tv After Words CSPAN August 23, 2015 12:02pm-1:01pm EDT
[applause] [inaudible conversations] >> booktv is on facebook. like us to get publishing news, schedulscheduling updates, behie scenes pictures and video, author information and to talk directly with authors during ally programs. facebook.com/booktv. >> and now "after words" on booktv. mr. senator claire mccaskill talks about her life and political career in an interview with politico editor susan glasser.
>> host: i am so glad to be with you today, senator mccaskill, to talk about your new book, if you like we should start at the very beginning, which is the title, "plenty ladylike," which i want to ask you we came up with that. it seems like it's got a little bit of irony and better integrate its got all the bit of your trademark attitude. what were you thinking with that title? >> guest: and help a little humor. i want people to know this is a book that i'm confident will make them laugh or smile hard in several different places. it's what happens in my life. and about a great i.t. to about. she took me aside one day and told me i need to quit expedient so much in the class. that the boys would not like me and it wasn't ladylike. it really impacted me. i was hurt that she said this to me. many years later in 2012 after
my first debate with todd akin he told the press after the debate i wasn't very ladylike. so those two incidents kind of reaffirmed in my mind that have to communicate to of the young women that it's plenty ladylike to be outspoken and strong and opinionated and ambitious. and that's one of this book stands were. >> host: i was struck as a consumer over the years of the number of politicians memoirs, many of which are not nearly as frank and outspoken as your book is which is a very readable book for that reason. this notion of being ladylike and being a member of the senate in the first place is pretty much of an outlier. people are blown away when i tell them that in the entire history of the united states senate, on the i believe it's 44 women i've ever served from the entire beginning of time. not only are women not anywhere close to the 51% majority in the
population of the united states senate today, even if you added up 100 years plus of history they would have gotten to 50. >> guest: that number is, 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 abstinent scurried around trying to find the appropriate man to take the job. there really is a very small number beginning really market to smith and, of course, barbara mikulski, that became the modern era which women elected in the own right. we are 20 strong now. i'd like to see is a much bigger number. >> host: and taken i think that's what's interesting about this book project of yours is that you address it head-on. you have a clear understanding that comes through that you're a member of a very small class in america -- american public life.
i like you address that head-on in many ways. there such a huge debate always around this question of our women and nearly different in politics, and the military, in any sphere life versus the fact that such a small group that you have that experience really of an embattled minority, right translate exactly right. especially which had to navigate. beginning in my 20s running for office i was youn young and single ended the inning prosecutor's office where i was surrounded by al all the men frm the judges to the detectives, colleagues and the prosecutors office and defense attorneys and then in the legislature where it's very male dominated. in my '20s and '30s i had to overcome a whole bunch of stuff, sexist behavior. i talk about those things and
also an honest i'm not sure i handled it correctly. i'm not sure did the right thing and all those instances. but i think a lease the book will give young women an opportunity to understand how you can navigate around and get stronger and smarter and figure out a way to excel in spite of jerks that kind of get in your way. >> host: i was struck by the fact that clearly united natural aptitude for prosecuting, was drawn towards this even though it wasn't naturally open to women at the time. you tell this hilarious eye-opening story about even in high school, mounting a very calculated campaign to become homecoming queen by systematically lobbying the lesser members of the football team, the kaiser didn't get all the attention. i was struck, being so purposeful at such a young age, number one. number two, the willingness to tell the story.
did you know at the time politics is conducting? >> idea. i think i knew from the time i was 10, 11, 12, 13. i was told when i was seven 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. my parents were not politically powerful. my mom had to stop a lot of envelopes. they worked on campaigns but they were not powerful. but i did get a sense it was interesting. i was drawn to it. i did tell an interesting story. this is the first time i publicly told the story that amounted a secret campaign for homecoming queen. how lame is that? is usually embarrassing. but i wanted to put into but because it's a great example of how you think about your goals.
i really pulled off a campaign and i thought it was a great way of reinforcing the strategy is important. >> host: i love you told that story. i've been a consumer of a lot of these books. there's a bookshelf and 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 book honestly. because a lot of their strategic calculation is don't reveal too much, don't say too much. i am struck by that thatcher taken a different approach, which is to say been willing to peel back the curtain more than usual. did that feel risky? >> guest: it did. i had a colleague tried to talk me out of it. they said you really shouldn't go there. you shouldn't tell people you are calculating how to become homecoming queen.
