tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN December 23, 2015 4:46am-9:01am EST
nationality act. next on american history tv, senate majority leader mitch mcconnell gives a lecture on the rivalry between two kentucky politicians who served as governors and the senate. senator mcconnell argues that the competition between happy chandler and earle clements led to the election of thruston morton. >> well, thank you very much, robert. it's a real pleasure to be here today at transylvania. want to thank president kerry and transylvania for hosting me
here today. happy to be veterans day here as well. i also want to acknowledge my good friend ben chandler. he and his family of course are descendants of one of the people i'm going to be talking about today. kentucky has been extremely well served with ben as the executive director of the kentucky humanities council and i want to thank him for sharing some of the anecdotes i'm going to use today. finally, i want to thank chris mosher, all of whom have contributed in one way or another not only to the remarks today, but speeches i've been giving to prominent kentucky senators over the past few
years. two of these three men helped define kentucky politics for much of the 20th century. both served as governor and as senator. both were intensely ambitious men. both rose from modest origins. both were democrats born in western kentucky. both were accomplished athletes in their youth and fine coaches thereafter. both had a gift for remembering names and faces. and in true kentucky style, these two men carried on a feud that literally lasted f eed for decades. those two men are albert benjamin happy chandler and earle clements. despite their similarities, the
two men in other ways could not have been more different. happy was colorful and extrov t extroverted. literally larger than life. he was elected in large part due to his charisma and absolute zest for campaigning. clements was the opposite. reserved, methodical, leaving nothing to chance. happy was a great speaker. clements was not. by and large, chandler was conservative and clements was liberal. the third man i'm going to talk about was a direct beneficiary of the chandler-clements feud, republican thruston morton. the chandler-clements divide was
significant because for most of the 20th century kentucky has twice as many registered democrats as republicans. i might say parenthetically happily that's changing. what that meant of course is it was exceedingly hard for republicans to win elections. this occurred in the 1956 kentucky u.s. senate race when the chandler and clements factions were literally at each other's throats. this resulted in morton being elected to the senate in 1956, launching his notable senate career. but let's begin our story with the man known far and wide as happy. he was born into poverty in 1898 in henderson county.
chandler's mother left his family when he was a young boy. one of his earliest memories was following her, sobbing as she walked to the carriage that would take her away from the family for the rest of his childhood. her departure meant chandler's father, a hard scrabble farmer, had to raise happy and his brother literally by himself. the boys soon had to go to work to help make ends meet. chandler worked diligently on the farm and in school. his hard work paid off academically when he was admitted to a well-regarded college of you may be familiar with, transylvania. as chandler looked back, he said legend has it, i arrived in transylvania with no resources other than a red sweater, a $5
bill, and a smile. his fame nickname originated right here. the senior dubbed him happy. the nickname stuck. as chandler recognized, it could have been a lot worse. at least the senior didn't call him stinky. [ laughter ] >> chandler was a natural athlete. at one point playing semi-pro baseball. his lifelong interest and involvement in sports flowed naturally from that early activity. after having graduated from transylvania and completed law school, he went to coach football at the local high school. his move allowed him to meet his
future wife, mildred watkins. mildred was southern to the core. as happy recalled, she still thought the word damn yankee was one word. [ laughter ] >> after they wed in 1925, happy nicknamed her mama. happy and mama would be married for more than 65 years. he quipped that the durability of their relationship was a great tribute to my patience. he once recalled telling a friend of a two-week period in which he had not spoken a word to mildred. his friend, concerned by this news, asked what the trouble was. happy responded, there was no trouble. he just hadn't wanted to interrupt her. [ laughter ] >> with his winning personality, happy soon entered politics.
