tv After Words with Senator Barbara Boxer CSPAN December 23, 2016 8:59pm-9:59pm EST
9/11 the presidential inauguration of donald j. trump is friday, january 20 until. c-span will have live coverage of the day's events and ceremonies. watch live on c-span and choose.org and listen live on the free c-span radio app. >> up information, california senator barbara boxer discusses her book "the art of tough" she is interviewed by senator amy
klobuchar of minnesota. on "after words". >> host: barbara box are. an hour to be here with you, one of my mentors in the senate. someone who came into the senate when there was borrelia woman to be seen and you were there. this book you have written "the art of the tougher" tells your store how you got there and barbara leavy, born on november 11th, 1940, from a family of jewish refugees in your own words, growing up in the previewsive shadow of the holocaust goes from that little place in brooklyn to the united states senate. maybe moves to card in between. and you did it all with such grace but also with that art of the tough. do you want to talk about what that was like growing up, your
stories with your family and how you ever decided to take this journey. >> guest: well, senator klobuchar, my colleague, you said it was an honor to interview me. i'm so excited that you agreed to do this because it's says a lot about our relationship, the warmth we share and i'm so thrilled and as you know, i'm going to get to your question in a second. but the fact is, the warm relationships that have developed between the women senators and, frankly, a lot of the men, barbara mccosky call the sir gal lad. means so much to me. i'm not running again and people say, why? -under are you disgust evidence with the place? not at all. just feel after 40 years therer people like you who can carry the ban sore we have our colleague from book, we have you interviewing me. just couldn't be more thrilled. but getting to the issue of how did it get tough, what was my
life like when i was a child, which in this memoir, when i sat down to write it so long ago, took three years to put it together. it's a lot of effort. when i first thought about it i thought, it's going by my dad who had all the influence on who i am as a person, because my dad was any idol. he was the youngest of nine brothers and sisters. the only one been in america him family was born in russia. none of. the graduated from high school. there's my dad, he is born in 1908, and after he married my mom, he goes to city college of new york at night, scores -- at night, greats great grades, becomes a cpa and after i'm born in 1950 hi goes to law school at
night, gets his degree, so i'm thinking, clearly it was my dad. but when i sat down to think about the lessons, how are you tough? they all come from my mother and can in the beginning -- >> host: some didn't graduate from high school. >> guest: she did not. and always was such a burden on her. she felt so sad about it. at one point she tried get to their ged. don't know what happened. but i will say this. my mother was so smart. and the kind of smart shed a was from the heart and soul. in the beginning of the book i lay out the rules of the art of tough. how can you do it? one of the things is always doing the right thing. even when everything is going against you, you and i know what it's like. we have had experiences in the trenches together, whether it's human trafficking or tox tick -- toxic we know what it's like
when people look at you and say, why rococos these problem inside identity it's the art of tough. i also learned, never act out of anger you. can feel the anger but dope act when your angry. these are the to goes do. >> host: you tell a funny store you were a little angry on the playground, stabbed a bully with a lead pencil and then hunting you the next day you walked we his apartment and see a dark, dark cloth in frond of the house and you think you killed him. >> guest: absolutely. >> host: turn outs to be the grandfather but it's one of those memories you don't forget. >> guest: what happened was albert was kind of my nemesis, and because i'm little, still little, 5'3" -- 5'0". maybe with my high heels. >> host: that's what i'm thinking. >> guest: so mall, and so he was little. so i was the perfect target. he would insult me and that's me
and that's what they used to do in those days. maybe they sill do in school. don't know. but one day i just had had it. no one was around and i took out my number two pencil and i stab him in the arm, right where you get a vaccination, and he is stunned and i am stunned at what i did. and so you're exactly right. in re-telling the story, out -- we thought we would just kind it our little secret. then he don't come to school for in the information three days and there's a crepe black draped cloth over his home, which i passed by every day, on a vacant lot on the way home. i lived in the inner city and did think i'd killed him. so i took to it my hour mother, which i took agency. to i said, mom, think i called albert. of coward she said, barbara sue, what did you do? and i tell her. she said i can't believe you would do that.
