tv David Rubenstein Interview CSPAN September 19, 2015 10:30am-11:04am EDT
story. .art of you is surprised >> he did not stipulate that it should stay in the united states. i was very happy that i was the winner, because it was going to stay in the united states. they were very happy that it worked out this way, but i don't know why he didn't stipulate that. i think now the americans can see it, anybody can visit the national archives. it is interesting, the only version of the magna carta that went into effect is the 1297 version. the one we hear about is nice and historic, but it never went into effect. afraid he would be excommunicated by the pope because the pope didn't like it, among other reasons. so it didn't go into effect. 97, did go into
effect. susan: when you had won the auction, what was your feeling? david: the auctioneer came in, who was part of the sotheby's, and said, congratulations, who are you? and i explained to i was. he said, ok, it is was provided you do have the money. ownaid, ok, now that you it, we can ship it off to a site where no one will ever know. i said, ok, i will be happy to meet the reporters. thisd, look, i am buying on behalf of the country really. it is my down payment on the gift i have two -- for being an american citizen. what is the value of seeing it? it is a piece of parchment and it is 800 years old. hopefully it will make people think more about the declaration
of independence, the bill of rights, learn more about american history. peoplery is that if learn more about american history, they will be better citizens. susan: part of the goal is not learning only about the history project, but learning about your motivation and your goals. we are very familiar with carlyle group. it seems as though for many years as rebuilding the company, you and your cofounders were not very public people. yet you decided you are going to go out and talk to 100 reporters. was that a conscious decision on your part? david: in the early years, we were not all that big or all that successful. nobody really paid that much attention to us. so it became clear that we had made a very successful go of it. have becomeand i much more involved in the community and much more involved in philanthropy.
and i was i think one of the for signers of the getting's pledge. that means you are going to give away half of your wealth. and i am determined to get back to the country. i have been very blessed. i came from very modest circumstances. and i started a company that was more successful than i thought it would be, so i'm trying to give back to the country. you are giving back to the country and away that remind people of it, the historic importance of that than -- importance of certain things in the country. you are helping your country by doing something, but you are giving back to my people the heritage, the history. all philanthropy is probably good, and i do a lot of other things, but this is just one segments that i do. many people give money to health or education, as i do, but not many people give things to what i call patriotic philanthropy. i don't have all the resources that i would like to have to do
this by myself. susan: you have given money to a number of organizations. some people are saying, why isn't the government during that? david: the government of united states has about $19 trillion of debt, not counting the $60 trillion for medicare, medicaid. the government will not be able to fun things the way they used to do. -- not be able to fund things the way they used to do. they just don't get from the federal government money that those organizations would like. the only way they can do the things they should do is to get private support. i am encouraging other people to give to these supports -- to give to these organizations. susan: you -- when you give, do dou get to decide what the --
you have input into how things are displayed? david: no, i am not an expert in that, so i either have an idea and go to somebody and say i would like to give money for this and you figure it out, or they may come to me with a proposal, that i have no expertise in this. for example, the magna carta is here. the ask if i would put up some money to help put the gallery together. i had no role in where they put it and how they're organized it, and it is a good thing because i have no expertise here. susan: have you ever stood off to the side and watched as people come through? david: naturally. i have been here for -- not really. i have been here a couple of times for events. upstairs is the original declaration of independence and the original constitution. i do like to hold dinners and events there, and then take people and show them those documents. there draws drop because -- their jaws drop because they
have heard about this document, but never have seen them. susan: we have heard you in speeches decry the lack of history education by people in the united states. seems -- ring -- it [indiscernible] media, we are all personality driven by a society. what really can be done to turn that around. do exhibits like this make a difference in the long run? david: well, there is no doubt that people in our country are very concerned about the lack of sides with technology trading, and therefore we may be falling behind some foreign country or something like that. so the phrase "stem" has been invented. i think that is a good thing, but i wish that people care about history and humanities. i think you are a really much better citizen if you know the
history of your country, the history of your world, how to think out-of-the-box and do things that are not just dependent on stem related education. so i do try to promote the idea of having people learn more about their country's history. i think that is an important thing and i am not a lone voice in that. i do think it is important thing we have people learn more about our country's history on the theory that if you are more knowledgeable, you will avoid the mistakes perhaps we made in the past, and will be more proud of what we have helped. susan: you were a school kid in baltimore. your parents didn't graduate from college, perhaps not even high school? what informed your own interest? david: maybe i wasn't good in stem related things, so i asserted myself to things that -- things i could do better.
