tv Brother Bill and Jimmy Carter CSPAN October 15, 2016 2:00pm-3:01pm EDT
>> remember, the festival has some sources of funding, but mostly it depends on donations from people like you. you can donate on the festival web site, from the app, on facebooking, or you can do it the old-fashioned way, in person at the festival headquarters here. [laughter] we will be ending the session about ten minutes before the
hour or so. first, we'll hear from dr. daryl carter. he, he's written a book called "brother bill: president clinton and the politics of race and class." he's an associate professor at east tennessee state university, and and his areas of expertise are 20th and 21st century american political history. he particularly is interested in the new deal, in the fair deal, the great society, the clinton and obama presidencies and the intersection of race, class and gender. he's been appointed to the world war i war commission in tennessee and is a member of the board of directors of the tennessee humanities. dr. carter? it's yours. >> thank you, judge. i wish to thank everyone for being here today. it's wonderful to be in
nashville again. i'd also like to thank humanities tennessee which puts on the southern festival of books every year. they do a wonderful job, and i am biased since i am a board member, but i just love the books here, don't you? well, i want to talk about my book today, "brother bill," with you, and i hope you will enjoy it. when it comes to president clinton -- and i'm talking about bill clinton -- [laughter] we have often overlooked him over the period of the last 15 years because of the issues of or war on terror, terrorism, the obama years, etc. but he's very important in what i call these in-between years between 1989 at the end of cold war and the beginning of the war on terror in the fall of 2001. in 1998 toni morrison, the
legendary writer, remarked that he was the first black president. she even said, and i quote: after all, clinton displays almost every troop of blackness, single-parent household, born poor, working class, saxophone playing -- [laughter] mcdonald's and junk food-loving boy from arkansas. unquote. and this helped to lead me to do this project about ten years ago when i was a ph.d. student at the university of memphis. because i wondered, is it true, was it true that he was the first black president? and we could say, obviously, that president obama fits that category. but in many ways, president clinton did as well. so that is what i'm talking about here today, this intersection between race and class and whether or not president clinton was that first black president.
the support of african-americans for bill clinton was and has been huge. it has been huge, no doubt about it. they support him more than 80% of the time, and while he was in office, supported him upwards of 90% of the time. but this african-american support for the former president often was, at odds with their own policy ideas, needs and concerns. it was more aesthetic, therefore, than policy-based. and during the clinton years, he would have ample opportunity to disappoint african-americans along with the rest of america. so why was he so important here? well, number one, he ushered in this era that i call the in-between years, but more importantly, he turned the democratic party from the far left as illustrated by tip to kneel, senator kennedy and
others in congress -- tip to kneel, to a centrist party, a new democrat model, a model based in no small part on the issue of triangulating policy positions of both democrats and republicans. these included crime, welfare, affirmative action. these also included judicial decisions. in terms of appointments. furthermore, he was the first president born in the postwar era. and consequently, he enveloped and embraced and oozed that mentality that embraced civil rights, embraced women's rights, that embraced the secular changes that came since the 1960s. this is part of the reason he was controversial. as john hope franklin said to me in an interview that i did several years ago before he
passed away, he had never seen so many black people, latinos and others at the white house that weren't gardeners, that weren't landscapers, that weren't cooks. they were just everywhere. now, african-americans had always been at the white house in some capacity, usually menial labor. but under the clinton years, he fulfilled, in many respects, his idea of a cabinet that looked like america. he embraced diversity as did the first lady. this is going to change as the 1994 elections come and republicans gain investigatory power and the ability to subpoena witnesses, hold hearings and hold the president accountable for both real and imagined scandals. going a little bit further here, let's talk about the model the democratic leadership council that he followed, that he was so much a part of. the democratic leadership
council was created in the mid '80s after the disastrous re-election campaign of ronald reagan in which he beat walter mondale, the former vice president, with 525 electoral votes. this forced many southern democrats along with others, pro-business democrats, to reconsider the positions of the national party if they were going to be competitive in the future. so deregulation, pro-business policies, pulling the back -- excuse me, pulling the weight of government off the back of businessmen. the party's leftward turn, often perceived as extremist by others around the nation, would have to be tackled by these so-called new democrats. so bill clinton along with al fromm decided to put out new policy positions. now, while president carter had embraced certain things in terms of deregulation and balanced budget and fiscal