you can't do that. but i don't think you killed him. let me call the program program. -- principal, she fines out his dad died. if was to happy i hugged him. i learned an amazing message. never use violence and i never after that use violence. tried to diffuse a lot of situations, sometimes i won -- >> host: just as a young girl at a time where girls were really organizing a lot of things you led the effort to get a new carpet in the apartment lobby. you -- when you were my been one heir favorite letters your ten years old and your mother is in in the hospital in some illness and youy were not aloudded to visit. would you like to read your letter? i found this after my mother and my dad died in their little
jewel pockets. i wrote to the doctor because the rules that were -- kids couldn't visit their parents so i -- deardock. i almost miss leavy's daughter and i would loaf to see my muir very mump. didn't see my mother when she left. only a little while. about five minutes before i went to school. i have no sickness, only a little bellyache now and then if won't make a lot of noise. miss my mother. very much. so why can't i see her? thanks for reading this letter. sincerely yours, barbara levy. so then i had a feeling it wont walk so wrote a back up to my mother. dear mom, how mean can i a person be? i they depth let me in they really are mean. i will be so happy if i see you. i get at the -- teary i'd. in school i'm in the mexican group, a study group on mexican culture in art. in fact i'm the chairman.
love and men cases to you, babs. i get so choked up because they're memories that you and i have of our families so deep inside us. >> host: exactly. but this whole idea that any kid that can make it in america, which we still believe today, no matter where you came from, think that's a big part of your story. but one of the thing that is different about your story than the people we see in senate is that you were a girl and so here you are, you on the go to brooklyn college, right? and following in your dad's footsteps and you get a degree and you want to be a stockbroker because your dad has instilled this in you and you start interviewing for jobs and it wasn't easy back then for a girl to get that job. >> guest: impossible. in those tase they used to have a program at the wall street firms, and they were called -- because the people who were selling the securities, who we? stockbrokers were called customer's many.
that was the name. customer's men. so i wanted to be a customer's man. so i was ready to do it when i got my first job it was an assistant -- long story, but assistant to a woman who wrote a municipal bond newsletter. so smart. but she never signed it, elizabeth ellsworth work, her name. she kind it, ee cook 0 disguise the fat she was a woman. i side why don't you sign i? she said no one will buy it. because it was sold the never i'm partner for many year and she was kind of in disguise. it was unreel. so i thought i'm going to take a different path. i'm going to work for her, get a salary because stu was in law school and i was the only one working, so i guess i made $90 a week. then i said, but i had to make more because to live a deposit -- decent life.
so i studied for the program disyou go into to customer's man program you got trained. it was like study for an exam. i did on my own and passed the test itch was so excited. i took it to elizabeth and she said, well, you know, i don't know. you'll have to go to the big boss. at this very old firm and i did. he said, sorry, women don't do that. the shocking thing was not only did he just say it like it was fact of life, but that i took it. now i would -- i just said, oh, okay. but i did quit. i said then i quit. and i went to another firm where they allowed me quietly to have a little business on the side where i was kind of the assistant to a vice president, did his work and had a little side business so i was able to make $250 a week, aimy, which is great. >> host: i think there's why so
many times in politics some of white house came in on your shoulders, on your 5'0" shoulders and barbara mccosky we talk about the fact when you came it was so much harderrer. for young people to read your story and understand what you wind through, when most women were expected to have a few dogs, secretary, teacher, nurse, that was it. >> guest: that was it. >> host: in fact you kind of went over meet meeting stew, your great husband who have been married to forever this,. >> guest: 54 years. >> host: but say this is one hover if plate quotes. you say: i often joke that stew married debby debbie reynolds and woke um with goal do goal da my golda my meier. >> host: explain. >> guest: we didn't haven't the
opportunities our daughter have today, and so we had to settle for a lot less. so when stew met me i was pursuing my dream of being an economics major. her knew that. and she saw some signs in those years when you had -- you got together for little parties, the men would be here talking about issues of the day, and the women, so as noose to be perceived as two uppitiy would be talking about seriously, food and more appropriate things for women. that the truth. of course i was doing my thing with the women and then go over to the men and talk to them, too, was considered odd. but i did. so he knew i wouldn't long stay a cheerleader that i was, and brooklyn college, head of the busters from -- boosters from high school, but let's be clear. when he met i was a okay. i was 18.
