tv First Ladies Influence and Image CSPAN November 8, 2015 8:00pm-9:36pm EST
and after the decision. that's coming up on landmark cases by monday at 9 p.m. c-span, c-span3 and c-span radio. order your copy of the book for 895 plus shipping at our website. >> in american history tv is featuring c-span's series, first ladies at 8:00 eastern, sunday nights throughout the year. c-span produced the series in cooperation with the white house historical association. your conversations with experts and questions from c-span's audience, we tell the stories of america as posh 45 first ladies. now, rosalynn carter. this is about 90 minutes.
rosalynn carter: i have learned that you can do anything you want to. they used to ask me if i thought the first lady ought to be paid. if you get paid, then i have to do what the first lady is supposed to do. but you can do anything you want to. and it's such a great soapbox. i mean it's just such a great opportunity. so i would -- i would advise any first lady to do what she wanted to do. if she doesn't want -- and another thing i learned is you're going to criticized no matter what you do. i could have stayed there at the white house, poured tea, had receptions, and i would have been criticized as much as i was criticized outside of -- for what i did, but -- and i got a lot of criticism. but you learn to live with it, as i said earlier. i mean, just live with it. you expect it, and you live with it and never let it influence me. (end video clip) susan swain: rosalynn carter. in
a recent interview conducted for this series in atlanta. she was her husband's political partner from their first campaign. susan swain: as first lady, she attended president jimmy carter's cabinet meetings and championed women's rights and mental health issues, even testifying before congress. their partnership on issues has continued in their long post-white house years. susan swain: good evening, and welcome to c-span series "first ladies: influence and image." susan swain: tonight, we turn the page. we're going to begin this part of this year-long series, biography series, by looking at the lives of the living first ladies, and eleanor rosalynn smith carter is our first of these, the wife of our 39th president. susan swain: let me introduce to you our two guests who will be in our studio for the next 90 minutes to tell you about her biography. susan swain: jay hakes is a presidential historian and spent 13 years as the director of the carter library. thanks for being here tonight.
susan swain: grace hale is a professor of history and american studies at university of virginia, and she specializes in the history of the south. susan swain: nice to meet you. thanks for coming tonight. grace hale: thanks for having me. susan swain: i want to pick up on mrs. carter's themes, and i should tell folks at home that she was gracious enough to give us an almost hour-long interview in atlanta and throughout the program, we'll show you clips of it and we'll post the full interview online, so you can watch all that she had to say about her 10 years first lady. susan swain: but i want to pick up on that "things that i've learned" that she referenced. susan swain: one of the things that's fascinating is that the carters' first visit to the white house was after he'd been elected and their inauguration. but we've heard that a lot in our first half of the series, when travel was difficult but it's unusual for the modern age. susan swain: what skills did she bring to this job? jay hakes: well, i think in some ways, you know, the transition for her from plains to the governor's mansion in atlanta was a -- was a big transition. but there, she did get a chance to, you know, host parties, to take on issues and do the kind of things that first ladies do at the white house, albeit at a -- at a smaller level. jay hakes: so, you know, in one sense, they were the washington outsiders coming into a town that -- where they had not spent much time. but also, they had that experience as governor, that i
think she used as kind of a foundation for what she expected to do as first lady. jay hakes: (crosstalk) susan swain: i want to stay with that theme for a second. we have many books on first ladies. this one is by john roberts, "rating the first ladies". and here's what he says, "under rosalynn carter:, the office of the first lady completed its 20th century metamorphosis from a mere extension of the presidency into a vital white house organ. susan swain: "previous first ladies had blazed the trail by campaigning, et cetera, but none had approached the job with the discipline and professionalism of rosalynn carter: and her staff. for the first time, the first lady hired a chief of staff whose government salary and rank were equal to the president's chief of staff. susan swain: "under rosalynn, the full-time east wing positions grew by almost 20 percent. but more important, she used the staff differently, organized the workings of the office to expand beyond traditional and social and entertainment functions." jay hakes: yes. i mean, you know, her -- when she grew up, almost during her entire childhood, the first lady of the united states was eleanor roosevelt. so one would have to think that
that was a pretty powerful image of a first lady who did it differently than it had ever been done before, who testified before congress, which is something that rosalynn carter: also did. jay hakes: and she wanted to be a serious player on the issues. she wanted the president to take her seriously. they had a close partnership. they communicated back and forth very openly, very candidly. she was not afraid to criticize him in private. jay hakes: so it was a strong, kind of the modern era, first ladies get involved in the big substantive issues where you can make a difference. susan swain: well, let me ask another theme throughout the series, and that has been of the role of women in society. susan swain: and i'm wondering, we've learned so often that the first lady really is a linchpin for changes for women in the country. what about women in 1976, and particularly, southern women and how accepting the public was of their involvement in politics? grace hale: well, she became the first lady at a time of great change in women's roles and i
think that, you know, that made her job challenging but it also gave her some really wonderful opportunities, which she really worked hard to seize. grace hale: i mean, i love a story that i read somewhere that she told, that it was a lot harder to learn how to be the first lady in the governor's mansion, because she had to train her staff, that they came from the prisons, to work in the -- to work in various capacities in the governor's mansion. and when she got to the white house, everybody knew what to do, so that it was a well-scripted machine, and that that was easier to do. grace hale: but, you know, she came into the white house at a moment when women's roles were really changing greatly across the country. and i think people were surprised that she was such an outspoken person coming from a background in the small-town south and that she really tackled issues in a serious way. i think she really made a mark in that way. susan swain: well, in the 1976 campaign, those of you who were around for -- you'll remember the big question was, "jimmy who?
" and we're going to show you a bit of a campaign ad that the carter campaign put together that picked up on this theme and involves rosalynn. (begin video clip) in the final days, a group of georgia supporters, often referred to as carter's peanut brigade, flew in to new hampshire. yes, yes, yes. i'm dot petty and i'm a volunteer from plains, georgia. if we had snow on the ground like this, we'd be paralyzed for a week. we couldn't get out of the house. her schedule was grueling, almost as tough as her husband's. yet, through it all, rosalynn remained an earnest and gracious campaigner. rosalynn carter: people ask me every day, "how can you stand for your husband to be in politics and everybody know everything you do?" rosalynn carter: and i just tell them, that we were born and raised and still live in plains, georgia. it has a population of 683, and everybody has always known everything i did. rosalynn carter: (laughter) rosalynn carter: and jim has never had any hint of scandal in his personal life or his public life.
i really believe he can restore that honesty, integrity, openness, confidence in government that we so sorely need in our country today. i think he'll be a great president. (end video clip) susan swain: grace hale, what was happening in the country in 1976 that these outsiders from georgia, who had not mounted a national campaign before, appealed to the public? grace hale: well, i think that a lot of things are intersecting in interesting ways to help carter and first lady, rosalynn, in their rise in national politics. grace hale: i mean, on the one hand, you have the failures of the mcgovern campaign and there's no interest in repeating that amongst democratic officials. they want a candidate that's not going to, in their minds, be able to be sort of pigeon-holed as representing a certain kind of liberal or left part of the democratic party. grace hale: carter, with his, you know, southern roots, his small-town background, they think he's going to appeal to people who wouldn't vote for mcgovern or might be alienated from that part of the democratic party.
