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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  September 24, 2016 6:00am-8:01am EDT

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>> well, also she was a very old-fashioned lady. the teacup wasn't unfamiliar to her and she knew how to do everything of that kind and in a way it created a nice transition between her and everybody because -- you can respect her for that but that's who she was and interest in other things, made her an interesting character and everybody was found of her. roosevelt was bound. >> right.
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>> we talked about elanor roosevelt was tie today navy and was so tragic about world war i that she saw soldiers bodies stacked up and was so deeply affected by this that this was a life-long interest for elenor, first of all, i don't know that the president didn't mind her being out of washington. [laughter] >> she was quite controversial as you know, she took three major trips to combat zones during the war and the second one to the south pacific and traveled for many hours in uninsulated military aircraft
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and shattered her eardrum and when she got to the bases, she walked 50 miles to see and shake almost every hand that she should so much so much that he arches fell just as a result of that particular trip. it is estimated that by the time when the war was over, she had taken 400,000 hands of members of the military, about 10% of the entire fighting force. so this war was personal for her and again she brought back her knowledge of what she learned to the white house, to the president and that was an important function. >> i would love to add, also she absolutely all described it so well but there's even a little bit more about eleanor, she's pretty, she broke the mold.
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she wrote in her dairy about how she was trying to find a way, any way things could be settled without force and later when she leaves the white house she would be instrumental in helping the draft the universal declaration on human rights based on some of the things she had seen and experienced in the war, so she really did bring about such great changes and try today change life at home during the war which many of you heard the story. as you said, she was a great listener, she was contacted by a man who was in a base in new mexico, a black man, a thousand-seat theater but only 20 seats for blacks in the back and not only that they weren't allowed to use transportation in the base and other petty discrimination and she heard about this. i'm sure you heard of the stories. she tried to change policies. she wrote to general marshall. she did not have much luck, sadly, at least there. the point is she raised the
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issues, she brought them up and cared about racial equality and sometimes this was at the time not a popular sense, she was an interesting woman who took all the soldiers and difficulties and wanted to report on them and study them. >> support for the airmen and flying in their planes as a way to demonstrate her interest in advancing equality in the military. >> susan, i forgot to ask you ahead of time, do you have the tape of truman? >> i do. beginning with harding, the media began and they gain to record some of the things that we can actually see and as the 20th century progressives video become -- film becomes part of this, i brought along -- over time i've done panel and it's just -- your heart -- >> too much fun.
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[laughter] >> this is best truman, the wife of a military man, her husband had been on the front lines in world war i and they wrote letters constantly so this was a personal thing for her and went in office in two wars, the end of world war ii and korean conflict and opportunity to be involved in the military. in fact, her very first big public act was involved with the military, national airport just across the river from us and let's show you what happens. [laughter] >> navy and army read to be with mrs. harry truman. she's in for a surprise. champagne bottle unlike this one hasn't been properly prepared to
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break glass on impact and now mrs. truman unaware that her bottle is not prepared -- [laughter] >> let's see her her military meets the crisis. [laughter]
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[applause] >> that could never happen today because it has greatly improved. the sad thing is history brought her to the war and reluctant to be in this big -- >> come to town. >> she spent much of her time in missouri. they were flying medical air ships. she looked pretty game there but she was really embarrassed and never did a large public event after that. consequences, however, her devotions to the military continued and less public ways. and she had almost weekly gatherings at blair house, social functions, bringing in veterans and their families to enjoy the blair house and she also was a regular volunteer at the uso and what i like about
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this is that she absolutely insisted on not being treated as first lady. she was just a regular volunteer with the rest and working right along side the other people who were volunteering, she just wanted to be helpful rather than be the first lady coming in and upsetting things with her presence and volunteered regularly throughout the term. >> she also burned a lot of her letters. margaret said, what about history and that's what she said, that's what i'm thinking about. >> harry kept hers. we have wonderful letters, love letters. >> mrs. eisenhower was a military wife and how did that affect her time as first lady? >> well, she was obviously so aware of the needs of it. she continued and build these regular functions that were part -- the garden party for military, she conned that, an