in no time he became a state senator and then in 1931 he was elected lieutenant governor where he served along side a fellow democrat governor. the two differed on a number of issues, however, including implementation of a sales tax, which chandler believed harmed the poor. they also differed on the need for primaries as opposed to conventions, of course, which would typically be controlled by the party bosses. not surprisingly chandler favored primaries. what happened next displays one of chandler's signature traits, audaci audacity. audacity. under kentucky constitution at the time, if the governor left the state, the lieutenant governor became acting governor. in 1935 governor lathune made a
big mistake. he departed kentucky to go to washington, leaving happy temporarily in charge. happy seized the moment, called a special session of the legislature, and subsequently enacted a measure allowing candidates to be elected through primaries. this of course enraged lathune and while the governor was later able to block some of the impact of happy's legislation, he could do nothing to dim the political stardom that happy had gained from this bold maneuver. riding a wave of popular acclaim, happy ran for governor in 1935. lathune limited to one term hand picked a candidate he hoped would defeat chandler in the democratic primary. that candidate was tom ray. and ray's campaign manager was a young man named earle clements. this pitting of chandler versus
clements in the 1935 case started a political feud that would have a profound impact on kentucky politics for more than a quarter of a century. it did so by crystallizing factionalism within the state democratic party. the end result of the 1935 governor's race was that the 37-year-old chandler was elected to the state's highest office. historians generally agree that chandler's first term as governor was among the most significant in state history. during the great depression, chandler helped get the state back on firm financial footing. he enhanced schools. he constructed hospitals and roads. he reorganized state government and of course he repeated the hated sales tax. the problem for happy was that kentucky governors at this time
could not run for re-election. happy was young. he was ambitious. so he had to look beyond the governor's mansion if he wanted to continue his public career. as a result in 1938, chandler showed his audacity once again. this time he challenged an incumbent democrat in the u.s. senate primary. now this was not just any ole garden variety incumbent mind you. it was the majority leader of the senate, alvin barkley. it proved to be shall i say a spirited contest. it's not in my text, but i remember the photograph that's been in kentucky history books
for sometime. president roosevelt came down to make a speech for barkley, and happy jumped in the car with him. literally jumped in the car with him, so the picture was taken. it had them all in there. you couldn't tell who roosevelt was for. [ laughter ] >> to give you a sense of how toxic shall i say the environment was, chandler at one point charged at barkley's allies had poisoned him. chandler was a sight to behold. as one historian observed, chandler had few peers and no superiors. he had a prodigious memory and would call out spontaneously to friends in the crowd asking them for help or that of a relative.
he would sing at a moment's notice, particularly my old kentucky home. and he was a superb orator. chandler used to say about his campaign speeches, i had a strong feeling that nobody is saved at 20 minutes. i made short speeches and i never told a dirty joke. in the end with the help of president roosevelt and the rival state democratic faction, which included earle clements, barkley defeated chandler in the primary. the other kentucky seat unexpectedly opened up. chandler maneuvered himself to get appointed. he won a full term in 1942 to the u.s. senate. his tenure in the senate was eventful for several reasons. he, for example, was an outspoken critic of america's strategic priorities in world war ii. in the aftermath of pearl
harbor, he publicly expressed his belief that the u.s. should pursue a japan first policy as opposed to focusing on the european theater of the war. as you recall, churchill was intent on the u.s. fighting in europe first. in 1943 as a member of the military affairs committee chandler and several lawmakers went off on a 63-day inspection of american forces overseas. during the delegation's voyage, chandler met winston churchill and he was able to smuggle his friend, comedian bob hope, in to meet the prime minister. but at the end of the day chandler's career on capitol hill demonstrates that the senate is not everyone's cup of tea. it is a collegial, not an
executive body. chandler didn't like the senate because he wasn't the boss. and he probably doubly didn't like the senate because barkley was the majority leader. given his dissatisfaction in the senate, when the offer came to become baseball commissioner in 1945, chandler jumped at the chance. he not only loved baseball, but being commission brought with it a pretty nice pay raise. he is probably best known for his role in the integration of major league baseball. he could have done as his predecessor had, which was to firmly oppose integration, but chandler did no such thing. he prevented ricky to go forward with bringing jackie robinson to the major leagues. he also expressed public support for robinson in the press and made clear to opposing teams that race baiting of robinson would not be tolerated.
