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tv   In Depth  CSPAN  December 6, 2015 12:00pm-3:01pm EST

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them over the past year. book tv has covered many of the authors and you can watch the full programs on a website, book >> now political commentator cokie roberts joins us live for in-depth and she will answer your questions at her book, which include her most recent, capital gains publish this past april. ..
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it was at a student political meeting in ohio in 1962, the summer between my sophomore and junior years of a college, and we were writing notes back and forth to each other during some very important session or whatever students do, and he had something sort of typically 19-year-old boy pompous, and i wrote back, i'm the youngest of five. i have an insane family. >> host: who are they? >> guest: my family is a wonderful family. my father and mother were some of the most dedicated public servantses in the history of the country, and my father, hail boggs, elected before i was born. 26 years old. my mother was 24. they had a baby girl, the day of his elects, and eight days later
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a baby boy, and they came here, and i think about it now, you know, in my old age, and think about these kids coming to washington. in this day and age they'd still be on their parents' health insurance, and there they were, the member of congress and his wife. of course they weren't kids in that era. they were fully grownup people. but here they were, preworld war ii washington, and according to my mother's account, it was very similar to the period of washington that i write about in my history book. you had to go calling, and the women were expected to call on -- i'll get the days wrong -- the cab nat wifes on monday, the senate on tuesday, the house on wednesday, the supreme court on thursday. and receive on friday. and it was very formal, and very organized. and mama told the story of the first day she had to go calling,
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the issue was, a very young woman, new to washington, and they were living in an apartment building on connecticut avenue, and a horn honks and she runs downstairs and gets in the car to go calling and it was lady bird johnson and pauline gore driving her, and they became quite a fearsome group, that group of women. >> host: what happened october 16th, 1972? >> guest: october 16, 1972, my father, who by that tile was majority leader of the house of representatives, in a spirit that was very typical of him, went to campaign for a freshman member of congress in alaska, and it had been a very tiring session up until that point. he was exhausted. but he had made a promise and he was going to keep it, and they
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took off in a small plane from anchorage, alaska, headed for juneau and the plane disappeared and has never been found. >> host: where were you. >> guest: i lived in california. i was a young mom. i had a couple of kids. i had a child who just turned two, and my little boy turned four while i was in alaska, looking for my father. >> host: lindy boggs. >> guest: my mother is -- was. we last her last year but -- two years ago. absolutely remarkable human being. a day does not go by without someone coming up to me and telling me something else my fabulous mother did. she was from a long line of politicians. in fact, just recently, steve hess here at the brookings institution came out with a
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reprint of his 50-year-old book "america's political dynasties" and realized my father's family, the clayburns, were actually after the roosevelts, the second most flit political family in terms of office and all of that. and she came out of that long line of public servants, and of course, when she married my father in, i guess, 1937, women weren't going into office, but then when my father was killed, his plane disappeared, she ran for his seat in a special election, in march of 1973, and served until she decided not to run again in 1990. she made that decision because my sister was dying at the time. but then she, as i always joke, discovered retirement was very hard work because everyone asked her to do everything and she didn't have an excuse to say no.
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so, at the age of 81, she took a new job, offered to her by president clinton, as the ambassador to the vatican, and that was a wonderful, wonderful experience for her. >> host: you write in your book. i we are our mother's daughters. that her friends and she was also fearful of taking the seat because she would lose influence in a sense. >> guest: it was interesting because as a political wife, she had had a tremendous amount of influence. she and people like mrs. johnson, mrs. ford, the rest of them, they were quite a cohort, and they really ran everything. they ran the political conventions, they ran voter registration drives, they ran their husband's offices. they ran us kids. and it was before home rule when they first started out in washington, so they worked with the african-american women here in washington, to run all of the
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social services. family and child services and those kind of things. so they were a powerful group of women, and of course, one of the things that my mother's power sometimes was that people were never quite sure where she stood. she made them always think that she was with them, because she didn't actually have to vote, and my sister said to her, mom, what you're going hate about being in congress is voting because there is no maybe button. you have to actually declare yourself, yes or no. but she ended up being a very powerful member of congress. >> host: you also write about the fact that she went to get a loan for a condo in downtown washington. >> guest: after she went to congress -- this is a thing that is very true, as you know, peter. still to this day, women in congress find that they not only represent their districts or
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their states if they're in the senate but they represent the women of america, and women come to them with all kinds of issues and problems that they do not come to the male members of congress with. and one of the things that became very clear was that women lost their credit when they lost their husbands, and either because the husband died or he took off with some chippy, and so my mother went to congress in march of -- and went on to banking committee, and they were considering a bill to end discrimination in lending, and it said on the basis of race, creed, or national origin, and as mama told the story, she went into the back room and wrote in, in long hand, or sex or marital status, and xeroxed it and brought it into the members of the committee and said in a very polite southern way i'm sure my
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colleagues just omitted this by depends, and that is how women got credit. and then years later, several years later, not that many years later, we bought her house. the house i grew up in, where i still live, and she was moving to downtown washington into a condominium and was having trouble getting a loan, and she called the bank and said, i -- since my income and assets are a matter of public record as a member of congress, i find it passing strange that i'm having difficulty with this loan, and also the author of the equal credit act, i'm worried that this is because i am female and elderly, and she had her loan that afternoon. >> host: well, let's take a quick look at lindy boggs. >> it's my great honor to welcome you to this joint
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meeting and commemoration of the 200th anniversary of congress. this occasion is a very special part of the bicentennial observances of the congress which will be marked by historical publicitieses, ceremonies, exhibits, a special film, and other activities during 1989. all three branches of the federal government traces their beginnings to 1789 but the coming which assembled first and successfully launched the united states of america. >> guest: well, my mother was a great historian, and she is a person who really imbued a love of history in me, and she was the chairman of that bicentennial of congress. she had been chairman of several bicentennials along the way. my sister said to her, this is a great gig. everything is likely to turn 200 at some point.
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but she particularly, of course, appreciated that one, as i said, maybe members of her family had been in congress, and she -- they then assembled in independence hall, where the constitution was written, and establishing the congress, and she was the person who was assigned to preside over it so she sat in that big chair of george washington with the half moon on the -- the sun on the back, and her feet didn't touch the floor. >> host: you referred to your sister a couple of time. who is barb. >> guest: my stir barbara was a really incredibly intelligent and humorous and beautiful and delightful human being. she was a politician. she was in local politics in new jersey, for many, many years, ending up as the mayor of princeton, new jersey, and she
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died at 61. >> host: you had a brother tom. >> guest: my brother tom, very prominent lawyer in washington and lobbyist, and he was really a very -- again, very smart, very funny, very affable, hail fellow well met, well-known person in washington, again, someone who was incredibly generous with his time and his talents and his treasure, and he died last year. >> host: from your book "we are our mother's daughters" as children my brother and sister and i thought of people like sam rayburn, lyndon johnson, hubert humphrey and gerald ford, at family friends who would come by for a casual dinner picked from the vegetable garden. >> guest: that's true. one of the great benefits of our lives. barbara and tommy both always said we might not have had the
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kind of money that some of those people we knew had, grow up in washington, but we had treasure well beyond anything that you could put in the bank. >> host: coke cokie robert is washington still the same. >> guest: not even close. it's tragically different. i had the incredible honor a couple of years -- several years ago now -- to be asked by get e betty ford to be a eulogist at her europe recall, and i joked i would have been scared to death except mrs. ford told me exactly what she wanted me to say. she wanted me to talk about the washington of that era, when everybody was friends, and gerry ford and betty ford and my parents were very good friends, and president ford said to me, don't understand what is going on in washington now and that was well before it was as bad as it is now, and when your dad and
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i were majority leader and minority leader of the house, we'd have billing -- big debates but then still be very good friends, and he said for heaven's sakes, we were the leaders of our parties in the house, then the debate would be over and we'd sit down together and be good friends, and they were. they were quite good friends and susan ford and i are still good friends. >> host: we are our mother's daughters. let's take a moment to explain what the woman's vote is and what it is not. it is not a vote based on abortion or other so-called women's issues. all of our polling tells us that men and women vote exactly the same on to the questionses. the women's vote is an economic vote. >> guest: for most it's an economic vote but true about the women's vote. the women's still feel themselves economically more vulnerable than men because they are. it's a correct perception. and there is still the last
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hired, first fired knock. but women also have a very different relationship with the role of government. that is not say that women love government, but they hate government less than men hate government. and that is -- when you think about it, peter, it's for very natured understandable reasons global of the biggest beneficiaries of government programs, medicare and social security, women? we wished you guys lived longer but you don't. who are in the people taking care of people on those programs? women. and who are the people who are on welfare, women with children. on one didn't unmarried women with children. who uses food stamps, all of those things. you go down government programss and the recipients are either elderly women or younger women and children, who works for
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government and works in all kinds of governmentally funded institutions like arts councils or libraries or hospitals in many cases? it's women. so, there's a different attitude about government, and that is what women bring to the voting booth. >> host: one good example, gun control. women see this as a mommy issue, no machine guns on playgrounds good idea. the ban on assault weapons would never have hassed congress had there been fewer women in 1993. only 23% of republican men voted for it but 67% of republican women voted for it. >> guest: then it expired and was never renewed. but you see, may be very salient right now, and there's no accident that hillary clinton is talking a lot about guns and gun control and a lot of it is to appeal to women. >> host: cokie roberts, a lot of
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your history books -- all of your history books for cussed on women. where did you get the idea. >> guest: not like there aren't history books about men. there are a lot of those. but the first one that i wrote was about the women of the founding period, and really i got the idea from the women i was just talking to you about, the women of my growing up years, who were so influential, in washington and in government, and you know, as somebody who has covered congress and politics as long as i have, you spend an enormous amount of time with the founding fathers. they're invoked all the time as you well know. the founders said this about that. and almost -- biffle the way, almost always -- -- i'd say 99.9 parts of the time that somebody in congress invokes a founding father, it's wrong. but so i felt tremendous need
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and continue to feel a tremendous need to read what they actually said about the right to bear arms or religion in the public square, or why you have to be born in america to be president, although apparently canada works. so, i started wondering about the women of the -- of this incredibly important, crucial period of our history, and figured they had to be at least as influential as the women of my period, and when i went back to learn about them i had a hard time. it was very, very difficult to find out what they were up to because there was so little by way of letters and diaries and reports. with the exception of abigail adams who thankfully wrote and wrote and wrote, and her family, who saved her letters, the rest of them were really hard to piece together.
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>> host: you lament in the introduction to ladies of liberty "that mar that washington burned all her letters. >> guest: right. just today i was reading the review of a new book about martha and george, and it highlighted the fact, it's very -- she is elusive because she has burned her own letters and his to her. so, what we have is this little snippets of their relationship, and then letters from other people about them that you're able to piece together, and the mt. vernon lady's associating has done a very fine job of trying to find everything they can to try to flesh out a portrait of martha washington. >> host: good afternoon and welcome to booktv on as soon as c-span chance. this is our "in depth" program. we invite an author on to talk
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about his or her work. this month it's cokie roberts. she has written several books, many history books, couple of autobiographical books as well. to participate 202-748-8200 in the east and central time zone. 748-801 for those in mountain and pacific time zone. you can also send cokie robert aztecs e text message. this is only for text. please don't call this number but send a text, 202-'17-9684 is that number to call. now, if you can't get through on the phone lines, you want to make a comment, try social media. e-mail, booktv@. [ horns honking ] .org. -- twitter,@booktv, and finally, leave a comment, you'll see a promotion there
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with cokie roberts speaking. just make a comment underneath that, and we will find that comment. we'll begin taking those calls in just a minute. >> guest: who is steve rogau? >> guest: steve -- we -- his birth certificate said rogo. run reason they changed it. when he was two his father changed their name to roberts but steve and i met in the summer of 1962. he was at harvard, i was at wellesley, and we were at student -- national student association meeting at the university of ohio in columbus, and i had actually met his twin brother, mark, before that, in boston, and i kind of looked across the campus and i saw this guy who looked like mark roberts, but he didn't look exactly like mark roberts, and
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then i went -- we a all had name tags on so i went up and looked at his name tag, and i said, so, are you mark roberts' brother? and he looked at my name tag and said are you barbara boggs' sister? that's how we met and we started dating off and on then, and then more seriously later, and then married in 1966. >> host: he was several years with "the new york times." >> guest: with "the new york times." 25 years. and he went to the times right after college. he had the wonderful experience of being an intern for or assistant -- whatever they called it -- for scotty reston, james reston work was most powerful journalist in washington. the columnist for "the new york times" and long-time bureau chief in washington for "the new york times." and scottie was pa wonderful mentor and a really kind
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adviser, and so steve made sure that after the year was up, "new york times" hired steve on the city staff, and so he moved to new york and then he -- we went to california with the times and then went to athens, greece, and came back here, and he was in the washington bureau. >> host: i think your mother-in-law crooked you as the belles jew in the family. >> guest: that was not havey competition. it was -- but stat is true. >> host: you're catholic. >> guest: very serious catholic but we are about to enter this impact -- tonight is the first night of hanukkah, and we are about to enter the very busy season. >> host: why did your major describe you as the best jew in the family. >> guest: as steve and i were dating as catholic-jewish couple, that was very unusual in that day and age, not at all anymore but at that time it was.