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advocate for members of the military understanding what their special needs were but i would say in terms of depth of work, i wasn't really able to find as much with her this is a little bit surprising given her long history as a military wife. >> i think it's true. >> but she was never happier. she and the president never happier when old military buddies came over to sit on the roof, a little terrace and cooked steaks on a cooker, barbecue pit and had a couple more bourbons and a good salad and had dinner and talk, that was their idea of the best time and eisenhower started having dinners, largely men and that was fine. but mrs. eisenhower and he,
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that's what they enjoyed, having old pals from years and years, they lived in 37 different houses before the white house, but, of course, so did george h.w. bush and mrs. bush. they just moved all of the time because of the military. >> katie talked about categories and eisenhower might be in the category. major job as support for the president. >> she left an impact. how many out there have a pink bathroom? [laughter] >> you know, when they moved to the white house the chef went to the president and president, we have to work out a menu for one of the dinners, she saw the menu later in the day and hit the ceiling and said i will plan meals at the white house and entertainment. eisenhower is in the office and
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i'm at the white house. the first open bar at the white house after eisenhower turned victoriously from europe. anyway, she was a trip. [laughter] >> she was. >> i always got a chuckle. i'm sure many of you have made the trip to gettysburg to the eisenhower farm and mainly everything is pink and i always had this chuckle imagining the great general of world world war ii surrounded by pink. >> she was probably tired of all that khaki. >> she really was. she was christian dior and she didn't want to look like a grandmother, whatever that means. [laughter] >> everybody thinks of eisenhower with the bangs, they were so popular that at the time you could go to store and buy clip-on bangs.
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[laughter] >> the biggest event, understand, at the white house was the one pat nixon. >> so, yes, it was very interesting, she was the first first lady to actually be in a combat zone. she went to a place called long bin outside of vietnam, a real combat zone. she was in the middle of it and we talked about roosevelt, but literally area where she could have been shot. she went to hospitals, she listened, she also went to orphanages and she certainly supported the war and wasn't necessarily sympathetic with the protestors one of the things she allude is gathering for pows. 1973 and there were 600 people, a big gathering. they came to the state
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department where there was an auditorium and talk there but there was no room at the white house to actually have them in the white house so they had them on the lawn and it was an amazing moment, sort of this connection of the nixons who remember themselves, pat had a lot of empathy had been raised and her husband in not the most favorable circumstances, they certainly knew sufferings as they grew up. absolutely. >> both sons-in-law fought in the war. so there's a connection. the largest to date ever held at the white house. >> yeah. >> well, as with all history lessons you never get to the end. [laughter] >> but we will have the great treat to have laura bush and michelle obama. our most recent first ladies barbara bush and hillary
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clinton, laura bush and michelle obama and you see them in all kinds of situations with the troops including barbara bush in full camouflage. >> camouflage and pearl earrings. >> sitting for thanksgiving one year, but this has been wonder ful panel and i think that having this come to life here in the archives is so important because the presidential libraries, of course, are part of the national archives and records administration and the presidential libraries are beginning to understand the importance of the women who were very instrumental in each of their husband's presidencies and for the ability to celebrate them here and tell stories here is very important, so thank you all very much and we will
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reconvene. [applause] >> you can learn more about presidential spouses from c-span's books first ladies now sold in paperback. every first lady since martha washington. you can purchase first ladies 17.99 from your favorite book seller, we take you back to the national archives with first lady michelle obama and her predecessor laura bush. this is 45 minutes. [applause]
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>> thank you, will. >> well, what an honor it is to be here today. i have a chance -- first of all, i want to tell you both of you that my wife is my commander. >> as it should be. >> she wanted to say hi to you and what everything that you're doing for the veterans out there and i want to mention and i had a chance to see president bush where it was such a clear indication, absolutely committed that he is to this, certainly reynolds who is an amazing person who was out there, i think, winning everything and he had a chance to talk -- i had a chance to talk to president bush about what he was doing. president obama, too, of course, deeply committed to this. it's interesting. i just talked to mrs. obama back stage here that i had a chance
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to see him in laos and one of the topics there, of course, what he thought about vietnam and the war there and laos, of course, too, undetonated bombs that are still on the ground there and i asked him, all of the veterans, he and i were both august 1961 so he's two weeks older than me. [laughter] >> we asked about what was going on and we looked at wars differently in 1960's and 1970's because they were drafts and certainly not attacked in our turf leading to the wars. the veterans that did serve in laos and vietnam, do you call them heros and he said, absolutely call them heros, this is not something reserve for the most recent wars, voluntary wars but, you know, in my experience here which as will said, one we never really expected having been wounded in the war, we have experienced a lot of not
