingly low concluder these are the won't would have leaned in. your account is not an account of -- something you have done throughout your career. what i've been struck by and written a little bit about myself is this question of, that still doesn't actually explain why we have so few women in leadership positions, in visible positions in the senate, because there's a broader category of class of women who have leaned in than category and class of women who have made it into these jobs. that's where this extraordinary level of personal criticism, personal scrutiny, clearly plays some role. my view, but i'm curious for you. it was eleanor roosevelt all the
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way back in the 1930s who said that to be a woman in public life, you need to have the skin of a rhinoceros, and my guess is that still resonates for you all these years later. >> guest: absolutely. my haters have a particularly tough edge. not too long ago, i heard one say you have a face like a diaper, things about my weight. really, really tough stuff. but i had parents, and i talk about this in book. my dad kept telling me you can't get anything done without making somebody mad, and this disease to appease what i think we have -- >> host: good phrase. >> guest: that women want everybody to be happy. it makes us good elected officials because we're conciliatory. we want to bring people together weapon want people to agree on common ground.
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so i think more women in the senate are going to help government be more functional because we are those types of people. that good. the bad is you can't make everybody happy and everybody is not going to like you. i've got a third of my state that probably think i'm satan on a horse. they just don't like me. that's okay. i'm sad they don't like me but i'm not going to let it slow me down i'm focused on what i can be get done, being transparent, working hard and accomplishing thing cans, and i'm so bless i get a chance to do that. i can't worry about the fact that people will say horrible, mean things about me and that's the main reason that a lot of women avoid politics. they're afraid of how it's going to feel and how it's going to impact their families and the horrible things that are going 0 be said about their husbands or their kids, and that a real fear, but you have to get over it. frankly in this day and age, a lot of that doesn't work
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anymore, the negativity doesn't have the bit it used to have in politics. believe that. i think people are kind of over it, this dark, grainy screen, and her husband is a cheating s.o.b. i think they kind of get this is political. >> host: well, on the one hand it's over but on the other hand the trolls have been empowered as never before, and the level of -- the ability to create and change narratives and the ability to judge women it comes out even more loudly. the decibel level in general of politics has gone up and magnifies whatever is already out there, and pain -- >> guest: painful about i'm not sure if still effective. >> host: year you're on to this notion why women are averse to entering politics or aiming for the senate but just in general being in the public sphere. it's well-documented it's extremely hard to recruit women
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to write, say, opinion columns, for example, because that's where your poutingous on the line. it's a form of writing nat on a safe subject like work/life balance. i see that all the time as a woman editor, and it's structural. women understand the penalties are higher, and that's why i was so struck by what is it in your wiring in your background, maybe your family experience, maybe just in your personality, that you are not worrying as much about that criticism or not internalizing it. >> guest: i do internalize it but it motivates me. >> host: to prove them wrong? >> guest: yes. >> host: that's interesting. basically the whole narrative of success is a way of rewriting the --
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>> guest: well, when i was really demoralized as a lung legislator by some of the commented made to me and about me, it -- i just internalize it and focused, i'm going to show them. i'm going to show them that i will do well, and that i will continue to get raises by my bosses, which are the voters. i will rise in this system and be effective. and make a difference. and every time one of them did this to me can i just worked that much harder. i kept my head down that much more, and i -- so maybe it's that. i used it as fuel. >> host: very interesting. and maybe it's just that conversion machine installed in as many people. so, obviously a woman politician is hillary clinton and another well-known fact about you is your decision to endorse, not hillary clinton but barack
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obama, in 2008, you account -- you give an account of that in your book, and actually you say that your daughter was a key catalyst for that. tell us the story first and then i'll ask -- >> guest: it was a hard decision. two amazing candidates, both historic in their own way. wasn't like i was choosing between what my mom would call good old boys ump it was a strong smart woman and an amazing african-american inspirational leader. i was close to barack obama. we worked together. he was my friend. i was inclined to support him because i was so inspired by his candidacy but i was reluctant, and my daughter got in my face and said, you ought to look yourself in the mirror. our entire lives you have been telling us that you made sacrifices when it comed to the family in order to make a difference, and now, in an important moment in history, you're not endorsing barack obama because you're worried about your own political skin. and she was right ump was
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worried about the blowback i would get and did get from my women supporter, from women who had been good to me and helped me and allowed me to succeed in politics, and they were going to be bitterly disappointed and they war. i called after she confronted me and told the president -- the nowsch president, was all in, and i was indeed all in from that day forward and worked very hard on his campaign. >> host: there was real blowback. i don't know specifically addressed another you but she had you and others in mind when madeline albright said there's nothing worse than women who don't support other women in public life. did that string? >> guest: it did but my counterarguement to madeline albright, who i admire issue is what we're fighting for is a level playing field elm can't, once we begin to achieve at the same level as men, we can't then turn around and do what they did to us. we're going to assume that you're better just because you're a woman.
