tv After Words with Senator Barbara Boxer CSPAN June 12, 2016 9:00pm-10:01pm EDT
thank you for coming. i appreciate you being here. i was in san diego when i tried to get down to see you but that didn't work out. i'm glad i'm here. >> the students preemptively. >> yes i applaud your standard and i'm a public school administrator and i appreciate your stand. my question directs itself to the idea of ronald ragan who is secretary of education a one of his first speeches, i loved what he said. he he said what we need to do in the department of education, again he's the director of the department of education and he said we need to eradicate the department of education. i applauded that. i'm forced to be a member of the california teachers association
and i realize they are the largest contributing groups to the democratic party. >> i realize you don't have a magic pill for an answer, but you're right, education, were doomed to repeat what we have like lincoln said prayer what you have for a thought as to how do we steer this aircraft carrier. >> i wrote five books on universities. and how to reform them. and they just go into a whole. republicans control 30 states. i have visited and spoken to the chairman of education committees. i have spoken to republican leadership in various states. not a money issue for them. it's a minefield for their point it. i didn't get any real support out of the republican party.
until that happens, it's going to go on and on like that. they have to get prepared to actually fight. i have to tell you, i can count on the fingers of one hand and that has got to stop. now, i have a friend who is a democratic party pollster and strategist who will remain anonymous because in his heart he's a conservative. he explained to me how you get rid of the department of education. you increase its budget. you don't say you have to get rid of the department of education because people were half listening, they hear it and they want to do away with education. you don't ever say you want to eliminate education, what you do
as you increase the budget and then in the fine print, you take take away all of its power and make it just a pass-through. or, the best thing would be to convert its whole budget into changing the entire system for everybody. >> thank you for being the light that you are. we just need to have more light. thank you. [applause] i want to thank everybody then i want to thank cspan and brian lamb because this is the only outlet i have that reaches people that are not in the conservative camps. i have been blacklisted since i had the poor judgment to write an article with the washington post that we voted for ronald reagan.
>> i use the name black because malcolm x. said we need to call blacks not negro but lacks because it was jackson who insisted that it didn't change. actually, if blacks were called negroes we wouldn't have that problem that black is a negative term. so it's a self-inflicted wound by people like malcolm x. the african-american also.
[applause] cspan created by america's cable television companies and brought to as a public service by your cable or satellite provider. >> "after words" is next, california senator barbara boxer discusses her book the art of tough which looks at her life and career in politics. she is interviewed by amy kolesar of minnesota.
>> barbara boxer, what an honor it is to be here with you. one of my mentors in the senate, someone who came into the senate when there was barely a woman to be seen you were there. this book that you have written, the art of the tough really tells your story of how you got there. barbara, at the time barbara leavy born on november 11 in 1940 from a family of jewish refugees in your own word, growing up in the shadow of the holocaust, somehow ends up going from that little place in brooklyn to the united states senate, moved to california in between. you did it all with such grace, but also with the art of the tough. do you want to talk about what that was like growing up, your stories with your family and how you ever decided to take this journey? >> you said it was an honor, to
interview me, i'm so excited that you agreed to do this because it says a lot about our relationship and the warmth that we share and i'm so thrilled and as you know, i'm going to get your question in the second, but the fact is the warm relationships that have developed between the women senators and frankly a lot of the men means so much to me. you know i'm not running again and people say why, are you disgusted with the place? not at all. i just feel after 40 years there there are people like you who can carry the banner. we have our colleague from new york and we have you interviewing me, i just couldn't be more thrilled. but getting to the issue of how did i get tough? what was my life like when i was a child, which you know in this memoir, when i sat down to write it so long ago, it took three years to
put it together. if you've written a book, it's a lot of effort. when i first thought about it i thought it's going to be my dad who had all the influence on who i am as a person because my dad was my idol. he was the youngest of nine brothers and sisters, the only one born in america. his family was born in russia. none of them even graduated from high school. there's my dad he's born in 1908 and after he marries my mom he goes to city college of new york at night gets great grades, becomes becomes a cpa woman after i'm born, in 1950 he goes goes to law school at night, gets his degree and so i'm thinking, clearly it was my dad, but when i sat down to think about the lessons, they all come
from my mother. >> she didn't graduate from high school. >> she did not and she was always such a good mother and she felt so sad about it. at one point she even tried to get her ged. i don't know what happened but i will say this, my mother is so smart. the smart she had was from the heart and the soul. in the beginning, i lay out the rules, how how can you do it. one of the things is always doing the right thing even when everything is going against you. we've had issues come across like human trafficking and other issues. we know what it's like when people look at you and say why are you causing these problems. if you know it's right, you better do the right thing.