going to the senate you might as well say flying to moon bious. >> host: then you make a decision, which was monumental in your career and in the history of america, you decide to move to california. and how did that come about? >> guest: well, my sister and her family had moved there, and i wanted to visit it and so stew -- such a good student -- made law review at farredham guardiansham and i went with by parents and drove out to california. get to california hi and eyes open up and my mouth drops and i said i've never seen anything as beautiful as this because i joke -- i grew up in brooklyn. which is boy the way the coolest place to live now. then it wasn't considered that. but i talk about how only if you have a movie called -- a book called "a tree grows in brooklyn" because it wasn't that green you. had beautiful places and now more beautiful places prospect
park and the botanical gardens but is was the city. when dime california the environment is kind of history there, and the first thing you learn about california if you pick up a history book is the beauty and various ecology from the north of the state to the south. whether it's the forests or the marsh lands or the desert or the ocean, and of course we have the witches farm. it's so exquisite. so i just said, i 21ish i said i want to move here when stew practiced waits from law school. that was wild i. i said to him, can we move? he said, why? and i said, you see it's gorgeous and you'll love it. it's -- i can't describe. we'll have so much more freedom to be outside and outdoors and he said, okay. but i have to get a job in
advance. and so he did. he got a job two years in advance. we came out to california because of the beauty. that's what i want to tell you. of course, then we stayed and the excitement and hollywood and silicon valley. >> host: then you're pregnant. >> guest: i yes. >> host: and doug. >> child, is born two months early and stew is still in law school and i was going to go to the fact they won't let him couple ought for the birth because he hat an example but the biggest apartment story this is a danger back then, 505 chance of survival and there you are on your own. you have live there are there. >> guest: no insurance. >> host: that got you somewhat interested in getting involved in government and politic snooze got me interested in understanding what it means to be uninsured and frightened to death.
and of course, that feeling you never forget it. and i was uninsured. sunny because i thought nothing is going to go wrong. i'm happy good lucky, everything was going to go great, which we always think when wore we're young, not vulnerable. immortal. and all of a sudden we had agreed to move so i said, okay, honey, i'll get us a place to live. you finish your exams and the first day i get here, doug wanted to see card. that's what i say about it. i arrived on may 20th, 1965, he is born may 21, 1965. and i was staying at my sister's place. all of a sudden the water breaks and i had not even met my doctor, and i i'm winding up in the clinic in mt. zion hospital. i was so wonderful to me. never forgot them. >> host: they took you in.
>> guest: i had nothing. and they said, you know, it's going to cost a thousand dollars a day, aim in, you can imagine what it is for a premy. they said we don't know how long he'll have to stay. at least a month if he survives. so i'm thinking, this is the end of us, every which way and all we cared about was doug. shay said 50-50 chance, and every day it will go up ten%. stew got out there as fast as hey would let him and doug is the most wonderful gift to us and i hate to tell you how old he is now. he takes care of me. and he has his own family. he had a second job. she was premy but wasn't as premy. had insurance but that was a lesson that -- how scarity is to be in a situation where you really don't have any -- >> host: and leading to your
support for the affordable care act and women's health care. what struck me during that time -- this very there additional time and just as grew up in the shadow of the holocaust you're now in california, in northern california, in the shadow of the vietnam war. and you have not been that involved in politics you learn the art of the tough, the title of your book, but you start getting involved in organizing, taking those early lesson from organizing for the carpet lobby in the apartment, and taking them out of course with toe something much bigger, the vietnam war, leading to your decision to run for county supervisor. >> guest: the was core of my going into politics. by that time i had two little kids and as a mom you start to think differently. you start to think long term. you start to wonder, how is my daughter going to grow up? what
kind of world -- what is my son going to face? all of these issues came to the forearound the time the vietnam war. the environmental movement, women's movement, the vietnam war. but especially the vietnam war because it was in the first war they said came into your living room, you saw it. and so i was part of the antiwar movement. stew was, and we used to take the kids and march and see -- and all the rest of it, and i became a real activist, a real activist, and when the seat opened up -- election where the county supervisor open up in marin county, california, beautiful place north of san francisco and a quarter issues were all of the issues, even stopping the war, what could we do? locally to do it. and the environment. and women's rights. so of course everybody came to