grace hale: also, i think that he's a really interesting candidate because he is from the south, and yet he is publicly speaking out in support of integration, in support of the gains of the civil rights movement up until to that point, and that also really helps to create a kind of momentum behind them. grace hale: he's seen as a candidate who can bridge a lot of different divides, sort of draw in a lot of different people. susan swain: that video references the peanut brigade. who were the peanut brigade and what was rosalynn's role in that? jay hakes: well, they were mainly friends of the carters from georgia who went to other states to campaign. and it was, of course, very impressive when they went into the snow-bound streets of new hampshire. these georgians are not used to the snowy weather, jay hakes: but the advantage the peanut brigade had is they personally knew the carters. so when you're going up to a voter and saying, "i'm asking you to vote for somebody that i personally know," that carries a lot of weight. and people would wear the gold peanut pins. jay hakes: and with the nixon's scandals surrounding watergate, i think the idea of running as an outsider worked in 1976 in a
way that it might not have worked in other years, but it was the right campaign for the right time. grace hale: well, it really became the kind of standard way in which candidates would run after that. so i think in that way, too, it's very interesting that running as an outsider. what else could carter do, being from a small town in south georgia, but run as an outsider to washington? grace hale: but it became a model for future campaigns. i mean, the nixon campaign does the silent majority as the majority, right? somebody is representing most americans. grace hale: after that, you see many, many politicians running as outsiders, george bush, the second george bush, ran in interesting ways as a kind of outsider, drawing on his experiences in texas. so it became a kind of model for the future. susan swain: and we should say, not only friends, but the family -- the carter family, mrs. carter, the sons, the -- mrs. carter's mother-in-law, all very much involved in making this a
family affair. jay hakes: yes. as grace mentioned, up to this point, people hadn't really figured out that they had to get outside of washington. so not only did you have jimmy carter getting outside of washington, but the whole family. jay hakes: one of my favorite stories from mrs. carter was she and her friend edna langford, would go around the states -- and i think rosalynn spent like 75 days in florida. and they would go into a small town and they'd look for the tallest antenna in town, because they figured that was probably a radio station. jay hakes: and then they'd drive up and say, "would you like to interview us? " and they would actually bring a sheet of questions that they could ask. jay hakes: so it was a very low budget campaign, but in that particular year, under the finance laws of that time, that was the way to do it. grace hale: they actually stayed in people's houses when they campaigned, all the different carter family members. and i think that's really, you know, a very different way of campaigning than we see now, staying with people in the various small towns. they visited all over the country. susan swain: certain presidential candidates still do that in iowa and new hampshire, but after that, it get's -- it's pretty big, too large to do. susan swain: but let me ask you
a bit about the learning the mechanics of a political science, as it were, because again, they've had only a little bit of experience in this. susan swain: when you read the biographies, their systematic approach to learning the mechanics is interesting. what i'm thinking about was that she would number president carter's jokes so he wouldn't tell them to the same audiences, that she took memory classes, so that they would be able, as campaigners, to remember people's faces and names. susan swain: would you talk about that aspect of their approach to politics? jay hakes: yes. i think both of the carters really believe in doing your homework. so, like he would read gary hart's book on the 1972 campaign to find out what went right, what went wrong. and she would take meticulous notes. and when they ran for reelection in 1979 and '80, she pulled out all of these notes from the 1975 and '76 campaigns of just the names and the phone numbers of
everybody. jay hakes: so they sort of started off knowing that they didn't know how to do this, they'd never run for president before. but they did their homework and that was kind of a trait of the family. jay hakes: and they would come home on sundays so that they were always on the same page, the family members wouldn't all be off saying different things. they'd come back and compare notes on sunday and then they'd head back out to the field, and it was a very powerful combination. jay hakes: i can't believe the work schedule that she had during that campaign -- very little sleep and was visiting multiple towns in a day. and i guess growing up on a farm, you learn how to put in long days, but she was willing to make that kind of commitment. susan swain: what's great about this series is your involvement. and we'd welcome that tonight as well. you can send us an e-mail, and you can -- sorry, not an e-mail but you can send us a tweet @firstladies, and you can also join our facebook conversation, it's facebook and the c-span site on there. and that's already underway. susan swain: people are posting questions, and we'll get to as many of those as we can. and you can also call us,
202-585-3880, if you live in the eastern or central time zones, 202-585-3881 if you're mountain, pacific, or even farther west, and we welcome the conversation. susan swain: well, allegheny tableaux on twitter asked, "did rosalynn work before becoming a full-time politician's wife? where was she educated? we're going to learn about that next. we're going to visit the town of plains, georgia. how big is plains? jay hakes: about 600 people, small town. when she was there, it was dirt roads. now, the roads are paved, but it doesn't look that much different today than it did back then. and they're probably surprised they ended back up in plains, because when they were young, their goal was to get out of small town. susan swain: well, let's learn more about their early years by visiting plains in this video. (begin video clip) steve theus: not much has changed here in plains, georgia, since the president and mrs. carter grew up here in the '20s and '30s. if we were to take away this asphalt street here in front of the stores and have a dirt road right in front of them, it will
look very similar to a photograph of plains circa 1925. the rosalynn smith carter story begins here at this house. she lived here with her mom and dad, two brothers and a sister. and one of her favorite memories of this house is when her dad would come home from work, go into the kitchen and meet her mother, give her a big hug, swing her around the kitchen floor there and give her a kiss. rosalynn carter: lost her father at a very young age, and jimmy carter's mother, ms. lillian, helped take care of mr. edgar throughout his illness. she was a trained nurse here in plains. and on the night of his passing, actually took young rosalynn smith out to the jimmy carter farm to be with jimmy carter's sister, ruth. this is the jimmy carter boyhood farm, and it's important to ms. rosalynn's story because she would have spent a lot of time out here with president carter's
sister, ruth. this is the room of jimmy carter's sisters, ruth and gloria. and when rosalynn carter: came out to see her friend ruth, this is where they would hang out together, play games, do homework and just enjoy each other's company. surely, when ms. rosalynn was out visiting president carter's sister, she would have seen a young jimmy carter and had many interactions with him. this is plains high school. this is where rosalynn smith carter and jimmy carter would have attended first through the 11th grade. her first memory of going to school here is she made straight as at first quarter. and she went home and she showed her dad, edgar smith, and her mom, ms. allie, the straight as, and she -- they were so proud of her, her dad gave her a dollar for her accomplishments. later on, in the 7th grade, a local businessman had a contest for the student who had the best