i have always been interested and i like to read a lot of history books. i guess it is something i can understand better. if it is physics, i wouldn't be as knowledgeable about it. susan: was there a good teacher along with that interested you? usually people can point to a source did david: i had some -- source. david: i had some excellent teachers. and college as well. i began to relax that it was something i was interested in. i just kind of like to think about what it was like to be involved with those historic events and i always try to read history books and say what would it be like if i had been there and what would it be like if i could talk to these people? very often, i am interviewing somebody. i ask them -- what would you like to have asked this person? i often wonder myself what would
i have liked to say to abraham lincoln or george washington or other american figures. define anyou could aspect of american history you are most interested in, is there ofarticular mindset, set people that are of most interest to you. isan: i would say -- david: would say i'm interested in the founding fathers and thomas jefferson and ben franklin, people i have all of it a lot about and am interested in. and also the civil war. abraham lincoln and all these figures that led to the victory in the civil war for the north and the maintenance of the country as it was. time think all periods of as you go through war is very interesting. anyoneouldn't hitler is president i am not interested in.
i don't think anybody, though, can really rival george washington, abraham lincoln. but a lot of other president that historic things. susan: do you have a photographic memory? david: i wish i did. i really don't, but i do have -- i read a lot of things and remember them, but not completely photographic. susan: because whenever you talk, you're able to recall extensive amounts of data about particular periods of time. david: my general view is that when you're making a speech or during an interview, you should try to do it without notes. i have trained myself to do that. people feel that when you are speaking without notes, you are really paying attention to what you're saying and you really know it yourself, so when i do an interview, i don't like to look down at notes because the person i'm interviewing would say, well, you are really getting something somebody else gave you, you not really having a conversation with me. give a speech, i find
it is more effective when you are talking not looking down, but looking out. i have had to read speeches, but generally i prefer to know what you are talking about. you can have a conversation and it is not like his speech. susan: you are going to challenge me now not to look at my notes. [laughter] david: i realize that now, but there's nothing wrong with looking at notes. susan: when you make references to civil war history, after the shootings in charleston, there has been a very rapid reaction and rethinking of the way states and even the federal government honors or remember civil war history and figures, thinking about the flag, there are civil war confederate statues that are being boxed up by states right now. there is a national debate going on. the democratic party has just decided to ned --
[indiscernible] what are your thoughts about the revisiting of how we preserve history when it becomes offensive to people? david: i think that we should always remember that the people who signed the declaration of independence, one third of them, and those who signed the constitution, one third of them, or slave owners. you should put it into context. they were slave owners, and today that does look very good. i think you should learn the good and the bad. i don't agree should completely ignore these figures as being important. but they lived in a different time and they did things that we today would say were wrong. then: after this project, next eight years have been really full of a great deal of this can of work. how do you decide which projects you are going to give money to and tell me about some of your favorite ones. david: and patriotic
philanthropy, i try to find some a stark documents and put them on display where americans can see them and hopefully do more to learn about it and be better citizens. so i bought some rare copies of the debt -- declaration of the -- declaration of independence and so forth and put them on display. dother thing i have had to is find historic buildings that maybe need some additional support to be rehabilitated. montpelier, or james madison lived, mount vernon, or george washington lived, the mansion where robert e lee lived, or some places i have been involved with. i have been trying to do that in other areas. those are some things i've tried to do, but i'm also trying to make sure people learn more about american history. i tried to do my little part in getting people to know more