never act out of anger. >> you talked about someone who was anger around the playground and stabbed a bully with a pencil and then the next day you walk by and see a dart in front of the school and you think you've killed him and it turns out to be the grandfather. i'm sure that's a memory you don't forget. >> it's a memory i didn't forget because what happened was that he was kind of my nemesis and because i'm little, i'm still little, 5-foot three, maybe with my high heels. i was so little. and he was little. he was insult me and chased me and maybe that's what they do these days. one day i had just had it. no one was around and i took out
my pencil and i stab him in the arm right where you get a vaccination and he is stunned. i'm stunned that what i did. you're exactly right. in retelling the story, we thought we would just keep it our little secret but then he doesn't come to school for the next three days and then there's a great black cloth over his home which i pass by every day. i lived in the inner-city and i really thought i killed him for it i took it to my mother which i took everything too. mom, i think i killed albert. of course she says barbara hsu, which is is what she called me when i was mad. >> what did you do? she said i can't believe you would ever do that. you can't do that. she said i don't think you killed them. let me call the principal. then she found out his grandpa
died. i was so relieved i hugged him when he came back, but it taught me an amazing lesson. she said you never use violence. you have to persuade and diffuse and of course i never did after that use violence. i tried to diffuse a lot of situations. as a young girl, when you think about this you lead the the effort to get a new carpet in the apartment lobby. when you were ten years old your mother is in the hospital with an illness and you're not allowed to visit. do you to read the letter that you wrote about your first organizing effort? >> yes, i found this after my mother died in their little jewelry box. i wrote to the doctor because
the rules were that kids couldn't visit their parents them. i wrote dear doc, i am am mrs. leavy's daughter and i would like to see my mother very much. i didn't see her when she left, only a little while about five minutes before i went to school. i have no sickness, only a little bellyache now and then. i won't make a lot of noise. i miss my mother very much. why can't i see her? thanks for reading this letter, sincerely yours yours barbara leavy. so then, i had a feeling it wouldn't work so i wrote a backup to my mother. it's a dear mom, how mean can a person be. if they don't let me in, they really are mean. i will be so happy if i see you. in school i'm in a mexican group, a study group about mexican culture. in fact, i am the am the chairman. many kisses to you. so i get so filled up with these things because they are memories
that you and i have of our family so deep inside us. the total idea, that any kid that can make it in america, which we still believe today, no matter where you came from, i think that's a big party or story. one of the things that's different than some of the people we see is that you were a girl. so here you are, you go to brooklyn college and you're following in your dad's footsteps and you get a degree and you want to be a stockbroker is your dad has instilled this in you and you start interviewing around for jobs and it wasn't easy back then for a girl to get that job. >> impossible. >> in those days they used to have a program at the wall street firms and they were called, the people who were selling the securities were called customers men. that was the name. customers men. so i wanted to be a customers man so i was ready to do it when
i got my first job, it was an assistant. it's a long story and i won't go into it too much. it was an assistant to a woman who wrote a newsletter. she was so smart, she signed it ee cook because she said why won't you sign it and i said no one will buy it. she never became a partner for many years. she was kind of in disguise. it was unreal. so i thought, i better take a different path. i'm going to work for her, get a salary because she was in law school at the time and i was the only one working. so i guess i made $90 a week or something. then i said, i have to make more because i have to live a decent life. so i studied for the exam because they couldn't get into the program. if you got into the customers man program, you got trained and
it was like studying for an exam. even on my own, i passed the test. i was so excited. i took it to elizabeth and she said well, i don't know, you'll have you'll have to go to the big boss and he said sorry, women don't do that. now the shocking thing about that was not only that he just said it like it was a fact of life but i took it and i just said oh, okay, but i did quit. i said then i quit and i went to another firm where they allowed me quietly to have a little business on the side where i was kind of the assistant to one of the vice president and did his work and i had a little side business so i was able to make $250 a week. so think this is where some of us came in on your 5-foot