i would note that another famed kentuckian also helped robinson through this trying time. my childhood hero pee wee reese of louisville. over time, however, chandler's independence cost him support among the baseball owners. he was not reappointed and left after six years in office. after leaving the commissioner's office, happy again felt the tug of politics. he decided to run for governor 20 years after his first governor's race. in the primary he was challenged by a little known judge from eastern kentucky named burt combs, who had the exclusive backing of the democratic faction led by a named you guessed it, earle clements. it was a bitterly fought race, but chandler prevailed behind the slogan be like your pappy and vote for happy.
those were the good ole days. while chandler's second term as governor is not as well regarded as his first, it is notable that today bears his name. he was a supporter of racial integration. in 1956 he called out the national guard during the tense 18-day standoff to help integrate schools in western kentucky. chandler would offer himself up three more times for the governor's mansion but without success. despite these setbacks in later life it was undeniable that chandler had become a living symbol of the commonwealth. in 1986 state journalists elected chandler of the kentuckian of the century, and chandler regularly appeared at senior night at uk basketball
games to sing my ole kentucky home before the tipoff. he became only one of a handful of kentuckians to be elected to the baseball hall of fame. he lived until he was just short of 93 years old, passing away in 1991. fittingly his last word was mama. mama herself passed away four years later. earle clements was born two years before chandler in 1896 down in morganfield in western kentucky. he was one of six children. his father was a farmer, a lawyer, and a local political leader. clements attended uk where he was a football standout . he would later become a
accomplished high school coach as well. attending seminars held by none other than rockney. he served in the u.s. army in world war i. while he never served overseas, he rose to the rank of captain. personality wise, clements was inscrutab inscrutable. he had a temper. he was not a great public speaker. one journalist describes his speeches as masterpieces of mediocrity. but he was an extremely hard worker and he was a tremendous political organizer and strategist. one long-time observer of the kentucky political scene said of clements, he may well have been the greatest political intellect of the 20th century in kentucky.
those who watch clements commented frequently his ability not only to see the result of each action, but the results of that results. clement's approach was subtle. he himself once remarked that he always preferred the quiet style of doing things. one gop rival said of clements, i think he solved the riddle of politics. most of us stand in front of the curtain so we can take the bows. earle stands in back of the curtain so he never gets the blame. unlike chandler's meteoric rise in kentucky politics, clement's assent was steady and gradual. he followed his father into public life and in the 20-year period beginning in 1922 clements served as sheriff, county clerk, and then county
judge of union county. of his time as county judge, clement observed there was no better practical schooling in government than in that office. as a former county judge myself, i certainly wouldn't disagree. in 1927 clements married the daughter of a prominent union county official, sarah blue. the two would have a daughter named elizabeth who would share her father's love of public service. she would later work as an aide to first lady lady bird johnson and to second lady john mondale. after his long tenure in county governor, clements was elected to the state senate. following a brief stint as a congressman during which he served with a promising lawmaker from louisville, clements
declared for governor in 1947. it would look as if his republican opponent would in fact be morton, but morton decided against a run. clements was overwhelmingly elected the commonwealth's 50th governor. as governor, clements had many achievements. he succeeded in part because he worked closely with his former colleagues in the legislature and clements played hardball. as governor he would go to the house or senate chamber and if a legislator voted against him, clements would point his pencil at the dissident and make a mental note. the results, though, were undeniable. he created the modern state police and the state park system, and he took steps to integrate uk. like chandler, clements left the governor's mansion prior to the end of his term to pursue a senate seat. he was elected to fill the
vacancy left by albin barkley when he became vice president. unlike chandler, clements thrived in the senate. he quickly became an ally of rising star and soon to be senate democrat leader lyndon johnson. after only three years in the senate, johnson promoted clements to the democratic whip. he had good relations with both conservative and liberal democrats. an important attribute in a closely divided senate. when the democrats would regain the majority in 1955, clements became majority whip. clements served as party whip from 1953 to 1957. one of only three kentuckians to