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it's about level. not about a preference. so that door swings both ways. equality is equality. so i really did think that while it was a hard decision, i felt great about working on behalf of barack obama and was pleased to see him elect president. now. >> host: you're supporting hillary clinton. >> guest: working just as hard for hillary clinton. it's hard -- people who do what i do want to take it safe, but i don't have that permit. if i'm for you, i'm for you, and i'm doing everything i can to help her get elected. >> host: has she won the mady primary, your daughter? >> guest: she has won the mady primary, and not all my kids there are yet,. >> host: interesting. they're giving a look to bernie sanders? >> guest: i think they're trying to figure this out. i try -- i learn a lot from them and try not to tell them what they think. they're at an age now, if i try to do that, it hat bad consequences.
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i want them to come to their own conclusions and i'm confident they're smart, independent people and will come to the conclude that hillary clinton is the best candidate for president. i'm not sure they're there yet but i think they'll get there. >> guest: she has presumed to be such an overwhelming front-runner, and in 2008, it is the case, certainly this time as well, but there are these persistent questions about her popularity on the left, the surge of bernie sanders in the poll and he's not even a democrat is an interesting phenomenon. do you think it reflects a discomfort with her as a nominee or just a desire to have a conversation within the party? >> guest: part of it is the context. we have a cast of thousands on one side and they're all aiming at hillary clinton. i've not seen any of them spend a lot of time criticizing bernie sanders, and then with -- in our party, bernie is speaking to folks who believe very much that
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the status quo is a problem, and he is speaking to issues that we care about in our party, and he does it with a great deal of passion and always been somebody who kind of walked a different path, so i think he seems more like an outsider to many in my party. so i do understand why he is getting the attention he is getting. in the long run, don't think if you get outside of my party, and get to the very important independent voters that decide presidential elections, and that decide statewide elections in my state, i do not a think from a practical standpoint they will vote for a man for president who self-identifies as a socialist. >> host: it is ironic we spent eight year with barack obama being criticized as a socialist when he is not. and the idea the democrats would nominate someone who actually is strikes -- >> guest: exactly. she is -- when you realize the kind of income -- she is still in an amazingly strong position,
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and i think the more she keeps her head down and earns the nomination -- it's fine if bernie runs, fine if joe biden runs. she needs to earn the nomination and she wants to. she wants to show he is a fighter and i think it will strengthen her for next year. >> host: one thing that is striking she was cite seized for not embracing the historic nature of her candidacy in 2008. didn't want to be seen at the woman candidate at that time. when dropped out of the race in 2008, she gave her famous glass ceiling speech and said that she had not destroyed it but made many, many cracks in the glass ceiling. clearly she has come to a different place in terms of embracing gender as a perceived asset for her in this campaign. when you think about your own experience on the campaign trail and talking about being a woman
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senator as opposed to being a senator, being a woman president as opposed to being a president, what's your advice, your candid advice to hillary clinton about whether to play that gender card or not? >> guest: well, we've actually talked about this. in my race for governor, i was so anxious to prove to everyone i was qualified, that i knew every answer to every question, and i was rat aat&t. this is about me being qualified to be the executive. and journalist said you remind me of an obnoxious contestant on jeopardy. you knew all the answers. some women compared me to corel y deville. >> good the thing you won -- >> guest: this was the governor race. we had a focus group.