they flag several things in the book. they flag to pay just the things he wanted to take out of the book. but that wasn't what this was about. this isn't about dressing me up and make me look like i'm perfect and wonderful politician and going to save america. this is about the roller coaster ride a 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 shortcomings of my mother along with her role modeling of me. i don't think we do anybody any favors i tried to dress up politicians as if we are not real human beings have made major mistakes and have major problems in our lives. i think if more people saw us as multi-dimensional and fallible and the vulnerable, then maybe we could all communicate better and maybe they wouldn't be quite
so cynical about government. it's getting a little trouble in some quarters, special at home because i named names of missourians that were inappropriate to me when i was young. but that's okay. my mouth dismantle all the time. >> host: we will talk about one example. we read an excerpt from your book in political magazine that was by one of pressure whenever most read articles. it peeled back the curtain on your extraordinarily high profile senate race against time taken to you mentioned that already. it was known that you decided to become involved by airing advertisements in the republican primary campaign to basically get a nominee that you did get which is to say that much of the best chance of beating in november. that part was knowing you would run advertising. you never told the story of how engaged you were with that
campaign. tell us about that now but also your decision to sort of be up front with people now about what you are doing. >> guest: is this a good example of where i want people to be more comfortable with, strategic decisions that are high risk. i think there's a tendency, at least my friends through the years there've been in situations with you 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 a situation where millions of dollars were being spent on me at that time. beating me up, driving my negatives up. they were all in, millions of dollars were being spent. i saw three candidates that is basically the same position but one had a record of saying things that were very extreme. i knew he didn't have a filter because these came from very deep religious view of government. i knew he would not ever filter those out or try to be careful about the way he talked about them.
we decided in the 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 pulled in sent money to look at what is it about todd akin that the republican primary voters like. like. so i didn't add, alter aboveboard and out in the open. this is claire mccaskill, i approved this message. todd akin is too conservative for missouri. we listed the things we do the republican primary voters like about it. hosting you called it the dog was a campaign just the right. we're sending the signal that he was their guy. but at the same time we're communicating to independent voters in missouri that if he got the nomination this is somebody who's little different in terms of his view of the world. it was a twofer. it help us with independent voters in regards to todd akin and it helped him in the primary. and it worked. he went from second or third in
the polls to that which ones are looking at and most of these were republican polls. hosting your private polling reinforced what -- >> guest: what was out there in the public. so then we ran the ad and we watched him climb i in the polls and he didn't want to be exceeded our expectations in terms of what he would say. >> host: his name is thomas was right after that victory, but go back to that, the primary campaign was closing in but it was very tight. it was an extraordinary moment where you continually directly got involved with his campaign to give person as well as your pollster connected with either supporters are people to get a message through to akin about a key advertising is running. >> guest: i'm not sure if the message uppercut to him himself. we saw was that mike huckabee is very popular in missouri, and he was looking care for it was
going on in missouri that you knew that mike huckabee was really popular. he was at the things we talk about in our ad, faith and family, very conservative values. we knew that add, mike huckabee is good and television. it was a powerful and. they took that down and put up another ad about faith and family and the fate of freedom but it was flames of freedom and weird and just our opinion collectively within my campaign that it wasn't -- >> host: uk said it could republican strategist. >> guest: if we know the state and you know the voters, so i reached out a couple of people that i knew and said you ought to tell them that we don't think that's a very good ahead. somebody from their campaign call our campaign and then i told the pollster a sign to talk to them in broad generalities just about what we thought the huckabee adds were so good and they took our advice. it was a general advice given, no polling data exchange for anything of that nature.
we gave them what we thought and then -- host literally within hours. >> guest: we were like we couldn't believe they were taking our advice, but they did. 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 it'd. >> host: it's remarkable an andi find it striking that only you decided to that in your book but this is the kind of thing that we all know, we all assumed the curse action all the time in american politics. the transparency about it, the willingness to talk about publicly, usually that's left to sort of hollywood versions and house of cards and that sort of thing. >> guest: i think transparency is good always. i probably felt defensive, i want everybody to know there's nothing we done that was untoward, nothing we've done that wasn't aboveboard.