serve in that position. the others are wendell ford and myself. the whip is responsible for counting votes and trying to persuade senators to support legislation promoted by the majority party. i can assure you it's a pretty hard job. clements job got even harder however in july 1955 when majority leader lyndon johnson had a heart attack. this left senate democrats without a true majority leader for the last few weeks of the senate session. so for the next 29 days clements stepped into the breech and served as acting majority leader. all of this remember is in his first term. clements had to try to lead the senate without appearing to be a usurper in lbj's absence, a difficult balance to strike. he also had to perform to the
satisfaction of johnson. can you imagine that? who remained a demanding test master even from his hospital bed. after visiting with the bedridden johnson, clements reported back to fellow democrats on the majority leader's views regarding a particular piece of legislation. he would like the bill to be taken up yesterday and passed the day before yesterday. that was lbj. nonetheless, clements succeeded in holding together the fragile democratic majority and his efforts garnered favorable reviews. the year 1955 was an important one for clements not only because of his work as acting majority leader. it was also important because happy chandler was running to recapture the governor's office. now clements remained a power broker in the state as head of
one kentucky's democratic party's dualing factions and he vigorously opposed chandler's campaign. clements and his ally hand picked little known burt combs to oppose chandler. happy trained his fire on comb's ben fa benefactors. despite the best efforts of the clements faction, chandler prevailed in the primary and was elected that fall, so you can imagine what's coming next. the next year the shoe is on the other foot. now as governor, chandler had control of state government and earle clements was up for re-election to the senate. to put it mildly, chandler was decidedly unhappy about the
prospects of clements serving another term. he was looking for payback. he was looking, of course, to defeat clements. given that he was a prominent member of the senate leadership, many observers expected that clements would just sail to re-election, but they failed to account for a number of factors even aside from the hostility of the sitting governor. one was republican president dwight eisenhower who was popular in kentucky and who was up for re-election. another challenge was clement's opponent, his former house colleague, thruston morton. to top it all off, clements also faced the bane of all legislators seeking re-election. a tough vote. johnson pressed the senate to
expand the social security program to include benefits for the disabled. this was a difficult issue in kentucky given strong opposition from the state's doctors. clements had initially promised them he would oppose the legislation, but lbj found himself one vote short of securing passage and clements, ever the good soldier, reversed himself and cast a deciding vote in favor of the bill. so the combination of happy, ike, thruston, and the disability vote proved too much for the clements' campaign. he lost in a very, very tight race. the only election he lost in his entire 36-year public career. he would never again hold elective office. but clements was not done with politics. when his term ended in 1957, johnson had him appointed
executive director of the senate democratic campaign committee much to the irritation of governor chandler. and in 1959 clements got some measure of revenge when his favorite candidate for governor the now better known burt combs bested happy's proxy. the chandler-clements feud lived on. clements then returned to kentucky serving as the state highway commissioner under combs. clements later embarked on a successful lobbying career on behalf of one of kentucky most important industries, tobacco. after a long period of ill health he passed away in his place of birth, morganfield, in 1985. thruston morton. to put it mildly, his upbringing was quite different than that of
chandler or clements. he was the sign of a wealthy family. his dad was a doctor. his mother's family made a fortune through flour milling. morton born in 1907 was younger than chandler and clements and he was born in louisville, not western kentucky. morton was educated at a private prep school in virginia and graduated from yale whereas chandler was exuberant and folksy and clements was sphinx like -- morton was a republican. morton returned to kentucky and rose quickly in the family business ultimately becoming chairman of the board. in 1931 he wed and the couple would have two children. soon after the u.s. became involved in world war ii morton
enlisted in the navy. he served four years rising to lieutenant commander. upon returning from the war, morton was drawn to public life. after years of democratic control of the white house and congress and with the depression and world war behind them, the american people were in the mood for a change. as a result morton recognized that 1946 would be a good year for the gop and decided to run for a seat in the u.s. house of representatives. looking back, morton remarked about that particular year, 1946. he said anybody that had run on a republican ticket without a jail record would have been elected. so morton, who had no jail record, was in fact elected. that said, his first race was not without its missteps. the year 1946 marked the early