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diminishing attention but now that the world came to an endish as i say, not so much attention that's been given to those who serve in the country and i would love to hear from you what it's like to be in the white house to have that kind of power and influence on an issue that is extremely important. >> well, i would say for sure one thing is worry. you know, you worry in the white house when you know that there are troops in harm's way and you think about them every single night when you get in bed and there when you're in the lap of luxury, beautiful house where your sheets are changed every single day, it really couldn't be more luxurious and when you think and get in bed our troops are laying out on the ground somewhere and i would say that the main thing about having troops in harm's way when you live there is that you worry
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about them all of the time, every single day. >> well, we've had the honor and the experience to visit our wounded at walter reed and many military hospitals, and that is a sobering experience. i mean, one of the things that barack and i have talked about that when we first came to office the first term our visits would last for hour because there would be 25, 50, 75 folks that we would be seeing going room to room, many with devastating injuries and now today, just last week he went to visit and he was there for 30 minutes because there are fewer of our men and women who are being injured in -- in war and that feels good. i mean, that's something that a commander in chief thinks about before they pop off about going
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to war because when you spend time on a base and you know the men and women and know the families, you just don't talk about war like there are no implications. it's serious business and lives are changed forever. so i would hope that any commander in chief that would have the privilege of serving would understand that these are real lives and real families that are impacted. >> when there is a story that does come out of somebody or maybe a large group, significant injuries in the war, is it long conversation that is -- conversations with the president, that night? >> after visiting walter reed? yeah, sure, we talk about them and think about those families and in many cases the families
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were there with them, around them. there's one -- one injured warrior that i know of who now we still see who had such a severe head injury we didn't think we would ever see him again. he's one of the warriors that george has painted him and painted with his scar on his head but with his little child on his lap because what a lot of warriors have said is their families is what saw them through. one couple that george painted, painted him, a portrait of him but painted his wife with him because this man said his wife was always there, always with him and he had also suffered a head injury where he needed the help that she could get him. he's doing great now, but george didn't just do his portrait by himself but painted her in it
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because he credited her with his recovery. >> bob, i just -- meeting our service members, spending time on military basis fundamentally changes who you are as a civilian. and i know that was true for me because when we -- my first -- i was like most americans. i didn't -- i had limited connection to the military community and it wasn't until barack's campaign in 2008 that i started meeting military spouses and hearing their voices, voices that you don't hear in regular conversation. we talked about all of the challenge that is working mothers had, you know, financial worries, worrying about raising your kids but with these women mostly, there were the worries of multiple deployments, understanding that these families are moving their kids every two years in service of their country worrying about whether they're adequate
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special-ed programs in the schools they're moving to and doing all of this with a graze and a pride that would -- that blew me away and that's one of the reasons why i am such an advocate for this community, i wish every american had an opportunity to sit down and go to a base and meet with families, meet with service members and sit down with veterans because we would think differently about our challenges as individuals. let me tell you, it makes me inspired to work harder because i think as laura said, here we are sitting in the white house, we have no reason to complain, when we have 1% of our country serving and sacrificing for the rights and freedoms for the rest of us, so that has been a profound opportunity for me and one of the reasons why i will always champion these men and women and their families as long as i can breath. >> you know, it's interesting that you -- i would like to talk about children too because both
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of you had the chance to have your kids live with you there in the white house and both of you during times of war. you know, i should mention also real quickly that i didn't hear the full introduction but reynolds has four kids and he has gone through what he has gone and gives you a certain amount of perspective on things if you do have a child who is in the midst of something significant and i would say most times moving, emotional, maybe even difficult but during these times for both of you, what was it like when you had kids there when this was happening and knowing very well that the commander in chief was the one ultimately responsible for this and probably you're the first one that they turned to. >> well, i think that barbara and jenna were freshman in college. they didn't live there. they had been there -- >> they were invited to come?