that's what -- it wasn't done through third carb -- third party committees, it was our campaign. i think it is a great example of being strategic added that it was great for women to see a woman's campaign engaging in debt. a lot of that stuff goes on, not always aboveboard, immense campaigns and so i thought it was important to show a little strategery. >> host: tradition of right there is that word, calculating which is generally a negative version of the strategic and is applied often to women in public life or big roles and executive jobs, for example. i was struck by the fact your book as a quote of sheryl sandberg on the cover whose book lean in, generated so much conversation about this question of how women can get ahead. there was a huge sort of
backlash in some circles around her statement that women basically should be calculating, strategic but be willing to embrace and plan their careers, not be so zero-sum in their thinking around childhood and being mothers and that as a career killer for women but just to think much more straightforwardly. >> guest: there was controversy around it. she and i agree completely that, and this book also because i tell so many personal stories about children and about my family, i want young women to see that you don't have did do it all perfectly but you can do it all. you can prioritize your family in a way that is healthy and everyone is happy without sacrificing a hard edge may be. it might be termed a hard edge, towards your career advancement.
this notion you've got a good job and don't rock the boat and don't ask for more money because they are giving you a little extra time off and that's more valuable to you than a little more money. ask for both the house for a little more time off and a little more money. i agree with sheryl sandberg. i think this book is in the vein of lenient aspect i think it is but i'm struck by the fact as i'm sure you are that on the one hand that probably resonates with you, that 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 have reached the upper levels of what is american politics, american media, american companies i think we've had five to 7% ceos of major american companies. corporate boards are terrible. women leaders in any position, including journalists, clean politics are low. these are the women who have
leaned in. so your account is like the 1% account. what i've been struck by, what i've written about myself is this question of, that still doesn't explain why we have so few women in leadership positions, invisible positions in the senate because there's a broader category and class of women who have leaned in that is category and class of women who have made into these jobs. that's where this extraordinary level of personal criticism, of personal scrutiny, clearly played some role in my view, but it carries. it was under roosevelt all the way back in the 1930s who said to be a woman in public life -- eleanor roosevelt -- you need to have the skin of a rhinoceros. my guess is that probably still resonates for you all these years later? >> guest: absolutely.
things, my haters have a particularly tough edge. i mean, not too long ago one of them said they of a face like a diaper. a lot of things about my weight. really, really tough stuff. but i had parents that i think about this in the book. my dad kept telling me you can't get anything done without making anybody mad. this disease to the peace that i think we have that women can't want everybody to be happy. it makes good elected officials because were conciliatory. we want to bring people together. we want people to agree on common ground. i think more women innocent going to help government be more functional. we are those types of people. that's good. that is you can't make everybody happy. everybody is not going to like you. i've got a third of my state of public thinks i'm sitting 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 really focus on what i think is done, being transparent, working to -- working hard and publishing things. i can't sit around and work about the fact that people are going to say horrible mean things about me. and, frankly, that's the main reason i think women to avoid politics. how it's going to give as good impact of their families and the horrible things that are going to be said about their husbands or the kids. that's a real fear but you got to get over it. and, frankly, in this day and age a lot of that doesn't work anymore. negativity just doesn't hav have bite it's used to have an politics. i believe that. i think people are kind of over it. her husband is achieving as a be. i think they can't get that this is politico -- s.o.b.
>> host: the level, the ability to create and take narratives, the ability to judge women in ways that it comes up even more loudly, the decibel level and a general in politics has gone up so it magnifies whatever is out there. >> guest: painful but i'm not sure is still effective. >> host: this notion about why is it that many women are a first in not only getting politics but just in general being in the public sphere. it's well documented it's extremely hard to recruit women to write, say, opinion columns, for example, because that's where you're putting yourself on the line. it's a form of writing that's not nice if subject like work lifestyles or something. i see that all the time it as a
woman editor i've enormous interest recruiting women providing roles, in particular running sort of opinion columns, things like that. it's structural. women understand the penalties are higher. and that's where i was struck by what is it in your wiring come in your background, maybe your family experience, maybe it's just in your personality that you are not worrying as much about that criticism or you're not internalizing it. >> guest: i do enter lies at but it motivates me. postbank you proved them wrong? >> guest: yes. >> host: the whole narrative of success is a way of sort of rewriting this? >> when i was really demoralized as a young legislator by some the comments that were made about me, i just internalize it and focus. 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 through voters to to a e in this system and be effective and make a difference. and every time one of them did this to me i just work that much harder. i kept my head down that much more. so maybe that's the fuel. >> host: very interesting. maybe it's just that conversion machine. obviously, a woman politician who has faced all of these is hillary clinton. another well known fact about you is your decision to endorse not hillary clinton but barack obama in 2008. you give an account of that in your book and actually you say that your daughter was a key catalyst for the. tell us the story first. >> guest: it was a hard decision. they were too amazing candidates, both historic and ongoing.