implementation of voting machines, which operated with hand pull levers. there was some concern that this new technology might confuse voters, so at one rally a morton supporter was explaining how to use the machines, these new voting machines. she informed the crowd just pull a lever. sending mr. morton to congress is just as easy as flushing your own toilet. [ laughter ] >> in 1952 morton decided he'd had had enough of the house, yet he still made some important political moves. he was the only kentucky delegate to back general eisenhower at the 1952 convention. everybody else support eed taft. after supporting ike at the 1952
convention, morton was hand picked by the newly elected president to serve as assistant secretary of state for congressional affairs. he held his position from 1953 to 1956, advocating on capitol hill for eisenhower's foreign policy agenda. following his tenure at the state department, eisenhower again reached out to morton. this time he urged morton to run for the senate against clements in the hopes that republicans might retake the majority following the 1956 election. i remember senator morton telling me he didn't think he had a snowball's chance in hell, but morton agreed to run against clements. morton is sophisticated, east coast educated, former state department official. if that wasn't bad enough, he was from louisville on top of it. he still had some things to learn about running for
statewide office. however, he recalled as a member of the house, i had represented a district which was strictly metropolitan. i had, for example, no problems with agriculture. my greatest agricultural problem as a congressman was finding some flower seeds for the window boxes. the race against clements was really tight. so tight in fact that morton went to sleep at 2:30 a.m. on election night not knowing the outcome. the next morning the headline blare ed clements leads morton. as we know, thanks to happy, ike, and the pesky vote on social security, morton narrowly defeated clements. once elected, morton was soon elevated to the senate republican leadership team. morton, like clements, transcended the conservative-liberal divide in
his party. he was mentioned throughout the 1960s as a possible presidential or vice presidential candidate or a potential senate republican leader. by the way, not in my text, but you'd be interested to know the republican senator who ran against dirkson for senate republican leader in 1959 was john sherman cooper. obviously senator cooper did not win that race. in 1959 eisenhower approached morton with yet another request. would he head the republican national committee? mr. president, you must be at the bottom of the barrel if you're asking me, morton replied. eisenhower did morton one better and responded, you're damn right i am. [ laughter ] >> but as it turned out, morton
was a very good fit for the job. he headed the rnc from 1959 to 1961. a position interestingly enough that his younger brother rogers morton would hold exactly a decade later. as head of the rnc, morton was responsible for being the public face of the party and one of its chief fundraisers and organizers. he was hailed as the best rounded national chairman we've had in years. like clements, morton was a hard hitting partisan. he was known to say in the context of political campaigns if as a candidate you don't say it strongly, you'll wind up in the want ads. that philosophy was on full display in 1962 when the democrats nominated the liberal former louisville mayor wilson wyatt to challenge morton for the senate.
throughout the campaign, morton hammered wyatt on his liberal ties. the 1962 kentucky senate race drew national attention. president john f. kennedy came that october to speak in favor of wyatt at freedom hall over in louisville. a prominent republican senator also visited louisville that fall and made a few appearances, including one supporting morton. that republican was barry goldwater, who was the head of the national republican senatorial committee at the time. i remember this well because i was president of the college republicans at u of l, and i invited goldwater to speak at the university. goldwater accepted my invitation and i had the honor of introducing him to u of l that day. as a 20-year-old college kid, as
i said, i have naively assumed goldwater accepted this invitation because he wanted to come to u of l. looking back on it it is clear that goldwater may have wanted to visit u of l to give him something public to do while he was in town campaigning for thruston morton, but his speech sounded suspiciously, suspiciously, like someone who was laying the groundwork for a presidential run in 1964, which was of course exactly what he did. in that 1962 senate race morton's success stemmed from more than just the assistance of goldwater. it also included a helping hand from none other than happy chandler. the old war horse was positioning himself for yet another run for the governor's mansion in 1963. his motto was, abc in 63. and chandler believed he could
aid his own cause by helping morton in 1962. these races were back to back. i actually remember it. it was not subtle. in many counties chandler's campaign offices were right next to the morton offices. the irony is chandler helped morton get elected, but fell short in his election the next year. i can tell you from personal experience that chandler-clements factionalism had an impact at all level of kentucky politics. not just in the u.s. senate races, but in other contexts. in the spring of 1966 i was over here at the law school. i wanted to be president of the student bar association. as a louisville republican, you could immediately understand my most obvious handicap.