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>> yeah, they were invite today come but they were 7-year-olds when the parents were at the white house. so they knew the white house like we did because it had been so often. when i wrote the book and looked back through my schedule i saw that right after september 11th, that barbara and jenna came home to the white house and i knew they came home because they wanted to be with their dad and they wanted to be with us and they felt great insecurity really, at the university of of texas and yale, they wanted to be with him and then i noticed that a few -- a month and a half after that our childhood friends from midland, texas came and i knew that those boys, you know, men that we knew as boys wanted to be with george. that they just wanted to be there with him. i think that is really -- no one talked about war.
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that wasn't a conversation. the conversation was we just want to be with you. and i think that's really important and that's the way the children are too. they don't want to -- you don't want them to be worried about decisions their father makes, you want them to just feel the security and love that every parents wants their children -- you want home to be home. you want them to come up on that elevator, second floor when they open doors to residence, they can breath. they don't need kids hammering like why, dad, why didn't you do this. sometimes malia and sasha might do this but for the most part home is home and that helps keep kids normal. i've said this time and again, my greatest concern coming into
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the white house was making sure my girls came out normal and decent and kind just like i would expect them to if we were living on the south side of chicago and it takes work to keep white house life normal for the kids -- >> when it's normal. >> oh, my goodness, you try to pretend like it's normal. i remember one parent-teacher conference in school where barack went there were s.w.a.t. guys on top of the roof of the school. malia was like, dad, do they have to be up there, just keep walking, just keep going. >> they've got to put up with that even after they leave. there's going to be security. >> it's different level, so, you
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know, we don't want to talk about it too much but it's not the same as what it will be for the president and the former president and the former first lady and they're all singing, we are out of here and we could get to ditch our agents pretty soon but it's a different level of security. >> i'm hope -- hoping normal after abc news. all right, there's a new rule. i'm not going to go cover wars anymore. so now i'm over in asia reporting. well, i can at least maybe do stories about conflict, conflict is not a war. we spoke about the -- both of you have accomplished so much, military service initiative, of course, which was yours, ms. bush and both of you have
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worked together, i think, better than -- than most. i think somebody said that you should tell your -- the husbands to behave themselves compared to the others, but what have you accomplished more or less than you expected in terms of what you're doing for those veterans? when i talk about veterans, i'm not just talking about wounded in the wars, about 25% consider have been wounded, the rest have gone to transitions when they come back, some to a new civilian world, but what have you done for them that's the most important and is it more than you expected or less? >> i think in general what -- there's a feeling that people support the military and that it starts at the top and it's very different as you said from vietnam when vietnam, my generation when they came home from war and were spit upon and
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that's not the way it is now and i think that's really great. i hope that our returning veterans really feel the greatfullness and support of the american public and i know that -- and i know that you know this bob, the thousand of veteran support groups, little mom and pop groups spread all over the united states because people want to support our returning vets. there's been 2 and a half million post 9/11 vets and another million or so. think of the asset to our country. people that chose to serve, volunteered to serve and now they want to come home and it's up to us, the rest of us to figure out how we can help them keep serving in our -- in our communities and make a life for themselves that they're happy
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with and deal with the trauma that a lot of them have, the trauma of war. >> the thing that i've been most pleased about with joining forces is that it's really been a call to partnership with all sectors, corporate sector, with our faith communities, with our schools, educators, medical community and what we have seen is that when you ask, people step up out hesitation, that's our power of platforms, is a lot of times laura and i ask for help, people are very receptive. the business community has created millions of jobs for our veterans and our military spouses because of an ask that we made. millions of jobs helping them get the training and to be able to retain those jobs and to
