tv David Rubenstein Interview CSPAN September 13, 2015 6:30pm-7:04pm EDT
two on the by department. i was invited to a reception in new york for the magna carta would be displayed and i presume sold. when i got there the curator explained that there are 17 copies of the magna carta, several different versions. this was the only one in private hands and had been hot by ross perot in the 1980's. he decided to put it up for sale and it would be auctioned tomorrow night. the curator said that it would be unfortunate if it left the country because it is the only one in the country. it was the inspiration for the declaration of independence. i thought maybe it should stay here, so out of 17 copies i figured -- i resolved to buy it. i came back and i went to the auction and i was fortunate to win.
i called ahead of the national archives and said i want to put it here on permanent loan. >> i have heard you were surprised that ross perot considered himself a patriot and did not speculum -- did not stipulate that it should stay in the united states. >> i think he was very happy that i was the winner, i'm told, because i make sure it would remain in the united states. his son was very happy that it worked out this way. i do not know why he did not stipulated that way but it worked out this way. anyone can see it in the national archives right behind me. -- the versionn that we hear about never went into effect.
-- because he was afraid he would be excommunicated by the pope if the pope did not like it. and never went into affect and the other reason it did not have any lasting effect, this one, the 1290 71 when to affect -- went into affect. >> what was your feeling at the auction? andhe auctioneer came in said congratulations, who are you? i had never been a sotheby's customer and i explained who i was and he said ok dear is if you have the money. he says that myth -- he said that now that you own it, you can slip out and no one will ever know or you can talk to the reporters. i went out and said i am buying this on behalf of the country. it is a down payment on my obligation to repair -- repay and help the country. what is the value of seeing it?
it is a piece of parchment that is 800 years old so if some of you going to have a life experience by seeing it? not necessarily, but hopefully it will get more people thinking about other historic documents and learning more about american history. my theory is that if people learn more about the history they will be better citizens. >> you went out to meet the press and part of the goal is not only learning about the history part but also learning a bit about your motivation and goals. we are very familiar with carlyle group and it seems as you were building the company, you and your cofounders were not very public. you decided to go out and talk to those 100 reporters. was that a decision on your part because since then you have been much more public. >> in the early years we were not that big or successful, we were modest and nobody paid much attention to us.
as it became clear we made a successful go of it and made more money than we could spend ourselves on personal needs, my partners and i have become much more involved in the community and philanthropy. i was one of the first signers of the giving pledge with 40 others which means you will give away half of the wealth, i will give away more than that. i am determined to give back to the country. we came from every modest circumstances. we have a company that is much more successful than i thought it would be. patriotic p means you're getting back to the country in a way that reminds people of the historic importance. is patrioticopy and a sense, what i mean by patriotic philanthropy is to remind people of the heritage and history. all philanthropy is good but this is just one segment of what i do and i have gotten more attention for it because not
many people are focused on it. many people give money to help an education, but not as many give money to what i would call patriotic philanthropy. you have given money to a number of organizations and a great deal of federal funding. some people are saying why is the government not doing that? >> the government has about $19 counting --ebt, not the government is not going to be aloof fund things they would -- they way they used to be able to. things like the national gallery organizations,r they just don't get from the federal government the kind of money that those organizations would like. the only way they can do the things that they should do is to get private support. i encourage other people to give to these kinds of organizations
and try to raise money to do certain things the government just can't give the money to do. >> when you give, you get to decide what the exhibits look like? you have input in how things are displayed? >> i am not an expert in that, so i either have an idea and go to somebody and say i like to get money for this and then you figure it out or they come to me with a proposal. i have no expertise. the magna carta is here, they asked if i would put up some money to help the gallery to put together where other historic documents to be displayed. i had no role in where they put it in how it was organized because i have no expertise. when we have a ceremony opening, i was here and i had been here a couple of times and people are interested in it but i think this document does get people's emotions -- they have heard about it but have never seen it.