stew and said would you -- i said, stew, why don't you do it. and hi said, honey, it pays $11,000 a year. why don't you do it. so i ran. >> host: against two men. >> guest: against two many. so crazy. and i came out on top in the -- a nonpartisan offers so i came out on top. the other two were runs but you didn't run as a democrat or republican. so before we had the vote and i came out on top, the -- there was the incumbent, myself and a physician the issue they'd try toee the antichoice issue against me. this candidate's name was bill fil aye nty. he said i want to speak to you. i was excited. i said come over and talk to stew and we let him in door, he looks across at me and says i've been giving this a lot of thought and i thought he would
say -- he said, my wife is a physician, and it's been hard for her and so and so on. he said so this is what i want to say to you right now. you should drop out. and i said, well, bill, why i would do that? because you're going to be bad for women. and i said, where did you get tom from? he said you know the oppressor has to freedom to pressed. remember him saying to -- >> host: like a map would have to free you. >> guest: or the whites had to save the blacks. one thief arts of tougher is you fight against racism. every hair on my body went straight up, and i looked at him and i implored the art of the tough, which is when it was -- when somebody has gone over the line that's. i said this meeting is over and stew and i got up, he got up, and i shut for door and then i said we actually slammed the
door, what happened was he got revenge because he was still mad at me he was the third in -- he came out last. and he endorsed the other guy, so i lost that by a small vote. it's humbling, though. >> host: the stories how just the sexism back then when you're running -- i love the one where he said how can you do that's when you have four kids and you said, no, no if have two kids. he said you have four kid. but the rumors are so strong, you were living your kid as home. what wills the story about the dishes and paper plate snooze so many great stories in the book. the art of tough. in the book goes into what it was like to be a woman -- you had to have a sense of humor because i if not you cry yourself to sleep. i'd knock on the door because i went door to door, a small election, and i think you needed about 20,000 votes to win. so knock, knock, who is there barbara boxer can be some woo
open the door and say i didn't think you would be so small. what did they expect? i didn't expect you to be so short. said,ey, i am and then this one woman said, i could never vote for you, you have four kids you're abandoning. said, excuse me. have two kids. and she said no, you don't. she gets into an argument with me. said, lady, if you have given birth you never forget and it i did it twice and i walked air. what are you going to do? then i was at another meeting and i was telling the group about how we had to preserve the environment and earning everyone was moved toking, a very suburban part of the district and i thought i'm making it, i'm hitting it and a hand goes up in at the back and this woman says, how do you have time to do your dishes? well, even then i was taken aback. for goodness sakes, and i just said, i use paper plates, which
was stupid. because this was an environmental group so you couldn't win. i thought it was a joke. used paper plates, joke. i mean, amy -- >> the. >> the kinds of questions you were getting about doing your dishes. we have few questions likes that. >> guest: it's come a long way. i tell you that. and i lost that race. but they weren't ready for me. and the only reason i stayed after that, stayed in politics -- >> host: you became a newspaper reporter for a while. >> guest: i did a little radio show. the rope the reason i stuck with it is aread an allergy in the ms. magazine and the article said women take things to personally. men one run one times two times, three times, four times and women if they lose the first time they think, they hate me because we're a little more sensitive, and i thought, you not what, this ahorrible
experience but i'm not going to take it personally. there was out on a lot of issues that were a little i bit of had of mistime and that's what i have -- >> host: gay marriage your were ahead of your time. >> guest: so it tend to but you knock -- you ha sty say to yourself get people to know for it because you're one of the right reasons. you're one of the most popular pal continuationness your state or the country and the reason is even when pipe disagree, they'll know you're in it for the right reason. you're trying to get things done, trying to find a sweet spot with legislation. you're working hard. you have sense of humor and not afraid, and that's why people will vote for you who are from the other party when they never vote for a democrat. and this is what i tried to show in my tenure because believe it another nor, without about 15 to 17% of the republicans never