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that's when i realized they didn't know that my hopes and fears for my kids were the same as theirs, and that i'd worked my way through school as a wait this and my mom was salt of the earth and of rural missouri, and my dad -- i grew up in a house where he hunt it all the time and we -- his family had the feed mill in a small rural town, so i had not filled out who i was to missourians as a person, and i think that is something that hillary clinton should keep in mind, and i think she is doing that. i think the ad -- the mother was very effective. i think she needs to show some vulnerability. the think she has had so maybe attacks in her life, it's easy to get in the bunker and be so defensive. and frankly i think some of the mistakes she made about the e-mail came from that place. need to protect her personal information. not that she was doing anything
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terrible or wrong or that she wanted to undermine the united states of america for gosh sakes. that's the thing, all this e-mail stuff. exactly what was her motive? is she on the payroll for china is? that what people are alleging? china is getting our e-mail without any help from anybody. i don't really think she should spend so much time being protective of herself. she has to open herself up. i did that in the senate race and i think missourians got a fuller picture of who i am, the good, the squad the ugly. >> host: that it is an interesting lesson or okayed study that a -- case study that replies outside of the realm of politics because there are so few women in these positions, attract so much criticism, the bunker mentality is probably easy for a corporate executive to be in a similar position. it's easy for any woman facing that. let's go back to the very interesting and i think unusual
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role that you have given to navigating the family and politics in a way that i certainly never read in any of the sort of male senators' memoirs. your daughter, mady, was the one who pushed and prodded you in 2008 to endorse barack obama. you talk about in the book them even at a young age -- there's a wonderful anecdote where you're asking -- early in your public career and your asking your son to get ready, i think to come with you, to -- what you said was a party. i'm gathering was certainly not just a party. >> guest: i was going to a political event, and when they were very young, he was probably seven, six, something like that, five, in that category. i would say sometimes, come on week all going to a party. let's get in the car and then go to some political event. so i told tom get ready, and you now kids whisper and you can hear them clearly. i heard him saying to his younger sister, listen, if she
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says it's a party, ask her if anybody is going to give a speech. because if anybody gives a speech it's not a party. so, they were on to me at an early age i was dressing up our time together when i was working as something that maybe wasn't as fan for them. >> host: you clearly were able to establish there wasn't some barrier between the personal you and the professional you, which my guess is has enabled you to really keep integrating your family into your life. so many women struggle with this idea that it's a zero sum game. there's either family time or professional time, and that one comes at the expense of the other. where do you fall? >> guest: first of all when i ran for prosecutor, the first woman to try to get elected the d.a. of kansas city, didn't put my children in any of my literature. i was worried that people knew i had small children, they would think it was inappropriate for me to take on this law enforcement type job, that had
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some dangers associated with these young children. then i gravitate to the point now that it can't wait to take pictures with any nine grandchildren so it has been a process for me. but where i come down is that i want my children to be part of my life. i want to be part of their lives. that means i want them to understand what i'm doing. i want them to be part of it. if they want to be. and literally highlight of my life were my children really participating in my campaign last time, for the first time. they were actual -- my two daughters actually traveled with me during the summer of 2012 for the campaign. it was wonderful. because for -- they were younger. no, mom, we don't want to do that. so -- i think that's one of the things about politic. you have more flexibility. you don't have a boss you have to check with if you want to see your son in a talent show at the agreed school -- grade school. any never memphised -- except
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when i was in trial. i can't leave because i had a jury in the box bum bit would take off and see my son. i would maybe have to give a speech aft night but in terms of my schedule, there was more flexibility, particularly when i was in an executive job and not a legislative job. so i did try to integrate and pull them in to the extent they want to be, and now they're all highly opinionated young adults. >> host: i'm sure they heave lots of thoughts of politic. you talk about your female colleagues in the senate about their own experienced, a great example of iota, in new hampshire, and something about hillary clinton's campaign office -- >> guest: held hostage as a clinton campaign office back in 2008, and she was the attorney general of new hampshire, and she was bathing her newborn, and