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i think it was very difficult for steve's parents. they had not really had the experience of having nonjewish friends, and they were very concerned about what it would mean for him to marry outside of the tribe, and so it was a difficult courtship, and finally we convinced them that we really would not only honor them and love them, but also their religion and for me the only way to really embrace judaism was to know about the religion. so for then it was much more of a cultural phenomenon than religious one. so i started being serious about learning about judaism and about celebrating certainly the holidays, and in fact at one point, steve's mother joked --
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no, steve joked. my mother was right, i should have married a jewish girl some wouldn't make me go to temp them to high holidays. >> host: you ask steve roberts have written two books together, from this day forward, and -- what is hagata. >> guest: it's the service that is read at passover. and it's a ritualistic lit liturgy so we have had passover close to 50 years, and year ago i wrote a little version of the hagata. our first passover we had, i bought a version of it and everybody who came had arguments about it. it doesn't have what i like about this and that. it's too preachy about that. whatever. so i got a bunch of them together and sat down and time
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up a version which we still use, but at one point the publisher came to us and said, why don't you actually put it in a hard cover. and so we did, and a along with a lot of commentary and introductions talking about they way that passover and easter are connected. it was very interesting exercise. >> host: in "from this day forward" you write about how steve roberts got you your first job. >> guest: not my first job but my job at npr. >> host: that's right. >> guest: my first job i actually got through the college placement office of all things, but it was a wonderful job with a production company here in washington, still operating, and in fact, with them, after i was working for them for about a year, we put a program on the air here in washington called
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meeting of the minds where i was the anchor. i was 21 years old, and it was the lead-in to "meet the press." so i found myself going full cycle to come back around on sunday morning, but steve and i, when we got married, never, never even had a conversation about my staying with my very good job. we just assumed that i would quit it and move to new york. and where he was working, and so i did. but then we moved to -- i worked there, we moved to california, i had jobs there. we moved to greece, i worked there. and then we came back to washington, and that's when steve helped me get this job at npr. >> host: cokie roberts, linda -- >> guest: right. well, we are very, very good friends. and we have had each other's
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backs for a very long time, but they're the people who got me that job. what happened was steve went to work at the "new york times" bureau, and he was sitting at a desk and next to him was someone he didn't know, and she was a woman who introduced he was as judith miller, who has since become famous, and he said, where did you come from? and she said i just come over from npr. he said what's npr? and she tells him. and she said that sounds like a perfect place for my life. because i had doing a lot of radio reporting for cbs from athens. and so the said, call nina totingberg, and she called nina, and she said get me her resume. so steve delivered my resume to nina, and as they say, the rest is history. >> host: we are our mothers' daughters. the debate over the role of
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women has created enormous upheaval, upheaval for society and for the family. for women like me, who grew up and graduated from college before the revolution, it's all gotten a little exhausting. >> guest: it's true. i was interviewing gloria stein national the other day about her new book, "life on the road," and i said to her, aren't you just worn out? and she is not, god love her. she is ready to keep going, but it does get exhausting. you feel lime you have had these arguments over and over and over again, and what is the point of them? just put one foot in front of the other and march on. >> host: what are the arguments. >> guest: in recent years we heard the business about mommy wars and leaning in and all this stuff.
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the conversation to me that is worth having is a conversation about equal pay for equal work, about making the workplace a far more caretaker friendly place to be, and i don't just mean for moms. i mean for people taking care of old people and -- you know, fully a third of the households in this country are taking care of elderly or disabled family members. now, there's care taking is an enormous -- it's a blessing but it's also an enormous undertaking, and the workplace has to be far more accommodating to caretakers if we are going to be the most productive country we want to be. so those are real issues. not whether this tiny slice of american society that can afford not to work, is doing the right thing by staying home when they have small children. fine, if you want to stay home,
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fine if you don't want to stay home. why talk about it? >> host: "ladies of liberty" you write my interest in the power of political wives comes from my owner ands growing up in politics. >> guest: well, i got to that earlier. the way that i saw my mother and her other political wives do the kinds of work they did, really did have a huge impression on me, because i saw how incredibly influential they were. >> host: abigail adams. the ladies. >> guest: took awhile, didn't it. so abigail adams was -- she is such a fascinating character, and it's not all positive, but hardly anyone is, but she in the time when the continental congress was meeting and trying to decide whether to declare independence, she had no
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patience with that whatsoever. she thought it was ridiculous, these men were just lily livered and she kept saying to them, for heavens sake, declare independence. this is -- these british are terrible. and by the way they were occupying boston. at this point writes to her and says if it gets really dangerous, take our children and fly to the weeds. thanks, john. hope you're having a nice dinner philadelphia. but she was very politically astute, and thinking about all of these things. so as she started thinking about independence, she said to her husband. you have to come up with a new code of laws for our new country, and when you do issue ask you to remember the ladies because all men would be tyrants if they could. there was then a lot of commentary eve the centuries about whether she was kidding. i don't think there's any
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question she was not kidding. in other letters to her friend, mercy warren, it is clear she was not kidding. but was she talking about political power? was she talking about legal rights? i don't know the answer to that. she certainly knew that women had no legal rights. married women could not own property. and they were the property of their husbands. and i'm sure she saw abuse. and so my guess is she certainly wanted to see legal rights for women, but she also said in later letters -- she talked about, if i can't vote, at least i can be a politician in this way. so she was aware of the fact that women did not have political rights. >> host: who was mercy otis warren? >> guest: mercy otisway was a very important propagandaist for the revolution. from a famous political family,
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the oits and and she had been educated in boston with her brothers before the went to law school but she wrote plays and poems designed to rev up sentiments against the british, and she was very successful in doing that, and the patriot men, john adams and sam adams, kept asking her to write more. they met in her parlor and she was right there at the time of the revolution, really as a highly, highly influential propagandaist. >> host: i'm going to opine and say i think the favorite woman back then was debra reed franklin. >> guest: debra reed franklin was a really stalwart, just carrying on sort of woman. she is franklin fran's life, his
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common-law wife. he was a very astute business woman -- she was a very astute businesswoman. shep was not literate. her letters are badly spelled and all that. but she could conduct business with great acumen, and in fact it always amuses me because you say, we learn growing up in school, ben gentleman minimum franklin's first postmaster geée united states and he wasn't in the united states. he was in england for most of the years leading up to the revolution, and all those years, for a very long time, so she ran the postal service, and and in fact, she -- there are records of that, thankfully, and in fact, at one point, lord louden, the nobleman who was the titular head, fired one of the workers who was a cousin, and she got
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furious and told him off, and she says, not only are you a interfering but you're slowing down the service, and just back off. and there's a wonderful -- i saw you had the children's book up -- this is a beautifully illustrated children's version of family mothers, and the illustrator, diane good, who is terrific, has debra reed holding lord louden in her hand and just telling him off. it's quite wonderful. >> host: so, in essence, benjamin franklin got the title, she did the work. >> guest: that's right. that was true about their printing business as well. the printing business was essentially a franchise business of shops that went to the frontier, which was pittsburgh, and she ran it, and ran it very, very well. and so -- but she missed him. she kept begging him to come home. he was gone for close to 20
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years. and she -- their only daughter got married, and he still wouldn't come home. he just said, keep the wedding cheap. some things don't change. but finally she died, and he wrote to his friend the had to go home because my wife in whose hands i have left my affairs has done. so poor ben actually had to go home and figure out his affairs. but she had run everything. he did give -- he did give her credit for that. >> cokie roberts, author of the book "we are our mother's daughters," "founding mothers. the women who raised the nation pile. "ladies of liberty" in 2008. hagata. uniting traditions for interfaith families.
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founding mother, remembering the ladies children version, 2014. a book we have not talked about, your most recent, "capital dames" the civil war and the women of washington just came out this year. dames? >> guest: they are quite a group of women. i had frankly never wanted to write a civil war book. my own family all fought on the losing side, but the interest in the civil war is enormous, as you know, and of course we were in the middle of the -- sesquicentennial, which is hard to say, and the publisher was interested in a civil war book, and i knew there had to be some fascinating women to write about. the question was, how to confine it so it did not become some massive thing that's pretty big.
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so i made it about washington. it's a really interesting period. >> host: it's been a best seller, but -- >> guest: they've all been best sellers. >> host: there you go. one of the women you write about is davis. >> guest: i love her, jefferson davis' wife. i'm not fond of him but she is really a very interesting woman. she came here as a teenager -- of course, awful young. they married in their teens and she came here as a wife, as a teenager, and loved it in washington. she had grown up in -- then he was in the cabinet and it was franklin pearces cabinet, and pearces wife was in mourning. and so davis was really the first lady at that period. she was -- he was -- she ran a
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very extensive salon, and then he went back to the senate, and after the pearce administration, and then of course, see seceded and the became the first laidoff oconfederacy, much to her dismay. she knew this was not a winning proposition. she -- we don't have the manufacturing, we don't have the railroads you. think the men night have noticed but they didn't seem. to but she said i'm going to do my job, and she did, although she was never fully accepted by the south. her grandfather was the governor of new jersey and she was not fair complected enough to be a true southern belle. richmond papers talk about her as tawny. but she always was feisty and
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interesting and she stayed in touch as much as she could with her friends in the north, particularly here in washington, elizabeth blair lee, of blair house fame, who was a very close friend of hers, and that was one of the things that was interesting, was to see how these women would not let their friendships disappear, even though the men were killing each other. because they had become so close. >> host: she spent her final years in new york in fact. >> guest: so then after the war, first she had to get jefferson davis out of jail and that is one of the thing is just loved in this book. these women, no matter who was president, would just march into the white house and tell off the president. right? and you have to do this. and it was just wonderful. i'm so jealous of them. and so she was one of those, get my husband out of jail. but -- then they had some very
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hard been days after the war, and jefferson davis was not a likeable person, but he then finally died, and she decided to move to new york, and of course it was a huge scandal, the first lady of the confederacy is moving to new york. but she wanted to do it. first of all she needed to make a living. she didn't have any money and she had job offer as a journalist, and secondly, she was ready to escape the whole lost cause thing. and she wrote to her daughter -- and i said to your earlier who was referred to as tawny -- and she wrote to her daughter and said, i'm free, brown, and 64. i can go wherever i want to go. and she moved to new york, worked for the new york world, she wrote some books. but she also ran a salon that was very popular. she was apparently a brilliant conversationalist, everyone referred to her that way.