shoulders. we talked about how when you came and it was so much harder. i think just for young people to read your story and understand what you went through, that time when women were only expected to have a few jobs and that was secretary, teacher, nurse. in fact, when i met stu, your brave husband who you have been married to forever in my mind, you say this is one my favorite quotes from the book, you say i often joke that's due married debbie reynolds and woke up with debbie meyer. remember, when we met, young women women didn't have the kind of opportunities we now have today and that our daughters have today. so we had to settle for a lot less. when stu met me i was pursuing
my dream of being an economics major. he knew that. he saw some signs in those years when you got together for little parties and the men would be here talking about issues of the day and the women, just so not to be perceived as uppity would be here talking about food in more appropriate things for women. i would do my thing with the women and then i would go over to the men and talk to them to which was considered a bit odd. i did it and he had some clues that i didn't want to stay the cheerleader that i was from brooklyn college, head of the boosters, but let's be clear, i was i was a kid. i was 18. you might as well said five to the moon by yourself with your arms flailing. then you make this decision.
>> it was monumental and your whole career in the history of america that you decide to move to california and how did that come about question. >> well, my sister and her family had moved there. i wanted to visit. stu, such a good student, he made law review law review in florida. i went with my parents and we drove out to california. i get to california my eyes open up, my mouth drops and i said i never seen anything as beautiful as this. i joked but i grew up in brooklyn which is, by the way, way, the coolest place to live now. talk about how only if you have of brooke called the tree grows in brooklyn, they had some beautiful places and now you have more beautiful places, but it was really in the city. when i came to california where the environment is kind of
history there, the first thing you learn about california if you pick up a history book is the beauty and the various ecology from the north to the south, whether it's the marshlands or the ocean and of course we have the richest, it's so exquisite. i just said, i guess i was 21 or so and they said i want to move here and stu graduated from law school. i said to him, should we move and he said why and i said you'll see. it's gorgeous and you'll love it i said i can't describe it. we'll have so much more freedom to be outside and outdoors. he said okay, but i have to get a job in advance. so he did and he got a job and we came out to california. of course, then the excitement
of silicon valley and everything about it is so incredible. and then i was pregnant. >> doug was born two months early. >> i was worried he couldn't come out but the biggest part of the story was that this was a danger and there you are on your own and you have your family there but no insurance. so that got you somewhat interested in getting involved in government politics. >> what got me interested in understanding what it means to be uninsured and frightened to death. of course that feeling, you never forget it. you never forget. i was uninsured, but i thought
nothing's going to go wrong. i'm happy go everything is going to grow great which we always think you were young were not vulnerable and then all the sudden we had agreed to move so i said okay i'll get us a place to live and you finish your exams and the first day i got there doug wanted to seize california. that's how i always joke about it. he was born on may 1965. i was staying at my sister's place and all the sudden my water breaks and i had not even met my doctor and i'm lining up in the clinics and they were so wonderful to me. i never forgot them. they made me a charity case because i had nothing. they came in and said, you know it's going to cost $1000 per day
i can imagine what it is today. they said we don't know how long he'll have to stay, at least least a month if he survives. so i'm thinking, this this is the end of us, and of course all we cared about was doug. so they said 50-50 chance and they said every day it will go up 10%. we prayed and he got out there as fast as they would let him go and it was just the most wonderful gift to us and i hate to tell you how old he is now. he takes care of me. we had a second child and we had insurance and it was different but that was a lesson about how scary it was to be in a situation where you really don't have anything. >> what most struck me, during that time and just as you grew
up in the shadow of the holocaust, you are now in california, in northern california in the shadow of the vietnam war and you have not been that involved in politics. you learned the art but you start getting involved in organizing and taking those early lessons for the lobby and then taking them onto something much bigger and leading to your ultimate decision to run for county supervisor. >> yes you're right to point out the vietnam war because it it's this horror of my going into politics. here's why. by that time i had two little kids. as you know, as a mom yourself, yourself, you start to think differently. you start to think long term. you start to wonder, what is my son going to face, all of these issues came to the floor around the time of the vietnam war.