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she said -- she had the phone in her here and we can all visualize this that are moms and bathing and trying to dry and dress and change her child and while she was getting instructions from the highway patrol about the situation with the hostage-taking and just remembered thinking this so is surreal. she had to call her husband, you have to get home. i have to good. but the juxtaposition of-bathing newborn while you're directing the highway patrol in a serious situation where life and death is at stake is one great example in at the book. but there's a lot of great examples how the integration of your career and motherhood is sometimes funny, interesting, and frustrating. >> host: everybody has had one of thoser ma bombbeck moments, not something that their male colleagues have had. i remember when our son was little and we had some radio program we used to do, i and had to go on early in the morning, i
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thought i hat the sound fixed butout could hear my toddler at the time talking the entire time. i had no idea. i came into the office. my boss waved hello and said, you were great on the radio this morning, but i could hear theo the entire time. nobody else had told me that. and i felt mortified, actually. you -- >> guest: yes i quit worrying about that. i've had dog in the background, children crying, children yelling at each other. as long as they can hear me i try not worry about it. >> host: well, it certainly humanizes -- let get back to this question of being such a minority of a minority in the senate and in the institutions of government. i want to push you at bit here because i feel like sometimes i hear somewhat contradictory things from women who are in the senate or who have been in these
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political position outside. on the one hand there's rhetoric of women's empowerment, the sisterhood, we have these meetings, famous dinners. we're there for each other, a more bipartisan group. if you have more women in the senate you hear -- you have said, we're more corroborative, will find a way round the probablies. patty murray making a deal on the budget where others failed. so you have that women's empowerment narrative. then on the other hand, wait a minute, i'm not going just endorse hillary clinton because she is a woman. we're fight fog -- fighting for a level playing field, not create a sisterhood or replicate the failures of the past. i mention this not because -- we all have simultaneously contradictory things but where do you come down on it when it comes to this basic question of, is there something essentially different about having women in politics or really more because
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of our historical experience? >> guest: i think both things can be truism think you can make decisions based on merit without gender, and at the same time have a disposition that allows you to work on problems without worrying about whether or not you won or whether or not you get the credit. i think really the difference -- this isn't complicated, i don't think. the women in the senate, we al had to go through la lot of the same things to get there it's hard. if you get, we have an immense number of things in common, and almost like an unspoken language between us that we get each other. even though i have huge disagreements with, for example, deb fisher, or joany ernst on policy. there's still this collegiality that comes from our shared experience, a lot has to do with motherhood, a lot has to do with getting around the
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obstacles, the sexism in your career. so we don't really want to throw each other under the bus. but lock -- look at the difference between how hari and mitch mcconnell talk about each other and to each other. they're at each other like this all the time. and it hasn't always been the that way but it certainly is now, that we have two people that clearly don't really like each other very much. i think you can get a lot more done if you kind of like each other. even if you disagree. so as long as we keep working at knowing one another, the women, a little bit better than we know everybody else because we talk about our kids and our personal lives. i think there will not be this idea of winning at somebody else's expense, and that is what is wrong with washington. mitch mcconnell didn't want barack obama to win anything because he thought that was going to be at their expense are it would make obama effective
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and therefore they wouldn't be able to take over. now there is a lot of, well, we need to return the favor to mitch mcconnell. we have to make sure they don't win anything because they -- now we need too do that to them. there's not as much oft that month the women ask that a difference. if there were more women we would have even more deals, more compromises. i believe that. i firmly believe that. >> host: now, it's interesting in the context to talk about another incident that has got an lot of attention in your career in the senate, time when you had a very public disagreement with another woman senator, senator gillibrand around the question of how best to ensure there were more prosecutions for military sexual assaults. you in particular really objected to what you saw as sort of an instantly sexist narrative and the proverbial cat fight. what did you take away? >> guest: two narratives i was
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objecting to. the first one this was a decision between victims and who did you support, victims or commanders? that was a falls fall narrative. it was about what system will protect the victims best. the media picked up on the simple, are you for the commander or the victim. >> a woman senator -- >> guest: that's the fight i was becaming because in my view, having studied it carefully as a former sex crimes prosecutor, somebody who spent more time holding the hand of victims than any other senator, felt very strongly what i was advocating was better for victims. but the other added catnip was you hat two democratic women that took different views and that i think elevated the difference way beyond what it would have been otherwise, and by the way, she and i together had gotten so much done. dozens of reforms.