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and i think most interesting, she befriended julia grant, the wife of the general who defeated her husband's country, and when they first met it was page one news in all the newspapers in the country, and that surprised me, too. the way these women actually were covered by in the newspapers. was surprising to me. they were considered important enough to deserve coverage, and that meeting was everywhere in the country, and then she went to the dedication of the grant memorial. very publicly, and a very considered act of reconciliation. >> host: you also write in "capital dames" 50,000 people turned out for her funeral in richmond. >> guest: right. well, her husband was buried there at the time. they buried her in richmond, and
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it was a huge confederate showing for her funeral, but it also did involve participation by several important yankees, and so it was not soley a confederate event. >> host: yokeie roberts, as daughter of the confederacy, colonel clayburn -- >> guest: will, my mom's great, great uncle, william roberts, was a gené confederate army, brigadier general. i was just recently sent bay cousin his parole -- he didn't surrender until june of 1865. months after appomattox, in april. so, he was, one but self of the clayburns also, yes, absolutely, my father's family of the
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confess was si. >> host: as a daughter of the confederacy, what do you think about the efforts to get rid of the -- one of the flags of, the symbols of the confederacy. >> guest: one of my elderly cousins, my mother's generation, which is very moisture a died in the wool southerner, said it's about remembrance, not about respect. and i think there's a lot of truth to that. i think having some context around the thing makes all the sense in the world, and in places where they are offensive as on the grounds of the capital in south carolina, or in the flags of some of the states, georgia, that is -- removing it makes a lot of sense. it is -- first of all, this didn't happen after the civil war. i happened in the 1950s.
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with segregation. the rise -- the re-rise of white supremacy. so, this is -- it makes a lot of sense to get rid of symbols that are offensive and actually frightening to some people. but in places where they are just part of the landscape, and have been there, put some sort of context around them and talk about what the confederacy was and what it did makes great deal of sense. use it as a hoyt lesson, in other words. we don't know anywhere near enough history in this country. >> host: how didout get to abc? >> guest: because they'd called me up and asked me. a nice way to come. i was working and still working at npr, and i was also at that point working for the -- what was then the mcneill lehrer
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news hour, and i was asked to go on the roundtable for this week, and then they asked me to come on the staff. i said, i would as long as i didn't have to leave npr. and so i worked for both ever since, and that was 1988. so a while ago. >> host: you've hosted this week. were you the first female host on a sunday morning program? >> guest: no. my dear friend, leslie stall, was the host of "face the nation." >> host: what was is like to work with sam donaldson. >> guest: one of the most delightful people. the moved home to new mexico and i miss him terribly. he is just one of the -- a unique individual and that's an overused word but not in terms of sam. one of the nicest, funniest people you'd ever -- and kindest people you would ever want to
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know, but also that persona, that bombastic persona is the real sam. people ask me all the time, is there a hidden george will, hidden sam donaldson? no. they are who they are. they're both delightful men. >> host: how much are you working these days. >> guest: i work -- >> host: semi retired. >> no. it's a different work. i work doing something every day. right now i'm under some pressure because i'm writing the sequel to the children's book of "founding mothers," the children's book of "ladies of liberty" which is due this week, and the paperback of "capital dames" comes out in the spring. and so i'm getting -- proofing for that. so it's a very busy moment right now, and as you might notice, the president will be on the air tonight. so, that's my day job.
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>> co-cokie robert outside do you research something like davis. >> guest: fortunately there is a book of her -- of the jefferson davis family letters, and there have been a couple of good buyographys of her. but then there are letters that are. the joy is technology has made this much easier so you can be in touch with someone in the university library and they can scan what they have and send it to you electronically. ie have to figure out who the people are being referred to and all that, but it's so much better than it was when i what
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doing "founding mothers" but i just discovered, in the end of october, i was in louisiana for the book festival, one of marina davis' descendents was there and he found her diary, and i am so angry i did not have the diary for writing" capital dames "because she says she does wonderful descriptions of the houses in washington. so he will be the person who gets to do that. >> host: was washington a southern town -- >> guest: totally. >> host: during the civil war. >> absolutely. >> host: southern sympathy, too. >> yet. southern town with southern sympathizers and virginia virginia was the capital of to the confederacy, and maryland was very sympathetic. lincoln got something like two percent of the vote in virginia and three percent of the vote in maryland. he was not a popular figure that these parts, and so he came into
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a very hostile situation, and the town was filled with southerners. i found serendipitously -- my friend found a diary of a woman in the year 1861, who lived been in cleveland park, and her descendent was kind enough to let me read it, and she had daughters in virginia, and very clear from her diary that her family is confederate sympathizers and she is trying to keep her children quiet so that the union's troops stationed around the town don't harass them. >> host: "founding mothers fire featured on the history channel. >> guest: right. >> host: what a was that like. >> guest: i had never done re-enactments. i'm such a journalist, and these books are nonfiction books.
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very, very carefully researched books. so i didn't -- i hadn't had that experience. fortunately the producer on that show was abc productions, and they were very careful about it. >> host: you describe a woman named elizabeth ellis who is your heroine. >> guest: she was my hero heroine when i was doing "founding mothers" because shed did the leg work. she tried to find out as much as she could about the women in the revolutionary period, either the ones still living, like elizabeth hamilton, or the ones who whose descendents were still quite cognizant of their ancestors, and so she wrote down everything she could, and did a couple of volumes about it.
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she was something of a character herself, but she did at least try to preserve that history. >> host: if you want to know why aaron burr ended up as the villain in the founding stories-let me produce you to his family, you write. >> guest: they were not a great group. his father, aaron burr, sr., was the president of princeton, was his grandfather, jonathan edwards, but his mother and father both died when he was very young, and so he was raised by uncles, and he wasn't really raised at all. he was raised by wolfs, and so he did not grow up with exactly the right values. >> host: but his mother was letter, writer --
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>> guest: thankfully did write letters. >> host: she seemed overwhelmed a lot of her life. >> guest: she was overwhelmed. she was the daughter of jonathan edwards, the great preacher of the great awakening, and he was -- they had 12, 13, 16 children, whatever, and he of course was so busy being the great preacher that her mother really had to do all the work, and she, as a young -- they were all so young. she is a young girl, marries aaron burr, and a minister, and she has to be a minister's wife, and then he becomes president of princeton and it's really hard. the expectations of her were enormous in tomorrows of what she had to do socially and what she was supposed to do religiously, and she -- and raising these two little children. she had two in two years, and
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she never thought she was good enough, and all of that. it was all just really lard for her and she was not i with anybody she knew. just her husband in princeton, not with her family. and so that was hard. fortunately for her, one of the -- i think one of the great ladies of the revolutionary period was an older woman who was there and did try to help her some. >> host: you note that you are writing about mostly elite women. >> guest: right. >> host: why? >> guest: because they're the people who had the ears of the founding fathers. i mean, i came at this from having learned about the founding fathers and wanting to know what the women of the era were doing, who would have the ability to influence them in the ways the political women of my generation influenced the men.
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so, it was taking it from that starting point. >> host: we talked about the salons throughout the year. anyone today holding these salons, these washington gatherings? >> guest: not really. mrs. graham did when she was alive, catherine graham, she what's publisher of the "washington post." she would have dinners that were filled with the glittery people but not -- i don't mean glittery in an unsubstantial way. substantial people. but -- and really it's not part of the culture today. >> host: cokie roberts is our guest. we have talked talked for an hour, out in it's your attorney, 202-748-8200. in the east and central time zone, 748-8201. if you live in the mountain and pacific time zone, if you can't
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get through on the phone lines and want to make a comment, try a text mess mayor, 202-717-9684, just for texts, not for calls. and if you would include your first name and your city so we can identify you, also flash up the different ways you can get ahold of cokie roberts via social media. neville in cleveland, ohio, you have been a very patient man, please go ahead with your question or comment for cokie roberts. >> caller: miss roberts, considering your personal background with both parents having served several terms in congress, i wonder, having lived for a time in washington, dc, to what extent do you consider yourself a washington, d.c.
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insider,. >> host: why do you ask that question? >> caller: well, i'm wondering if she brings a unique perspective connecting what is going on in politics today. not many people have that unique background. so i'm asking that question. >> host: thank you, sir. >> guest: well, you know, it's funny because my reaction that was first to say, beltway person but the truth is i am a great believer in washington and the work of washington. i think that what government does matters, and i think that understanding the workings of government is important. i think it's important to be an informed voter, and i also think that the people who come here to serve in both parties are -- most of them, almost all of them, do it out of a sense of desire to be good public
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servants, and to be able to help people in their districts, their states, and the country to the -- and so i am an admirer of washington and an admirer of the work that's done here. so i think that this notion of trying to vilify the government and the people who serve in government is very destructive. i think that the only thing we have -- i would commend to anybody who hasn't done it to come here and go to the national archives, and go into the rotunda there. the closest thing we have to national cathedral, and there are the declaration of independence, the constitution and the bill of rights, like i always say as a catholic we like our lady's altar, the main altar and st. joseph's altar, but
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there they are as our charters of freedom that have created this country, and that's what america is. america is an idea of -- that was created to allow for government by the people, for the people, and that is what washington does. washington is that government. and i think that the notion of trying to turn it into some kind of evil entity is a -- is really fundamentally unamerican, and so i would proudly say, yes, i am a beltway person but a beltway person who still calls new orleans home. >> host: have you ever thought about running for office? you had a pointer in office for 50 years. >> guest: right. i'm the only member of my original nuclear family not to run for congress. they didn't all win.
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my mother is the only person who never lost an election. >> host: your father lost -- >> guest: my father lost his second election to congress, and then he lost the gubernatorial naker to election. but then -- the fact is i have felt guilty about not running for office but being married to a journalist who was always going to be a journalist from the time he was a little boy, it would have been a little hard on him if i ran for office. so i have tried to assuage my guilt by telling people -- by reporting on it, whether i feel like at least that way i can serve voters. >> host: cokie roberts, because of you you are, can you call paul ryan and get an interview quickly or get through to him. >> guest: i can probably get through to paul ryan. i hope so. i think he is a very interesting, smart, and dedicated member of congress.
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>> host: this is a text message from kimberly in atlanta. i halt the high honor of receiving your mother's recommendation for the citizenship scholarship to attend loyola in new orleans, she remains a huge hero of me and i have spend years advocating for women, children, and social justice. look forward to reading your book. i can only imagine how aghast and i alarmedded your mom would be at the tenor of this year's presidential primary rhetoric. >> guest: my mother would not like the primary rhetoric, that is true, but let me say she would be so proud of this woman. she would be thrilled to know that she has had that legacy. but the rhetoric is hateful and makes -- let's start with rude. mama wouldn't like that. but hateful and personal and it
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is not the way political discourse should be carried out. >> host: is today unique from what you have observed. >> guest: no. no. meet the period before the civil war. it was a horrible period, but then we had war, and so we don't want to replicate that. >> host: ken, atlanta, good afternoon, you're on i with cokie roberts. >> caller: miss cokie, i'm just thrilled to death. the e-mail or whatever you received from kimberly just a moment ago, that's my daughter. i called her after i found out you were on tv. i said, kimber, i found the picture of cokei's mama taken with our family and i turned united states to be part of the award that kimberly got because of your mama's nomination so
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turns out she beat me to get on the air. >> guest: that's probably happened to you over and over now that she has the final loyola education. >> caller: you can tell by the way show wrote that thing she is well over her daddy when it comes to spell asking glamar and all that stuff. >> guest: how nice for you to have such an accomplished daughter. i. >> host: ken, did you have a question or commenter. >> caller: i've got a comment. there's project my family was working on and that is one of the reasons the picture with cokie's mama and it's called "our republic" wall and going to be activate for all the state legislators, and. i'm now involved in gathering stories around the characters and two ladies in congress were incredibly helpful. one was your mama and the other was -- did you know a lady named tilly fowler.
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>> guest: yes, sure. sure. >> caller: miss tilly, wait this daughter of a senator out of georgia who was the foundation of this project, and one of the great things about tilly and her daddy -- her daddy was known as the silver fox, and tilly was known as the steel magnolia, and i didn't think about it until now but when kimberly called in, it dawned on me we ought to get kimberly to write a book about those two character. >> host: wasn't the representative fowler -- wasn't she a republican from -- i want to say florida? >> caller: she was, she was out of -- when i first met tilly, she was a member of the city council of jacksonville, and then she wound up with her career in congress representing that district in florida. she and her dad were famous for their fights.