upstairs is the original declaration of independence and the original constitution and bill of rights. i do like to hold dinners there and show people that -- take people to show them those documents. they have heard about them but have never actually seen them. it does make people feel much more patriotic ideas -- patriotic aghast when they see these documents. >> you have decried the lack of education history. -- we are all social media focused. what can be done to turn that around? new exhibits like this make a difference in the long run? there is no doubt the people in the country are very concerned about the lack of science and training in the fact that we may be falling behind some foreign countries. has -- i think it is a
good thing, but i wish the people cared about history and humanities. you are a much better citizen if you know the history of your country and the world. you know how to think out of the box and do things that are not just dependent on stem related education. i do try to promote people learning more about their country. i think it is an important thing and i am alone in that. others are doing it. maybe i have gotten more attention because of some of the documents i have bought. you are more knowledgeable, you will avoid the mistakes made in the past and you will be more proud of what we have built, even though we have had a lot of problems. >> you were a school kid in baltimore. your parents did not graduate from college. what informed her own interest in history -- your own history
-- your own interest in history? >> i was just always interested in history. i did not major in it, i was a major in political science. i like to read a lot of history books and i guess it is something i can understand better. was very good teacher along the way that interested you? somebody you can point to as a source that flipped the light switch on? >> i had some excellent teachers. i can't say there is anyone but over a period of time it was something i realized i was interested in. i like to think about what it was like to be involved in those historic events and i always tried to read history books and say what would it be like if i had been there or people i knew had been there and what would it be like if i could talk to these people. when i am interviewing somebody,
that say they- are an author about a great historic figure, what would you like to ask them? i often wonder myself: i like to have said to abraham lincoln or george washington if i had a chance to talk to them. if you had to define an aspect of american history that you are most interested in, is there a particular mindset or. of time -- or period of time that interests you? >> i would say the revolutionary war. -- revolutionary war era is interesting. they are all people i have read about and are interested in. that was a historic time of the country and also the civil war. abraham lincoln and the figures that the to the victory in the civil war and the creation of the country as it was. of time witheriods
wars are interesting. they are also stored figures. i would not say there is anyone president i am not interested in. i do think anyone can really rival george washington or abraham lincoln. a lot of other presidents have done historic things that we should be grateful for. >> do you have a photographic memory? >> i wish i did. i like to read a lot of things and remember them but not in the league photographic. >> when you talk you are able to recall extensive amounts of data about a particular moments of time. that whenral view is you're making a speech or doing an interview, you should try to do it without notes. i trained myself to do that and people feel that when you are speaking without notes, you're really paying attention to what you are saying. what i do in interview, i don't like to look down at notes
because the person i am interviewing with a geez, you are getting something some of the l gave you, you are not giving -- having a conversation with me. when i am giving a speech i want to actually talk to the audience and not look down. occasionally i have had to -- read speeches and i do not inc. -- i do not think i am as good at it. >> you are going to challenge me now not look at my notes. [laughs] nothing wrong with looking at notes it just does not work for me as well. >> one thing i was interested in hearing your thoughts on, after the shooting from charleston there has been some rapid reaction in rethinking the way states and even the federal remembers honors or civil war history and figures. thinking about the flag in mississippi and south carolina.
there are civil war confederate statues. there is the national debate going on. the democratic party has decided to end of the name jefferson jackson dinner. what are your thoughts about the revisiting of how we observe history when it becomes offensive? >> we should always remember the people who signed the declaration of independence and constitution were slave owners and most of our early presidents were slave owners. when you learn about the great things that they did, you should put it into context. they were slave owners and today that does not look very good. i don't think we should completely ignore these figures as being important but i think we should realize they lived in a different time. project, the next eight years have been a great
deal of this kind of work. how do you decide which project you will give money to and tell me about your favorite one. >> i try to do two things. one is by historic documents and put them on display were americans can see them and do more to learn more about it and perhaps be better citizens. i got some copies of the declaration of independence, the 13th amendment signed by abraham lincoln, the constitution and so for and put them on display in major cities. i think people would like to see these documents. another thing is fine historic buildings that need some additional support to be rehabilitated. but still year or the monticello -- montpelier or the monticello. i am trying to do that in other areas as well. those are some things i'm trying
to do but also make sure that people learn more about american through various programs to it if i things that would be useful for people to know. you do not have a foundation, you are doing this through your own offices? >> there are tax reasons why you could have one or not. i have not figured out any benefit for me so i just fund whatever i think i should fund. >> how does it work? -- people send you proposals do people send you proposals? >> there is the advertisement that you are going to give away your money. i give away about $50 million a week. i get requests from people i have never heard of or people that i have met briefly. generally i like my own ideas.