grade point average throughout the year and whoever had that grade point average, he would give them $5. and in 1920s and '30s, that's quite a bit of money. and after 7th grade year, ms. rosalynn had won that $5 from the local businessman. one of the activities that rosalynn carter: would have been engaged in was basketball. she was so excited when she made the varsity basketball team here. we have a picture of her in her uniform and her plains high school leather jacket, and i think it was a very good accomplishment for ms. rosalynn at the time. this is the plains united methodist church, and it's right here on these steps where president carter asked ms. rosalynn out on a date for the first time. it's also here where they got married. so it's a very special place for president and mrs. carter, and a special place for plains. (end video clip)
susan swain: so there's a look at some of the early life in plains, georgia. i'm going to let regina crumkey on twitter asked the question, "how did rosalynn and jimmy meet?" jay hakes: well, as the park ranger, steve theus, said, they probably saw each other from a distance because rosalynn was a friend of ruth, his sister, but they seemed not to pay much attention to her. jay hakes: but as they got older and it became known he was going to go into the navy and travel around the world. i think she started to focus on him. and then, the first date they had which probably when she was about 17 and he was about 20, he went home and told his mother that he was going to marry rosalynn after the first date. jay hakes: it took him a while to convince her to marry him because she felt she was too young even though she was quite smitten with him. so they -- until this event happened, apparently they hadn't, you know, run into each other, but they were three years apart, which may be the reason. susan swain: she married at -- him at 19? jay hakes: yes. yes, so she was a young bride. susan swain: was she ever able to finish college? jay hakes: she has, i think an
associates degree from georgia southwestern. and, you know, that school is very important. her mother went to that school, and today, the school has a caregiving program named after her and she's very active in that school so... susan swain: grace, i want to ask the second part of regina crumkey's question, "where they both of the same religion" as a launching point to talk about, safe and religion and politics and his -- their political rise. grace hale: well, they were always churchgoers, growing up in plains and in their married life, attending different churches depending on where they lived, but his and her faith became really important when he was campaigning for national office, for the presidency. grace hale: and that was, again, a really interesting moment, a pivotal moment, just like for women's rights, a moment when evangelical christians, more conservative, theologically conservative christians were really embracing the public sphere, coming sort of out of the kind of self-imposed
isolation and really taking up a public life. grace hale: and carter really spoke to them, a lot of people that would later find themselves as part of what we would call the new right or the christian right. they -- some of those people, many of those people voted for carter, and that was, for some of them, the first time they ever voted in a national campaign. grace hale: and so, they really foregrounded their faith especially after their -- carter's experience becoming born again. they really -- they really put that at the center of their campaign. susan swain: so the carters wed and rosalynn carter: became a navy wife. what were those years like for her? and talk about the birth of their sons. jay hakes: well, he helped -- he was very active in the submarine program. in fact, he helped developed the nuclear reactors for the u.s. navy. but he was at sea a lot, so they had three sons who were born while he was in the navy. i believe jack was born in
portsmouth, chip was born in hawaii, and i think jeff was born in connecticut. jay hakes: so she had a lot of jobs raising the sons, because jimmy was not around a lot of the time, and she would run the family finances, which is a task she took on at the farm as well. so she was -- she was very busy, but she also enjoyed the opportunity to travel to all of these great places. i think they really enjoyed living in hawaii, for instance. it was a very special experience for them. susan swain: so jimmy carter was accepted into the nuclear submarine program, as you suggested working, i believe, with admiral hyman rickover, the father of the nuclear submarine program. this is a cachet job in the navy, but he leaves it. why? jay hakes: well, you know, the -- i think the main reason is his father dies earlier than expected. his father, earl, was -- passed away in 1953, and billy was too young to take over the farm. jay hakes: so it was kind of i
guess a question that the farm might be lost to the family if he didn't go back. and then when he went back for his father's funeral, he found out that his father had been more active in the community, helping poor people and giving loans to people that needed help, and he'd never realized that as a child. and he thought, "well, i could do more good back here." jay hakes: the thing is, he didn't consult with rosalynn on that question and she actually refused to talk to him on the trip between schenectady and plains. and he said after that he learned his lesson and he would never again make a major decision without consulting with her. susan swain: so here she found herself back in plains after getting out and seeing the world. but they put themselves full time into the peanut farm business and really used to it as a way to grow and to get around the state. how did that segue into their life in politics? grace hale: well, they started off getting involved in local politics. it's a, you know, it's a well-worn path.
jimmy carter became involved, i believe, with the school board there in plains and used that as a jumping off point to the georgia state legislature. and from there, eventually, the launching -- two campaigns for governor, the first wasn't successful and the second was. grace hale: so they really used their sort of rootedness in plains and i think their experience of the broader world, you know, coming together, helped them to get into national politics. susan swain: well, let's invite our callers into the discussion, beginning with steve watching us in fort myers, florida. hi, steve, you're on. yes. good evening. i was very fortunate to meet president and mrs. carter when they came to fort myers, florida in 1994. the reason they came to fort myers is the fact that we presented president carter with the audubon medal. and this was because of his work to pass the alaska lands act which actually saved about 104 million acres of wilderness.and i wondered if mrs. carter had any effect on his environmental policies because i know she certainly wanted to put forth some information to president
carter on some of his policies, and i wanted to know how much of his environmental policies she might have had information about and to at least make him form a certain policy. susan swain: was she personally concerned with environmental issues? jay hakes: they are both avid outdoorsmen. they always have been and they always will be. they both love to fly fish, for instance, and so they've always had this personal connection to rivers. when he was governor, protecting the flint river was one of his priorities. and then he was involved in the environment in many ways as president.they're also both very serious birders. they go actually around the world looking for species they haven't seen before and have quite a notebook of different things they've seen.so the carter presidency has generally been ranked by historians as for the environment, after teddy roosevelt and then president
nixon founded epa and passed the clean air act, carter's sort of right up there behind them and most of the environmental rankings. and both of them have this great respect for nature and the outdoors. susan swain: keith is watching us in greenville, indiana. hi, keith. you're on. hi, susan. how are you? susan swain: very well, sir. what's your question for us? what was the reaction of president carter and the first lady when he lost the election to ronald reagan in 1980? susan swain: ok. thank you. you're fast forwarding our story for us but what was their reaction when they lost the '80 campaign? grace hale: well, i mean, they were -- they were devastated. you know, i don't really know what to add to that. do you want to take that up? susan swain: it was a hard-fought campaign. grace hale: i mean they were very, very devastated. jay hakes: the election was not close, but until the last week or so, the polls showed it was an open race.