about history. susan: you, i understand, don't have a foundation. david: i don't really have a foundation. i guess there are tax reasons why you could have one or not. i haven't really figured out any benefit for me, so i just fund what i write. susan: how does it work? the people center proposals all the time? david: when you have signed the giving pledge, you are a walking advertisement that you are going to give away your money. susan: the mailbox must be full of content. david: i get about $50 million of requests a week. i get them from people i have never heard of and some people i have been involved with a great deal already. like most people, i like my own ideas better than somebody else's ideas, so if i have an idea for something, i am more likely to support it. but there is no doubt that sometimes people have good ideas
and i will support them. so it is a random process. it is not a case of having a systematic team. i do it on my own. but other people have people that help them do that. maybe that is a better process than mine, but i do these on my own and figure out what i want to support. some things have probably worked out better than i deserved. susan: do you have a figure in mind? david: i don't have an annual figure, but i try to give away at least half of my annual income. so, that is, you know, a fair amount of money. i tried to give away that each year. but again, i am trying to give away virtually all of my net worth. and that will take some time. i just turned this week 66, so i'm fortunate to have gotten to 66. maybe i have another 15 years or so to go. so i'm trying to give away during my lifetime.
in my will, many of these things are dealt with. susan: but it is more fun to do it yourself and have someone after you are gone, i would imagine. david: if you think you are going to get devon and see what people are doing, maybe that is fun, but i'm not sure if i will get to heaven. i would rather do it while i am alive. susan: i saw that you employ some other standards -- you employed some mother standards. billionaire has built an incredibly successful company, it is rather interesting that mom is excited about your history giving. david: i think in the universe, the strongest magnetic force is that between a mother and a son. so i'm very fortunate my mother is still with us. florida, org in telik to say is a suburb of baltimore, and she is very engaged -- florida, which i like to say is a suburb of baltimore, and she is very engaged in
giving. susan: what does the rest of your family think about this? your children, your spouse. david: i think there are happy that i'm happy. -- they are happy that i'm happy. the fact that i'm heavy makes them happy. they also meet, i guess, as a bit of a role model, but i think they want to have their own lives. their lives should be dependent on being my child or my spouse. they are doing good things. you try as a parent to be supportive, but you try not to smother them, either. it is a bit of a burden growing up in a wealthy family in that some people have some expectations. so it is a combination that nobody has really figured up perfectly how you give money to children, how you make them feel productive, how much money should they have to give away, how much money should you give them for their own living standards.
at the meetings, we often debate what we should do with your children, and of the has figure this out perfectly. susan: a couple of the individual projects -- we didn't mention the washington monument, but for the people who live here , there was lots of concern about the damage. , halfd a matching pledge of the $16 million, i understand. david: yes, i initially asked them if i could put the money to fix it. they tell me what it would cost and i said no problem. but then later, some of the members of congress wanted to match it or be involved. i think it was a good idea to have a public-private match. so it worked out. it to go out to get it done, but it is incredible view and i climbed to the top and looked at the whole of washington. it was quite inspiring. susan: i heard you also left her initials up there. david: well, time will tell. you can get up there.