it was not an enviable position to be in. so i needed to have a good strategy, right, to overcome that handicap? what i decided to do was to emulate the approach taken by senator morton and form a coalition of republican and pro-democrat law students. like morton, i was able to win my election. you may be asking how in the world did i know who the chandler democrats were. how did i know that? it really wasn't hard. i just went to all of my democratic classmates who didn't have a part-time job. [ laughter ] >> i'm not embellishing this at all. that is exactly what we did. and ben, you'll get a kick out of this. at the time the most prominent
chandler democrat was bill. the year after his re-election in 1962 morton was tapped to secede goldwater. with this job, morton was in charge of recruiting republican senate candidates and helping them with their campaigns. i had the honor of following in morton's footsteps as the head of this committee from 1977 to 2001. he also played a prominent policy role, especially in foreign affairs. in 1967 he emerged as the key figure in getting the u.s. soviet consular treaty aproved by the senate. the johnson administration had been hesitant to pursue the
agreement due to the vietnam conflict. the senate republican leader actually opposed the treaty, but morton took the initiative not only for his party, but also for the senate. first, he persuaded former president eisenhower to embrace the treaty, which removed a great deal of potential partisanship from the equation. then morton used his knowledge on the subject matter and his reputation as a former state department official to convince 2/3 of his fellow republican senators to favor the pact, forcing dirkson to change his position. once morton had succeeded in securing strong republican support, he then prodded a hesitant president johnson to weigh in with democrats. lbj obliged and ultimately the senate approved the treaty. morton's success reflects how power in the senate often fl
fluctuates depends on the circumstances. morton's stature within the republican party coupled with his foreign policy credentials made his next step a highly publicized one. in august of 1967, the previously hawkish morton publicly changed his position on the vietnam war. his change of heart sent shock waves through official washington and further undermined support for president johnson's handling of the conflict. morton, like both chandler and clements, was also an advocate for civil rights. yet despite the high esteem in which he was held in early 1968,
morton shocked his colleagues once again by announcing he would not run for re-election. here's how he explained it. he said to use an old kentucky expression. i suppose i'm just plain track sore. in retirement, like clements, morton continued to advocate for kentucky causes, serving, for example, as chairman of the board of churchill downs. morton passed away in 1982. so my friends, the interrelated careers of happy chandler, earle clements, and thruston morton have left their impact on kentucky as well as on the nation as a whole. the rivalry between chandler and clements is significant for all of us as kentuckians because it defined state politics for nearly 30 years. the rivalry is important at a national level because it marked the turning point in the career
of two men of national stature. it ended the senate career of clements and marked the beginnings of morton's. on yet another level the rivalry between chandler and clements is a vivid illustration of the principle that the personal and the political are often inextricably intertwined. and more broadly still, it suggests that the legacies that result from such rivalries can reverberate long after the combatants have left the scene. thank you so much. [ applause ]
[ applause ] >> thank you, senator, for that very appropriate veterans day presentation and i thank all of you for joining us today. and we hope to see you in the near future. thank you. [ applause ] wednesday night on "american history tv" on c-span 3 programs about the civil war. at 8:00 p.m. eastern, the 150th anniversary of robert e. lee's surrender. at 10:20 p.m., we visit the camp sumter prison in andersonville,
georgia, for a ceremony honoring p.o.w.s who died there. here on c-span 3. this week on c-span 2 an encore of our q and a interviews. molly crabapple on her drawings of the israeli and palestinian conflict and the guantanamo bay prison. this holiday weekend american history tv on c-span 3 has three days of featured programming. beginning friday evening at 6:30 eastern, to mark the 125th anniversary of the birth of president dwight david
eisenhower, his granddaughters gather for a rare family discussion at gettysburg college to talk about his military and political career as well as his legacy and relevance for 21st century americans. then on saturday afternoon at 1:00, 60 years ago rosa parks defied a city ordnance for blacks to leave their seats on a city bus for white passengers. we'll reflect on the boycott and see what role lawyers played in that protest and the civil rights movement as we hear from fred gray, attorney for rosa parks, and montgomery bus boycott demonstrators. william davis on the little known aspects of the lives and leadership of general egrant.