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we just disagreed on one thing. >> host: you partnered with her on a lot of thing. >> guest: even after the vote that was close, and we came down in the well and kind of hugged each other. >> host: senators are very woman tettive -- competitive. you have to be driven in politics. did your relationship take a temporary hit? >> guest: we were both focused on trying to get the votes to prevail because we both had an honest policy disagreement, and, yes, of course, i was counting votes and i was like, oh, she is talking to him, i better talk to him and it was this circle around each other and trying to get the votes and making sure people understood our point of view. if at was over, remember jay rockefeller saying i'm not surety if two men could do what you did because it was emotional and pitched and elevated in the press.
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so, at that moment, it was really kind of -- part of me didn't want to hug her or shake her hand or reconnect, but i knew i needed to, and thank goodness she did, too. so we're fine and now working very closely together on sexual assault on college campuses. >> host: when you look at the senate, one of the things you do a great job actually in this book is really talking about how sort of institutionalized sexism, even the almost that environmental world in which it's very clear to you in a variety of ways you are the small minority but persists so much. for many people there's a desire to say that's in the past. don't we have more women in office than ever before? you can't read this book -- can't sit down and talk with someone like you honestly and really say that a fact. right? i thought it was really striking
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that you did such a good job. this isn't some crazy world in which -- this is what happened to women in 1980s when barbara mccloskey was first elected. this wasn't some 1950s version of the senate when the pager was extraordinarily that of a boy's clubbed. tell us about that. there was an incident with another female senator reside member, who we're talking about. she recounted an incident where ale a colleague was commenting on her weight, pinching her behind. sexism is not dead in the congress. >> guest: i have never felt diminished or minimum mailized by my male colleagues in the senate. i don't know if they're afraid of me or i'm older. that it might have something to do with it. but i did have a doorman tell me i couldn't come into the senate when infirst got elected because
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i didn't have a pass. an assumption i wasn't a senator, things like that. you're right about this point. there is a tendency in our society, when barack obama was elected president that, okay, we're past the racial politics, and i'm from st. louis and i've had a front-row seat to a great deal of racial unrest over the last year, and i understand institutional buy ass that are racist within our country, particularly in the criminal justice system, and the same thing is true with women. we have in fact accomplished a great deal. if we think this is over, just a few weeks ago, two members of the missouri legislature lost their job because young women came fur that were interns and called them out on sexual harassment and they had evidence of text messages that were inappropriate by these jefferson city legislators. that was 1974 when i was an intern and that happened to me. so we cannot think -- okay, that
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that on both sexism and racism. we still have work to do. >> host: that's a great anecdote when you were first elected, part of a large class of women. you pushed the boundaries. there was a single tiny bathroom you found yourselves squeeze nit. what did you tweet? >> guest: it was two stalls and just nothing -- enough room to stand in front of the singer. and i walked in and shalls were full, and then came elizabeth warren and just was elected. 2012, and then deb fisher, and somebody else was in there, and we were all like this, and so i walked it of the bathroom and tweeted, just met elizabeth warren and -- in the bathroom. have to get a bigger bathroom, and we did. we enlarged the bathroom. so now that's -- when we get 50
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or 60, we may have to enlarge it again and may have to take some space out out of the men's bathroom. we just grabbed an office and used that space. >> host: we know in washington office space is the expression of power. >> guest: yes, it is. >> host: i was amazed about another anecdote from the period of time. i think it was kay haggan from north carolina wanted to go swim egg the? senators -- the members only gym, and found out that she was told, no, you can't do that. and i guess had to really press to find out the reason why, which is that the men were swimming naked. >> guest: not all of them. i'll never forth give kay hagan because she told me who it was that liked swim naked and now -- >> host: i heard who it would was. >> guest: i can't get of it my hard drive. i will not make your viewer think about this -- >> that a friend of yours. >> guest: right. so, that was -- that was just a few years ago, we had to finally