but i think both of them realized before election day itself that it was -- it was coming. and it was -- it was hard.i mean, she is very candid. if you read her memoirs, she doesn't really try to cover up how she feels about things, and she said everybody's, you know, pretended like they weren't bitter. "but i sure it was."so you know, obviously, for anybody, what you put in to run for the office and you put into do that job, it's tough when you get a verdict like that from the voters. but, you know, they've come to peace with it and been able to make a great use of the rest of their life. grace hale: it was a pretty fragile victory though. in '76 when he won the office, it was a pretty small victory. so i think it was, you know, in some ways, a surprise victory. susan swain: and before we leave
their governor's years, dave murdock on twitter wants to know, "what major accomplishments did rosalynn and jimmy make for the state of georgia that maybe has been replicated by other states? " what can you point to -- either of you could take that? jay hakes: well, i think in georgia, there was a major reorganization of the functions of state government, so there were fewer agencies. he was the first one to set up a film bureau to attract films to come to georgia, which has become a big thing.he was very active in international promotion of business and trade, and the environment, which we've already mentioned.he only served one term as governor because at that time, the georgia constitution did not allow anybody to run for a second term. so that's why he only served the one term. and, of course, the reason he was ether going to retire from politics at that point, i guess, and run for president. susan swain: well, go ahead. grace hale: well, i think the one of the things that's interesting about his governorship is that he really didn't run as particularly liberal on issues about racial integration and the civil -- the legacy of the mass sort of civil rights movement that had, you
know, rocked the south in the years leading up to and even when he was first running for governor, for the first -- the first campaign.he really didn't run as that liberal on these issues but once he became the governor and perhaps in part because he knew he wasn't going to have to run again in georgia where a lot of voters were not -- white voters were not going to support those kinds of views, he really made a tack -- a turn -- a tactical turn, really nurtured the career of a young andy young at that time and really began to really moderate what had been some pretty traditional white southern views before that. susan swain: well, sheldon cooper has a question about race about the first lady, "growing up in the south during racially tense time, what views did rosalynn have on equal rights and human rights?"
jay hakes: well, she was very impressed by lillian carter. i don't think we've mentioned lillian carter yet, but... susan swain: known as ms. lillian during the administration? jay hakes: yes. yes. and she was a major force through the whole town of plains because she was a nurse. and whereas the prevailing attitude was that, you know, african-americans had to come through the back door, the schools were separate. as far as ms. lillian was concerned, everybody was equal and she had to carry out her nursing responsibilities that way. and everybody saw that. and one of rosalynn's sisters was named after ms. lillian so there was a respect for her.so even at this time, although the prevailing culture was of a segregated society, i think both of them grew up with sort of a basic sense of fairness that said this isn't the way things ought to be. and then, of course, as they travelled around the world, they also broadened their perspective. grace hale: well, i would add, though, that neither of them were amongst the white southerners that stood up against the kind of segregationist as to way of life. i mean, they may well have had their personal views that these things aren't fair, but they were very quiet about those personal views.and that's what i
think is really interesting again about his governorship is that's when you start to see that kind of change in the carters. jay hakes: you do have to distinguish between sort of joining the civil rights movement but they also supported going -- even his father supported the selling of land to african-americans. that was one of the major forms of discrimination that was pursued. and earl carter actually sold some of his land to african-americans.and then when carter ran for the school board and state legislature, or the state senate, one of the issues was the closing of the schools over segregation, and carter was very strong about not shutting down the schools. so within plains, those were the kind of issues that were being debated at the time. grace hale: yes, but then he thought about actually endorsing george wallace when he was running for president.so i think it's a complicated story, but i do think that in the end, they make the journey. and to me, that's what's interesting. as a historian to watch the kind of change over time on the positions of the carters on these issues. susan swain: michael is in
vicksburg, mississippi and you're on the air next.hi, michael. good evening. two months ago marked the carters' involvement in the 30th anniversary of the habitat for humanity and i just wanted to know how did they become involved in that organization initially? jay hakes: well, habitat, as you may know, that was founded in americus, georgia, and americus, georgia, is only seven miles from plains. so the people that founded habitat were well-known to the carters, were friends with the carters and the carters really liked the idea.so what they agreed to in the early years was that their name could be used for the organization for fundraising and things like that.and then they spend one week a year working on habitat projects. many of these days are abroad, and these are not just photo ops, they actually go out and they're both quite good with tools.so they go back to their first days of habitat and
they're still active. they spend 51 weeks a year working on the carter center, but they do have -- have made a major contribution to habitat. susan swain: well, before we get into the white house years, we have to add one more person to the story and that's the birth of amy carter. she was born in 1967. so the carters arrived at the white house with a young daughter and their sons off doing other things and with their lives.but the inauguration was cast as the people's inaugural, and we've got some video of what became iconic of the time, which is the president and the first lady getting out of their limousine after their ceremony when they were coming back to the white house and actually walking pennsylvania avenue. how important a symbolism was that? grace hale: i think that was important in a lot of different ways. i mean, in part, they were sort of prompted to do it, at least as i've heard of the story, you could jump in here if you want
to, that by a congressman interested in physical fitness issues and urged them to think about it.but it became really a symbol of his desire to -- their desire to connect with people, to not present themselves as kind of elite above the people, to really be in touch with ordinary americans. that's really how it played out in terms of the inauguration. and i believe she's spoken about people along the way just weeping as they walked by and shook hands and spoke to people. so it clearly was meaningful to people who were there. susan swain: one other bit of symbolism, she wore the same gown for her presidential inaugural balls that she wore in georgia. how -- what's the thinking there? what's she trying to say? jay hakes: well, you know, i think they'd decided they wanted a less imperial presidency, and the walking down pennsylvania avenue was an impressive thing because it was a surprise. the secret service only allowed this because it was kept secret.but it's interesting because they, to some extent, disagreed about certain aspects
of the imperial presidency. she didn't -- he didn't want "hail to the chief" to be played at all, and she thought he'd overdone that too much. she thought it maybe it ought to be played a little bit more. so he was very adamant about reducing the imperial nature of the presidency. she thought maybe we should do some of that, but maybe not quite go so far. susan swain: and we saw on that clip, the transition with president and mrs. ford. this was also a very tough campaign, the fords were devastated by their loss and that (inaudible) as president carter and ford struck a friendship after each were in office. did rosalynn and betty ford have a friendship? jay hakes: absolutely. the friendship really starts when president reagan had been wounded, you know, shot seriously before president sadat was assassinated. so he could not go to the funeral because of his condition. vice president bush couldn't go, so he sent three presidents, nixon, ford and carter, and that's where they really bonded.and the same thing happened with the first ladies. mrs. carter spoke at betty
ford's funeral, the family asked her to speak. susan ford is on the advisory committee that rosalynn has at the carter center on mental illness. so that there is a very close bond between the families and maybe part of it was they both went through the trauma of failing to be reelected. susan swain: now, the white house was a busy spot because two of the sons and their wives and children moved in? jay hakes: for part of the time. susan swain: and amy was there and then... jay hakes: yes. susan swain: ... the nation also got introduced to ms. lillian and to president carter's brother, billy? jay hakes: yes. ms. lillian was really the celebrity. when the democrat national convention was held in the summer of 1976, most of the delegates had already met the carter family except for ms. lillian because she had stayed home to take care of amy. so when -- she was the carter family member that people hadn't already have met, so the big push at the convention was because i -- can i get to meet lillian carter. grace hale: well, it was
exciting to be in elementary school at this time. i grew up in georgia and to watch them go to the white house and for amy to grow up in the white house. it was -- it was a really exciting thing to watch if you were a kid. and she seemed right there in the center of all of the events and i remember thinking about that a lot as something that was really exciting. susan swain: as a mother with a young child in the white house, how did she approach protecting young amy from the press, the public interest, that sort of thing? we have a photograph right here, it looks like kind of like coming down the stairs from the blair house, and you can see how young she is. how did they approach parenting? jay hakes: well, i think that they felt that all their kids should be able to have a private life if they wanted to, and amy certainly did.you know, if you're a kid in the first family, you've got secret service protection, so it's a little hard to just blend in, even if you'd like to.but i think the press in general respected that, you know, and realized that a child shouldn't be exposed to, you know, the kind of press that their parents, you know, get. so, you know, i think it worked out well.but it was very hard to
move to washington and then to have to move back, and. susan swain: we have one photograph we're going to put on screen that struck most of us. and this is amy carter going to school, and we'll put it on the screen here so you can see. the phalanx of reporters on this little tiny character going off with her snoopy bag to school. they made a decision about public school nonetheless, even though she would be more exposed to this sort of thing? jay hakes: yes. and the other thing i should say is that the carters were relatively young occupants of the white house, and then amy was very much the young daughter. so it's a little unusual for a president -- it's not unique, but it's unusual for presidents to have a daughter that young, so, it is kind of exciting for the whole country. susan swain: she was eight, nine -- nine when they moved in? jay hakes: something like that. grace hale: yes. you know, the decision to send her to public school was really,
you know, was really a decision that many people commented on and it became very politicized. but it was really, in many ways, an example to the nation and in some ways a rebuke of a lot of white southerners who were sending their kids to segregated private schools at the time. susan swain: before we leave the family, i want to talk about billy carter, the president's brother, because he occasionally became a political issue for the president, in what ways? grace hale: well, he didn't seem to, you know, understand how a new, sort of pervasive media coverage was not necessarily going to be always his friend.but would you like to add to that? jay hakes: yes, i mean one thing... grace hale: he got in trouble a lot. jay hakes: one thing with billy was that he was a little bit equivalent to amy, that he'd been the last child.