it was the tallest building in the world when it was built, and it is still the tallest obelisk in the world. it will probably be the tallest structure in washington forever. susan: let all the river to the mansion. that has been in disrepair for quite a long time. and it's, of course, is an iconic spot because of the view of washington. what do you want to accomplish their -- there? david: it is also associated with george washington because it was his step grandson who actually built it. therefore it was built as a monument really to george washington, and it was on land that george washington's family had once owned. later, robert e lee married into the family, and that is how he happened to live there. as the capstone
of arlington cemetery. when you go to arlington, where so many people are buried, it is a really religious place, and i think the top of that where people tend to visit after they have done something at arlington -- i think it should be in better shape. so when i toured it, i realized it was somewhat decrepit and not as interesting as a place as i thought it should be. so i said to the park service i would put up the money to fix it. so it is not as if it is only because of robert e lee, it is because it is a monument to george washington, also to a great american, robert e lee, who did work in the south, but was an incredible american what he did after the war and for the war for the united states. -- and before the war for the united states. it is something that should be
in better shape. susan: down the river at mount vernon, george washington's home, that has been run since it became a registered -- [indiscernible] it has had a lot of success in raising money. what more did you feel like you could do? david: the mount vernon ladies association bought it in the 1800s and they did a terrific job of restoring it. a holy shrine in that time, but it had fallen into disrepair. they have done a wonderful job of restoring it, but they wanted to build a library. most presidents have libraries. at least since fdr. george washington didn't have a libra, so i was trying to help them a bit and get them a library built. anti-think that they have a neck organization. americans learn a lot about history when they go there. susan: while we are talking about washington, what is the
best washington biography? david: there are a lot of terrific ones, but [indiscernible] one.s done a terrific think abouthen you him and his contribution, you mentioned that have to remember that he was also a slaveholder, but what other things should we remember george washington for? susan: george washington should be remembered for this -- he invented our country, in many ways. he invented the country because he won the revolutionary war as a general. secondly, he presided over the constitutional convention. without him doing so, i'm not sure we would've had a constitution. and that he invented the presidency as the president of the united states. he did those things that really -- and really invented so many important things. the most important thing he did was give up power. he gave up our after he was a
revolutionary war general. most people who win wars say i'm going to stay in power. napoleon being a good example of that. when he gave up power and went back to mount vernon, king george the third said that if that is true, he is the greatest man on the face of the earth. it is so unusual for a winning general to give up power and not run something, but washington did that. and he did that with the president. he could have stayed in third term, he could've stayed forever. he chose not to do that. he chose to go back to mount vernon and go vote power you'd -- and give up power. susan: if you could be a scholar and your own library studying some aspect of george washington, what would it be? david: i think the years between the time that he give up the revolutionary war leadership and became president, those are very interesting times. he didn't want to preside over the constitutional convention,
but he did a spectacular job. in effect helping the country while he wasn't in office. susan: we go down this data bit, -- go down the state of that, what are you doing with that one? david: when i to a monticello a few years ago, -- when i toured monticello a few years ago, i thought it could use some repairs. we wanted to make it look like it has existed years ago. so we wanted to build out the slave quarters to make people relax that monticello is an incredible house designed by an incredible man, the likes of which we probably won't see again, but he was a slave owner and he ran a plantation. i never think people should go there and recognize that it was a plantation could we are also trying to improve the second and third floors, where people usually do get to see. susan: we have about five
minutes left. you have a lot of money to give away. i think you are thinking about much of your wealth over the next 15 years or so. how do you plan going forward to do all this? it must take an enormous-. david: well, i have much less money than other people on the plight. but i'm fortunate and i look at things where i can make a difference. in other words, i don't have the money that bill gates has a warren buffett, so i can't check the problems they are doing. i can look at things that can start something that could not otherwise get done. i can finish something that would not otherwise get finished. i can do things that can be completed while i'm still alive. if i said i'm going to do something to help health in africa, i'm not sure i would have the lifespan to see that come to fruition. i am looking to do with things