if i have an idea for something i am more likely to support that then if somebody comes to me with an idea but there is no doubt that sometimes people have good ideas and i will support them. it is a random process. people tove a team of analyze these things for me and i kind of do it on my own. i just do these on my own and i figure out what i want to support. i'm sure i have made a lot of mistakes. >> do you have an annual figure in mind or is it just as the projects interest you? >> i don't have a figure in mind but i try to give away at least half of my annual income. for a fortune, that is a fair amount of money. again, i am trying to give away my net worth and that will take some time. i just turned 66 this week so i am fortunate to have gotten
here. i probably have another 15 years or so to go, maybe more. i am trying to give it away during my lifetime and that may not work out. in my will, many of these things are dealt with. >> it's more fun do-it-yourself -- it's more fun to do it your self. >> i'm not sure i'm going to get there. i would rather do it while i am alive. >> i saw that you employ the mother standard, that if your mother gets excited about a project that you usually feel pretty good about it. billionaire -- it's rather interesting that mom is excited about your history giving. >> the strongest magnetic force is that between a mother and son and it's a good relationship so i am very fortunate my mother is still with us. she is living in florida would
love to say -- which i love to say is a suburb of baltimore. was building carlyle she was heavily proud but not as much as she has become about things -- about the things i am giving money away to. and wife areildren happy. happiness is the most elusive thing in life so the fact that i have happy makes them happy. they have all seen me, i guess, as a bit of a role model. they have their own lives and they should not be dependent on being my child or spouse. they have their own lives and they are doing many good things. you try as a parent to be supportive but not smother them. it is a burden growing up in a wealthy family that you have some expectations but it may not be possible to do what your parent did. it's a combination that nobody
has figured out perfectly. how do you give money to children but also make them go productive? -- make them feel productive? what you- often debate show with your children and nobody has found out the perfect link. >> a couple of the individual projects in the time that we have. after the earthquake, they were as -- there was a lot of concern about the damage to the washington monument. >> i saw the head of the park service and i asked them if they would like somebody to fix it and they said ok. they told me what it would cost and i said no problem but then he said members of congress wanted to match it and be involved and i said that was fine. i hope we can do that with more things and it worked out. i got to the top of it and it is an incredible view.
it was quite inspiring. >> i heard you also sketched your initials of their. get up will tell if you there. it was the tallest building in the world when it was built. it is still the tallest stone structure at 555 and a half feet. >> go across the river. mansion has been in disrepair for quite some time it is an iconic spot because of the view of washington and the cemetery. what do you want to accomplish theirre? it is -- >> it was associated with washington. it was his step grandson that built it. it was billed as a monument to george washington and it was on land that the washington family owned.
robert e lee married into the family, that is how he happened to live there. i think it is a monument to george washington as well as robert e lee. i view it as the capstone of arlington cemetery. when you go there to an area where somebody people had been buried. i think the top of that where people tend to visit after they have done something in arlington and visited. i think it should be in better shape. when i to word it -- when i toured it i thought it was described -- decrepit. i told the park service i would put the money to fix it. is a monument to washington and a great robert e. lee who worked on the south in the civil war and was a general but he was also an incredible
american before and after the war. is a historicgton place and the capstone should be in better place. >> down the river at mount , that has been -- it has had a lot of success in raising money. what more did you feel like you could do for such a successful place? >> in mount vernon ladies association bought it and have done a terrific job of restoring it. it had fallen into disrepair and they have done a wonderful job of making it a great place to visit. they wanted to build a library to george washington. most predators -- most presidents since fdr have had a library. i was trying to help them a bit in getting a library done.
i think they have an excellent organization and americans learned a lot about history when they go there. >> while we are talking about washington and her interest, what is the best biography you have read? >> cruncher now has done a now --c job -- ron sure has done a terrific job. >> when you think about him and his contribution, you mentioned that we have to river he was a slave owner. what else do you think we should or member him for? >> george washington should be remembered for this. he invented the country. if he and not him what he done as a -- if he had not done what he had done as a revolutionary war general -- he invented the presidency.