jay hakes: i don't think so. i mean, billy was a popular figure around plains. he -- you know, he had a good sense of humor, and he's a smart, smart guy.but he, of course he, you know, originally was going to take over the farm and run the farm, and then never did, you know, assume that position, so that had to be hard although he did end up running it a lot of times when they were off campaigning. hello. and how are you all this evening? susan swain: good. >> thank you. well, i have a few things to
say.first of all, this lady is a little bit special to me because i was born the first year that he was in the white house, and the week that i was born, they had the national women's conference in houston, texas. and mrs. carter and betty ford and lady bird johnson, as well as maya angelou and all those women convened. i think it was the first time that the u.s. government ever sponsored an event like this for women in particular. i think it's the only time, if i'm not mistaken.and i know that in particular on women's issues, carter was the first u.s. president at that time to appoint more women to office than any other person at that time.some other things i wanted to add, the arts -- this administration was very good to the arts. "in performance at the white house" was started in 1979 on pbs. they hosted the first national poetry festival in 1980.and also, as far as her image is concerned, i've done some
research on first ladies, and i know this lady is interesting, because i think out of all the recent first ladies, it seems like she's not as well-known.and i think the reason is, is because she was so ahead of her time. she was so multifaceted in her approach as first lady. she didn't just stick to one issue. and i think the press really was upset with her because of that. susan swain: ok, i'd jump in at that point. thanks very much. obviously, you've studied and know a bit about this white house. what would you like to say to her? grace hale: well, you've highlighted a really important historical moment, and that is that national women's conference was really a historic event. it was the first event of that kind that was put on by the government with the support of the president.and it was a real moment of the kind of mainstreaming or, you know, sort of broader acceptance of the goals of the women's movement. and it was really, really an amazing event.and it's indicative of the kind of things that rosalynn did.
i mean, she really did refuse to stick to one event. she championed women's rights, she campaigned for the era, and she also kept up her interest in issues like mental health that she had worked on back in georgia.and so, that i think is indicative of her sort of in many ways, creating a kind of modern first lady role. susan swain: while she pursued her own causes, she also stayed very much involved in the president's issues, and, as we said at the outset, attended cabinet meetings.we have clips next to show you where both the president and the first lady talked about her participation in those cabinet meetings. (begin video clip) so rosalynn and i arranged to have one official lunch together in oval office every week. so we would kind of postpone all the things that could be postponed that were official in nature that dealt with the government of the united states of america or international affairs or health or welfare or housing or transportation, and we would discuss those things in our official meeting in the oval
office once a week.when i learned, for instance, that rosalynn was still a little bit frustrated and not knowing enough about what was going on, as she was never hesitant to let me know when she was frustrated -- and she hasn't changed since...(laughter)... then i decided there would be nothing wrong with rosalynn attending the cabinet meetings. and so, i've invited her to attend the cabinet meeting. she sat in the back of the room in an unobtrusive way. nobody much knew she was there except me. i was constantly aware that my wife was watching me. rosalynn carter: what a lot of people don't know is that the cabinet meets and they have staff around the room. but i sat by max cleland, he was in a wheelchair and he's not a cabinet member, anyway. he was the head of veterans affairs when i sat by him next to the door.and i went every time i could that the cabinet met, because it was -- i thought it was necessary for me to know what was going on and why the
decisions made and so forth. and so that i could explain to people in the country if -- as i toured around. (end video clip) susan swain: and we have a photograph of the carters conferring.the late 1970s were a time of many challenges internationally and domestically. as we've done in many programs, we have a list of a number of the major issues during that time period to show you, to demonstrate what the president was working on, including some of these issues such as the panama canal treaty, the energy crisis -- and those of you who were around will remember the long gas lines that people suffered through.inflation was high, and there was recession going on. mortgages were in the high double digits at that time for homeowners. i mentioned the panama canal treaty, the camp david accords, the negotiation of the salt ii soviet missile treaty and of course, the big issue that framed the latter half of the carter white house was the iranian hostage crisis.for her part, mrs. carter was very much involved in mental health.
and just one month after taking office, president carter created the mental health commission.how did mrs. carter get involved in mental health issues? jay hakes: i think the pivotal point for her was when he was running for governor of georgia and so many of the people that came up to her on the campaign trail with things they want her to work on mentioned problems that they had in their family and particularly the stigma that was attached to mental health issues.and so, that was the beginning of it, and she had a very strong mental health program in georgia and then she had that at the white house. susan swain: let me take a call, and then we'll learn a little bit more about the announcement of the mental health commission.barbara is watching us in nashville.hi, barbara, you're on the air. yes. this is barbara lavender (ph).and in 1976, we were invited to the white house, cousins in the music business and we got invited to go to the white house.