it was a lack of choosing what my mom would call between the good old boys. it was a strong smart woman and an amazing african-american inspirational leader. i was close to barack obama. it worked together. he was my friend. i was inclined to support him because i was so inspired by his candidacy but i was reluctant. my daughter got in my face and said you ought to look at yourself in the mirror. our entire life you've been telling us that you make sacrifices when it comes to them in order to make a difference. and now an important moment in history, you are not endorsing rocko, because you're worried about your own political stand. she was right. i was worried about the blowback is going to get and i did get for my women's supporters, from women who have been good to me and helped me and allowed me to succeed in politics. they're going to be bitterly disappointed and they were. but i call the next day after she confronted me and told the
president, the now president, that i was all in and i was indeed allin from that day forward and worked very hard on his campaign. >> host: there was blowback, i don't this this is addressed but probably you did have you as well as others may when madeleine albright said there's nothing worse than women who don't support other women in public life. did that sustained at the time? >> guest: it did, it'd. my counter argument to madeleine albright is what we're fighting for is a level playing field. we can't, once we begin to achieve at the same level as men, we can then turn around and do what they did to us. we are going to assume that you're better just because you're a woman. it's about level. it's not about a preference. that door swings both ways. equality is equality. 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 an elected president.
i'm working just as hard for hillary clinton and lay very much, it's hard for me, people who do what i do want to play safe, do not go allin. fim for you, i am for you and out of doing everything i can to help her get elected. >> host: has she won your daughter over? >> guest: she has. not only kids are there yet. but national post that they're getting a look to bernie sanders? >> guest: they are trying to figure this out. i try. i learnt a lot from them and i try not to tell them what they think. they'rtheir advantage of a tragy that it ha has bad consequences that i wanted to come to the own conclusions and i'm comfortable that they're smart independent people until all come to the conclusion that hillary clinton is the best candidate. i'm not sure they're all there yet but i think they will get there. post pictures been put into such an old -- such an overwhelming front-runner. it is the case this time as well
but the on these persistent questions about her popularity on the left. the surge of bernie sanders in the polls and he's not even a democrat is an interesting phenomenon. do you think it reflects a discomfort with her as the nominee for just a desire to have a conversation within the party traffic part of it is the context. we've got a cast of thousands on one side and they're all aiming at hillary clinton. i've not seen any of them spent a lot of time criticizing bernie sanders. and then in our party, burning is speaking to folks who believe very much the status quo is a problem any speaking to issues that we care about in our party. he does with a great deal of passion and he's always been somebody who kind of walks a different path. so i think he seems more like an outsider to many in my party. so i do understand why he's
getting the attention he's getting in the long run. i don't think if you get outside of my party and get to the very important independent voters in this country that decide presidential elections and decide statewide elections in my state, i do not think from a practical standpoint it will vote for mr. president who self identifies as a socialist. >> host: is ironic we spent ages with barack obama been criticized as a socialist when he's not. the idea that the democrats would nominate someone who is is -- >> guest: right. when you realize, she still an amazingly strong position and i think the more she keeps her head down and earns this nomination, it's fine if bernie runs. it's fine if joe biden runs. she needs to earn a this nomination as wants to get she wants to show she is a fighter. i think it will strengthen or.