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advance within those jobs and the same is true for military spouses as well. we've been pleased with our local leaders who have been answered the call to end veterans homelessness which is part of our call with joining forces, the notion that we have even one single veteran living in the streets should be, you know, just considered a travesty to all of us. there are many mayors, governors, states that essentially eliminated veteran homelessness because they have answered that call. hollywood community has stepped up. we work closely with writers and producers who have helped to develop plot lines that involve military families and military community because part of integrating those stories into everyday life helps to normalize
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the men and women and their families and familiarize the community with those issues in a sort of nonpreachy way. i've just been pleased -- >> you've done your entertaining as well. [laughter] >> two days ago you were in ellen degeners. >> we weren't talking about veterans. >> what's the purpose of that? >> usually when we do an appearance, ellen, you sort of try to make things fun because my motto is you get people to laugh and then people to listen. >> that's mandatory with her. >> and with most americans people respond differently when there's humor and people feel like you're making yourself vulnerable and less like first lady and more like a neighbor or friend but we were able to do on her show was highlight a number
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of initiatives including the work that we have been doing with healthy eating and the work that steph curry has been doing and had bradley cooper to highlight 22 kill, bradley cooper has been a tremendous support around the issue of military health for our veterans and our service members and bradley is kind of cute and he's a little distracting but if you stop and listen to what he said on ellen, you know, he was promoting the importance of ensuring that the suicide rates among our military members is reduced and in order to do something about it, you have to know that it's a problem. so, you know, people are watching ellen. they're not always watching the nightly news, i'm sorry. >> except abc. >> except abc, of course, but we have to reach people where they are.
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>> humor works. i know that we have seen this before. nobody wants to talk seriously all of the time for those who have been hit, humor is a great one. my wife always tells i have rocks in my head which technically is the case. >> you had those before? [laughter] >> i'm just speaking for her. >> you didn't speak to her, did you? that is correct. i use my -- when she asks me to clean the garage i say, what is a carage and that work extremely well. so much has been done too, i know that in our experience early when the wars began, well more than a decade ago is we concentrated on those that come back on recovering to get out of the hospital and get the best treatment that they can, but also the next step was to figure out a way to let them get back into their civilian world when
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they returned to their community and then, of course, the next one was jobs. i think that the number -- this may be right, the rate of unemployment with the veterans now is lower than civilian numbers with the wait for unemployment. >> that's good news. [laughter] >> the other one, mrs. bush, i know this is one of your concentrations too, which is factually what we are learning, most of the attention was largely to those who were visibly wounded. and now we have to realize that there's a lot that's invisible and why is it that you're pursuing that now as major concentrations? >> that's really long-lasting effects of being in trauma like that. and so one of the things that george has done with the bike
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rides and the golf is a lot of people recover from those invisible wounds if they're playing a sport. they can do it with a sport and so those are the two things he's done. of course, he's behind the whole idea of invictus. another thing when i grew back to texas, we founded a conservation group called texan by nature and we hosted a conference in houston methodist hospital in houston about benefits of being outside for mental health and one of the people that spoke was the colonel who suffered from pts about how being outside, just being able to see green, there's research, not a lot on research that proves it, but they say that if you just go outside some and one of the researchers that talked, talked about this
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problem that a lot of people that ruminate over a problem, you spend something when something is going over your mind it's bad for your brain because you start to produce cortisol. to be able to get out of that and use a sport or some way to get out of it is very helpful with post traumatic stress. the other thing is tried to get the d out of the injury. it's not a disorder. if people are -- if they're diagnosed with a disorder, then they think it hurts them, that they won't be able to get a job if a they have a disorder but you can improve from an injury. >> and that's the work that we