the environmental movement, vietnam war, but especially the vietnam war because it was the first war that came into your living room. so i was part of the antiwar movement. we used to take the kids and i became a real activist and when a seat opened up for the county supervisor in california which is a beautiful place north of san francisco the issues were, all of the issues were stopping the war. and women's rights. of course everybody came and said would you run? they has to. i said stu why don't you do it. he said honey, it pays $11000 a year. why don't you do it.
so i ran. >> it was so crazy. i came out in top. it was a nonpartisan offices. the other one was republican. >> but you didn't run as democrat or republican. >> so before we had the vote and i came out on top, the incumbent, myself and another was running. the issue they tried to use the antichoice issue, this candidate's name was bill and he said i want to speak to barbara. i was kind of excited because my campaign was going strong. i said come over and we let him in the door and he looks across of that me and he said i've been giving this a lot of thought and he said you know my wife's a physician and it's been hard for her and then he said so this is what i want to say to you right now.
you should dropout. i said why would i ever do that. he said because it's going to be bad for women. i said where did you get that from. he said you know the oppressor has to free the oppressed. i remember him saying that like men would have to for you or like the whites have to free blacks from slavery. that's the first thing that came to my mind. because one of the arts of tough is that you fight against racism. what every hair on my body went straight up and i looked at him and it was like, when somebody's gone over the line, that's it. i looked at him and i said this meeting is over. we got up and i shut the door and we actually slam the door and what happened was he got present revenge, he came out
last and endorsed the other guy so i lost that by a small part. it was humbling. >> just the sexism, i love the one where they said how can you do that when you have four kids and you said no i have two kids and they say no you have four kids but the rumors were so strong. what was the story about the dishes in the paper plates? >> so many good stories. the book goes into what it was like to be a women to woman and you have to have a sense of humor about it because if not you would just cry yourself to sleep. i mean yes, i'd i'd knock on the door because i went door-to-door. it was a small election and you needed about 20,000 votes to win. knock knock, who's there, who's there, barbara boxer. someone would open the door and they would say i didn't think you would be this small. what did they expect.
they expected a big person. then i would say yup, i am. then they'd listen. then they'd say i could never vote for you you have four kids. and i would say excuse me, i have two kids and she said no you don't and she gets in an argument with me. i said lady if you've ever given birth will never forget it and i have two children. i was at another meeting and i was telling the group about how we have to preserve and everyone was nodding and it was wonderful and i thought i'm making it, i'm hitting it in the hand goes up in the back and this woman said how do you have time to do your dishes? even then, i was taken aback. for for goodness sake, i just said i use paper plates which was stupid because this was an environmental group. i thought it was a girl a joke.