>> host: one thing that is striking that could get even what is she was criticized to a certain extent for not embracing the historic nature of her candidacy in 2008. she didn't want to be seen as the one candidate and to the very end when she dropped out of the race at the very end of the primary 2008. she gave her famous glass ceiling speech and said that she had not destroyed but made many, many cracks in the glass ceiling. clearly she's 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 page based on the campaign trail and talking about being a woman senator as opposed to being a senator, a woman president as opposed to a president, what is your candid advice to hillary clinton about whether to play the gender card or not? >> guest: we have talked about this. in my race for governor i so anxious to put everyone i was
qualified, but i'm every answer to every question. so i was rata tat tat. this isn't about me being a woman. this is about me being qualified. this is about anything else. a journalist after the campaign to the reminded me of an obnoxious candidate on jeopardy. you need answered every question but we were not sure if you are human. then i saw focus group or some other women compared me to -- it was like one of those moments that this was the governor's race. after lost that race we did a focus group trying to figure out -- that's when i realized that they didn't know that my hopes and fears for my kids were the same as the bears, and that i worked my way through school as a waitress and that my mom was salt of the earth and of rural missouri, and my dad, you know, i go and ask where he hunted all
the time and his family had the food mill in a very small town. i have not filled out who it was to missourians as a person. and i think that is something at hillary clinton should keep in mind, and i think she's doing that and i think the ad, her mother was very effective. i think she needs to show some vulnerability. vulnerability. i think she's it's only attacks in her life. it's easy to get in the bunker and be so defensive. frankly, i think some mistake she made around the e-mail came from that place. money to protect some of her personal information. not vicious doing anything terrible or wrong or sure to undermine the united states of america, for gosh sakes. what was their motive? wish on the payroll of china? is that what these people are latching? china is getting our e-mails without help from anybody. i don't really think she should
spend so much time being protective of personal. i think she's got to open herself a. i did that in the senate race and to think missourians got more full picture of william, the good, the bad, and the ugly. >> host: i think that is sort of an interesting lesson our case study that applies outside of the route of politics because there so few women in these positions, because they attract so much criticism, that bunker mentality i think is probably easy for corporate executives to be in a similar position. it's easy for any woman facing back. let's go back to the very interesting and i think unusual role that you've given to navigating the family and politics in a way that i certainly have never in any of the sort of male senator's memoirs. your daughter maddie was going to push you to endorse barack obama. you talk a lot about in the book
didn't even at a young age is a wonderful anecdote what you're asking early in your career, your public career and you're asking your son to get ready, i think you come with you to what you said was a party but i'm gathering was certainly not just a party. >> guest: i was going to make a little event. and when they were very young, he was probably seven, six, five, in that category, i would say we're all going to party, let's get in the car. they would go to some politically think i told him to get ready and then you have kids with bad guys out of there with me and you can have included them i heard connections into junk a sister, listen, if she says it's a party, ask her if anybody's going to give a speech. if anybody gives a speech, it's not a party. so they're onto me at a very early age as i was dressing up our time together when i was working on something that was maybe more fun than actually is for them.
>> host: you are able to establish that there wasn't some barrier between the person and the professional you which my guess is has enabled you to really keep integrating your family into a life so many women struggle with this idea that it's a zero-sum game, there's either family time for professional time, and one comes at the expense of the other. where do you fall down that? >> guest: when i ran for prosecutor, the first woman to try to get elected in kansas city, i did not my children in india by literature. i was worried that people knew i had small children to think it was inappropriate for me to take on this law enforcement type job that had some dangers associated with these young children. then i gravitate to the point now where i can't wait to take pictures with my nine grandchildren. it's been a process for me but where i come that is that i want my children to be part of my life. i want to be part of their life.
that means i want them to understand what i'm doing. i wanted to be a part of it if they want to be. one of the highlights of my life, my children participate in my campaign last time, for the first time. they were actually, my two daughters traveled with me during the summer of 2012 for the campaign. it was wonderful. when they were younger, no, we don't want to do that. and i think that's one thing about politics. you have more flexibility. you don't have a boss that you to check with you if to check with you if you want to take off and go see her son and intelligent a great school, i never missed my son except the centrality couple of times i could leave because i had jury in the box. i would take off and go see my son. i met to work on saturdays. out maybe have to go work at night but in terms of i scheduled it was more flexibility particularly when i was in the executive job and not legislative job. i did try to integrate and pull
them in to the extent they wanted to be. now they're all highly opinionated folks, young adults as a result of it than what i should have lots of thoughts on politics. you talked about a lot of your a lot of your colleagues can go to college innocent as well about their own expense. you count some of those. is a great example of kelly ayotte with her small child when she was a top law enforcement officer there. in new hampshire and tell me about hillary clinton's campaign office. >> guest: held hostage at a clinton campaign office back in 2008, she was the attorney general of new hampshire and she was dating her newborn and she said, check the phone in her ear and, of course, we can all visualize it is, trying to draw interest and change her child and while she was giving instructions from the highway patrol about what the situation was with this hostage taking is remembered this is so surreal.