he did those things that really invented so many important things. the constitution, presidency, and even the country by helping in the war. the most important thing he did was give up power. most people who win wars and generals say they will stay in power. when he gave up power after the revolutionary war. it was so in luge -- so unusual for a general who won a war to give up the power. he also did that after his second term as president. he could have had some of the related to him succeed him. he chose not to do that, he chose to go back to mount vernon and give up our. i think that was an important thing and one of the most important lessons he left the country. >> if you could be a scholar in euro own library studying him, what would it be? >> i think the years between he
gave up the revolutionary war leadership and became president. those were interesting times. he did not want to come back and be president. he did a spectacular job in helping the country. those years are very important. ,> we go down to the monticello a major gift to thomas jefferson. what are you doing there? i thoughttoured it, it needed some repair so i asked the people at monticello what would be help and they had some ideas. one of the things wanted to do was build out the monticello to make it look like it had existed years ago. it was a plantation so we wanted to build up the estate and make people realize that the monticello is an incredible house designed by an incredible man and a great renaissance man. he was a slave owner who ran a plantation. i think people should go there and recognize there was a
plantation and see the slaves quarters. we are also trying to improve the second and third lors -- floors. >> we have about five minutes left. you have a lot of money to give away. speaking about much of your wealth of the next 50 years ago -- 15 years or so. how do you plan to go forward? >> i have less money than some people, but in my case i am fortunate that i have money to give away and delicate things that are areas where i can make a difference. i don't have the money of bill gates or warren buffet so i can't tackle the problems they are tackling. i am looking for things right can start something and get it done. i want to finish something that is having a hard time getting finished. i want to -- i'm not sure i have the resources or the lifespan to
help with the health problems in africa. i want to start with things i can see and get it completed while i am alive and gets up and started or finish something that is having a difficult time getting done. --cannot be small or large can it be a small or large? -- i amthings i do interested in many things. when you have something your dissident -- >> getting back to your love of reading, you mentioned that -- why have you added that tier public schedule as well and what do you get out of it? >> i enjoy it because i enjoy reading the books and reading about other people and i enjoy entertaining people. when i do it i try to do it with
some humor and make it entertaining to people. it is fun for me and one of the things i enjoy life. i enjoy doing it. >> is there an interview you have not landed yet? >> i would like to interview you. forward -- where he could reverse this. >> other than that? >> i have interviewed warren buffett and bill gates and i found that interview -- i found that interested -- interesting. clintonnterviewed bill and i will be doing george w. bush shortly. i have not interviewed barack obama yet. perhaps he will give me a chance. president jimmy carter recently announced he had cancer and closely might be serious. what was your relationship with him? >> i was young when i did it so it was -- he was an incredible
person to work for because she gave junk -- because he gave young people an opportunity. old and has years lived longer than anybody you has ever been a president -- that anybody who has ever been a president. likes an incredible things helping in africa. he created the carter center. he has been a role model for -- it usedidents and to be if you were a former president, you sat on your tort for a few years and then died. now we have former presidents who have the ability to influence the world and do good things once they leave office. bill clinton has done things, george bush has done things, i expect barack obama will do the same.
president carter who was the person who helped create that. >> have you maintain your relationship? -- maintained your relationship? >> i have seen him from time to time. >> i will close talking about your acquisition about the magna are there any that you have not been able to get? >> these are historic documents. the ones that are most important are the constitution, the bill of rights, the declaration of independence. i have some rare copies, but there are always more that may come along. one thing that may never be available is the getty greater -- gettysburg address. o are at the library of congress, one at cornell, one at the abraham lincoln library.
those would be interesting documents. probably the greatest speech given in our country. when you read it, it brings chills up your spine. >> this document is on permanent loan. could you ultimately change your mind and take it back? what is the idea of a permanent loan designation? >> the way i have looked at the documents is i can always give so iut i like to own it can make sure it is displayed in an appropriate way. if i give it to an organization and they put it in a basement, i am not happy. by being the owner, i can make sure it is displayed the way i think it should be. ultimately, i suspect the organizations will be happy. >> at that point, sitting in front of the magna carta, i will say in q4 spending time -- thank
you for spending time. >> my pleasure. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] next, kenneth davis discusses his book "the hidden history of america at war." explores the challenges the military paste from the revolutionary war to the war in iraq. he argues there are misconceptions about the american revolution and the vietnam war. the fraunces tavern museum hosted the event. it is about an hour. >> good evening, everyone. i am always so pleased when i hear someone did not know much about history as a teenager 20 years ago. i run into this a lot. i read your book when i was 16. i am 40 now. that is why it is the 25th
anniversary edition. thank you all for coming. inis an honor to be here fraunces tavern. i am a lover of all places historical. i have been since i was a small child. , ourct, when i was a kid idea of summer vacation was throwing army surplus sleeping bags and a canvas tent in the back of the car and go off to places like fort ticonderoga, gettysburg, valley forge. visiting those places as a kid gave me the sense that history is not something that happens. it happens to real people in real places. that is the idea that has driven me throughout my career -- to make history as exciting, interesting, and, most of all, human as it was for me as a child.