and then after that, the ladies got to go to see the congress, which you just mentioned, they were discussing the panama canal treaty. and it was just a great event.but that night, it was so -- it was just so wonderful, being at the white house and meeting with all the -- and it was a governors' meeting as well.and then, we had done campaigning for president carter through some of the towns in alabama along with tammy wynette. and it was just a wonderful event, and we just really loved president carter and mrs. carter. and they were just so gracious. susan swain: thanks very much.well, we learned that her interest in the arts was much broader than just southern music, and national. but did they, in fact, reach out to that constituency as well? grace hale: well, it was interesting during the campaign, again, the expansion of the media during this time, a lot of musicians from the south
endorsed carter's campaign.and i think most interestingly. and perhaps forgotten today, southern rock was really at its peak. capricorn records were headquartered in macon, and musicians like the allman brothers band were headquartered there in georgia. and a lot of those musicians became supporters of carter and helped spread the word of his campaign.so it was a broad interest in the arts. he listened to classical music, but he also had a -- they both also had an interest in more sort of vernacular southern music as well. susan swain: the people who keep these kinds of statistics say that first lady carter had three dozen specific interviews with media organizations and had 22 press conferences during their term in office. we're going to see one of those instances when she talked to reporters after the president signed the executive order establishing the mental health commission.(begin video clip) rosalynn carter: as you probably know, for the past year and a half, or a little more, i have
campaigned all over the country. in my biographical sketch, i had a little paragraph that said that i was interested in mental health.and so, everywhere i went, if people had a good program, they wanted me to see it. i had a chance to see things happening all over this country that are good. i also had some things happening that i thought needed help. i hope, for the establishment of this commission, i know that we can give some of that help.we have a chance to do great things in our country. well i thought until today that i was going to be the chairperson.(laughter)and i got a little...(laughter)... i got a little note from somebody that said "according to the office of legal counsel of the department of justice and so forth, that prohibits a president for appointing a close relative, such as a wife, to a civilian position. a civilian position may be unpaid, as well as paid. justices advise that the 20
members of the commission including the chair will, in fact, be serving in civilian positions. there is, however, no problem with you being designated as honorary i'm going to be a very active honorary chairperson. i intend to -- we're going to have -- we have office space in the executive office building, which is very close. i will be spending many hours a week there. i will be traveling. i will be involved in the fact-finding process, traveling over the country for hearings in the next six months. i intend to be active. (end video clip) susan swain: i'm watching that, and it's something of appreciation for hillary clinton being involved in the health care debate during their white house years. so this -- again, this evolution of the role of first lady, but it runs into legal limitations. grace hale: it's a challenge. it's really a challenge. and it's -- i think,
particularly challenging during these years when rosalynn is trying to navigate these roles, because women's position in society as a whole is changing so rapidly across the '70s.and so, she's, you know, not only got to negotiate the difficulties of being the first lady in the media all the time, but also really a time when women themselves are very much disagreeing about what the proper role for women in society is and arguing about it.it's not just the time of feminism, after all it's the rise of right conservative women's backlash against feminism and critique of it. and so, again, i think rosalynn has a difficult job there. susan swain: on... jay hakes: you can see in that clip that she wasn't going to let that legal opinion close her down. so she, you know, was able to do it, and, you know, had a great impact.you know, she was so committed to reducing stigma for mental illness, to getting it treated as a medical condition. and in her own sweet way, she was running that commission. grace hale: and her issues
really are still very much with us. i mean -- and recent health care reform is just winning some of the goals that she was working on back in the '70s. susan swain: well, they -- she had a signature piece of legislation that made its way through the congress. can you talk about what that did, and what its legislative trajectory was? jay hakes: ok. well, the mental health commission issued reports in 1977 and 1978, and then in 1980, you know, fairly late in the carter presidency, they passed the mental health bill, which was basically requiring that mental illnesses be treated like other illnesses.interestingly enough, just in the last few weeks, that has made into the final rules of the affordable care act, and secretary sebelius came down to be with mrs. carter to announce that at the carter center.so you have to have a lot of patience in the public sector, and she has been frustrated that more has not happened at a faster pace. but, again, i think grace said she's been ahead of her time on
a lot of these issues and now, some of them are coming to fruition. susan swain: we have a photograph of mrs. carter testifying before a senate subcommittee on mental health issues.and from that, we'll take you to her talking in the present day in this interview she gave us in atlanta just recently about her disappointment about the legislation and what happened to it after it passed. let's listen in. (begin video clip) rosalynn carter: i got upset with the press, because they covered my mental health work the first few meetings i had. and then they never showed up anymore. and one of the things i wanted to do is bring attention to the issue and how terrible it was and what few services there were.and -- but -- and thinking, just getting it out in the public, that's what i did in georgia, developed a good program in georgia, by the way.but they just didn't come. and so, one day, i was walking in the down floor -- down (inaudible) floor in the white
house and met this woman who was one of the press people. and i said, "you don't ever cover my -- nobody ever covers my meetings in the...she said, "ms. carter, mental health is just not a sexy issue."and that would -- and that i didn't like. but i never did get very much coverage for it. but we toured the country, found out what was needed to develop the legislation, and passed the mental health assistance act of 1980.it passed through congress one month before jimmy, as he says, was involuntarily retired from the white house, and the incoming president put it on a shelf, never implemented it. it was one of the greatest disappointments in my life.(end video clip) susan swain: that's rosalynn carter: talking about her frustration with the implementation of the signature legislation of one of her major issues.you mentioned women's rights issues. she was also a big champion for the equal rights amendment to the constitution.