that isn't otherwise being done. susan: can it be small as well as large? david: it can be, and i do things that are small, and they don't get as much attention. scholarships or other things like that. but i'm interested in many things. maybe you have something you interested in. susan: just asking. getting back to your love of reading, you mentioned that you interview. and we have covered you at a number of panels you have moderated, interviews you have done. why have you added that to your public schedule? because injoy it enjoy reading the books or reading about other people. and i enjoy entertaining people a bit. so when i do it, i try to do it with some humor and try to make it entertaining for people. it is just one of the things i enjoy in life. but i wouldn't say i have a skill or experience in doing it, but i enjoyed it nonetheless. susan: is there an interview you
haven't landed yet? david: well, i would like to interview you. susan: that would be a short interview. [laughter] but other than that? i have interviewed warren buffett and bill gates, and i found that interesting. i haven't gotten to interview barack obama. i have interviewed bill clinton and i will be doing george w. bush shortly. but maybe barack obama will give me a chance someday. susan: we just learned yesterday that jimmy carter has announced cancer -- announced he has cancer. what is your relationship like with him and wanted working for him do for your deco -- for you? david: i was very young. he was an incredible person to work for because he gave young people an opportunity. he was young himself. he was 52 when he became president and left the office at
56. he is now 90 years old. he has lived longer anybody who has been president of the united states. he has written, i think, 28 books. and he has done things like help cure river blindness in africa. he has graded the cutter center. he has done a great many things and been a role model for presidents. be if you are a former president, you sat on your porch for a few years and then you died. george washington, only three years after he left office. now we have president who have the ability to influence the world and do good things after they leave the office. i suspect barack obama will be -- do the same. i think president carter really helped creates that. susan: did you maintain your relationship with him over the years? david: well, he has been very
busy and i don't want a claim i have had a close relationship with him, but we have -- i have seen him from time to time. susan: as you look at the important documents that have frames this country, are there any you have your sights on? david: well, these are historic documents, and the ones that are most important of the constitution and bill of rights and the declaration of independence. i bought some rare copies, but there are always more that might come along. i think one of the most interesting things is the gettysburg address. lincoln wrote out five copies of it. two of them are at the library of congress. one is at the white house. one is that cornell. and one is at the abraham lincoln library. i don't intend to buy them, they will never be for sale. those are incredible documents. it is the greatest speech ever in our country. even when you read it today, it brings chills up your spine. susan: and this document is on
permanent loan, could you ultimately change your mind and take it back? what is the idea of a permanent loan? david: the way i have looked at these documents is this -- i could always give it, of course, but i like to own it because when i own it, i can make sure that it will be displayed in an appropriate way. if i give it to an organization and the put in the basement, then i'm not happy. so by being the owner of it, i can make sure it is displayed the way etiquette to be displayed. and then ultimately on my death, i suspect these organizations will be happy. susan: on that point, as we sit in front of the magna carta and it is a must-have for people to come in and look at it, i will say thank you. david: 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] announcer: the cap sumpter military prison -- camp sumpter
military prison was built in 1864. by the time it closed, over 45,000 soldiers had been imprisoned to their animals 13,000 had died. today at noon, "american history tv" will be live from anderson asked the historic site -- andersonville national historic site. we will also take your questions before and after the ceremony. again, that is today starting at noon eastern on "american history tv." anduncer: between 1861 1868, clara barton, known as the angel of the battlefield and founder of the american red cross, lived in this washington, d.c. building. she employed 12 clerks on the third floor and her missing soldiers office, where they
received over 60,000 letters from families searching for lost sons and husbands. in 1996, richard lyons, a was helping to prepare the building for demolition when he discovered this office sign in the attic. " visited history tv the building on 7th street to learn about the missing soldiers office and you hear the story of richard lyons, who worked on for months to save the building from demolition. hi, i'm susan, i work for the museum. we have a great project we are working on. i would like to give you a little tour of clara barton's missing soldiers office. she lived here during the civil war, and this is where she got her start in humanitarian relief. are inside the space where clara lived during the civil war. this part right here was last
renovated in about 1910. as we go up the original staircase, starting about the second floor landing, it is all original. the wood steps and bannister that clara used every day when she came to and from her boardinghouse room. the first floor of the building was a store until 1993. there was a shoe store in there. then the second floor was either professional space, offices, or places for the people who on the first floor would live. while, they never use the thread for. -- the third floor. they blocked off the third floor so nobody could get up there. it was pretty much the way when the general services administration discovered what this building was when they were getting ready to demolish the building.