conservativism, most of the party had not yet gotten onboard. so clinton and others helped to bring that about. the other part of this is ronald reagan and the reagan revolution. in 1980 when he defeated president carter and ushered in a new era of american politics, many of those people who followed him would want policy prescriptions vastly different from the old democratic model that existed since 1932. clinton was one of those who said that the times were changing and that the party would have to change with it. it would have to keep its commitments to civil rights, to women's rights, etc., but it'd also have to be more friendly to business, lessen the tax burden on others as well as to help business help itself. the conservativism of the 1980s, which is still much alive today and what others have called the age of reagan, helps
to underscore the problems that the democratic party faced in the 1980s. as those issues turned into the 1990s at the end of the cold war and at the end of the bush years, president clinton was -- governor clinton, excuse me, was primed and poised to seize upon not only the failures of conservativism under reagan and bush, but was also poised to offer a new direction that was going to embrace what he considered the best parts of liberalism, the democratic party and the republican party and conservativism. some called this triangulation where you take an issue -- say, crime -- and you adopt the aspects of that crime policy into your own legislative package. black politicians in the beginning weren't always helpful
on these particular issues. often they represented inner cities, cities that were dependent be upon law enforcement, dependent upon public education, dependent upon union support, dependent on traditional means of uplifting those most vulnerable in society. but at the same time that you had black politicians who were skeptical be not outright hostile -- if not outright hostile to ideas such as welfare reform, there was new class dynamics that took place. and these class dynamics included an upwardly mobile african-american middle class. these were the people who had broken out of the confines of jim crow. these were the people who had benefited from the civil rights movement of the 1960s. these or were the people who integrated colleges and universities across the nation. and this disintegration within the african-american community presented class in a very real way for the first time in the modern era for african-americans
as a major issue. so these upwardly mobile people were concerned about taxation. they were concerned about policies that may harm business. they were concerned about being lumped in with arguably one-third of the african-american community that was working class or poor. so the upwardly mobile african-american community was attracted to many of president clinton's proposed policies. but this also left, as i just mentioned, many people behind. many people who could not defend themselves. people who were dependent on public aid, people who were dependent upon student aid, people that were dependent on medicaid and other social programs. these programs that were so important in many of these areas would come under attack not just by reagan, but by clinton himself who was often at odds with those policy prescriptions. that being said, it's important
to note that african-americans at the same time were enthusiastically supportive of the president due to the fact that he embraced them, not just he talked about it, but he embraced them. this was a man who could sing the black national anthem. this was a man who was more at home in black churches in arkansas than he was in white churches. this was a man who had gone to law school with african-americans. this was a man who had proposed to be put african-americans in the cabinet, the subcabinet and in the executive office building next to the white house. and to that end, let's talk just for a we could about those issues of -- for a second about those issues of appointments. and one of the early aspects of his administration, in those first few months, was the nomination of lonnie get near as assistant attorney general for civil rights. since the 1800s white presidents had used african-americans as personal
add advisers and formal advisers and finally in the 20th century formal advisers on a variety of issues, but usually those pertaining to african-americans. lonnie had gone to law school with the clintons and knew them well was now a lawyer, she had worked for president carter in his justice department. but in between that time as a professor more she began writing -- professor she began writing law review articles. and you know these things have more footnotes than they do text. [laughter] it's incredible. but at the same point, these talked about issues of proportional representation. these talked about issues of fairness in voting. well, regardless of race, so if you have 10% of the population that is jewish, that 10% should have representation. if the population had 52% female, they should have representation.