gadget called husband and said you've got to get home, i've got to go. but the juxtaposition of bathing a newborn while you're directing the state applicable in a very tense series of situations where life and death is at stake is one great example in the book but there's a lot of great examples in the book of how the integration of your career and motherhood is sometimes funny, interesting, and frustrating. >> host: ago has had one of those erma bombeck -- moments. i remember when our son was little msm radio program that were used to do. i had to go on that early in the and i guess i don't know what happened, i thought i had the sound fixed but you could certainly hear my toddler talking the entire time. i had no idea. my boss waved hello and said your great underrated this morning but i could hear theo the entire time. nobody else had told me.
what i felt mortified. gas tax i quit worrying about that. i've had dogs in the background of interviews. i've had children crying, yelling at each other. as long as they can hear me, i'm not worried about it last night but it certainly humanizes. let's get back to this question of being such a minority of a minority in the senate and in the institution of government. i want to push you a little because i feel like sometimes i hear somewhat contradictory things from women who are independent or who have been in these political positions. on the one hand, there's this rhetoric of women's department. there's a sisterhood. we have these meetings, famous dinners that barbara mikulski has convened. we're there for each other, we are a more bipartisan group. ito get more women innocent you often hear, each of said, we are
more collaborative. we will find a way around the problems. here's padding murray making deal under budget were others failed to you have that narrative on the one hand and then on the other hand, -- patty murray -- women are not just going to endorse hillary clinton because she's a woman. we are fighting for a level playing -- playing field, not to create sisterhood or replicate the failures of the past. i mention this not because we've sorted simultaneously contradictory things, but would you come down on when it comes to the basic question of is there something essentially different about having women in politics or is this more because of our historical experience transferred both things can be true. i think you can make decisions based on merit without gender. at the same time have a disposition that allows you to work on problems about worrying
whether or not you want a weapon that you get the credit. i think really the difference, this isn't complicated i don't think. the women innocent can we all have to go to a lot of the same things to get there. it's hard. if you get there, we have an immense number of things in common. there's almost like an unspoken language between us that we get each other. even though i have huge disagreement with, for example, deb fischer or joni ernst on policy, there is still this collegiality becomes of our shared experience. a lot of it has to do with motherhood, with genuine some of his obstacles i talk about in the book i'm sexism and so forth early in your career. we don't want it to each other under the bus, but look at the difference between how harry and mitch mcconnell talk about each other into each other. they are at each other like this all the time.
it hasn't always been that way between the two leaders but it certainly is now that we have two people backloaded don't really like each other very much. i think you can get more done if you like each other even if you disagree. so as long as we keep working that knowing one another, the women, although that better than we know everyone else, we talk about her kids, personalize, i think there would not be this idea of winning at someone else's expense. that's what's wrong with washington. mitch mcconnell didn't want barack obama doing anything because he thought that would be at the expense, doubt it would make obama effective and, therefore, they would be able to take over. now that is a lot of we need to return the favor and mitch mcconnell. we've got to make sure they don't win anything because look what they did to us. they stymied us for so long. is not as much of that among the women at reducing it's a difference.
if there were more women we would have even more deals. we would have more compromises. i believe that, firmly believe that. >> host: in the context utah, another incident that's got a lot of attention in your career which was a time when every public disagreement with another woman senator, senator gillibrand, around this question of how best to ensure they were more prosecutions for military sexual assaults to you in particular objected to what you saw as sort of an instantly kind of sexist narrative, the proverbial cat fight. what did you take away from the? >> guest: there were two narratives i was objecting to get the first was the most entire -- aboard and i was this was a decision between victims and commanded that was a false narrative the that's not what this debate is about. it's about what system will protect victims best. media picked up on the simple are you for the commanders over the victim?