and just before 9:00, writer and award-winning documentary filmmaker rick burns on how the public learns about history through film and television. american history tv all weekend and on holidays too only on c-span 3. next on american history tv, to mark the september release of the edward m. >> which span 10 presidential administrations. this hour, forty minute program begins with reflections by senate majority leader mitch mcconnell worked on senator
kennedy's staff in the i5y1990 chl chlts. >> well, welcome to the kennedy caucus room of the russel building. vickey, very good to see you again. i've appreciated the opportunity to come to boston and to participate in one of your first programs. and, also, to enjoy the extraordinary replica of the united states senate that vicky has put together out there. many of you have probably been there. but if you haven't, you should probably go. as somebody who spends a good deal of time on the senate floor myself, it gave me an eerie feeling that i was right there on the floor myself. ted kennedy and i didn't have much in common. but he came down to the
>> welcome and enjoy the program. thank you so much. >> thank you, senator. it's now my pleasure to swro deuce the executive director of the mili center at the university of virginia, bill antholis. before joining the mili center last year, bill served as the managing director of the brookings institute where he oversaw five research programs and over 400 employees. before that, he had a december ting wished career where he was the director of international
economic affairs of the national security council. le me say we could not have asked for a better partner in this endevil than the mili center. their experience, their expertise, their determination and their perns veerns to bringing this important historic project to life is unmatched. bill? [ applause ] >> thank you, gene. thank you everyone, for coming. this is the largest oral history we've done. we've done the official oral history for every president going back to jimmy carter. started in the business by doing a series of oral history conferences about the ford
standard that james sterling young established for our oral histories in terms of getting the quality -- the highest kwaumt of interviews. i want to particularly acknowledge har get spellings as the president of the george bush cent center at smu for that undertaking. doing this to allow those who participate in history rather than just historians to provide the tone. he also was looking for the genuine nts and spontaneity.
among other things you will find in the deep and broad transcripts, the senators consequential role over 47 years, issues of war and peace, immigration, judicial apointments, just to name a few. >> so in addition to james sterling young, i certainly want to thank as gene and i have just been on the job for about eight months. and a number of other staff who, with that of whom this would not have been possible.
and including in particular, i want to note bonnie burns and james wilson, two editors and coordinators for the project. >> fiernldly, i want to thank the entire staff. the two of them were critical. finally, i want to thank and introduce vickey reggie kennedy who was critical in conceptu conceptualizing the project in working with senator kennedy on all of his 20 sm odd interviews.
but who also is somebody who really knows and understands how washington works, who brings an insight for the nungss of politics so with that,vickey kennedy. >> thanks so much. [ applause ] >> thank you. >> first, i want to thank senator mcconnell for his wonderful, warm words and thank him for reserving the kennedy focus for us today so that we can gather in this place i don't think there could be a better
place for us than here in the caucus room. i want to thank bill and the entire team at the miller center who have been such incredible partners for us in this endeavor. and leaf enters, there would not be an oral higs ri project without you. as soon as teddy decided to move forward, he called lee and said find the best place for oral history in the country. let's move forward with this project. >> in helping to compile all of this and get it together.
>> she told him to observe, to understand, to listen. she also told him record. to understand is the only personal history. and that was something that he did. and how lucky for us that he did. little did he know when he was a small boy, dictating his first communion experience to his nanny, and i have that dictation, that his own personal history was going to be the important history of the 20th century. going into the 21st century.
some close friends in 2002, teddy had been in the senate at that point for 40 years. i any he thought he'd be in the senate for another 40 years. we all hoped so. we started thinking abilities legacy. and about history and one of the ideas that came up at that dinner table one night was to preserve his experience in history through oral history. we left and called lee. oral history is about more than just those dictations. it's about the observations of all of your friends. teddy understood that he needed honest, open reflections of the people he worked with. political allies alike. he wanted to people to give their unfettered recollections with no conditions. and i think they have.