so on and so forth. but in the hyperbolic politics of the early 1990s with a resurgent right wing, the moderate right, a lot of this stuff sounded kind of funny. she's proposing that we get away from the decision in baker v. carr of one man, one vote. but truth of the matter is, is that she was doing what many others before her had tried to do which was encourage voting as well as to support those groups who are traditionally left out. when clint bolick, a former reagan aide, "the wall street journal" editorial page and others began looking at her writingings, that's exactly what they said. she's a quota queen. now, that whole issue of queen, you might remember reagan mentioned in 1980 when he
accused a woman of being a welfare queen and all the racially tense language and images that that conjures up. but when you think about lonnie, she's simply somebody who was fighting for civil rights. voting rights. the, the -- the furor that ensues demonstrates not only the discomfort that many had towards the issue of racial progress in the early 1990s, now a quarter of a century ago, but the discomfort that they have with president and his own judgment. after being criticized throughout the media by people like michael isikoff of "newsweek," now with yahoo! news and others, he did pull the nomination, and he pulled it in what he called it if if we kept going, it would be a death by a thousand cuts type of situation. he abandoned his own appointment, claiming that he
did not know whaterer writings -- what her writings were really all about. it was a signal to the naacp, urban league, other organizations that, wait a second, there is a serious problem with this president. maybe it is, quote9-unquote, amateur hour. but as bad as that nomination was, the crime bill that was to come was to be worse. in 1992 as he began his campaign for the presidency and was still governor of arkansas, a man by the name of ricky ray rector stood on death row in arkansas preparing for execution. he had shot a police officer in his home and then went outside and shot himself in the head. after he was medevaced to little rock, they saved his life, but he was left with the capacity of a child. clinton left the campaign trail in new hampshire and went all the way back just so that he could personally oversee the
execution of rector. in fact, in 2000 as he was preparing to leave office and he was interviewed by npr, they asked about this, and and his response was he wasn't mentally deficient when he committed the crime. now, this has been in the media a lot lately as people have been exonerated because of dna evidence and discoveries that certain cases, almost certainly you have people who are being executed that may not have been mentally fit. be but the coldness with which clinton puts that forward, that he could never be considered soft on crime, is problematic. and be it reflects the new democratic position of being compassionate towards victims and tough on criminals. about refocusing the democratic party and addressing crime levels, they had disturbed americans across the land. so anti-crime efforts took center stage, and the result of
that was the violent crime control and re-- excuse me, enforcement act of 1994. in promoting this, this idea of three strikes for any, for violent felons, the idea that in putting this bill into place not only could we have a violence against women act, but we could also ban assault weapons, but in doing this we can take crime itself off the table. what the act and what president clinton failed to acknowledge was that crime rates were already going down. already going down from what they had been during the 1960s and '70s. it also allowed for african-americans to once again be scapegoated. and helped in building this huge prison industrial come mention. complex. even hillary clinton got in on the deal by calling them superpredators. superpredators. but ironically, while he had a
lot of support from republicans on this issue, it's important to note as well that he had a lot of support from african-americans. so who were these african-americans? they were the very middle class and upper class african-americans who had fought and scratched so hard to get into those social classes. those who were much more closer than the white middle class to the crime and dysfunction, okay, of crime-filled areas. who were often telling him something needs to be done about this. from the drugs to the guns, etc., that are ruining neighborhoods, ruining lives. so the african-american support was critical for this, and clinton campaigned hard on it in places like churches such as the churches in memphis, tennessee. and where he proposed to be dr. martin luther king for a moment and said, well, i did not die for all of you to kill one another.
this also contributed to -- [inaudible] kiss parities, disparities which are still present today and president obama is trying to handle through the department of justice. the next issue that he deals with also is racially fraught with danger, and that is the issue of crime. excuse me, welfare. welfare had started in the 1930s as a part of the social security act. and while it had been always controversial to a certain point, by the 1990s it was defined as a black issue. despite the fact that african-americans had not been the majority of recipients of welfare programs that white americans were. despite the fact that most people who went on welfare stayed on three years or less. there was a perception that welfare was an trim issue and -- an african-american issue and had to be dealt with because, after all, certain people in this country that were not
comfortable with racial progress to begin with were not happy about minorities receiving taxpayer dollars. i point this out to say when prime minister clinton put -- president clinton puts out there mend be it, don't end it, he's trying to take issue of welfare off the table. so whether on crime, welfare reform, etc. -- and i don't want to go over my time here -- president clinton demonstrates a tough-nosed approach to all these issues but also one that is informed by not only race, but particularly class. lastly, his embracement rhetorically of african-americans and and other minorities not only helped his administration, but george w. bush as well embraced it during his and, of course, president obama embraced it in the last seven and a half years. all right. i think i've gone over my time -- [laughter]