they didn't have such great success with that.but you -- would you talk a little bit more about the backlash from the moral majority, as it was beginning it to grow as well, for women's rights issues in the country? grace hale: yes. well, when the carters took office, you know, there were only four states still needed to ratify era, and rosalynn really got out there and campaigned. and it really looked like it would make it.but, again, to return us to that women's conference in houston, that was really a moment when the organization of the fight against era really became a kind of public -- public as well, and conservative women across the country had organized to get themselves elected as delegates to that women's conference. and they really began fighting back against what they saw as changes that they were not welcoming and really began to systematically campaign for era to be stopped, led by people like phyllis schlafly.so it was
a -- it was a kind of a difficult time there.you know, in many ways, if you said that a -- that a woman from a small town in georgia, somebody like rosalynn carter: with her background, would be a champion of era and it wouldn't pass, you would have been surprised by that. and i think she really gave it her all.she has also said that was a very disappointing loss for her as well, that that was not ratified. but the conservative women got really organized around the country and began to fight back. susan swain: jay hakes, i wanted to talk to you about the use of the white house which we have learned through the course of this series is a deadly serious political business and how presidents choose to bring people in to the white house.and if you look at statistics during the carter years, the numbers are really impressive of people who were invited to official events at the white house. in 1977, 30,000, by '78, that had grown to 40,000, in '79, 85,000 and in the 1980, the election year, 100,000 official guests at events in the white
house. how did they approach entertaining there? jay hakes: well, very seriously. a lot of these have a serious purpose because if it's a state dinner and you have the head of a foreign country, and if they were invited to a state dinner, it probably has some diplomatic purpose attached to it. and so, they served, you know, very fine american products, very fine wines. and you have to get all the protocol worked out.a lot of it's to say thank you for people that have helped you in the campaign and then of course, in the election year, making sure you're touching all the bases.they had some pretty great events at the white house in 1980. one of the callers mentioned the poetry conference which they had in january, i believe. and then they had all the jazz greats came in for a long concert with eubie blake, and that was another stunning event.so, you know, as much as she was the modern first lady in adopting these big issues like
mental health and era, she also knew that that didn't mean that she gave up the other part of it, was to make all this functions smoothly.and as grace mentioned, she had a very professional staff there to work with her, so that was a big asset. grace hale: and for the record, the carter white house was a no hard liquor white house. jay hakes: well, i think that was more of a budgetary thing than it was aesthetics. they figured they could get better wines and better food if they didn't serve hard liquor. but, yes, that was one way of doing it.they had to do this on a small budget. so, you know, the fact that you're doing more events doesn't mean you have more money to do them. so you do have to have -- be cost conscious about it. grace hale: but also, i think that it was part of where they were from, their kind of background. they didn't -- many people in the south, small-town south, white and black, who are people of faith, do not drink. and it was also a part of who
they were, and they brought that with them to the white house.and i think that was, you know, a cultural issue and also, again, a kind of class choice, you know, this isn't going to be an elite atmosphere. we're going to -- we're going to have more of the people's white house, and that was part of what they saw as something that they want to promote. susan swain: in this next clip, mrs. carter talks about the media's reaction to this people's white house and what she saw as southern -- anti-southern bias in the media. let's listen rosalynn carter: there is a bias against southerners, there was. i never would say that out loud when we were there, because i didn't want to think it and i didn't want other people to think it. but you had to keep proving yourself over and over.it didn't matter what you did. you have great successes, and then you had to prove yourself again for the next success.and i think it was, you know, i wasn't supposed to be sophisticated enough or something. but, you know, who wants to be sophisticated, i don't know.i
think there is a little bit of bias about the south. i remember after jimmy was elected, there was a whole page cartoon in the washington post of the carter family, jimmy's mother, me, and there were haystacks. we had on straw hats and there was straw between our teeth.(laughter)and then i went from that to being steel magnolia.but i thought that was pretty good, because steel is tough and magnolia is southern, then i was fuzzy. i was fuzzy for a while. and then i was most powerful. so i had a full range of images. (end video clip) susan swain: was she correct? was there an anti-southern bias in the media while they were in the white house? grace hale: i think that she was correct. but, i mean, most people that had not -- that are not from the south had a kind of opinion of who white southerners were that were shaped by the media's coverage of civil rights unrest
and protests and violence. and i think that many people had those kinds of assumptions that were not from the south. i should clarify and i don't know what she meant when she said whites against southerners. certainly more of a bias against whites than african american southerners and national media environment. and a period when rural white southerners were all over popular white culture.
>> on this concept of acceptance in the public image, she wrote image did become an annoyance that wouldn't go away. i know that if i were working productively and accomplishing something worthwhile images would take care of themselves. wrong. i learned that labels are easy to come by and hard to overcome. >> talk about the carter's acceptance by the washington establishment. the georgians come into town, campaigning as outsiders against the political establishment. who wasat lord, depicted as someone who could not even walk straight.
president carter sold off the sequoia, which was this great boat where they would take people they were taking people they were trying to influence into conference on this nice boat trip. they did not do some of the traditional things that had been -- expected. again, about getting away from the imperial presidency. brilliant aid had made a comment about how they were not going to bring in these washington types. they did and up ringing in people like cy vance and other capable people. michael is in washington dc. michael? >> i wanted to make a comment about what you said about hard liquor. carter was united methodist and jimmy carter was southern
baptist, there was a distinction there. part, i know they attended st. john's e piscopo, where all the presidents go to church. is my understanding that after they married they mostly unattended baptist churches and did attend first baptist. -- they mostly attended baptist churches and did attend first baptist. one of their sons adjoined and they followed. theoday they attended church in planes. carter still teaches a sunday school class there. tags if you go to planes and go to church you can have a lesson from the former president. >> i want to talk about her work is the first lady. in 1977, she was asked to
represent the president and the country in a trip to jamaica, peru, venezuela. on her return to the united states, she spoke to reporters with president carter looking on. we will show you that clip next. formsring you greetings -- from the caribbean. speaking foreign language] which i could not resist. this morning they said president 's speech and mine had opened new relations and said of the paternalism that has characterized the past. we are ready and eager to develop balanced, natural, normal, into equal relationships.
i found goodwell and friendship everywhere i went. they love you in the caribbean and latin american. every head of state i spoke to, without exception, agreed with me on the importance of cooperating and consulting closely on the issues that concern you, jimmy, and concern us all. human rights, nuclear nonproliferation, economic development, arms control. i think we've made progress in all of these areas. i am glad to be home. i am glad to be with amy and jimmy. i am going to convey all of this information to jimmy. i look forward to consulting closely with him on a regular basis. [laughter] [applause] you were talking about her speaking spanish.
>> she took a little trip with jimmy promoting countries and latin america. they began to study spanish. she stuck with it, and one of the things they would do is read the bible with each other at the end of the day. they would take turns reading bible verses to each other sometimes in spanish. >> and there was her important role as the hostess in the camp summit between the antagonistic parties as they were trying to reach agreement. what role did she play in that? what was the public acceptance in these countries of the first lady? >> first on latin america, i think that trip was a very substantive trip because president carter was trying to send a message, it is a new day for human rights. just because you are an ally lock up mean you can
political prisoners. he could not deliver that publicly, but having her deliver it was more effective. at camp david, president carter had gotten a cia agent to develop very fine profiles of the participants and he knew what made them tick, so he felt like they would perform better if their wives were there. mrs. a. could not come, but she was a frequent phone contact. saddat could not come, but she was a frequent phone contact. mrs. bacon was there. begin was there. creek, california. hello, connie. >> thank you. viewsarter had strong
about passage of the equal rights amendment. i am wondering what her view is of the progress women have made in politics generally in society. he commentr made and about whether a woman should or could be elected president of the united states? >> i think she thinks we should have a president that is a woman. the carter's are still involved to some extent because some parts of the baptist church do not allow women to be pastors or deacons and the carter's have withdrawn their memberships from those churches. they are still working on these issues, but i think they're very proud. the carter's appointed a lot of women to the judiciary. ruth bader ginsburg was appointed by president carter court later by president clinton. i think she recognizes there has been a lot of progress made and they were part of it.
the first 400 days of the carter administration were consumed with the americans held hostage at the u.s. embassy in iran. mrs. carter spoke about those days. >> it was awful. of just waiting for a press conference in a ran to say what happened that -- in iran to say what happened that day. the only way we would know as they would come out and announce it will stop thinking about it and thinking about it. we met with the families all along. whoseabout the people family members were there and what it was doing to jimmy's presidency and, it was awful. -- i would go out
disease, and building hope. i hope i have contributed somewhat to mental health issues. and have improved the lives of people with mental illnesses. i have had great opportunities for so long. africa, wehrough have programs in 77 countries, we go to africa two or three times a year, and to go to those village and now things are coming to fruition. to go to a village that is no longer -- where there is no longer guinea worm, it is a celebration. one of the good things about the carter center, we don't give money to the government. we send people to teach, to help
, how ton that country do something. we work with the people in the villages. they do the work. to go to a village and explain to them about guinea worm, if you can get the chief to approve, that is what you have to do. if they hear about it from see,er country -- just to to go back when it is gone from a village or almost gone, and the hope it gives to them. just so wonderful, just to see the hope on their faces. i did not mean to get emotional.