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one of the things that you have brought out is senator kidd told me one day that his 40-something career in the georgia general assembly was no fun anymore. i asked him. what are you talking about he said the civility, the ability to respect each other, something happened. it seems to have gone. and i think this is what kimberly was talking about. and -- but let me let y'all go. i just -- >> guest: you get her to write that book. that's a good idea. >> host: sharlene is in reno, nevada. high, sharlene. >> caller: hi. cokie, really appreciate your work in journalism thank you for giving women a history. >> guest: thank you. >> my question is, how did you do your research for your books? it's almost as if you're right there on the conversations. >> guest: well, thank you. i'm glad you feel that way. i really tried very hard to make
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them as much in the words of the women themselves also i possibly can. but i -- it's a combination of -- it's really detective work to do women's history, but in some cases there are booked that have been published and that's very helpful, particularly if they're books of letters in other cases, what i do is go to the footnotes in books about the men and see what can find, and then, again, thanks to technology, i can find out easily online where the men's letters are, and then call up those institutions and find out if they have the women's letters as well. and since i have been doing these books there has been a lot more recognition that it is worth publishing. so, i've gotten a lot of
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wonderful cooperation from the curators and librarians at universities, libraries, manuscript divisions, library of congress, historical societies, historical homes, all of those places have been just wonderfully helpful, and the other thing that was due for this most recent book "capital dames" was that now newspapers are online, and i cannot tell you how much fun that is. you can waste days just reading newspapers because all the ad are there, everything is there. so you really get a picture of what life was like, and so -- and two wonderful sites, one is free, that we taxpayers are paying for, through the national endowment nor humanities, and it's on the library of congress web site called "a chronicling in america" and the other you way for, "up --"
1:09 pm put you can put in search words and dates and you have newspapers from all over the country. so that been a huge sad vans from when i first -- a huge advance when i first started write using use two books you include recipes, why. >> guest: because i think it's a connection. one of the thing is think is true about women is there's a certain way that we connect no matter where we are and no matter when we are, and one of the ways is through recipes, and so i decided to put some of these women's recipes in. some are pretty scary. like this dress a hog -- a hog residents head, but some of them you can absolutely make -- i've made and they're delicious. >> host: hearty choke pie. >> guest: art art art -- artichoke pie. >> host: oh, okay health a marrow bone? >> guest: well, martha washington's cookbook, which is at the much to mt. verb non's
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dismay is at the historical society of pennsylvania, was given to her by her first mother-in-law, by the custus mother, and so that cookbook has to be back too the 17th 17th century at least. >> host: is it fair to say, 250 years later, that george washington would not have been george washington without martha washington. >> guest: i think absolutely. she had the money, first of all. it was her first husband residents money and she was very astute about using it. he was, too, though. he was a good custodian of her money. but she also had a real public relation sense, and as much as she loved silks and satins she knew to wear home spun when she was president and she had to work out this complicated
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business of being the first first lady, and trying to both be informal and inclusive enough to please the people who had just fought a revolution against the monarchy, but also formal and serious enough to have the european powers not laugh at us. and so it was a tough line to walk. >> host: david in tulsa, oklahoma ex-you're on with cokie roberts. hi. >> hi. good afternoon. my vocation in life is that of a middle school u.s. history and u.s. civics teacher. >> guest: yay. >> caller: thank you. i'd like to know what women -- you can imagine our textbooks. >> guest: they're horrible. just burn them. really. they're not worth using.
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>> caller: i'll tell principal tomorrow we're burning our textbooks. what women do you think are most critical where hi students at the end of the year have covered in class and have you come across any minority women of african-american or hispanic background that are critical to the united states history. >> host: david, were she answers that, what do you try to do in one year in your history class in middle school? who do you try to cover what years, who are some of the people you cover? >> caller: with u.s. history, we try to cover as much as possible, from the 13 colonies up through to as close to the present as we can possibly get. and technology has been wonderful in that you can bring in resources that aren't in your textbook, and so i don't use my
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textbook nearly as much is a used to in the early parts of my teaching career. >> host: who are the women you talk about from the text? abigail adam. i think eleanor roosevelt is amazing, absolutely amazing. one of the most important anymore the united states history. and what is covered in our textbook is a little blurb on eleanor roosevelt. >> host: is betsy ross? >> guest: i do write about her i believe her story is true. i found a reference. first of all, bravo to you and i'm thrilled know you're even teaching middle school history because too many places where we're losing that and it's really shocking that our children are not learning our history the way they should. and i will tell you that i wrote these books very much in a
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manner that they're readable by middle school students. i have, like, four grandchildren in middle school right now, and so i can tell you it is -- it's fun for them to read these books because they're conversational, and they're not too hard. but in terms of minority women, again, now, we have been talking about a elite women who had the ears of the founding fathers, but phyllis wheatley i do cover because she wrote about george washington and went to see him, and he asked to meet her because she had been so gifted by the muse. and i write about lucy prince in "ladies of alert" who wrote the first piece -- the first poem written by an african-american,
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and then in -- then of course, sack would -- sack ya we ya, who is one -- shaka gentleman we ya, who is one of the most interesting women i've got ton know. i know her through the works of lewis and clark, it's so clear in the course of the journey they get to know her and value her more and here as the journey progresses so maybe pouring some of to journals, the part about her would be interesting toed the kids because honestly it's noticeable how clark's view of her changes in the course of the trip. and i do not have any hispanic women. a woman from new orleans, louise livingston of european descent but came from the eland of what
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it news haiti and was an example of multiculturalism at this period of time because with the purchase of new orleans, that's when you first got that difference in american society that we, with any luck, celebrate today. so, there are a variety of different million -- different women here but die highly recommend the kids just take a look at the books because they are -- i'm really not trying to sell books. but die think it's something that is interesting. and the kids' books works with slightly less ambitious learners but chock-full of information. and wonderful pictures. so, i do think that there are ways in in this literature, which is why i wrote it, because i really want the kids to read it, and people say know all the time, what's important for girls? you know what? it's important to boys, too.
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the notion that only girls can read about women just makes me nuts. >> host: so, these two books, "lady's of liberty" founding mothers posterior eight grades? >> guest: absolutely. "capital dames, too now. >> host: joe in indiana york on with cokie roberts go ahead. >> i wanted to ask you about some issues that are too complex to even be talked about on radio or television. even he you have a three-hour program like this one, which is very unusual. i remember when ross perot was running for president and you were on i think with david brinkley on "this week" and the we awhose about the difference between a three-way race and a two-way race, the dynamics. and you pretty much threw up your hands and say this is could tao complicated for know think about. there's another question going on right now that is also -- even more complicated than that
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one and that is i think it's quite plausible that donald trump entered this race because he didn't want any republican that's for the fair tax to get into the white house because the fair tax would hit real estate so hard. i wonder if you have an opinion on that, and if you have any thoughts about how complicated issues can be extremely important in an election. >> guest: i don't think i ever threw up my hands hands and sait was too complicated. it was actually pretty easy to think about. but -- it had a tremendous impact. ross perot's 19% of the vote in that race influenced the congress for years to come. but it's possible that the donald trump has motives other than wanting to run win the presidency but i would not avibe those to him. i'll take him at face value he
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wants to be president. we'll see whether that possible or not. but the notion that he is doing this to line his own pockets or keep them from being stripped would surprise me because he is spending a whole lot of money. he is stripping his open pockets as he goes around the country doing this now. >> host: its he sun someone you know. >> guest: i mitt him and interview head one time when he was talking about running for president but i don't know him. >> host: are there any presidential candidates you haven't met that you would know. >> ted cruz maybe? he's newer on the season. >> guest: he was any daughter's class in college. but i think i've met him on the hill. i guess i've probably met them. i've probably met them all but i
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don't know them. >> host: text message from 214-thank you so much for upholding your family values and long tradition of public service. i believe money -- >> guest: houston, i believe. >> host: 2 4? i believe money in politics changed our government the most, not just where it comes from but where it is not spent on campaigns. >> guest: well, money and politics is a serious problem, and it has lots of affects, one of which is to keep people out who would be good candidates, and good public servants. one is to distract people from doing the jobs they should be doing in terms of governing to get out and raise money all the time. one of the things we're seeing right now is that because of the way that super pacs can support a candidate is that we're not
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having the normal winnowing process in the presidential campaign. that has its advantages because it means that a lot of people will still be there when people actually start voting, and so the voters will have more choices. but it does have a tremendous impact, and it both keeps people out of politics and drives people out of politics. and that's a serious issue. >> host: don is calling from delware, ohio. please go ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: thank you very much, c-span, for letting me speak to ms. roberts. it's an honor to talk to her. i would just like to know, considering the legacy of past presidents and first ladies, some presidents we always remember, like washington and lincoln, and some presidents being totally forgotten. what do you think the lasting
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legacy of president and first lady obama will be in comparison? will obama barack obamacare las? >> host: we're going to leave it there and get an answer. >> guest: well, as president, george w. bush always said, you need a little bit more time to know what a legacy is going to be. history takes time. and so we will not know, but i do think in terms of mrs. obama, actually we've already seen some change in children's obesity rates, and that is a subject that she has spent an enormous amount of time and energy on. so i think she has had an impact there. and one of the things that is true is that first ladies continue on, on the topics they are interested in, after they leave office. and so i think that you will see
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mrs. obama on the public stage, as she and mrs. bush, laura bush, have done things together, and after mrs. obama is no longer in the white house she will have the opportunity to do that more. i had the wonderful opportunity twice to interview the two of them together, which was utterly delightful, and to see how they cooperate with each other, like each other work together, and i think you'll see a lot more of that after the presidency. in terms of president presidents policy legacy, again, we have to wait and see. i think that aspects of obamacare have now permeated the entire health system, and will stay there, but whether the entire legislation sticks around or not, we don't know. but it's the kind of thing that gets tweaked anyway. we're already seeing problems with the exchanges, and so there's changes that will be made under any circumstance,
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regardless who is president or who is in congress, and in terms of foreign policy we're at such a difficult period that we really are in the middle of chaos almost in the world, and i think we just have to wait and see how that plays out. >> host: you participated in c-span did a series last year on the first ladies. >> guest: right. >> host: and one of the women who came up for 50 years throughout the series was dolly maddison, not only was first lady but she stayed -- she -- >> guest: she ran washington. >> host: there you go. >> guest: she did. for years, before she was first lady, too. she arrived here in 1801, with her husband as secretary of state in washington, washington was this pathetic muted -- mud hole and already the country was having the kind of partisanship we see today, and regionalism.
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and it was really threatening this fragile little tiny brand new country, and she understood that to hold the country together, that she had to bring the people together. and so she had events, parties, where the men who were in government had to be there. they had to be there because if they weren't there they missed out on all the political information and all the political dealmaking, and so she insisted that they come together and that they have drinks together and that they behave, and she really did keep the country together in that period. and then she was first lady, where she became wildly popular, particularly after the british invasion of washington, where she saved the portrait george washington, and came back to
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this needed city, and started lobbying to keep the capital in washington, and she was very successful in that. and then she did go off for a few years after madison's retirement from the white house, and back to virginia, but she was always writing letters, and tell me what's going on, what's going on in washington in and then she did come book as a widow, where she reigned over the city until she died in 1849. so it was stretch of half under, and every head of state called on her and asked her for advice, and when visiting heads of state came, they would call on her. she was very much the prominent personage of the city. >> host: text message why drew think american history is not taught in high school anymore. i have friend who has never heard of james madison.
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>> guest: that's awful. a whole variety of reasons. the emphasis on testing has been much more on mass -- math and reading, and i don't know why the reading can't be about american history, but it has not gotten the kind of attention that it should get, and then it has a lot to do with test because if advance placement tests aren't on history, people don't want to teach history. they want to teach to the test and all of that. so it's real issue, but honestly, if we don't know our history, we don't understand what the country is all about, and that is a terrible tragedy, and james madison wrote the constitution. and so the notion that never heard of james madison is somewhat scary. >> host: your book, founding mothers, says here that this book supports the common core learning standards for english language, arts arts and literacd history and social studies.