but i want to thank all of you s and i'm very interested to hear my colleague's remarks. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, dr. carter. and we'll have an opportunity in a but minutes for you to -- in a few minutes more you to ask dr. carter or ms. padgett questions about their books or maybe anything else they want to talk about, i don't know. next we have dorothy padgett. she's written a really interesting book called "jimmy carter: elected president with pocket change and peanuts." [laughter] from the mercer university press. ms. padgett grew up in douglasville, georgia, west of atlanta and resides there today. she organized the sort of famous peanut brigade during jimmy
carter's presidential campaign. and according to the washington post, was known as the group's den mother. [laughter] she served as assistant chief of protocol for the state department during the carter administration. she's a former member of the democratic national committee, the georgia council for the arts, and currently she serves on the carter center board of counselors. so, ms. padgett, it's yours. >> thank you, andy. i do want to make the transition between my book and what daryl has so beautifully presented today, and that's, of course, civil rights and our african-american, the very importance of the roles that everyone plays in this country. thank you, first of all, for coming. are you comfortable and you hear me? that that's good. i will tell you in making this transition, i don't know if any of you remember in looking at my
audience, i think a few of you might. in 1971 when governor carter was inaugurated, he made history. he had run as a very conservative person and a candidate, and at his inaugural address 1971, he said i say to you quite frankly that the time for racial discrimination is over. our people have already made this major and difficult decision. no poor, rural or black person should have the burden of being deprived of an opportunity for a good job, a good education and simple justice. and and that was his inaugural speech in 1971. so that sort of set him on that particular track. ask he did -- and he did become
known as father of the new style. about three weeks ago -- jimmy and i are very close friends. we've been close friends now for a number of -- for a long time. [laughter] i was a guest speaker at a banquet, and he introduced me. and in the introduction, he said she's been writing this book for 25 years. [laughter] he said the reason i know that, she's been pestering me with questions for 25 years. and i looked at him and i said, jimmy, i have not been writing this book for 25 years, i've only written it for 15 years -- [laughter] and since you have publicly embarrassed me, i'm going to tell a story on you that i had not planned to tell. [laughter] when he decided to run for president, he, of course, the first people he wanted there was miss lillian, his mother. so he went down to the house about 8:00 one morning to tell her that he was going to run for
the highest office in the country. so he walked in, and miss lillian was still in bed. it was about 8:00. he sat down and he propped his feet up on the bed, and he said, mother, i'm going to run for president. and she looked at him for a minute and she said, jimmy, take your foot off my bedspread. [laughter] she said, you're going to run for president of what? [laughter] so that was, so that was her response for it. but i have been working for 15 years writing this book, and the reason for my writing it was that in the 1980s i read a book about jimmy carter, and it was very critical and was a little bit snarky. she -- the lady that wrote it criticized his religion, criticized his growing up in plains, criticized his decision to run for president. and i thought, you know, this really pissed me off, so i'm
going -- [laughter] i'm going to write my own book about jimmy carter. [laughter] the man that i know, the man that has determination, denasty -- tenacity and discipline. and so i actually, i really would like for jimmy carter to take his place in history as one of our top presidents. and i think that history will improve this and in the rankings of president, and thank you for nodding your head in approval, a few of you are doing that. so that's exactly how i feel about this man. working as a volunteer in jimmy carter's campaign had not really been something i planned. i was the mother of four children, i had plenty to do, but i love working in my yard all the time, and one day i thought to myself, well, what are you going to tell your grandchildren that you've done
that's exciting in your life? and they were not going to be interested in me out there working in the dirt pulling up weeds. so at that same moment, a car pulled up to my curb, and a young man got out of the car, and it was jimmy carter. and he walked up the sidewalk, and he told me who he was. i knew -- i was kind of expecting a call from him because my husband had already volunteered my help. [laughter] i guess he thought a mother of four children didn't have enough to do. so jimmy walked up, and he looked at me, and he talked to me for a few minutes, and he asked me if i would go to work for him as a volunteer. well, you know, i was -- stood up kind of high, and jimmy's not real tall, and i was looking straight into a pair of blue eyes that really did look great to me, and i said, well, sure, i'll be glad to help you. [laughter] so so in the forward that jimmy
has written about, he wrote -- i'll read a little bit of it. he said when writing the book, she wrote that he reminded me a little bit of the kennedys. he said there is no doubt that dot is my friend, and her account is a friendly one. however, i discovered this is not an overwhelmingly positive book. for instance, when she said i shared some of the characteristics of john f. kennedy, she did not think i was as strikingly handsome. [laughter] he said, that hurt, but i can live with it. [laughter] so when i talked to jimmy later, i said, jimmy, i only saw john f. kennedy from a distance. i said maybe he's not as strikingly handsome as i thought he was. that made him feel a little better. but the title of the book, the peanuts -- pocket change and peanuts, in 1976 we were
campaigning under the election laws, and we had $38.3 million to spend. $38.3 million is all we had to spend. they spend that in, what, a week's time now. so that is pocket change. and that is how we had to plan around our campaign. so that brings up the peanuts. there was a group of people that were very loyal and supported jimmy and rosalynn in all of their endeavors, and they had continued to be loyal people. so i organized a group of people to go from one state to the next, and it began to be known as the peanut brigade. and it was a campaign effort that proved itself to be very successful, and it was truly a benefit to jimmy. it was 600 volunteers.