there are a few questions like that these days, but not many of them. >> with, long way. i lost that race. the only reason i stayed after that stayed in politics. >> and you became a reporter. >> i did. i had a great life. i had a little radio show. the reason i stuck with it is that i read an article and i read about in the book. the article said women take things too personally. men will run two times, three times, four times. women. women, if they lose the first time they think they hate me. because were a little more sensitive. i thought you know this is a horrible experience but i'm not going to take it personally. there was out on a little a few
issues that were ahead of my time so it continued but you cannot, you you have to say to yourself get people to vote for you because they know you're in it for the right reason. you're one of the most popular politicians in your state, maybe in the country the reason is, people know you're in it for the right reasons. you're trying to truly get things done. you're trying to find a sweet spot. you're working hard and you have a sense of humor and you're not afraid. that's why people will vote for you who are from the other party when they never vote for a democrat. this is what i tried to show in my tenure because believe it or not without about 15% of the republicans i never would've run one my races. if you ask them they'll say i
don't agree with her sometimes but she's in it for the right reasons so, so i voted for her. >> one of the most surprising things people might not know about you is the fact that it's called the art of the tough. that part of the reason is that you do stand your ground on many, many issues and everybody knows that's part of you. i don't know if everybody knows about the time you find to find common ground. you did it on the transportation bill recently with mitch mcconnell and you've done it in the past. you've done a number of things were you've been able to do that, whether it's by taking a bunch of democrats and republicans out for dinner, and i think part of this is that you really start to learn the people you work with and you certainly did that. in fact, because you had proven
yourself and through the art of the tough, when congressman burton called you out of the blue and said you're going into rehab and wanted you to run for his seat, you must of been floored. how did you react? what did you do from that? >> this was in the 80s. aids was beginning to become an porton issue. i worked for him when i was in congress and i worked for him my whole career. when he went congress and i got elected to the board of supervisors, we didn't talk very often. he said he was checking into a rehab center in arizona and what i consider running for his seat. oh, my gosh. my kids were in high school. there were just a little too young to be the perfect time. but, i took it up with them and they said mom, these opportunities don't come along
very often. so, i went for it and i got there. >> i got to the house, i served in the house for ten years. i could've stayed in the district but they were pushing me out. >> one of the interesting things was women mentors and you have that and these women colleagues that were incredible. i love the detailed stories about nancy pelosi and dianne feinstein. they were great. but you also had male mentors that helped you. look at the story really, the person who calls you, he's in trouble and he picks a woman to run. he calls you and asks you to run. >> yes he did. he knew that my politics were progressive. he knew i was kind of fearless. he knew he had taught me to be fearless and he wanted me there.
but what was funny was his brother who's the real, kingmaker, his brother called which was the biggest call because john just said i hope you'll run and so he says hi phil, how are you, then he says i think you should run for john's seed. he said i'm so honored. he said no, so he talked about coming down. but he put up with it because he wasn't sure at all that i could do it. he pledged, i said i'm i'm just worried about the money and i have to raise 250,000 for the congressional bid. he said well i don't want you to worry about it because that i'm
going to do. so i'm on cloud nine and the family decides her to go for it. then phil gets challenged in a very serious way and phil can't do one thing for me because he's busy preserving and protecting and talk about that, we were able to win that seat, but it was hard. most of my races were hard. >> so you get to the house of representatives, there's not that many women there back then. it's it's an exciting time and you start working on a number of issues, some of which landed in your lap like aids research. others i would say you pursue, like one of the things i didn't know about you was that you were one of the first people taking on excessive cost with government contracting. >> that's right. >> you had a 70600-dollar coffee pot. >> yes. that's right.