that was the fight i really was waging. because in my view, having studied it carefully as a former prosecutor, somebody who's been more to advance the victims and crying with victims and other member of the senate may be in history, i felt strongly that what i was advocating was the better for victims. the other catnip in this debate was you had to democratic women to different views. that i think elevated the difference way beyond what it would have been otherwise. and by the way, she and i had gotten so much time together to we just disagree on one thing. >> host: you are really partnered with her and a lot of things that have continued after that. >> guest: even after the vote that was close and we came down in the well and kind of hug each other. host the senators are very
competitive. you couldn't get into politics if you were not driven by succeeding. did your relationship take even a temporary hit as a result of the? >> guest: we were both focus on trying to get the votes to prevail because we both had an honest policy disagreements. yes, of course i was counting votes and i was like she's talking to him, i better go talk to him. it was circling around each other and trying to get the vote to make sure people understood our point of view. but i've it was over i remember jay rockefeller saying i'm not sure if two men would've done what you just did. the battle is difficult and emotional. it had been elevated in the press. at that moment it was kind of like part of me didn't want to hug her or shake her hand or reconnect, i knew i needed to come and thank goodness she did come to the we are fine and that we are working closely together on sexual assaults on college
campuses. >> host: when you look at the senate one of the things you do a great job in this book is really talking about how institutionalized sexism could even that almost that environmental world in which it's clear in a variety of ways that your the small minority but it persists so much into the now. i think that for many people it's just a desire this was a that's in the past. don't we have more women in office than ever before? you can't read this book, you can't sit down and talk with someone like you honestly and say that's a fact, right? i thought it was striking that you did such a good job. this isn't some crazy work to which this is what happened to women in the 1980s when barbara mikulski was first elected. from the 1950s when the senate, extraordinary got a boys club.
it persisted into the. tell us about that. there was the incident with another theme senators and the more who was talking about when she recounted an incident where one of our colleagues was commenting on her weight, pinching her behind. sexism isn't that in view of congress, isn't? >> guest: it's not. i will say i have not personally never felt diminished or minimalize by my male colleagues in the senate. i don't know if they are afraid of me, i don't know, if they are older. that might have something to do with it, but i did have a doorman, i couldn't come in to the senate when i first got elected because i didn't have a pastor an assumption i wasn't a senator. things like them. you're right about this point. there is a tendency in our society when barack obama was elected president okay, we are past that. 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 understand institutional biases that are racist within our country, particularly in the criminal justice system. the same thing is true with women. we have, in fact, accomplished a great deal. we can patch ourselves on the back that we've made progress, but if we think we're done, if we think this is over, just a few weeks ago to note that mr. legislature lost their jobs because young woman came forward who were interned and call them out on such harassment at the evidence of text messages that were inappropriate by these legislators. that was 1974 when i was injured and that happened to me. we cannot thank, okay, there's that, we still have work to do post back is a great anecdote you recount a new book about when you're first elected, part of a large class of democratic women who came into the senate. you were to push the boundaries
it does a single tiny bathroom. he found yourselves squeezed into. >> guest: i was in the bathroom, there was literally two stalls, nothing to stand in front of the sink. i walked in and the stalls were also extended their aunt amy klobuchar was there and then came elizabeth warren who just got elected. this is just after 2012, 2012, yes. then walked in deb fischer. someone else was in there and were all like this, you know, some walked out and tweeted just that elizabeth warren and deb fischer in the bathroom. we are going to have to get a bigger bathroom. we enlarged the bathroom so now there is room. when we get 50 or 60, they may have to enlarge it again. we may have to take space out of the men's office. we described in office and use some of that space. >> host: office of space is the expression of power. that suggest expanded but i was amazed about another anecdote
from that period of time. i think he was kay hagan from north carolina wanted to go swimming in the senators only, members only jim and found out that she was told, no, you can't do that. i guess i depressed to find the reason why which is that the name was swimming naked. >> guest: not all of them. i will never forgive kay hagan because she told me what was among the many senators who liked to swim naked, and now i can't -- i can't get it out of my hard drive. i will not make are just have to think about this person swimming naked. >> host: and that's a friend of yours. >> guest: right, right. that was just a few years ago that we had to finally make -- host but that's what i was blown by. it was not like 1965 where you could be like we were watching a naked. this was the 2000. >> guest: right. she took care of it. assigned changed. they change from members only,
men only, members only. now some of the women swoon. it's a terrible small little poker it's a very modest. it's adequate and modest end of will is very small but now women on weekends i think you can bring your kids in there if you want the wintertime. >> host: amazing. you came into this and came to washington with a set of expectations and they pointed you about what you would encounter having been in politics. what is a big difference between politics and you know state and politics in washington? i think some of that does come out in the book. >> guest: the awesome things that are the same. the things that are different are just much more like drinking out of a firehose 2472 doing the job correctly. if you can get staff driven