we traveled into 18 states. we spent our own money when we were allowed to spend our money, and people were impressed with the fact that there we have a person coming to our door, knocking on our door that not only knew jimmy carter personally, knew his mother, miss lillian, new rosalynn, new billy, knew -- knew rosalynn, knew billy or, knew everybody in the family, and it made a difference. now, you've listened to me long enough to know that i haven't said y'all yet, but i is certainly can -- i certainly can say it with a southern accent. and i was campaigning one day in new hampshire, and this man looked at me, took my brochure, and he said, well, he said, young lady, i have not understood a word you've said. [laughter] but, he said, i absolutely -- the way -- love the way you said it. he said, i'm going to take your
brochure, and i'm going to read it. so, you know, i made a bond with that man if it was just sort of a strange way to do. that was, that was all right. if we could do that. billy was a big help to us. his brother. and a lot of people didn't think of billy as being that much of a help, but i was in one of the states -- i woke up one morning, and i didn't even know where i was. but anyway, billy was -- i was with a group of people to, and they were a little hostile in asking me some questions that i really could not answer. and billy walked up, and they said we don't like your brother. and billy said, yeah, sometimes i don't like him myself. [laughter] so it worked, they joined -- billy joined the bowling team and went to work for them, and so he was really good to do that. finish but -- but it made a
difference when people would say, well finishing you think enough of this man -- if you think enough of this man to come to a place you never probably planned to come to and spent your money, we certainly will be interested. it brought them a little closer. and we would say thank you very much, and we'd hand them a bag of peanuts, and we'd say jimmy wanted you to have these, they came from his farm. so it worked. it gave us a chance for them to really think seriously about this man, and we gave them a different outlook than they might have had about it. the legacy of jimmy, i think, will continue on, and i think one of the things that he did in the white house that we've benefited from in the state of georgia, and that was the panama canal treaties. five presidents before president
carter had tried to get something done. the panamanians were very hostile. they were beginning to cost this country more every year. we were sending more military people down there. and so to get this vote through the senate was almost impossible, and i am so happy to sit here and tell you that if it had not been for howard baker and senator howard baker, it would never have happened. he held onto 17 votes that made it possible for those panama canal treaties to be passed. panama today is a leader in democracy and human rights in latin america. that's one benefit. the benefit is the expansion of the canal has increased the business that we have at our ports up and down the east coast so that has been a benefit.
another thing, jimmy carter was a visionary. do you remember the solar panels that he put on the white housesome they were removed, they were put -- white house? they were removed, they were put into a warehouse. and jimmy, of course, turned the thermostat down to 68. rosalynn carter said, i was so cold, i cried. [laughter] so one time much later, this man wrote a little note, and he said, mrs. carter, were you cold in the white house, and she said, i was so cold. she said every -- one day somebody showed me where the steam pipes were in the basement, and i would go down and hug the steam pipes just to keep warm. [laughter] and jimmy thought it was kind of interesting that a 9-year-old boy would have been interested in whether the first lady was cold or not. but those solar panels did not go to waste. a professor in a small college
in maine, they had a very small budge. budget. in case you were wondering, it was unity college in maine. and they had a very small budget. he stripped down an old school bus, he went down to washington, he took those panels out of the warehouse and put them on the cafeteria at their school, and they stayed there for many, many years. they don't have -- they don't last indefinitely, but they stayed there for many years. as a result of that, boyden college in maine which has an endowment, they can study anything they want to, they began the solar energy program. and other colleges that had this much interest -- because those are what we need. jimmy carter was the one that put the solar panels on the white house.