>> within ten minutes of military contracting there was a bracket that was $1000 and dollars and you wore a similar cheap one as a cheap one. >> it cost hundreds of dollars and it should've been 75 cents. it was a racket. this issue, you don't always get enough thanks so let me just say it if you don't run yourself, you help somebody else. it's worth it. they said this is a scandal. there's a whole group here for procurement reform. i thought i had come there with the whole expectation. there were already people there. you know how issues get taken. so in the house in particular, you to find a niche. so of course they found me because of my tragic situation
in my district. this one was brought to me by my group and my staffer said nobody's really talking about this. they're talking about missiles. people can't figure out what a missile should cost. when you get into the billions your eyes glaze over. but how about a $600 toilet seat which is what the pentagon was spending. they were contracting out to small business. they were saying you do the thing. that was the reason. so we wrote a bill and it's the law and it save billions of dollars. okay so you're doing well. >> that is hilarious. i was very proud of my work on military procurement reform so i have a town hall meeting and all never forget this. outdoors and i tell this story
of procurement reform. i said can you imagine, a $600 toilet seat. what is it made of, gold and of, gold and i said does anyone have questions and a woman raises her hands and she said do you know where i can get one of those. [laughter] >> by the way there was a reason while julia louis dreyfus and others have endorsed your book. people forget about the humorous things that happened in politics. i think it's important because you want young women and men to run for office and i think that's the cool party your book. >> you have a great sense of humor and that's what you get it people think i really need someone with a sense of humor or a person that wants to write like i do. the fact is, that's part of the art. you have to have a sense of humor or have something, it enables you to survive. >> exactly. one of of the things in your book, you talked about how the
women didn't have a gym or that there was this big deal, it was so unfair to try to get them and have access to a gym and you took this on and so you take this on in your way and you have a beautiful singing voice and you actually wrote a song about the women needing a gym. >> what are you asking me? i'm asking if you can sing it for a. >> you don't have to run for office again. >> i will sing one verse. to set the stage of what happened, here i came from california where the ethic was really important and i get here that there's a gym for women, it was about the size of this table and you couldn't do anything there.
all it had was a bunch of hair dryers. don't ask me why. i called, i had a staffer who said i want to lead women members in exercises. so she was my colleague in the house and a few others. >> there is a story of barbara where she does exercises in the gym. >> so we have this wonderful meeting in this tiny little gem where trust me, there were seven of us in the room and you couldn't even spread your arms out because the hairdryer found weight. >> so glad that who was leading a said raise your hands in the air now raise your hands to the side and now put your hand on your hip and barbara yelled out, if i could find my hips i wouldn't be be here. so things got desperate.
a few of us went to the men who were in charge of the gym and said can we use this jump gym. absolutely not? it's not fair. >> know you cannot. can we expanded women's gym? you cannot. it was just a horrible experience. so i used the art of the tough and i said okay, i'm in a use my humor. i went to two colleagues marcy captor and i said can you to carry a tune and they said yes we can carry a tune and it was suggested by my colleagues that i sing it to the leadership of the democratic caucus. oh my gosh, we walk in there and we had a guitarist accompany us and went like this. ♪ glamorize, where to go ♪ can everybody use your gym ♪. then it went on, equal rights
will wear tights, we survive those macho fights, can't everybody use your gym. then we ended it with were not trim were not slim, can't we make it hers and him, can't everybody use your gym ♪ ♪ were only asking. then we and with a big finish and we get a new gym. >> it's the only time i ever changed policy with my lyrics, but we did it. >> i think it's an example and this was not just a gym, you're taking on an issue that's happening all over america whether people can use locker rooms and their high school girls can have access to sports. it's take it to a different level, something much more serious and this is my favorite photo in the book. this is the picture of you leading and you are the first
one of course leading the women up the stairs. this is why you were running for senate and seats opened up and the clarence thomas hearing is going on and you, the the house women decides that the hearing needs to be open again and there's this photo of you leading the women up the stairs of the senate. >> when i look at that photo, i look at all of us and i see a tightness. i see a focus, determination, the photo captured a moment and as some photos do, you think back to iconic photographs, but for me this was the symbol of equality. we were going to say look, you have a professor who is intelligent, she's flawless and
she is saying that in fact she was sexually harassed by the nominee to the supreme court. and the guys in the senate, let me be clear, there wasn't one women on the judiciary committee, it's ridiculous. they wouldn't open up the hearing. they would not. now, the reason for it i explain in the book, i don't want to go into it. i'm just going to talk about what it felt like for us. >> you're demanding a meeting. what happened questions he said there's only one way to get the meeting, you have to walk over there. so, pat schroeder whose idea this was, what a fabulous leader she was on this, we walk over, about seven of us and the rest of the women are staying in the house and they're doing a few minutes on the floor to talk better.