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>> guest: what happened around common core is absurd, and both seems have been silly about it. i think it might have even started with me, enough that i think of it. one day i was moderating an enormous town hall of governors at the 50th anniversary of the national governor's association, jedwin dale was the president and brought back former governors. so this great huge statement stage full of governors and ex-moderator and i was moderating on the subject of education, i asked them to raise their hands if they thought they could come together on some set of standards they could agree on. they all raise id their hasn'ts and not long after that we got common core. so i don't know. what it is, it was conceived in the states-not in washington.
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washington had nothing to do with common core, and it was in an attempt on the part of the states to try get some sort of uniformity about what people were learning in school so you had some ability to know what young people were being educated in. and it's still run by the states, but it's become a bug abu on both sides -- a bugaboo on both sides and and that a shame because the idea is excellent and i don't think any of us would want our children not have an excellent education. >> host: text message from ray in north dakota. dear cokie, what woman do you think should be pictured on the -- >> guest: i've gotten this a lot and i've had a lot of trouble with it. what i can tell you is i've got absolutely no problem getting rid of alexander hamilton. not my favorite. he's cute. i'll give him cute.
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but alexander hamilton, not only cheated on his wife, but he then fought this ridiculous -- leaving her pennyless with seven children. why was he -- his wife left in debt if was such a great secretary of treasury. i lost my love for him. my real problem with a woman on the bill is the women did not have the same kind of -- and still do not have the same kind of power as the moan who are on our currency, but the women who i can make a really good case for is clara barton. clara barton not only -- this one of the things when i say text books are terrible ourte books say she founded the american red cross, lining just happened overnight and it was easy...
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the american amendment, she went as the american represented to geneva in 1884. they pass the american amendment, as which is still referred to that way and with that said, was that the international red cross could not only going to war zones, which is what it had been doing, but could also go in after natural disaster, so anytime you hear about the red cross being
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someplace after an earthquake in nepal or a flood in the midwest or katrina, whatever it is, is because of clara barton, so i can make a case for her. >> host: in capital gains you do an epilogue, which it is really interesting and she went overseas for a long time recuperating and there is an epilogue of all the characters that were covered. >> guest: in 1868 with the inauguration of grant and if so what happened to all of these women after that, so that epilogue. >> host: nancy, thank you for holding. you are on with author and journalist cokie roberts. >> first of all, ms. roberts, you are a national treasure. >> guest: thank you. that makes me feel very old. >> no, i even think young people are national treasures. >> guest: oh, good. >> if you could interview
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anyone, any woman, dead or alive , who would that be and why and i will hang up for your answer. >> guest: gosh, i will be terrible at this answer because, because there are so many i would like to interview and many of them are very different from each other. the female pharaoh, she must have been a piece of work. catherine of siena, there have been so many different women. all of the american female saints who are just one courageous wonderful woman after another, elizabeth a deep to francis cabrini to mother theodore guerin, i mean there are a fabulous cook women. so, i just don't know where i would begin and end with it. there are so many i would look-- like to.
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that is heaven, to me. i am looking forward to that in heaven. >> host: bonnie in louisville, being black with the awareness of black, or read the dana's-- davis looks like she could be family. of that speculated? >> guest: sure it was and as anyone in the south knows, there was always a speculation, at least one drop of blood could mean segregation and all of that, so there was some speculation, but it wasn't as much that as yankee. not as much as she was speculated as being a dorky as they would have said as being a yankee. >> host: shirley in wisconsin: are your books on audiotape? >> guest: yes, all on audiotape in iraq have read them all. >> host: what was that process likely to hard. it's easier for me as a broadcaster than for most
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people, i think. actually, the harder part, i write these books very very self-consciously in my voice because and i don't mean this to say on self-important, but a lot of people in america know my voice and so, i mean, i have been on the radio for ever and ever amen, so the fact is to write in my voice i think is important. it is harder to write in my voice plan to write pretty, but i do right the books in my voice, so does make it easier to read them that it would otherwise be one every time we have an author on in-depth in book tv we ask him or her about their favor, what they're reading currently, some of their influences and we will show you what cokie roberts had to say and we will also show you a little bit from a book party for "capital dames" that book tv covered earlier this year and our life program will continue.
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ c2. >> guest: they are so much fun to learn about and they are funny and i see and frank and irreverent and they tell you things like, you know, stephen douglas stinks. [laughter] >> guest: and you know they tell you things you guys don't tell you and it's really a whole lotta fun to learn about it and read about it. really, i enjoyed it and i have enjoyed it now that it is over. [laughter] >> guest: i did enjoy the reading it when it was over, so i hope you did too. ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> host: cokie roberts, who is ellen gilchrest?
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>> guest: ellen is a wonderful writer of short stories from the city, new orleans, nation. i never met her. she was supposed be at the louisiana book festival, but did not find her, but i love her short stories. >> host: what makes new orleans. >> guest: what makes it special? >> host: unique was the word i was going to use in a bit different, one of the key unique places. >> guest: i always say it's like an ethnicity to come from new orleans. we have our own food, music, basically our own language in a real sense of place and it is not, it isn't like any other place in the country. it's much more mediterranean. in fact, in "capital dames", elizabeth who is here in washington is union very much
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for the unions and at times she says she has trouble thinking of the south as our enemy. they are alvar relatives in kentucky and in virginia and tennessee, and she says now new orleans, that is different. they are a bunch of french people and a so that was a sense that it was just a foreign place. it was a foreign place with unimportant ports. that was true throughout the history of this country, but it was always welcoming and remains welcoming to all kinds of people. when i was growing up, always although store windows, there was always that sense of multiple linkages and party. it's a great place to party and parade and that spirit-- spirit
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meets the place at going after katrina, my biggest sense, even with all of the huge devastation, but thing i couldn't get over the most was the silence. i had never been in the city in my whole life when it was silent and finally one day there was this a soul trumpet that played and i thought thank god, someone is back. so, it is a special place. >> host: i think it is in "capital dames" that you talk about a trip you took to port soccer with your grandkids is. >> guest: guess, taking each set of grandkids to fort sumter and we were dare at my children and at that point her youngest was fairly young and these kids go to these places and try to completely scavenger in the gift shop and so he says, what side
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were we on, he didn't know whether to buy blue or gray. she said everyone who is alive in your family at the time that for the south, but it was good for the country that the north one and i think that is a very good description. >> host: in: from this day forward with your husband steve roberts, you talk about the vietnam war and a luncheon you had with your folks at 21. >> host: not one of my proudest moments. >> host: what happened? >> host: it was a time when tempers were flaring over the vietnam war and there was a lot of judge wright-- generational conflict and my father was in the democratic leadership of congress and supporter, strong supporter of president johnson and the johnson family and our family was very close and my
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husband was subject to the draft and it was a very bad moments, but we got in a big screaming fight in public about the vietnam war, which is not something i normally would do. >> host: and you say you regret it. >> guest: i do regret it. >> host: this is a text message from dan and chicago: having suffered sudden family lost myself i wonder if cookie could speak to the rock-- loss of her father and the conspiratorial mention surrounding? >> guest: it continues to this day. it is understandable, the plane was never found and so people always have conspiracies about things like that. a million ehrhart has conspiracies around to this day. but, it was incredibly shocking and painful and not having a body, frankly, is a very
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unsettling thing. there is a reason for our rituals around death and they are-- the word closure is a terrible word and i do not believe in it, but they are comforting and they are a way of understanding that the death has actually occurred. not having that is very unsettling is only what i can use. as i said earlier i live in the house i grew up in and for a long time we moved in and i was hesitant to change the kitchen wallpaper because i thought maybe he would show up and be confused of the wallpaper if it isn't the same. totally irrational attitudes, and i'd didn't act on them, but they were there in the back of my brain, so it is a very difficult sort of situation to have to deal with. i know intellectually that by
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far the most likely thing to have happened is that the plane iced up and sunk to the bottom up prince william town, which is 600 be deep and was just never seen again, but that is one thing to know intellectually and another thing to embrace emotionally. there are conspiracy theories ranging from he was on the warren commission and maybe he knew something about the kennedy death or he was-- there was-- he and herbert hoover had crossed swords that maybe there was something with hoover. i mean, there have been all kinds of conspiracies. i don't think that is the way life works. i think conspiracies are much too rational and i think life is much less rational. >> host: this text message, wonderful example of women bring about change, i wonder if you know of the book, written out of
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history by sondra hendry and emily pats with your unique background i thought you might be interested in the whole idea of women being ignored by historians. that is from barbara. >> i do know about the book and it is true. women have been ignored by historians. our names are not on the documents and we were not the generals and the wars and so there is a sense that therefore the women-- that is why i have devoted a great part of my life to try to change that. >> host: 202-748-8200. you can also send a text message , just include your first name and city, if you would. don't call this number, it's just for text messages. in the second half of our
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program we will be looking at some of the twitter messages and the facebook comments as well, but right now it's bora in erie, pennsylvania on book two-- petitti with cokie roberts. >> caller: good afternoon. and went to tell you, i have to bring up an issue that might be one of the once you referred to about talking to gloria steinem that might be exhausting. i don't know what your personal views are, but i think it has been just an atrocity that millions of, 55 million plus unborn amy's since roe v wade have been killed in abortion and i think you are catholic. i would like to hear your views about what we can do to lessen the number. i know it's going down and we-- most of us the poor that acts of the person who shot up planned parenthood, but i wanted to ask you if you think there was an
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article in the guardian about savings one life and it's a charity that offers money to women who don't want to abort, but they do because of financial struggles-- >> host: i think we got your point. as get an answer. >> guest: i think that movement to try to help women who want to carry their babies to term is very important and one of the things that has been true in the catholic church for a long time. particularly, the religious women of the church are trying to help those women. it is clearly a subject that is terrible divisiveness in the country because it is not like money or you can split the difference. so, people who feel strongly feel very strongly morally on both sides, actually. but, i think those of us who would like to see no abortions,
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but the answer really is moral persuasion rather than lost because we know what happens when you pass laws that people don't believe in. so, i think the work on moral persuasion actually is succeeding to some degree, as you just send the number of abortions have gone down and the attitudes among young people on the subject are very different from among young people of an earlier age. so, i think that to continue to be compassionate and to show mercy as the pope said to the people who have found themselves in this position makes a tremendous, a great deal of sense and will also have an impact because being angry and hateful is not the way to win
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hearts and minds. >> host: chapter six from this day forward is on divorce and you talk about the fact that roman catholics diverse at that-- divorce at the same rate as other groups. one reason for this trend is that divorce breeds divorce as the national marriage project puts it, divorce is an ever present theme in books, music, theme of the youth culture and real-life experiences hardly reassured. >> guest: again, there is some evidence that the divorce rate is going down and what happens with divorce is a good bit of recidivism, but i certainly saw it with my kids generation where they were so aware of their friends parents divorces that it was something that they kind of looked for hoping they could
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find someone that was not out of that pattern of divorce, but it is like anything else. are there some people for whom and divorce is the right answer? absolutely and particularly in abusive situations. but,-- and are all divorces tha? absolutely not, but to the degree that-- try to stay married forever, i think is probably better, but it is not for everyone and i'm not the person to decide. >> host: why did you devote a whole chapter this book? >> guest: you can't talk about marriage without talking about divorce. >> host: next call for cokie roberts comes from brent in portland, oregon. hello. >> caller: cokie, do you think we would ever have the political will to completely financed national campaigns to her washington politicians--
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>> guest: my answer is no. as you know that there was a brief moment in our history where we had that and then the supreme court ruled that you could not keep someone from spending their own money in a political campaign and is so that started to unravel the whole thing. as you well know, since then it has been unraveled even more, but even before we had the citizens united decision from the supreme court you did not have members of congress voting to publicly financed campaigns and for two reasons, one it's always hard to get people to change the financing from the way they were elected. they got there under the current system, so that is always difficult. it's also true that if you try to go to the tax payers and say