senate and someone prepare your questions and you walk through your schedule and meet people and your staff tells you how to vote, followed the recommendations. but if you engage, if you are intellectually curious, it is an enormous amount of material to consume. that's a big difference because i feel constantly am i adequate informed and tactically 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 bill is a good example. you couldn't even get mitch mcconnell and john boehner to agree on how to fund our highways, much less the republicans and the democrats. john boehner was pretty a three-month extension an accomplice and no, we have to have a multi-year attention at all of us were saying you guys are in charge and you can't even decide. that's how bad it's gotten. they are not talking to each
other. that's much more frustrating because it seems to me we are treading water and doing gotcha politics way more than we should be doing. i think that's why so many voters are attracted to a donald trump, who is all about i can be different -- it's obvious he's pretty different. he is on i would say. >> host: and not just better. >> guest: ended differently because of bernie's velocity, not because he is odd but because he's committed to serve la cienega psyches, shake things up. that's why you see the voters attracted to those candidates because they want someone to grab the status quo by its lapels and shake it into submission. i get that feeling. i feel it every day. very frustrating. >> host: that aspect of the dysfunction you are describing, the waning of authority among the party leadership, in part
that is also what is fueling this outsider candidates. there's an irony that yo you're begging for leadership both in time and that organization and that's what voters are looking for. you're begging for leadership but part of the problem is that the leader to delete delete has been eroded by the way our politics is going. >> guest: that's exactly right a heart of rigid ideology on both ends have it harder and harder for them to embrace compromise, something as part of their job. mitch mcconnell had to deal with ted cruz, rand paul, bill sessions, mike lee. it's hard for john boehner. even worse because the tea party is so entrenched in the house caucus, the republican caucus even more so than in the senate. that's a problem. our politics have gotten striated. rbd, easy to discern outlets for
affirmation, not information. both sides doing that. nobody calls by phone and asked me to compromise. the people who are the loudest are the people who are most first to compromise. i make the jokes about 35% of my state watches fox news and they think i'm sitting on a horse, 30% with msnbc and think i can do no wrong. the rest are watching "dancing with the stars" and think we're all great -- crazy. >> host: do you see that as being a reversible trend? if the parties are going to go away the question is are we living in a sort of referendum donald trump democracy? >> guest: i think time will tell. if someone like donald trump were to get elected i think it would be a backlash and you would see big changes. i don't think he will be
elected, but the money thing is also a big part of it and that's why getting rid of cities united has to be such a priority host the i know we're almost out of time in this conversation so glad you brought that up because the nature of campaigning is connected with experience you know have of trying to govern or legislator you write in your book you need to raise $40,000 a day. that number would be even higher of course today. how much does money suffuse your experience as a politician communism who can -- how much has that distorted, perverted what you do as a senator. >> guest: it's made it much less enjoyable. it makes me not as good as much a because i spent too much time at it. because we have limits. contract campaigns, it is a matter of making your case and asking people to contribute to
i'm constantly disappointed some may donors and supporters because i ignored sometimes what they want me to do what i think is right. i sorely disappointed my labor friends would've voted for tpa even though they were big donors of mind. i explained to them that doesn't mean that about the way you want me to vote. i think the limits really help. what is really driving i think 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 not too long ago in politico to talk about super pac money that had been raised so far was almost three times as much as been raised by the candidates. that money was dominated by like 67 individuals. so this is really become an oligarchy of campaigns. this has 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 and have to realize what's going on. this is something i'm going to be working on campaign finance and ethics reform in my state next year and i am excited that both bernie in hillary clinton had made campaign finance reform an important part of their campaign. it's 154 truths that hillary clinton talks about complaining of cities united cesspool, and bernie feels the same way. i hope the people who are mad about this kind of money and politics get active and involved in this campaign. >> host: the book is called "plenty ladylike" and it's just come out immediately time as you told me for the senate summary says so you can do a little promoting of it. this is your first book. what did you learn in writing
it? what would you do different maybe next time are what was your take away? >> guest: it sounded more romantic than it was. at being a process i thought it would be fun but it turned out to be sometimes painful because of the personal things i went through and i to sit down with my children that talk about how i talked about the father, and that was hard, but it's a little bit look at the little -- little bit like childbirth. painful to go through it. i'm proud i was honest and blunt and candid in his book i think we need more of it in the public realm. identify of another book in the. if i went this far in this one, my sister said you can't write another one because you will go way too far. ..