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need to do around mental health and military can be so helpful because mental health affects all americans. one in five americanings are dealing with some kind of mental health diagnosis and the challenge that we face is there's still a stigma, so people are not -- they don't feel good about identifying and getting the help that they need. sometimes it's viewed as a weakness and when you think about that, it's ludicrous, like laura said, it's an illness and can you ever imagine claiming that a cancer patient seeking chemotherapy was somehow being weak or tell somebody with a heart disease to just toughen up but that's sort of where mental health is and our military can play a big role in changing the conversation around mental health for the entire country because we know these men and women are heros, we know that they are brave, we understand
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what has happened and if they can be brave enough to step up and get the help they need, perhaps that'll help some kid in some community who is depressed and maybe thinking about suicide, maybe the research that is happening for our veterans and wounded warriors would be translated -- exactly, can help everybody. and that's one of the reasons with joined forces, campaign to change direction and the goal there is to help the rest of the nation understand the five signs that they need to look out for when somebody has a mental health, sort of cpr training or training for -- use of defib defibrilator. when you see the signs you can identify them and find the resources to get that person the help they need and this is true for many military spouses as
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well. it's not just the service members. i mean, the stresses of being a caregiver, the stresses of being the spouse that's dealing with four kids while their spouse is deployed, i mean, we have to make sure that these individuals feel like they can reach out when they need help and they're not drowning all alone. the work that can be translated for positive impact for the rest of the society. >> i was going to ask you right before you said it about pts, post traumatic stress disorder, a movement that developed over time exactly that because there was a stigma, when you talk about employment and just getting back to your world is that, that was one that people didn't understand and they were not going to hire somebody with one they cannot identify. and that has changed over time. i think the number of stigma really dropped down.
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>> but it really is important for people who are suffering in any way to reach out for the veteran as well as for the family and veterans are slow to say i need help, you know, they are tough. that's -- they pride themselves on it and they don't want to jeopardize chances of getting the job by saying i need help, so i think there are a lot of ways. i've seen some ads actually on television about talking. one man told george about seeing his best friend shot next to him and he said he couldn't get it out of his mind and he wrote him a letter afterwards, you know, i've never told anyone that and george said, you waited till you told your former commander in chief and you haven't told anyone else? because those are things that people need to be able to talk about. they need to have somebody that listens to them and they can talk about it and tell it and that's how you slowly get over it.
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>> you mentioned identify -- identification. anyway, i want to talk about spouses, you mentioned spouses again and children because that's another one that so many times we have heard this specially early on in our world of the wounded and just our veterans actually wounded or not that the ones that don't get any attention or credit is the spouses, whether it's a man or a woman, husband or a wife, those who served are the ones that get all of the attention and that's changing over time and a lot of it is what you two are doing. >> all right, we had so much fun working with military spouses, you know, you talk about highly skilled service members, i mean, military spouses, they are smart, they're resilient, multitaskers, amazing to the t.
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many of them have had careers disrupted because they are supporting a spouse. when you're moving every two years, how do you keep up with your job? one of the issues that we worked was military spousal licensing. so you imagine any kind of job that requires any kind of license, you name it, if you move to a base in another state, a lot of military spouses had to go through hours of retraining, spend hundreds and thousands of dollars to get recertified just to work in their profession. >> nurses too, doctors? >> it involved any -- any job with a license. there was no reciprocity. it was one of our key issues. we put a call-out to governors.