will you comment more about the post-white house years? >> when the carter's started working on guinea worm, there were 3.5 million cases around the globe. this is a debilitating disease. it grows within the body and people cannot go to school or work in the field. sawlast official number i was 542 cases and i think it is a little bit lower than that. this is a remarkable achievement. it will be the second disease after smallpox to be eliminated from the face of era. she did not -- from the face of the earth. in manyitor elections countries. countries like indonesia, liberia. they have helped nurture them as
they have gone through several election cycles. they have not only moved to democracy were they elected the first woman president in an african country, but they had no mental health care. the carter center organized a program where they train mental health nurses. country is covered with basic professional help. ,hen you start from scratch when you start to see all of these things going on around the world, it is still going on. president carter was in nepal last week for their elections. now 89 years old and the first lady is 86 years old. lauren: good evening. i was wanting to know the relationship ms. carter has with the late betty ford.
>> they became very good friends. they worked together. they communicated a lot, worked on projects together. ms. carter gave a very nice eulogy at betty ford's funeral. the families became very good friends. candor, had taken a step forward for first ladies as well. that made it easier for first ladies to speak out and say what they thought. have focusedrter's on humanitarian issues. i am wondering about the relationship with the democratic party. how welcome were they by the national party? >> immediately after that kind of defeat, those with the people
you will send out on the campaign trail. the democratic party was not super embracing of the carter's after that defeat, but it seems it came around in time. the hold in the credit party ended up -- the whole democratic party ended up going in a moderate direction and pulling back, moving away from its more liberal wing. that is represented in the presidency of bill clinton. the carter's work just a little bit ahead of their time. the democratic party has come around to a lot of the issues that may be some democrats were not about at the time. receive the credit he
deserved? >> take the panel canal treaty for instance, that is something that was not popular at the time but has opened up a whole range in latin america. mrs. carter would often caution him, be careful because you want to get a second term. ahead with amoved pretty long list of accomplishments. i think it was mentioned earlier, when you are doing this , and we talked about the hostages, but the other thing that happened with a ran was -- interest rates, not only did we have the
hostages in captivity, but we had this inflationary economy which no president wants to have it in their election year. >> in the time after world war times, -- recent did any of the carter children pursue politics? for thelder son did run democratic nominee in an election in nevada. grandchild,arter jason, is running for senator in the state of georgia. atlantalives in the area. jeff and amy live in the atlanta area. the three of them are close to home. jack is in nevada. >> what about the grandson that made news by unearthing the
romney video? >> this is a child who was in the inaugural parade, in his mother's womb. is a master of the internet senator romney's speech about the 47% nt sort of god in the news as a member of the carter family. asked to we know his grandparents reaction to that? >> i think they were pleased. >> we have one more video. this is the carter's life after the white house. let's watch. >> after the white house, mrs. carter took great interest in the downtown. one of her projects was to help
restore the downtown. inn isom in the dedicated to a decade in their life. another is the butterfly garden to bring awareness to preserving butterflies, their habitats and the love of nature. is the church where president carter and mrs. carter attend pretty much every sunday. president carter teaches sunday school and rosalynn is a deacon in the church. is home.lains everybody has some place they call home. for the carter's, plains, georgia, is home. a good up traveled anywhere. -- they couldd have traveled anywhere, but they wanted to come home.
that speaks volumes about how they think of plains, georgia. they love it here. >> our interpreter there is with the national parks service. would you talk about what one would find if they visit there. >> the national parks service runs the historic site. there is the carter boyhood home , which is a work in progress. home andairly large you could have an interpretation and what group. there are old high school has become a museum, you can walk through there. -- livemes they leave in now is being deeded to the national park service. andcan learn about fdr attend sunday's goals, stay in plains, georgia, and visit the historic site. terribly close to an
interstate, but for people who are presidential and history junkies, it is a trip worth making. plains,hey have chosen georgia, for their final burial place. >> that is correct. there are only two presidents i that.ho have done truman went to independence and the carter's went back to plains and they will be buried on the family compound there. was, if imy question remember correctly, i have seen coverage of when the carter's had interchangeable with the clintons with the habitat of humanity. i am wondering, do they currently do anything with the obama's? -- well, you know, i think they have some interaction. we had a picture earlier of them together at the white house.
president carter marches to his own drumbeat and he has views that are very strong about the middle east and other things. the ex-presidents who hang out, there is a book called "the president's club" which gives you a behind the scenes look at how the president's interact. sometimes they do not. out, someonee wants to know, do rosalynn and jimmy carter still traveled together? >> they have a basic set of causes for which they travel extensively. they are going to the poorest countries in the world. countries make india and other countries look very wealthy. they travel a lot, but they focus on the causes they have to produce the result they are trying to. mental health, election
monitoring, blindness, these are things they have been working on for a long time. out, gary close robinson wants to know, what is perception of the carter's and will it improve more over time? as an historian, can you anticipate the future? rags i will say it has been a very successful post-presidency. they reinvented that job and it does not seem like it is going to stop in their later years. >> but looking back at the white house, how has that changed in the and suing decades? >> it is not seen as the most , butssful presidency trying to change the direction, promote some of the issues like energy conservation,
independence, the spread of democracy, that is important still today. as the firsther lady? >> eleanor roosevelt is always at the top. in his case, he is not rated as she is by the traditional polls, but he was rated as one of the top three presidents in history on the environment. a libertarian book which ranks him in the top 10, which is interesting coming from that source. i think the jury is still out. papers are still being the classified -- declassified. >> how much of her papers to cheap reserve for the public? >> she took very extensive notes and diaries. there are a lot of comments in there. a lot of them have still not been available to documents.
ios recommend to people that you can still get copies. have one of her books here, first lady from planes. it is one of five books she has co-authored since her years in the white house. you to ourave thank partners at the white house historical association. guests today two for their information and our conversation with the audience tonight. thank you. >> thank you for having us will stop -- thank you for having us. ♪
and image. next week, we look at nancy reagan. wives and mothers. and had children grandchildren who became presidents and politicians. they dealt with the trials and joys of motherhood will stop the pleasure and chaos of raging -- raising small children. first ladies looks at the personal lives of every first lady in history, many of whom raised families in the white house. lively stories, fascinating women, and inspiring read a staunch inspiring interviews from c-span's first ladies serious. published by public affairs. available as a hard book or e-book online or at your
favorite bookseller. >> coming up next on american history tv, the outgoing president of the western history association, elizabeth jamison, thes about her role in western history association. she talks about the importance of studying women's history. her at the annual conference in portland, oregon and october. this is about 20 minutes. >> president of the association, how did you get into women's history? that is interesting. when i was growing up, it history was dates and presidents. it seemed very far outside me. but when i got to college i realized it could be about people.