were walking over there and we get up to the top of the steps and we knock on the door because all of, it's lunch time and you know when we have those lunches, were in there it's all the democratic senators, all men except for barb and actually she wasn't there then. i don't think she was there. >> old maybe she was there. she was the only one. the knock on the door and they peek out. it was a woman. we began out and we say were seven women from the house and we want to come in and speak with the senators. they said oh no and we said why they said we don't let strangers in the senate. now i wrote another book called strangers in the senate a long time ago because that sentence. i said what are you talking about.
were not strangers. between us we have over a hundred years of experience. we just want to talk to the senators and she said well, don't take offense. anybody who is not a senator is a stranger. well i've not heard of that. she said well that's the way it is. so i reach in the back of my mind and i employ the art of tough. so i said, you know, that's all well and good but if we have to turn back and walked down the stairs now, there's a bank of cameras down there and were going to tell them that we weren't able to see anybody. she said just a minute per she goes back and she says okay go on the side room and george mitchell will meet with you. we told him, you have have to open up the hearings, and they did, but the real hearings, as i explain in the book and i won't go into it, there's the whole
movie made about it, but i want to say unequivocally to you and anyone within the sound of our voices that without anita hill's courage, i never would have gotten to the senate. in california there were two seats open diane was way ahead because she's much more known and had run for governor before. i was considered more progressive. it was a tougher run for me. then really the state was more purple, reddish. now it's it's quite blue, thank you. >> the anita hill put attention on the fact that there were no women. >> what i love about this story is that diane was in a stronger position to run and they said we can't have two women running at the same time and diane, why you were still in the primary, she campaigns with you.
>> she does. and she says her famous land line, 2% may be good but it's not enough to have 2% of the senate women on the floor. then, when i would get the question, are, are you serious, you think to jewish women and there had never been a jewish senator as far as i know. they said how do you ever expect to jewish women to win. and we said you never raise the issue of two protestant men being issue. why is this an issue. besides we can make a good dose of chicken soup. we used our sense of humor and
stuck together p at message was so powerful. anita hill, not getting justice and then they looked at the senate and it was 98% of men. so we got elected, patty murray got elected and we tripled our numbers 2 - 6. now they called it the year of the woman. i don't know what they were so excited about. but then, it started to grow and now were up to 20% of the senate and hopefully after this election we will have more. i remember barbara mikulski saying to you at the time, you talk about the art of the tough, you are giving up a seed and she told you a lot of women are looking out their window for prince charming and i'm looking for more women senators. don't you love her. she said it's not about gender
it's in about agenda. she'd say it's not about macro economics it's about macaroni and cheese economics. i wasn't always easy. there was the house banking scandal that you had nothing to do with it. there was this investigation of every member that had their money there. they were trying to use that against you. >> at one point you decided i don't know if i want to keep running. then stu came was a great family story. >> yes. all tell it quickly. the house bank scandal, to to make it brief, this is what it was. the house bank wasn't really a bank. it didn't operate like a bank. in other words when you put your check in its hook them days before they credit it. i didn't know that. they never told us that. so i wrote a rent check and paid for my mother's medicine or
whatever i was doing and two weeks later everything was fine, but they never told you about it. so then when the scandal hit, they said all these people bounced checks. while it was so embarrassing and they put the fbi on the case. >> you have to meet with the fbi i said to myself why are they sitting here with me when they could be going after criminals, but the bottom line is i was cleared completely but even though i was cleared compete completely they were running horrible ads and then here was the press saying show him your checkbook. i said i'm not showing you my checkbook. that infuriated the press. they would meet me at the airport with cameras. barbara won't show us her checkbook. that's right, it was a total nightmare. i gave up. i thought you know what, i'm
sick of this. i don't need this. i could go back to being a reporter. i could go have a tv show and i called home to stu and i said this is it. i'm not going to do this senate race and i thought he would be happy. and they said we support you as a considered stitch win but we miss you. instead of saying i'm happy he said well let's talk about it when you get home. i said there's nothing to talk about. on the way home i stop off at his party and they were watching 60 minutes and it showed me in my happier moments in all this and that and now who's upstairs and he's watching a baseball game and he has the two kids and they're waiting for me. and what you doing here. and they were working and they said mom, you can't drop out. it sounds like it's made up. i said why not.