that, i think, is a very important part of his legacy. the camp david peace accords. he brought two people together that were bitter enemies. president sadat and begin. those men, of course, had been enemies all their lives. at camp david for 13 days, they all became very discouraged. he, at the final days, he said he presented them with something, and they sat down and said, yes. and those peace accords are still in effect right now. those two men, president sadat and prime minister begin, were totally different. i had a chance to meet both of them in the office of protocol, and the first day that president saw a cat came in -- sadat came in, he was a very elegant man, very well spoken, stood perfectly erect, and i was in a
room with him, and i said, mr. president, this is what your schedule is for the few days that you'll be here. and he would nod in approval, and i'd say this is what we'll be doing on such a such -- he would nod in approval. and when the ambassador was meeting with us and i walked out of the room, i turned back in, and i was very impressed with myself because i had completed this discussion, and he was totally satisfied with it. and i walked back in just in time to hear him say, mr. ambassador, i thought you told me mrs. padgett spoke english. [laughter] so there again being southern, but it worked for many times. president begin was totally different. i don't know if you've ever tried to nail jell-o to a tree -- [laughter] but speaking to him sometimes, it was a little bit like trying
to nail jell-o to a tree. he was a wonderful person, though, and a wonderful personality, and i enjoyed him. and on his last day i stopped by, we were on the plane flying into new york, and i stopped by. he and and his wife were having a little tea, and i bent down to say, mr. president, i hope you have a very safe trip home. and he leaned over and he kissed me on the cheek. and i looked down, and my whole cheek was covered up with crumbs. [laughter] and i thought, what does one do when the prime prime minister hs covered you up with crumbs? so he reached over, and he just gently brushed them off. and, you know, i thought at that moment no matter how high a person gets in office, they can still be a human being, and it really made me think about someone that had a lot on his mind that would gently rub the crumbs off of my cheek.
so i liked that. i want to tell you this, so you stop me. [laughter] my strongest feelings about jimmy carter's accomplishments in the white house were the 52 americans that came home safe. that was his tenacity, his determination. he stayed in the oval office. he worked with diplomats, he worked with other countries, he worked with leaders, and those people -- each day when he would wake up, he did not know if an american would be taken out and shot or not to. it was a devastating time for him. he stayed right there and he worked with it. on inauguration day, january 21st, i think, in 981 -- it's in my book. it's very exciting to tell you how that process went on when they were released.
jimmy had frozen the assets from the iranian government, had frozen their assets. the very day that those hostages were captured. that was the leverage that he used. so they started the negotiations. by then the ayatollah decided, well, it's time to let these people come home. he didn't know how to do it. they arranged -- though he did not have to negotiate with this country, he could negotiate through another country. and it starts, and it's very suspenseful, very uncertain what was going to take place. but from the time that it started until 12:05 when those people were put on a plane and they were sent out from that iranian country to germany, it's all in the book. it's very exciting. i want you to read about it. don't wait til the movie now. [laughter] so when we talk about a movie,
argo was a great movie. it had some things in it that were not correct. as a matter of fact, jimmy said something about this recently. he said how many, you know, you remember that scene where the pickup truck was right on the tail of that jet plane? he said how many have ever seen a pickup truck that could travel 250 miles an hour? [laughter] so i think that gives you an example. but that's a little bit of the excitement of what it it was abt that. one time a question was asked of me, did you ever think you were going to lose the election? one time. well, we didn't think about it much as a volunteer or a staff or people working. you didn't really think about losing. you didn't even think about being in the white house. all you thought about was how many people you could say to them that day, i want you to vote for jimmy carter. he wants to be your president.
so, of course, we all, most of you, i know, have read about the lust in my heart. and that unfortunately playboy magazine article that he wrote about. and it almost took us down. it just sucked all the air out of our campaign. rosalynn was the first one to be furious. she was not mad at jimmy, but she was mad at the young man that wrote the article. she said she reckoned that he'd never been to sunday school, had never read a bible, and he didn't really know what he was talking about. so that was the way -- and one day somebody asked her point-blank after, mrs. carter, have you ever committed adultery? and she said, well, if i had, i certainly wouldn't tell you. [laughter] so that was how she handled this very tough situation. and we got over it. jimmy picked up his bible, he taught his sunday school class, and he won an election.