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we were, like, hey, come on people, you can do this. it was one of those things where a lot of governors didn't realize that their states had reciprocities. we have all 50 state who is have military spousal license reciprocity going on. we would have never known that had we not had conversations with the men and women to hear their challenges to see what they were going through to find out what kind of things we could do on the ground, what would change their lives and to talk about military kids, challenging of moving a kid, finding the
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right programs, if you have a great special-ed program that you're kid is in and you're moving to another base you don't know if it's going to have the same program. if any parent, you think about your kid and what it takes to get them from kindergarten to 112th grade sanely in one school, the average military kid attends seven, eight, nine, ten schools in their entire primary and secondary school education and the kids are still graduating on time. they are still at the top of their class, they are still amazing, but there's a parent at home that's doing a lot of heavy lifting to make that happen a lot. a lot of advocating and one of jill's initiatives, my partner, has been working with the education community on a range of these issues as well.
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so there's so much that we need to know about the challenges that military families face. they are holding up this country just as much as the men and women who are serving on those front license and -- lines and they are just as proud and it's up for us to step up to that. >> that's why your president won the second term so he didn't have to move the kids? >> the reason he won was he we wanted to make sure his teenage girls could have agents throughout high school. [laughter] [applause] >> men with guns, that was a great motivator. >> we have four kids. my wife and i moved to ten different cities and my son by the time was 11 it was his eighth city. >> the rocks in your head thing? >> how many times are you going to say that? [laughter]
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>> okay, it's true. you know the other thing that's interesting to talk about first ladies and history, great historians talk about this, is it if you compare to what you're doing now as first ladies compare today what the first ladies did before. some of them went to war zones or dealt with those that came back, wounded physically with the blood but the numbers of hours that you put into it, if you compared them what do you think, is it just much more on ending with participation of first ladies? >> i think first ladies have been active forever. >> eleano roosevelt, drop the mic on that one. [laughter] >> they thought this about lady byrd johnson. isn't that sweet that she likes flowers. [laughter] >> the first lady likes flowers and she was really one of the
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first, you know, conservationist that talked about using native plants. >> that takes us to the next step, which is i know you're always doing this after you left. what are you going to do when you go? what is going to be your priority in terms of all the work? you have done -- many, many initiatives even other than veterans, i'm not going to ask which ones you're going to concentrate the most. how much do you think you would be involved in this as time goes by, do you think this is for the rest of your life for both of you? >> absolutely, what else are we going to do? >> the fact is you really have a podium really always and people still listen to barbara bush, don't you think? i certainly do. [laughter] [applause]
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>> do you obey her? >> it's great for us to to be able to have opportunities and do things and keep working and these are all issues that you never -- >> right, right. done. >> all things that you have work on. literacy forever. >> i was going to say, you know, to do this you have to have a strong public service bone sort of built in you and i know that's true for me. it's true for my husband. long before he ran for office, we left corporate law and we were working with kids and mentoring. he was a community organizer. i worked for the city government. that is sort of what you do and you don't stop because there's always something to do, so i can't imagine that -- that i will leave here and really kick my seat up and say, good luck with that.
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i will do that a little bit. you're right. >> what's going to be your hobby? president bush is now taking painting on as one of his main things and i think we are going to get a book in wins -- -- wednesday, in march, i would like to have it on wednesday but he did a great painting of you? >> no. >> he was not successful in the painting than me. he has painted portraits of wounded warriors and has a book coming out with their portraits and then he wrote their stories. >> and donating all the profits. >> profits to -- >> to my foundation, just kidding. [laughter] >> joking about that. >> there is life after the white house. not quite as luxurious. believe me no new sheets every day. >> that's okay.