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you are going to pay for political campaigns, most tax payers would be up in arms, so it's a very very very hard nut to crack. >> host: cokie roberts first wrote her-- her first book in 1998, we are our mothers daughters from the state ordered "founding mothers", the women who raised our nation cannot 2004, "ladies of liberty" in 2008, united traditions were interfaith families came out and 2011, "founding mothers", remembering the ladies, which was her first children's book and working on her second currently and "founding mothers" cannot in 2014 and her most recent bestseller is "capital dames", the silver-- civil war and the women of washington. >> guest: this is the revised and expanded versions which came out like 2000--
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>> host: 2009, so there is a revised updated version of that we are our mothers daughters. >> guest: you have a noisy machine. >> host: i apologize for that. k, in denver, hello. >> caller: i am so pleased to have an opportunity to see this program. >> guest: good. >> caller: cokie, i first heard of you, actually matthew in commerce, texas in 1975. you came to to the symposium on the small school campus along with lady bird, sarah weddington, liz carpenter-- host of other wonderful people. i am so glad i had the opportunity to hear you because i continue to teach high school government. >> guest: wonderful. >> caller: i have loved all of your works and it's wonderful to
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have this opportunity to see you. would you tell me the proper way that i, a former texan, should pronounce the name of your state >> guest: in texas you probably say louisiana. >> caller: mostly. >> guest: even in louisiana, louisiana hands because people in north louisiana might be inclined to say louisiana as well, but it is louisiana. >> host: and you have been saying new orleans. >> guest: it's pronounced if only by everyone and you can almost tell where you grew up by how you pronounce it, but the way i pronounce it is basically saying new orleans very fast. >> host: saundra, from california. >> caller: hello, "capital dames"-- cokie roberts you are a national treasure. i'm a 70-year old senior citizen
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>> guest: i am older than you are, so stop with that senior citizen. >> caller: god bless you. keep up your work. your voice is soft and we need you. >> guest: aren't you kind, thank you. >> caller: i look forward to getting your last book. >> guest: great. >> host: cokie roberts, do you like the public attention-- maybe like is not the correct word. are you used to going out public with-- without people stopping you? >> guest: people are very kind and people who don't like me don't come up and say anything, i'm happy to say, so i can hardly be resentful of that and i can tell you, peter, when it was really important when i had breast cancer and at first i found it somewhat offputting that people would come up to and talk to me about it and then i
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thought, you jerk. here are people offering you their goodwill, prayers, their concern and their noisy machines and i then realized that i was really cushioned by that and it was a wonderful support system of strangers. >> host: kent in irving, texas, please go ahead. >> caller: cokie, i really enjoy your work and he went to thank you for upholding your family values. >> guest: thank you. >> caller: that means a lot to me and i am sorry for the losses and your family, but i did want to ask you, don't you think that a common thread in our political structure that causes the biggest problems is the money? there is no way all of these
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candidates are spending this much money on their campaigns. i mean, we would be making chilean heirs overnight through airtime and newspaper ads. is just bribery. >> guest: i agree money is a huge issue in politics as i said earlier, but the one thing to keep in mind is that the people who spend a great deal of money often lose. let me introduce you to steve forbes. a major issue to ross perot. it's not dispositive. it's a very heavy thumb on the scale. but, it doesn't necessarily tip the scale and i think that is something that is worth keeping in mind. >> host: stephen, decatur, illinois, we are talking with author and commentator cokie roberts. hello, stephen. >> caller: hello. i don't necessarily consider cokie a national treasure, to me
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she was always a great talker and one that was very charming. i could get the facts and that was very c
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. >> guest: for about 10 years, i think and then, then the president of gw said the magic words, endowed chair because he had been an adjunct and loved it and then he was actually offered the professorship and he jumped at it. >> host: from this day forward, the way it's written is you are pretty frank in their about when you became more prominent, at
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least your face and in being more well-known that he and what that did to your marriage or what it did do to your marriage. >> guest: you know, some men would not be able to deal with that and particularly our generation. we weren't raised expecting that and all of the young men that i knew in those years are expected to be at least president of the united states and if so to have -- and we women didn't expect to do anything, so the tables turned on as a great deal. we really had to go through a lot of changes in society and our own lives and luckily for us even though we met very very young we have been able to manage together and very lovingly. i don't mean that every day has been perfect, but we have been
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married now 49 years and it's an awfully nice thing is. >> host: text from barbara they are in kansas city, missouri: long admired you, insightful observer of the people in the world of politics. your historical research and writing is remarkable, but i would enjoy reading your eye witness account to the years you have any front row seat to modern history. any chance? >> guest: no. no, i mean, first of all i feel like i do that all the time. i mean, i comment on write about what i have seen, but secondly it is really nice to write about dead people. they cannot argue with you. ever so often what of the descendents will. i had a descendent come up and give me grief not too long ago about one of the women in my books i basically said to her, give it a rest, she is dead or
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hundreds of years. so-- but also, i think it is really important to bring history to life. i just think-- i am on a mission i am on a mission to let americans know about the women in our history. first, to learn about myself, but second to let americans know about it because i think it's really important. >> host: anna is in irving, texas and you are on book tv on c-span 2 with author cokie roberts. >> guest: and other irving, texas. >> caller: hello. i enjoy speed-- c-span and ms. roberts i enjoy your work on abc and npr and i would like to ask similar to the rebel ladies you write about, do you feel like you have been able to take advantage of the opportunities you have been given an in journalism and as an author and
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a historian or have you been able to actually shape those opportunities yourself and also, what do you think about facebook for washington dc. thank you. >> guest: i think i have been very blessed. i mean, really, think of it. i was blessed to be born into the family i was born into and have the education that i had been married the man that i have and i am healthy i have healthy children and grandchildren. it's been a series of gifts and to the degree that i have been able to make a success of it, of course, i have been able to take advantage of it and i haven't tried very hard to pass along that two other people especially to mentor young women along the way. so, i understand that i have
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been given many many great gifts and none of this happens to everyone and that this is something that i have an obligation to share my best to make better for other people and dc statehood is kind of a part of that, that there is a question of representation and ability to make life better to the people living in the district of columbia. i think most of the country does not really understand that the people who live here in washington dc do not have equal representation in the united states government. it has gotten better over the years in terms of voting for president and home rule and all that, but it still, there is not equal representation in the united states congress and, you
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know, that is fundamentally undemocratic. >> host: the dedication and "capital dames", because i write about women i have dedicated my books to them, but i realize i went out and able to write these books without the men in my life have been taking me seriously first is a girl and as a woman, so it is those men, three of whom we lost last year that i think with this book, my father, may brother, my brother-in-law mark roberts and my brother-in-law mark sigmund and most especially my husband, stephen roberts. >> guest: it was a very hard year, last year. when brother, mark, dropped dead in july and my brother dropped dead. my brother-in-law paul, my sisters husband was older and sick, but also died last year and a couple of good friends, so it was a very rough year.
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but, at least i was able to think the public. >> host: marsha from illinois. >> caller: hello. i was wondering-- i loved your books, "founding mothers" and "capital dames" and i was wondering if you'd ever considered writing some of the women that helped settle the west like elizabeth custer and jesse bitton fremont and i have been reading the diaries of the books on william-- >> guest: lewis and clark? >> caller: yes, and i was wondering, do you think william clark was in love with check-- sacajawea? >> guest: yes come i do. >> host: stay on the line and we will get an answer from cokie roberts, but what do you do and why the interest in what you talked about? >> caller: well, i live in a small farming community and i farm, i raise cattle by myself
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and i have always had a big interest in american history, even before america was a nation i especially has met-- have been interested in anything to do with the west. >> guest: i can understand that if you are farming and raising cattle by yourself. so, you are a pioneer woman yourself. jesse been fremont i write a lot about in "capital dames" and she was quite an interesting person. she was the most famous women in america in 1856, when her husband was running for president's. she had a hard life ended as you know and up in the west where the women of los angeles by her her house and made it possible for her to really live out her life with dignity, but i do
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think the western women's stories are fascinating. the mormon women who walked across the country, all of them, those are incredible stories. i am more comfortable writing about washington just because i think that i bring a certain sensibility to that, so if i can combine women's history and political history, i think it kind of works in my books, but there have been some terrific books about women of the west and i do think william clark was in love with sacajawea, and i think she was probably in love with him also. that christmas when they were in the far west in oregon, she found a way to give him some small present and that was really hard for her to do. at that-- and her husband was a jerk. at the end of the trip, clark did write that she deserved a
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much greater reward. she got no reward, so she clearly deserved a greater one then she was able to give and he then did want to adopt really her baby and she said, well, i am still nursing him and so the way she worked it out was instead of letting him bring the baby to st. louis, she moved to st. louis with her husband. so, clark did educate the boy and-- but, she was there also. you know, whether anything came of it or not, i would doubt it given the time and all that, but did they have more than a passing affection for each other x my guess is yes. >> host: marsha, we haven't extra copy of cokie roberts, you send your address to book tv at and we will get cokie roberts to sign the book after the show and we will send it out
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to you from book tv and that's from marsha in illinois and again, just send your address-- if you want to to book tv at and we will get cokie roberts to sign it for you. richard in denver, hello richard. >> caller: i was wondering, just a couple of things, but your that would be on presence, the old adage is that anyone can be president and apparently, it doesn't apply to well with the current republican party. the other thing is i was wondering what your opinion of states having the right to determine the abortion decision, too little quick comments, if you would. >> guest: i will start with the second one first because it's easier. states were in charge of abortion until the supreme court
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decision on the road-- grove versus wade in 1972, but once the court said that abortion, before a certain time was unconstitutional, then it moves out of the realm of the states and now the states can pass laws that limit abortions comic can require things like parental consent where minors having abortion, that kind of thing, but they can't absolutely outlawed them under the constitution the way it now stands. unless another case goes to the supreme court and the supreme court reverses grove versus wade. the other question was-- >> host: i apologize, my thought, i did not write it down
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and i apologize to that gentleman in denver, but this is an bob from duluth minnesota, would you consider-- did you ever meet her? >> guest: i did meet her because her granddaughter went to school with me when i went to stoneridge here in washington. her daughter had tragically committed suicide and her granddaughter, joanna stern, was a couple of classes behind me at stoneridge. mrs. longworth came in her limousine to pick up joanna every day and she was very dedicated grandmother. but, she was also the character that you know her to be. you know, if you have nothing nice to say, come sit by me. but, i think she had a very hard life. i mean, her mother died when she was young.
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she crew up with his rowdy bunch of roosevelt kids in the white house and a stepmother and her husband, nicholas longworth, was awful and so i think-- and then she lost her daughter, so it was not an easy life, but she was a fascinating character. >> host: there was a new book that came out about alice roosevelt longworth and eleanor roosevelt and the relationship. did you ever meet eleanor roosevelt? >> guest: i did meet mrs. roosevelt and again she was around in politics, really when i was a young woman and so through my parents involved in politics i had opportunity. >> host: brad in minneapolis, hello, brad. hello. i don't know if you mentioned this earlier about your father, can you talk about about what
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his feelings were about the findings of the warren commission. i have always heard that he had questions about it and of course, there is a conspiracy angle to it that was even tied to his plane missing and if you could mention that i would appreciate it. >> guest: my father actually did not have questions about the warren commission and that is something i has been around, but shortly before he died, he was asked about it and said he was comfortable with the findings of the warren commission. jim garrison, the person who had all of the conspiracy theories, my father that was completely wrong. >> host: carolyn, texas, text: three parts to this question. how do you practice your catholic faith in the very patriarch cultic religion is number one and as a feminist, how do you practice your faith and then an unrelated question.