and that was how he handled that. recently though, he was doing a book signing somewhere near harvard university, and harvard university, and this lady walked up and she said, president carter, i remember when you said you lusted in your heart. she said, if you still have lust in your heart, i'm available. [laughter] so things have moved on and they've become a little bit different. but, you know, those were the things that met us and the things that we had -- but jimmy carter handled them, and he handled them in -- as a gentleman. and we were always proud of him. we were always very proud. with some bad, some bad advice or some advice -- i'll only do one since you're sitting there -- [laughter]
miss lillian said during the campaign when jimmy said i will never lie to the american people, he told them i will never lie to you. this was in iowa. miss lillian sent word, quit all that stuff about never telling a lie and that rosalynn was the only girl you ever loved. and so he didn't pay much attention to that. but, and also, well, the attorney general told him he needed to drink more if he was going to deal with congress. but -- [laughter] saturday night live, you know, he said he was a born-again christian, and he was sincere. and if you read, if you've known -- and i'm sure some i don't have of you -- some of you already know how he's come about this. it's a very serious situation for him. and he truly, truly, was his faith, his christian beliefs led him to be a born-again christian. but to talk about anytime a campaign was something -- about it in a campaign was something unusual. he talked about it, saturday
night live, they are very genius at taking these important questions and important subjects, they said, you know, it was all right for jimmy carter to be a born-again christian, but why did he come back as himself? [laughter] so this is the way that jimmy carter's -- one more thing. [laughter] as we know, jimmy has been very ill. he's overcome this. he took this advice from dylan thomas, do not go gentle into that good night. old age should burn and rage at the close of day. and i think he's listened to that and done well. and thank you. you all are a wonderful audience. [applause] >> well, we have time for maybe a couple of questions.
if you want to come up to the microphone. if not, i've got lots of questions. [laughter] >> ms. padgett, my name is stacy harris, and i have a question. you touched on with the lust in my heart situation. i sense a little bit of self-destructiveness within jimmy carter. specifically related to you mentioned that you feel like he's going to be judged by history more kindly than he has been up to a certain point and the mideast peace talks being a great example of that. but after he left office and you wrote this book, and i think he was trying to express a desire for even handedness in the mideast, but this was a lot of feeling that he was just terribly naive about israel's security and what he was asking them to do in return for this's that -- this peace that we all want.
the other thing was you heard about this or you saw, we all saw this photo of the living presidents, and they're all standing in a comfortable, comfortably next to each other. he's kind of off to the side in a way that looked kind of strange, and he was, in fact, asked about it, and i believe he gave an answer. i'm just wondering, is he just -- is he not conscious of the public relations that, you know, may for better or worse, that is a part for better or worse of modern day scrutiny with the 24-hour news cycle? thank you. >> are you wanting an answer from me or the professor to answer it? obviously, it was addressed to me. the question of him standing off to his side, oh, yes. he was -- somebody thought he was just looking at the design on the carpet. no. he was thinking about what a tough job and what a difficult job it is to be president of the
united states. and that was what, that's why he seemed to be unattentive. but, no, he was concentrating completely on where they were ask what a tough job it is to be president. >> well, thank you very much. thank you again to our authors, ms. padgett, dr. carter. i'm told we're out of time. so thank you for coming. remember, the books can be published out at the parnassis -- purchased, yes. and they'll be signing up in the signing colonnade. thank you very much. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
>> and this is booktv on c-span2, and it's live coverage of the 28th annual southern festival of books. we're about halfway through our live coverage for today. and in about ten minutes, the next author will be speaking, and that's historian adam hochschild discussing american involvement in the spanish civil war. [inaudible conversations] >> on february 3, 1971, jackie visited the white house for the first time since her husband's assassination. and there was a private visit. she would only go if no one knew about it. she didn't want any press there, and she went for the unveiling of the official portraits, her portrait and her husband's portrait, and she brought along 13-year-old caroline and 10-year-old john kennedy jr. and they had a very awkward dinner with the nixons where
john kennedy jr. spilled his milk and apparently lightened the mood considerably because it was very difficult for her to go back. i mean, there were a lot of happy memories, but it was also very sad for her. and there are wonderful letters at the kennedy library that are just incredible that john kennedy jr. wrote to pat nixon and president nixon saying i can never thank you more for showing us the white house, i really liked everything about it, and he talks about sitting on the lincoln bedroom bed where his father had slept and making a wish that he would do well in school, which i think is very sweet. and so it's kind of a touching thing that they went for this visit and that she went back, that jackie went back when pat nixon invited her to. these women were rivals in 1960, during the 1960 campaign, and pat nixon even wanted a recount, she was so upset at the results. so this was not an easy relationship.