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make a -- gees mat what i was blown away by. that wasn't 1965. that was in the 2000s in. >> guest: right. but kay took care of it. the sign changed from members only, men only, to, members only, and now some of the women swim. it's a terrible, small little pool ump don't want people to think we have some huge, great gym. it's very modest. adequate and modest and the pool is very small, but now women and on weekends i think they even let us bring your kids in there if they want to swim in the wintertime. >> host: amazing. you obviously came in to this and came to washington with a set of expectations and a set point of view about what you would encounter, having been in politics in missouri. what is the big difference between politics in your home state' politics here in
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pennsylvania? i think some of that does come out in the book. >> guest: well there some things that are the same. the thing that are different is that it feels much lower like drinking out of a fire hose here 24/7 if you're doing the job correctly. if you're staff-driven senator and have people prepare your questions for you and cow walk through you schedule and meet people and then your staff tells you how to vote and you follow their recommendations, but if you engage, if you really are intellectual lie curious, it's an enormous amount of material to consume, and that is a big difference. because i feel constantly, am i adequately informed and adequately prepared? i don't think i've ever felt that as much in any of the jobs i had in missouri. so, that is different. the dysfunction is different. i had never served in a legislative body that was this dysfunctional. the highway bills an example.
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you couldn't get mitch mcconnell and john boehner to agree on how to fund the highways, much less the democrats and the republicans. boehner was pushing a three-month extension and mcconnell was saying we have to have a multiyear extension, and we said, wait a minute, you guys are in charge and you can't even decide. they're not even talking to each other. so, that is much more frustrating, because it seems to me we're treading water and doing gotcha politics way more in congress. that's whoa so many voters are attracted to a donald trump, who is all about, i can be different, kind of obvious he is pretty different. odd, might say. but then of course in a different way because of bernie's festival, not because he is odd but because he is committed to a certain philosophy and feels like he is going to shake things um. that's why you see the voters attracted to those candidates because they want somebody to
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grab the status quo bit its lapels and shake it into submission. get that feeling. i feel that way every day. very frustrating. >> host: interestingly enough, that aspect of the dysfunction you're describing, the waning of authority among the party leadership, in part that is also what is fueling these outer candidate. there's an irony. you're begging for leadership, internally and that's what voters are looking for, too begging for leadership but part of the problem is the leader's ability to lead has been eroded by the way our politics is done. >> guest: that's exactly right. the hards a ideology on both ends make it hard to embrace compromise in the job. mitch mcconnell has to deal with the ted cruzs, the rand pauls, the bill sessions and
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mike lee. it's even worse for boehner because the tea party is so entrenched in the house caucus, the republican caucus, even more so than in the senate. so that's a problem. our politics have gotten very striated. the media -- you can now go to certain outlets for affirmation, not information, and both sites are doing that and nobody calls my phone and asked me to compromise. the people who are the loudest are the people who are most averse to compromise. i make the joke that 35% of my state watches fox news and think i'm saidan on a horse, and 30% watch msnbc and think i can do nothing wrong. the rest are watching "star "sou think you can dance" and think we're crazy. they help as independent voters who are informed but there's not enough of them. >> host: do you see that as being a reversible trend stiffer