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>> guest: will, you know, i am catholic like i breathe, so it is really impossible for me not to be catholic. does it make me curious the patriot-- take her seat of church? absolutely and it makes me particularly. some half of religious women because they are they are doing this incredible work. i am talking about nuns really doing the work of jesus. the fact that they have to put up with men who can be really very appalling is something that should not have to happen. pope francis has helped along those lines a lot. when he came to this country and made it very clear that he was very appreciative of the work that the nuns are doing, that
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was in a very very important step. but, he does understand that he doesn't understand women. he is clear, he may expect in in his statement. so, it's an issue and if i were maybe a younger person nor a person who had different upgrade me-- upbringing than catholicism i might not be able to continue to practice as i do, but i am too committed to it as a lifelong catholic to be able to -- tubular to say to say goodbye to it because it matters too much to me and i do chelates since a very strong sisterhood with the women and i'm in close touch with many of them and i am so admiring in the work that they do and i feel like it would be abandoning them in some way
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and also it is my church. they can't run me out of it. >> host: was your mother the first female ambassador? >> guest: yes. >> host: to the vatican? >> guest: yes. >> host: was that important at the time? >> guest: she was worried it might be an issue, but it really was not in my mother was a really world-class diplomat. she had been that her whole life, but then she was officially it and really those who came in after she died on the diplomatic community was quite something. she also really understood certain important things about america that she was able to impart in rome in ways that they could understand because she was a politician and they are politicians and so she was very good at it. >> host: alice roosevelt longworth, are they long-term historical figures like some of the women you have written about
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in "capital dames"? >> guest: certainly eleanor roosevelt is. and claire booth has her moment in history. i think alice longworth is more of that someone of a character. there is a woman i write about in ladies of liberty, betsy bonaparte, who was a rich girl from baltimore, patterson was her maiden name and she married napoleons younger brother and he came on a tour of the united states and the pulley and quickly put an end to that, but she stated bonaparte for life and she was a character and she does come down in history because she was a good character and did have letters. everyone else wrote about her because she wore very see-through clothes and in fact, at her wedding one of the wedding guests said what she was
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wearing would have fit in his pocket as a handkerchief, but he married her, so she was someone -- was she significant in terms of what she did? no, she was significant in giving us a good deal of entertainment. >> host: john and winfield, alabama. >> caller: hello. thank you for taking my call. down here in the woods of alabama. >> guest: wears winfield? >> caller: it is sort of in between jasper, alabama and tupelo, mississippi speech you got it. >> caller: big fan of years and used to listen to you when i taught elementary school back in the 80s. >> guest: good. >> caller: got to teach elementary history and so please with the children's book. >> guest: thank you. >> caller: just had a couple of questions i wanted to ask you.
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one was, in light of the fact that you are-- your family was very political, my dad was the mayor of my town, so i can kind of see similar things. being southern also in southern politics and in light of the fact that they are very political, how has that shaped your views politically and maybe giving you a unique empathy for politicians? >> guest: that's a very good way of putting it. it has given me the fee for politicians and i know that they go home at night to rowdy households and homework and all that and that they are regular people who deal with regular issues and here in washington do it in a difficult financial situation because housing here is expensive and they don't make
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as much as a lot of people in town. so, i do have empathy for them and as i said earlier, i do think that almost all of them are here to serve the public, so i am in my reading of that and i admire the fact that they are willing to be in that arena to be ready to take on these issues of public policy where they can make a big difference in people's lives. so, i do think-- i do have a sense of understanding. >> host: almost three hours we have that here and the words hillary clinton have not been uttered, which is kind of a bit of a shock to me since we are talking about a lot of women in history. >> guest: i think that was that john is other-- question where he said can anyone grow up to be president and my reaction to
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that was, well, so far anyone but a girl. so, i do think that that moment is upon us, perhaps. that will not decide the election, certainly. but, i do think that there are people in the country who feel strongly that it is time and i think mrs. clinton is playing on that this time around in a way she did not in 2008. now, it's a very different set of circumstances. but, i do think that-- that that is hanging their. >> host: in many ways even if she did not win, which he be seen as someone who is important in history, first lady, secretary state, senator? >> guest: yes, absolutely. i think that the common nation of her various forms of service. that has already placed her in his the history books. >> host: judy in louisiana.
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>> guest: hello. >> caller: hello. my question is, what is your opinion of removing the confederate memorial in new orleans, like the statute-- statue. what is your opinion of removing those. >> host: judy, what is your opinion? >> caller: it should not be removed because it's part of our history, not only new orleans, but louisiana and the south. >> host: cokie roberts. >> guest: to me it's kind of striking to think about lee's circle without lee and it was called something before that, but the mayor has said that he has really been struck by some of the things that the people on
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the city council have told him and i think that makes a difference. i have had other people from new orleans of color tell me that when they were children they were really uncomfortable going around that statue and again, remember these are not things that dates back to the war. these are things that are much more recent and her history. so, again, the lee statue is somewhat comforted because it-- i think it is on the national register for historic places, not sure, but i think that is true or historic landmark or some such thing. i think it would make a certain amount of sense to have that the one of the monuments that does incorporate a lot of history. whereas, some of the others in new orleans i think a guy with no problem. >> host: tell us stories about david, sam and george of this
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week. this is wrong, in fargo, north dakota. >> guest: one of the things that was so much fun about that program and we are all good friends and enjoy being with each other and we traveled some and that was always fun. but, no one was difference off the air them on the air. so, people who watch the program really did get a good sense of who we were or are and it's not like there was some wild and crazy george out there that was waiting to get off the air or some quiet and came sam that was waiting to get off the air. they are very smart, very interesting, very well-informed men who brought those attributes to television. >> host: david in pittsburg, california, please go ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: i will take it off the air after-- i'm curious why we don't have debates like the
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lincoln douglas debates during the 1850s and 60s and stuff like that and the other question i have to ask you, most of your republican slated people that are right for presidents, i have a feeling they don't have a sense but the history of this country is about and i would like to have your comments on that. thank you very much and i will take it off the air. >> guest: newt gingrich tried to do those debates when he was running last time and i think he did get someone to engage with him on them, but it's almost impossible to get americans to watch debates that are broken up with questions that are now in our long and people to sit down and actually pay attention to a very long disquisition where the
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two candidates are just talking to each other, i suspect the viewership on that would be about three, and that is a shame , but i think that is the case. but, every so often candidates try it and that's kind of fun, but the republicans-- i don't think it is confined to the republicans running for president who don't know our history. i have been wailing about that through this whole three hours of how much our history is not taught and how much it needs to be taught. there is one part that is a tiny advantage, which is in america, the fact that we don't know our history has a certain advantage, which is that we don't nurse these grudges as people do in other countries where they are willing to go to war with each
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other over something that happened a thousand years ago among their ancestors. fortunately, we don't do that, but on the other hand we also don't know some of the really important parts about our history and about getting through period of time when there was tremendous differences among us and they were worked out legislatively and in ways that kept the country together. also, done with the word compromise, which is something that, of course has to happen if people are to come together. ..
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well, as i mentioned earlier, booktv covered a book party for capitol dames in may of this this year when it first came out. i want to show you a piece of video and get your reaction to it. >> guest: okay. >> this great mission, this great contribution that cokie has discovered at this stage of her life where she is rescuing -- [laughter] the history -- [laughter] everybody needs an editor. i just bring mine along. [laughter] or a producer, as the case may be. >> guest: that's my dear husband, steven. it was at this stage of our life i probably said something along the line about being old.
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but he's very kind about this work, because it really is not pleasant to be with me when i'm in the, near the end of a book. and this book -- because last year was rough, i was on horrible deadline, and january i was getting up at three in the morning and writing straight through until 6:30 at night and googling heart attack symptoms in women. [laughter] so it was, he really had to put up with a lot. >> host: were you really googling that? >> guest: yes. because the stress level was so high. but he was, he's, you know, my biggest supporter by a long shot, and he was very sweet -- >> host: with everything that happened to you, did you consider delaying? >> guest: well, the sesquicentennial was going to be over in april of 2015, and i really wanted it to be in the stores while the sesquicentennial was still going on.
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>> host: bob is in nashville. bob, please go ahead. >> caller: yes, ms. roberts -- >> guest: hi. >> caller: -- you are very much in the -- well, very similar background to tennessee's forgotten favorite son, al gore. [laughter] parents both very much southern progressives. have you ever considered writing a book about your parents? >> guest: no, i really haven't because, you know, that's fraught, to write a book about your parents. but my mother wrote a wonderful book called "washington through a purple veil" about her own life, although as she said later, think what a good book i could have written if i had been willing to tell the truth. meaning that, you know, she doesn't telltales out of school. -- tell tales out of school. but particularly the women, pauline gore and my mother were very good friends. i've known al gore since the day he was born, and it is true that
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the families were similar in their politics. >> host: next call for cokie roberts comes from rich in lawrence, kansas. hi, rich. >> caller: hi. my -- it's a really quick question. have you ever had the urge during an interview with a politician to say, oh, come on now, you can't possibly believe that. >> guest: well, i've had the urge to say liar, liar, or pants on fire, and i think i've actually said it. and i know i said to one once on the air really what you're saying is chap -- clap if you believe in tinkerbell. i don't beat around the bush, but i haven't ever said you can't believe that, because that's not fair. they might actually believe it, you never know. >> host: yost, las vegas. please go ahead with your question or comment for author and journalist cokie roberts. >> caller: yes, ms. roberts -- >> guest: hi.
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>> caller: thank you for taking the call. always have been a great admirer of your commentaries on television. >> guest: thank you. >> caller: i came here as an immigrant back in '62 from holland and joined the united states air force. i'm a veteran, a vietnam-era veteran. one of the questions i've got, and since you have that long perspective on american history and american politics, what bothers me personally is what i see as a crudeification, a coarseness, an increasing tendency toward vulgarity in american culture and also many american politics. -- in american politics. is this something which has happened many times before, or is this something, a trend which is particularly disquieting? that is basically my question. >> guest: well, we've certainly had very poisonous, partisan, polarized times before. but the vulgarity is something,
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somewhat new. and i do think you're right that it is, it permeates society. i mean, there are bumper stickers that have words that we would have to bleep on television on them. and, you know, when i was growing up, there was such censorship that books like "lady chatterly's lover" were not allowed into the united states. and now that just seems quaint. so there are, there certainly is a vulgarity in the music and the way people talk. and, of course, that is bound to spill over into all aspects of life. and we're seeing now some of the candidates being celebrated for using vulgarity. and other candidates imitating them because they think maybe that'll make them look tough. so, no, it's something that i find very unpleasant.
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it certainly is the kind of thing you raised your children nod to do. and, you know -- not to do. and it is interesting. these words are still bleeped on television and radio, but used much more than they used to be, and i think that's too bad. >> host: from "capital dames," not all of the entertaining in the capital was of the savory sort. washington, where many married men lived without their lives, had long supported its bawdy houses. now with young, single soldiers swarming into the city, the oldest profession arrived. >> guest: indeed. both black and white prostitutes by the thousands were in the city. and the most famous house was where the american indian museum is now on the national mall. ms. hall's house. and she was at one point, you know, just as it is today, every
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so often the police would raid these places, and the trial -- this is why newspapers are so wonderful, the trial was covered in great detail. and one of young policemen said he went in, and he didn't see the women doing any work meaning they weren't sewing, and he said, so i thought maybe a wedding was going on, because they were serving champagne. and the chief says, there was no wedding. [laughter] but ms. hall, even though, you know, she would occasionally get arrested, was considered such an upstanding citizen of the community. she died quite wealthy, and she has a big monument to her in the congressional -- that she put up herself -- in congressional cemetery. and the newspaper stories about her upon her death were all about what a wonderful person she was and what a contributor to society. laugh -- so there you go.
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>> host: congressional cemetery is a little hidden treasure here -- >> guest: it's a wonderful place. my daughter worked there for a while doing the programs -- >> host: j. edgar hoover? >> guest: well, my father has a pent taffe there, an empty time. and the story of those sent taffes is interesting because they were designed by benjamin trove who, of course, was the designer of much of washington, and they were the places where members of congress were basically stored until the weather was such that they could be taken back to their states to be buried. there was some consideration that they're so ugly that people avoided dying. stay out of them. but i don't think they're that bad. but the cemetery has many famous people buried there and many interesting stories. >> host: from louisiana -- >> guest: i know it.