would have won. my races and if you ask them, they'll say, well, i don't agree with her sometimes but she is straight from the shoulder and in it for the right reasons. >> host: i think that -- fast forward and bet back to your first race but for me one of the most impressive things about you, they might not know, is the fact -- it's called the art of the tough. >> guest: all right. thank you. >> host: that's right. that part of the reason -- you do stand your grounder on many issues and every knows that but i don't know if everyone knows about the times tried to find common ground, you did it option on on the transportation bill and we knock mcconnell and got a bill done for the country. the water ill, thingsey have been april to dot, whether by taking a bunch of democrats and republicans together out for
dinner and i think -- we'll get back to your running doing -- you start to leadership they people you world with and you yesterday that with burdenon do are the burton brothers and because you had proven yourself and through the art of the tough, when congressmen burton called you subtly out of the blue and said he's going into rehab and wanted you to run for his seat, you mist -- must have been floored. >> guest: this was in '80s. aids was beginning to rear its head, and john burton, a mentor and i worked for him when he was in congress and helped me my whole career but when i went to congress and i went -- got eelected the board of supervisors we didn't talk much and he called me and said he's take item drugs and alcohol and checking into rehab facility in arizona and i would consider running for his seat. oh, my god. my kids were in high school. just a little too young to be perfect time.
but i took it up with them and they said, mom, these opportunities don't come along very often. so i went for it. and i got there. i got there. and -- i got there -- >> host: go ahead. >> guest: i got to the house, serve the in house for ten years, from a very safe district. >> host: people fog kansas on women blenders which you had. well, in barbara mccosky and you had these women colleagues incredible and i love the detailed stories about nancy pelosi and die u dieeen fine tine. bit you had male mender. ...
take on excessive cost with government contracts. $7,600 coffeepot? and some of those military contracts there was up bracket and the necklace? >> a relationship of bent $0.75 in it was thousands it was a racket really this really we don't give enough credit to what we say to everybody is wirth did to help somebody else. this is a scandal there is a whole group here called pro care reform and i said i came here wanting to work with kids i had expectation.
and so in the house in particular just to find a niche so with that tragic situation was brought to me that nobody is telling me they cannot imagine with carrier or a missile should cost. the obama about a $600 truancy? aeronaut contracting out to small business they would tell lockheed mind you do it. >> let me tell the story i was very excited on military procure reforms are will
never forget this one and i tell the story and can you imagine a $600 toilet seat? is it made of gold? is anybody have questions? and the woman says to know where i could get one of those klaxon of laugh by the way there was a reason that your book has been invoked like negative endorsed people forget about what happens in politics in this important because teeone to young women and young men to run for office. >> you have a great sense of humor and people wonder drug really need somebody with the sense of humor?
that is part of the art. it enables shoot to survive. >> talk about how the women did not have a gym and it was so unfair even for them to have access in view it took this on. >> tip o'neill was the speaker at the time. >> so you documented many of your songs and actually wrote a song. so could you sing of torres? you now to run for office again sec i will sing one verse the state of one have been dedicated from california were exercising at that was important then i
get here and find out there was a gem of four women is was the size of this table you could not do anything in a bunch of air dryers don't ask me why. i had a staffer who said a want to leave the women so mikulski was my friend in geraldine ferraro to repair is the story if there were she does the exercises. >> we have this wonderful meeting in a tiny but told jim where trust me if there were seven you could not even spread at your arms. so one said one major he incendiary raids into a side now put your hand on your
hips and one yells of i could find my hips it would not be here. >> but to go to is the maximum not. cannot. can you expand the women's gym? we cannot was a horrible experience. so i used the book them will use my sense of humor in this said can you carry it to an? they said yes and it was suggested by my colleagues to the leadership of the democratic congress. >> exercise and glamorize
so let's go to a different level. and you are the first the of course, leading in that and if the supreme court nominee had stuff coming and if that hearing needs to stay open but there's a photo of you being them up the stairs of the senate. >> quinella get the photo i'll look manhattan at all of us. a tightness, focus, determinat ion. the photo captured the moment if you think of iconic photographs but this was the symbol of the
quality to say you have a professor who is intelligent and flawless and says to be sexually harassed by the nominee to the supreme court. let me be clear. >> but there still is only to a bus. >> they would not open hearing. now the reasons i explained in the book so i would want to talk about that but we said there's only way to get through there's we have to walk over there.