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the parties are going to go i. away the question is, are we living in a sort of referendum, donald trump democracy, right? >> guest: i think time will tell. if someone like donald trump were to get elect thread we be a backlash and you would into big changes. i don't thing he will be elected. the money thing is a big part. that's why getting rid of citizens united has to be such a priority. >> host: this is a good -- we're almost out of time so i'm glad you brought that um. the nature of campaigning is very much connectioned with the experience of trying to govern or legislate you write in your book in your last campaign, you had to raise $40,000 a day. that number would be even higher today. how much does money suffuse your experience as a politician? you're not somebody who can write a check for millions of dollars to fund your campaign yourself. how much has that distorted,
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pervert what you do as a senator. >> guest: it's much less enjoyable. make mess not as good as my job because i spend so much time at it. we have limits. our direct campaigns -- it is a matter of making your case and asking people to contribute. i'm constantly disappointing some of my donors and supporters because i ignore sometimes what they want me to do for what i think is right. i certainly disappoint mid labor friends when invoted for tpa, even though they were big donors of mine. i explained to them that doesn't mean that i vote the way you want me to vote. so, i think the limits help. what is driving a new kind of politics is all these presidential candidates have spent more time shopping for their billionaires that can fund their super pacs. that's different. that's brand new. i think there was a piece in
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powe lit co that talked about the super pac money was three times as much as rates by the candidate and that money was dominated by about 67 individuals. so, this is really the the become a certain class of billionaires funding political conversation in this country. people have to rise up and say, i will not accept that. and we can do it in this country. people have to get mad enough about it. and they have to realize it's going on, and this is something i'm going to be working on campaign finance and ethics reform in my state and i'm very excited that both bernie and hillary clinton have made campaign finance reform an important part of their campaigns. it's one of the four truths that hillary clinton talks about, cleaning up the citizens united cesspool and bernie feels the same way. so i hope the people who are mad about this kind of money in
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politics get active and involved in this campaign. >> host: so, senator claire mccaskill. the book is called "ladylike" and just come out, conveniently time for the senate summer recess so you can do a little promoting of it. what -- this is your first book. what did you learn in writing it? what would you do differently or your pick takeaway on becoming on author. >> guest: sounds more romantic than it what. i thought it would be funment turned out to be sometimes painful because of the personal things i wently to and had to sit down with the children and talk about how i talked about their father, and that was hard. but it's a little bit like child birth. very painful going through it. but i'm glad the book is written. i'm proud that i was so honest and blunt and candid. i think we need more offer it in the public realm. i don't know if i have another book in me. if i went this far in this one, my sister said to me, you can't
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write another one because you're going to -- going way too far. i don't know i'll ever do it again but i'm glad i didid and it feel -- i hope most importantly that fathers buy this book for their daughters. i want fathers to enpower their daughter. mothers do but it's important that young women feel from their fathers the permission to be ambitious and outspoken and aggressive, because when you hear it from your dad, then it's okay. that a male figure in your life, especially when you're nine, 10, 11, 12, 13 years old, so, my hope is that a lot of fathers buy this for their daughter and they'll under what lakeylike really. >> host: thank you, senator. i enjoyed our conversation. >> guest: it's been great. thank you. >> host: thank you.
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sunday, september 6th, booktv is live with lynn cheny. on "in depth," our live monthly call insure show. mrs. cheney ared to the books including biographies and novels and books to children. the most recent book is an account of the life of the fourth president. other titles include, blue skies, no fences, where she calls her childhood in wyoming after world war ii, and a time for freedom describing key events and little known facts
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about american histories. other books range from profiles of leader outside the house of representatives to the failure of moral relativism and a condensed history of the u.s. for children. lynn cheney, live on booktv. you can send your questions to on twitter@booktv or call in live. ...


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