the most poignant letter, though to, came from jackie herself written in her signature spidery handwriting. can you imagine the gift you gave us, she wrote. the day i always dreaded turned out to be one of the most precious ones i've spent with my children. may god bless you all. and i think that just shows the humanity among these women, that they do go through so much, and they understand intimately what it's like to live in the white house and to go through, you know, the sort of security concerns and the painful loss that jackie went through is something that pat nixon could understand and kind of sympathize with. during the 1976 presidential campaign, rosalynn carter was on her way to pay her respects to lady bird johnson whose husband had been the most recent democratic president. the day before their meeting,
jimmy carter's embarrassing playboy interview was published where he talked about committing adultery in his heart many times and something else he said in that very embarrassing interview was where he talked about how nixon and johnson both lied and cheated and distorted the truth and merely mentioning johnson and nixon in the same breath so close to watergate was anathema to democrats. it was very upsetting. so here's rosalynn carter in this awkward position very shortly after this article ran, and she turned, rosalynn turned to an aide who was very close with the johnsons and says what does mrs. john sonthi about the interview, what should i say about it? he says you don't say anything, mrs. carter. you're a southern lady, just like mrs. johnson, it won't be brought up. so these women, there's a code. lady bird with johnson knew better than anyone what it was like to deal with a husband who
fedded and upset people -- offended and upset people at times. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. >> here's a look at some of the staff picks from politics and prose bookstore in washington washington d.c. olivia lang explores the solitary lives of prominent artists in "the lonely city." in "the great derangement," the argument that climate change iss beinger knowed. siddhartha mukherjee in, "the gene." another staff pick from washington, d.c.'s politics and prose bookstore is "grunt" by mary roach who reports on the science that's being used to improve the safety and effectiveness of america's military. atlantic magazine contributor -- argues islam is essential to understanding middle eastern politics in "islamic exceptionalism."
and "in ordinarily well," peter dr. kramer looks at the science behind d peter d. kramer looks at the science behind antidepressants. many of these authors have appeared or will be appearing on booktv. you can watch them on our web seat, booktv.org. >> the accepted logic on the phenomenon went like this, which has existed in all times and places, how is it possible that imagination could deliver the same conceit across cultures and eras? in other words, witchcraft was so preposterous, you couldn't make it up. to the um possibility of a shared -- impossibility of a shared delusion was added the most compelling reason to believe in witchcraft. not to subscribe to it was heresy. in 1692 then, a witch could be a foot stamper or a troublemaker, but it could also be someone who simply denied the existence of witchcraft.
faith aside, it served a purpose, it made sense of the unfortunate and the eerie, the sick child and the disappearing kitchen scissors. what else, shrugged one husband in court, might have caused those black and blue marks on his wife's arms? one more breathtaking thing about trials, they came to an end because the scope of the crisis taxed the imagination. could there really be that many witches floating around massachusetts? and because of what appeared to be an overzealous court, carefully, quietly and anonymously sane men began to speak up. few of them, however, questioned the existence of witchcraft. at issue was simply the difficulty in identifying it. many would believe that innocents had died in 1692, but most also believed that guilty witches had escaped. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org.
>> and now booktv's live coverage of the southern festival of books continues with historian adam hoax child and the -- hopings child and -- hoax child and the -- hocks child and the spanish civil war. >> a couple of quick announcements before he get started. as most of you know, the southern festival of books is free, and we are very thankful to our sponsors for that, but we also encourage all the participants to, please, donate to humanities tennessee, and you can do that at our web site or on our facebook page. the other thing i want you to know is that after the session, adil