i'm so sick of this. and they said were gonna read you a book that you always read us. all the places will go. and i said this can't be happening. they did read sometimes you're up sometimes are down and tears are coming in my eyes and they finally just say you just can't do this. who cares if you lose. she looks at me and you know nicole. she says mom what is that message going to be to all the women who are counting on you. they're counting on you. you're just gonna walk away so the art of tough left me for a moment and my kids, i guess they have it. they gave it back at me and i stay in the race and i win it. i win it by a lot. then i have a tough race in the general that i pulled off. anyway it was one of those
moments where i'm so glad because in a lot of ways this book is an empowerment book. it's a book to say to everyone, don't give up. don't succumb to that. >> why don't you talk about some of the battles in the senate that you have had. you were somehow, and not everyone was on that assignment where you are policing your fellow senators and had to deal with the harassment case and climate change and you've just been at the forefront of many battles. >> the sonnet was amazing. i told my constituents there's good news and bad news. the bad news is jesse helms who was always a negative voice from my point of view, he can set the senate down. the good news is i can too. i realized i had this ability to
utilize and shut the senate down and i could do that just as a freshman. when i came in as a freshman senator i was just to be quiet and learn the ropes like hillary did when she came in and then she was hit with 911 and with me, i'm there and i'm really truly quiet. you can imagine me that way. >> i've never seen it myself. >> i'm quiet. i'm looking and watching and then, just after after i win my race, and remember, i win it, what happens? right before imes sworn in there's a story in the post that robert packwood had apparently and according to 25 women engaged in, what's the word i can say, some say sexual misconduct.
i thought oh, i can't believe it , after anita hill now i'm coming in and one of my colleagues is engaging in this kind of behavior. to make a long story short i thought it's not my business and mitch mcconnell was on it at that point. at without going into detail, which you have to learn, this thing was unreal. believe me when i tell you this, i was one of the only people in the senate pushing to air this dirty laundry and if it was true, get him out of the senate. i came to grips with mitch mcconnell who was very senior powerful member of the committee and bob dole. they attacked me and did
everything to stop me. the point behind the story is, i never expected that would happen. then we had a horrible earthquake. the point i make in this book is that when you get some place, when your politics, you never know what issues will be on your plate. >> exactly. so you, through it all, you also worked with many presidents and helped them, bill clinton, barack obama, al gore, al gore, at their side, you're helping hillary clinton. >> and i love the story of how you go down during the recount, that horrendous time, to florida and take on the issue. >> it was just one thing after another, but probably the best one was when you were running against carly fee arena. at this. at this time i'm in the senate. i know you. i see what you're doing and what you're up against to take on climate change and you're running and i thought, now that
we've seen carly fee arena and another light running for president, you kind of put her away in that race. >> well one would of thought, but the moment she got caught on air talking about your hair and your. >> reporter: reaction, we are kinda back to the beginning of your run because people are dealing with these issues that men wouldn't have to deal with. >> glad you brought it up simply because it's another amazing lesson to people watching that no matter what field they're in, i don't care if there raising a family or what, things happen. i was running in 2010. she was considered a top-tier. she she was a top-tier candidate. she had millions that she had gotten she had millions of dollars should throw into the race which she did in the race was neck and neck because we were in the deep