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>> host: dane sherman. can ms. roberts comment on whether she was surprised or not that democrat john bell edwards won the louisiana governorship? does it mean something bigger for louisiana? >> guest: i was surprised because louisiana's become such a red state, and no one had been, no democrat had been elected statewide in quite some time. and so the question is, was it just about david vitter, the republican candidate, and his problems, or was it -- does it signify something bigger. and the answer is we really won't know until we go through a couple of more election cycles. john bell was the candidate who won, what he did do i side from attack vitter -- which he did very effectively -- he did reach out to lower income, white people about things like medical care and say he would expand medicaid. and that he would raise the minimum wage.
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so whether those were issues that appealed to people and helped get him elected or not is really something we have to watch in another couple of cycles. >> host: and reverend sabaj in wichita, kansas. i apologize, sir. that offer for a signed book from cokie roberts was only for marsha who had called in earlier, so i apologize -- >> guest: but if he writes to me at abc, i'll send him a bookplate. >> host: there you go. charlene's in montana. hi, charlene. >> caller: good afternoon. i so appreciated listening to cokie roberts through the years -- >> guest: thank you. >> caller: your viewpoints have always been refreshing to me whether i was feeding cows or getting ready to go -- [laughter] to college. >> guest: well, good. >> caller: as a nontraditional student in my 40. >> guest: good for you. >> caller: oh, yeah. my question is what do you think about donald trump digging up
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ronald reagan's theme, "make america great again"? and then i have a follow-up. i'm concerned as a 62-year-old single woman, i'm looking at the federal budget, and i'm seeing on the news that entitlement programs and defense are about same amount of money. and as a single, white woman who takes -- well, all of white women or any women really who are single and who have cared for family members, i'm really concerned with what's going to happen between defense and entitlements especially of women who live much longer than men. i will hang up and listen to your response. >> guest: well, first of all, let me talk about make america great again. i think america is great. i think it is a great country. and i think that if you ever want to feel, if you're ever doubting that and you need to have your faith and affection
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for the country reinforced, all you have to do is go to a naturalization ceremony. and you see people from all over world of every possible shape and hue raising their right hand to take the oath as citizens of the united states. and talk to them about why they're doing it. and it is -- i can't even say this without having goose bumps all over me. and when i'm at one of is ceremonies, i'm in tears the whole time. they're just so inspiring. i'll just tell you one little brief one. a woman from ethiopia, when i asked her why she was doing this, she said because america is so great, it always is there when other people need her, and i -- and that's why it's been given so many blessings. and i wanted to be part of the blessing. it is just beautiful. so i think this notion of make it great again is really
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insulting. i think that it is great and that we should feel confident in our greatness and rejoice in it and not shy away from our ability to do what needs to be done for people in the world. so that's my basic reaction to that. and the other question was -- [laughter] >> host: i think, i think -- oh. you know what? >> guest: i keep missing. there was more than one question. oh, i know, entitlements and defense. so here is the deal. unlike what most of we think is true about the federal budget, if we got rid of every single, solitary thing in the budget, everything about agriculture when you say you've been on a farm, everything about justice, shut town the supreme court -- shut down the supreme court, shut down the congress, turn the
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capitol into condos, shut down the government with the exception of defense, social security and medicare and interest on the debt, you would still have a deficit. and so those are the big tickets. and if your concern is that the entitlements will go away, i would not be concerned about that. and the reason i would not be concerned about that is because people who care about social security and medicare vote, and they vote on those issues. and it is my view that the pentagon could be rubble around our ankles, and there will still be social security and medicare. and you know what? >> we want people to vote. -- and you know what? we want people to vote. there's any problem with that. i think if people have a problem with that, they should get out and vote on the issues they care about and organize around those
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. right now it is true that the most powerful lobbying group in washington is the elderly. and it's not about money. i'm one of them, but it is about voting. and i wouldn't worry about those entitlements as long as that vote remains as strong as it is. >> host: what do you think about the fact that there's an editorial -- >> guest: i thought it was very interesting. i hadn't realized they hadn't done that since 1920 -- >> host: and warren harding they were protesting at the time. [laughter] >> guest: florence was also a piece of work. but the issue of gun violence is one that i think has, you know, people very, very upset on both sides. i mean, the fact that you had
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jerry falwell jr. yesterday saying that the students at his university should arm themselves, you know, is really something shocking to me. i have to say that, you know, my kind of reaction to that is it becomes the shootout at the o.k. corral, you know? i don't want to be someplace where everybody's got a gun. it scares the devil out of me. so i'd prefer people to be yelling and screaming at each other, but not shooting at each other if somebody, you know, is angry about something or somebody just goes nuts. and that's, i mean, the notion that everybody in the room has a gun is really scary to me. >> host: back to the civil war era of our nation, "capital dames,". >> guest: when they did all have guns. the wife of charles francis adams wrote right before the civil war in the congress that did secede, everyone is carrying
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arms. the other side puts their hands to their breasts at the least provocation. so it was a little scary. >> host: well, many of the women who remained in the capital city turned cold shoulders to the new first lady, choosing not to call on her at willard's hotel before the inauguration as protocol expected. >> guest: well, mary lincoln, mary lincoln was a very difficult person, but she also came into a very difficult situation. as i said earlier, maryland and virginia, lincoln got, like, 2% of the vote and 3 in the other, something like that. so they were not welcoming. and there was an assumption that she was a coarse westerner, that she did not have the manners and the refinement, these are the words that would be, of the women who were here. that was wrong. that was entirely wrong. she had very similar upbringing and education as many of the
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women who were here. she had been raised in kentucky, and she was related to quite a few of them. but that was expectation. harriet lane, who had served as first lady under president buchanan, the outgoing mistress of the white house -- >> host: very popular, right? >> guest: very popular, wrote to a friend of that effect. they say mrs. lincoln is very -- [inaudible] so she came in with a lot of prejudice against her to begin with, but then she did not maybe it easy for herself. she was -- [inaudible] and she would go off in fits of temper and say exactly what she thought about someone. and she was really addicted to shopping, and she would really go way beyond her budget. and the newspapers covered it all. so they, you know, would follow her from store to store as she bought 300 pairs of gloves.
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and so she became a very difficult person to get along -- >> host: well, cokie roberts, what i hadn't realized was when her son had her committed, she got out, and her attorney was a woman lawyer. >> guest: a woman lawyer. right, right. she -- robert lincoln did have her committed, and who can blame him? i mean, she was at this point really off the charts. but he also was embarrassed by her. and i think that he thought she was hurting his career, so that wasn't very nice. >> host: all right. a few minutes left with our guest, cokie roberts, on "in depth." maureen, plainville, kansas. hi, maureen. >> caller: hi. >> guest: hi. >> host: we're listening. >> caller: thank you. yes. i wanted to tell cokie that i was a former director at the methodist, southern methodist university in dallas --
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>> guest: uh-huh. >> caller: -- for a decade, and your name was one of the first names that i heard when i moved to dallas, and you are such an inspiration to so many women and continue to be. and i was really excited to see you on booktv on c-span today. >> guest: that's very nice of you. >> host: maureen, you said her name was one of the first. why? >> caller: pardon? one of the first people in dallas because she was working on a paper and wrote many, many things often about women, and she also spoke at many library functions -- >> guest: right. >> caller: -- all over the city. and we had her at our friends association meeting several times as well. and we built a women's studies collection in the library at smu, and she visited with us there many times as well and played a role in helping us find women to get their papers and letters to put in that collection. and i wanted to thank her for
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that and for being an inspiration to me as well. >> guest: well, thank you. >> caller: for giving me names of many, many women to put in that collection. >> guest: i appreciate that. i very much enjoyed my time at smu. it's a fascinating place. and now, you know, of course, president bush has his library there, and it is terrific. the bush 43 -- >> host: designed by laura bush. >> guest: well, she is, of course, spectacular. and the library is a very interesting place. >> host: yeah, she -- >> guest: right. was right in there. >> host: yeah. yeah. how often do you get invited to the speak still? >> guest: quite often. i don't do it all the time, but quite often. >> host: well, marshall tweets in to you: do you have advice for authors of history? >> guest: well, my main advice would be to go for it, because it can be frustrating, and you can come up against stone walls and try to figure out how to get
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around it, and sometimes you can't. sometimes you just have to not go down that path. but the, but i -- my main message would be just keep at it. and there are so many more resources now. i was talking earlier about the newspapers. harpers has all of its old issues around. and then the university libraries and the historic societies have become far, far, far more receptive to requests from people who are not official scholars. and they are very, very helpful. >> host: is the library of congress -- >> guest: the library of congress is wonderful. >> host: is that open to the public? >> guest: oh, yes. of course it is. it belongs to us. it's our library. and the manuscript room, which is in the madison building, has some just wonderful, wonderful helpers who are very
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knowledgeable working there. >> host: and cokie roberts, by the way, the library of congress sponsors the national book festival every year. cokie roberts spoke about "capital dames" at that festival this past labor day weekend. if you go to and you type in cokie roberts and book, you'll be able to see the book party, and you'll be able to see her presentation at the national book festival, plus in about an hour or two you'll be able to see this program which will be archived on booktv's web site as well. again, is our web site. just use that search function right there in the center and type in "coke key robert -- cokie roberts, book, and you'll have a selection of programs to watch. just a couple of calls left. carol in florence, kentucky. please go ahead, carol. >> caller: hello, cokie. i admire you so much. >> guest: thank you. >> caller: i would like for you to speak about sandra day o'connor, our first woman
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supreme court justice. thank you. >> guest: i think sandra day o'connor was -- is -- a very, very important figure in our history. being the first woman on the supreme court, she really did pave the way for all who have followed her, and and you know there's a new book out about her relationship with ruth bader ginsburg which i think is well worth reading. but she brought a sensibility, and this is something that is so important. when a woman is the first or not only in a place, she brings not just her knowledge and her intelligence and all of that, she brings a different sensibility to the table. and it's the experience of womanhood. and that's just something nobody else in the room has. and she certainly brought that to the court. i must say she also brought
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another very important element which is now completely absent from the court which was that of a legislator. and so she had the practical experience of actually having to carry out the dicta of the courts in a legislative body. and she brought that experience to her decision making as well. and i think that's sorely missing at the moment, frankly. but she was and is a highly important person. she's been very involved in civic education since she left the court, and she's someone who will certainly go down in history as not just the first, but a major character. >> host: cokie roberts joined npr in 1978, joined abc in 1988, co-hosted "this week" with sam
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donaldson from 1996-2002. still writing the nationally syndicated column? >> guest: steve writes it mostly, truth be told. i write it when i'm mad about something. [laughter] >> host: crane in folsom, louisiana, you have about 30 seconds before we have to close this up. >> caller: thank you very much for taking my call, c-span. ms. roberts, big fan os i don'tf yours. what do you think about a lot of noise but not a lot of candidate coming out -- coming out of candidate donald trump? your thoughts. >> guest: you know, i talked about it a little earlier, but i think the thing to do is wait and see what happens when people start voting. i have a good bit of faith in the american voter, and i think that if they, be they decide that -- if they decide that donald trump is the right nominee for the republican party, i think that you might start to see him moderate
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somewhat in his language. but it's also possible that they will not, once the voting begins, decide that he is the right nominee for the republican party. voting begins february 1st in the iowa caucuses. i'm sure c-span will be there. so we'll know soon how this starts to shake itself out. >> host: and here are the books that cokie roberts has written over the years. first one, "we are our mothers' daughters," and that's been updated since 1998 when it first came out. "from this day forward" with her husband, steve roberts, was her second book. "founding mothers" is another one. and "ladies of liberty" came out in 2004, i believe it was. in 2008, cokie and steve roberts about their interfaith marriage. and here is "founding mothers: a children's book."
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and in the last couple of years, last year "capital dames" by cokie roberts about civil war women. thanks for the last three hours. >> guest: so good to be with you, peter. thank you so much. and thank you to your very kind viewers. >> c-span, brought to you as a public service by your local cable or satellite provider. >> greg gutfeld is next on booktv. he says his book, "how to be right," is designed to help conservatives deliver fact-based, persuasive arguments. [applause]


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