we walk moreover about seven of us and the rest of the women stay in the house went to get to the top of the steps, it is lunchtime. and it is all the democratic senators. so if you knock on the door they say hi. we are seven women from the house everyone to commend to speak with the senators. at a minimum they said no.
and we said to have to open hearings and he did but it was disastrous as i explained in the book there's a whole movie made about it by hbo but to say to anyone within the sound of our voices but diane was much more ahead she had ran for governor, wondering -- running for mayor. i was considered more progressive. it was tougher. >> but then there is the fact that there was no wind and. dead-end alley and was an astronomer position to say
to try to use our sense of humor and the message is so powerful it wasn't just the position of want then looking at it was 98%. but now they call it the year of the women i know know what they were so excited about but then started to grow now we were are at 20% and hopefully it will be far more. >> remember barbara saying that you are giving up this day house seat to for a very uncertain election. '04 it. lot of women looking up i am
looking for more women in senators. >> it isn't about gender but there agenda. it is sent macroeconomics of macaroni and cheese economics. >> it wasn't always easy with you having nothing to do with it are the investigation. some of they tried to use that begins to? at one point you decided if you wanted to keep running so to make a brief this is what it was. the house bank was really not a bank but when you twist your bed then two
they did not even ask. and they said i hated for him to tell this was so made up but why not correct site em sick of this and i have to have some dignity. so all the places you go. this cannot be happening. sometimes you are up or down in finally they said you cannot do that. she looks at me and says mom crack said is that what about all those women who were counting and you you will just walk away? and my kids they have bank david back.
and i win the race. in bin i had a tough one race and it was one of those moments. so don't succumb to that. >> then you talk about of battle in the senate. somehow with pf6. >> to have taken on climate change also. >> the senate was amazing because it told my constituents there is good news and bad news. the bad news jesse helms but
but others have asexual misconduct was still there. i thought i cannot believe it now i come in and one colleague is in gauging? it is the ethics committee. are was not on it yet. but mitch mcconnell was in a without going into detail, your listeners will have to learn that this was not real and believe me that one of the only people pushing to air the dirty laundry to get them out of the senate and mitch mcconnell soon-to-be chair
am bob dole. they did everything to stop me. so the point is we never expected that would have been. so the point that in making the book is what issues will be on your plate. >> through it all also working many presidents at their side to help hillary clinton. >> petted would be like a target with steven pippin
now that we see another woman running coming in that race the moment where she was caught about talking about your hair and reaction than was sent back. >> awad you brought that up because it is another amazing lesson for the people that are watching the matter what state, or if they raise their family things changed the course the p. many defense. i would run as a top tier candidate when she got her golden parachute and it was
neck and neck because to be in that position since the great depression that there were stimulus' bills. i remember looking at us losing. and california was the mass. we were struggling and i running for reelection. and everything for me she is blaming everything on me. did i say we don't want to elector because she is responsible to get this data of the climate change, so
anyway flash forward and she says of course, is the talking about to prep to say give me the latest issues there has ben a change. she says that the heaviest. >> but if it does have a life of its own. however everybody knows that moment. what is she doing? she says this is this an insult. >> but in the end to say we
are in a hard time to stand up against the iraq war there were so many kinds he were willing and will i love is that through the of lends the issues, even when people did not agree understood to be tough to stand up for them is the mike yes. it was a remarkable thing but some of these things that happen is a jew and -- said jewish white tuesday were when donald trump said he was excited when the housing market crashed a fight could make a lot of
money. had to make america great wind that is how your mind works? a lot of people will say i will buy something but they know profit off somebody's misery. so now it just proves that i am tough but there are things that happen in a campaign that shows who the person rallying is inside. when people saw her making fun of me and not caring about the issues and was ceo ship tens of thousands of jobs overseas nodded good person. >> we have one minute left mature incredible career