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[laughter] >> so then we are going to have a brand new administration coming very soon, you can't win anymore terms, it's not roosevelt anymore. >> that's fine. >> your kids are going to have to move and do something but what -- do you have some advice to the next first lady or first gentleman that come into the white house about how to deal with initiatives but largely for operating out of the white house. i know that there's a lot of remarkable organizations that are doing so much for the veterans and had a chance to go when they visit the white house and changes their attitude a lot, but is there any specifically that you would tell to the next -- >> i would hope that as with previous administrations that the next administration would prioritize our service members, our veterans and our families, it should be high on the list. there's something that everyone can do to support this community
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but the commander in chief, the first family, the second family, the vice president, they have an obligation to set that tone. i think laura said that earlier with this platform you can raise the bar high on this issue. so i would hope that this is -- that this responsibility comes with the house and that every administration will try to top the next one in what they do for these men and women, whatever you call it, whether it's joining forces or you name it something else but the work of making sure that this country never forgets the service and sacrifice particularly when it comes to our gold star families that we hold them in our hearts, that we don't just honor them with words, but we do things that impact their lives as much as laura and i have done there's still so much work to be done. everything is not fixed, so there's plenty for the next administration to do and i think
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-- and i would urge all of our veteran organizations, blue star moms, gold star families, everyone to keep the pressure on the next administration, hold them accountable, ask the same important questions that you've asked of these presidencies to make sure that we never go back to the time vietnam war where veterans come home and they're afraid to identify as a service member and i will never forget, when i realized we were having an impact was the time we went to a va center and there was a gentleman, mr. black who came up after a conversation about what was going on at the va center, we highlighted it and he said, you know, i have never been more proud to be a veteran than now. he said i used to never tell anybody that i was a veteran because i never knew what their reaction would be and he said now every day i don't leave the house without something that
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identifies me as a veteran because i don't care where i am, people are going to stop me and thank me, thank you for your service and we are so proud of you. now, i don't leave the house without something that identifies me as a veteran and that just -- that warmed my heart and that's something we have to think about for all of these men and women who are going to be transitioning. our women veterans, they'll be more and more women veterans out there. you have to hold them up and let them know that we are grateful, so -- >> a lot of the vietnam vets now will also be coming back to go into the va because -- the age to do that and some of them may have injuries, brain injuries that were never really identified before, so we will start big -- i think, a big number of vietnam vets now coming into the va, the hospitals. >> right, i think people just assume there's really no battles going on but we are going all over the world with more conflicts and more special opts
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and cia and underground kind of operations, that's going to continue for a long time and hopefully we are not going to have another major war again. sometimes i say this a little bit too emotional about it, but i ever look back at the good thing to have a relationship with a group of americans that have served, have done so much partly because they volunteered, my own 25-year-old son and my 22-year-old daughter don't have to join the military unless they really want to. but how has that been for you? maybe to some degree it's an obvious answer to it but have you ever cried much? >> oh, god, yeah. i cry all of the time.
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but it's more tears of pride, you know. i am moved by this community, moved deeply because when we talk about pride of country, when we talk about citizenship, when we talk about all the things we want. we want a strong defense, we want to beat back terrorism. all of this is resting on the shoulders of this one community, as i said, 1% of the country who is stepping up to serve to protect the freedoms of us all and we can't just talk strong defense if we are not taking care of these men and women, not just during service but after. so, yeah, i do get emotional. i get emotional when i see a young man with all of his limbs blown off at walter reed and i see a young family sitting there and wonder what they are going
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to do and i see the young man with prosthetics and next month i see them walking and next year you see him competing in the invictus games. that clutches your heart in a way that you can't imagine. we have been able to follow the journeys to watch people going from traumatic injury to victory and there's a strength and a power to that that you just can't, you know, you -- >> resilience also of people and of america, our whole country. we're so lucky to live where we live. >> which is another reason why it's so important for you oh to -- to concentrate on the invisible wounds. our medicine advancement, i've been working at pbs, one of the positive aspects of it is medical advancements.
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the civilian advancement are saving lives than ever before. but it does create other invisible wounds that last, you know, forever so it's going to need even more and that's one thing you're going to concentrate on when you go, which is remarkable. i want to thank both of you for what you're doing. i haven't sadly done the research of how much previous first ladies have done for the veterans. i know that we have brand new wars that were sort of after the cold war, but you have really again -- you've done more than anybody expected. and your influence has been remarkable. i want to thank you personally and everybody here for doing what you're doing. [applause] >> so i think that means we can stand up. >> thank you very much.
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>> thank you, michelle. >> thanks, laura. [applause] ..

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