and i think that is part of his gift for the ages. he also, that big, gregarious, irish american politician that so many of you knew so well was not so great about talking about himself. but weren't we lucky that james sterling young came out of retirement and was teddy's mentor, if you will, through this oral history project. professor young, "jim," became our dear friend. and this southern jentle man academic and this irish catholic politician who was closed when it came to personal matters, developed a bond that was like no other. they were unbelievable together. and jim was able to coax teddy
into talking about things and recounting his recollections and stimulating his memory. and putting meat on the bones, if you will. it was a terrific, terrific thing that happened between them. and we are so lucky. the only thing that i regret is that neert teddy nor jim are here to be with us today. but their legacies, both of their legacies, live on in the transcripts that we've released. and we are all better for it. it is now my great honor and pleasure to introduce an extraordinary historian and a very good friend, teddy talked with him often about this oral history project. he's a person who really needs no introduction. we've heard that expression, but he really needs no introduction. he's the author of nine books. he is a person whose face is his
calling card. his voice is his calling card. we all rely on his insights into history. i am so delighted to introduce him now. [ applause ] >> vickey, thank you. [ applause ] >> we were talking about this a little bit last night. vickey was talking a little bit about it too, just now. when this project began, it was about 15 years ago. and senator kennedy was nice
enough to ask various people for advice on how to do this. so one of the things he asked me was, you know, when you have a project like this, you'll give me an example of a project that really didn't work. what went wrong? and i said, well, okay. the johnson library in 1969, which was being built, they decided to do an oral history project. so the interviewers began interviewing people who has been assistance to l.b.j. in the white house. you look at those transcripts. it's amazing. they would say things that sort of johnson with all of his even temper and produgs bad language around really nice always to the people who work for him and infill gnatly patient. years ago, i began reading some of these things. and i asked someone rat the library wlafs going on here.
we knew that wasn't true. they figured their conversations would be typed up because they knew he couldn't resist finding out what his aides actually thought about him. >> and the other thing i said was, you know, you know this already, senator, but this can bring so much to people's understanding of you and the period during which you serve because people just don't write letters anymore to the degree that they used to, diaries are not kept. and so all of those things are going to be lost up less the people who knew you and loved
you, as well as you yourself, talk into that microphone and preserve it for later generations. i told the story of 1961, when president kennedy went to london after a meeting and he was meeting with the british prime minister with whom already he had built a quiet good relationship, although mcmillen was a generation older. it turned out they sure did. but years later, i talked to some people who were in the private meeting. and president kennedy spent a lot of the meeting complaining about the newspapers were too critical of him. he was not enjoying the sering krit zic criticism after the bay of pigs. and finally, they said jack, brush it off. and the president said that's easy for you to say. how would you like it if you were the one being criticized.
>> if the british newspapers said that your wife was a drunk? and actually, she was. she did drink too much. squl it's not always great historical revelations or a big change in the way that we see important events and important leaders. but you begin to understand things in three dimension and nuance the way that we're really behind the scenes. ted kennedy, as we students of his life know, was born february, 1932 on exactly the 200th anniversary of george washington and narrowly being escaped being called george washington kennedy. he lived 77 years. it was much too short. as vickey said, poignantly. but the amazing thing is he
lived for nearly one-third of the length of all american history. not only is he important in the stretch of history for all the reasons that we know, his looming place in our national life, but this is someone who, as a child, knew franklin roosevelt and winston churchill and late in his adult life, knew george w. bush and barack obama. this is the huge sweep and swath of this life in american history. as vickey said so well, he had an enormous sense of history. i can't but note the fact that his two brothers in 1960 and 1968 announced their campaigns for the presidency right over here in this room. but when ted kennedy did that, he did not do it here very specifically. he wanted to make the point that he was not doing it in the same
place as his brothers and just expecting to be elected on the basis of their earlier campaigns. he wanted to make it very clear that he wanted to be elected on the basis of his enormous record in massachusetts. as vickey and bill were both mentioning, he had an amazing understanding for someone who was not a professional historian. he almost was one. he read so much of what an oral history project could be. and in these oral history transcripts i've been reading voraciously of the the last day and a half, one of the they think things that james sterling young says, he says that of all the political leaders that i've done oral histories with, and he must have done them for three or four decades, he says no one had a better understanding of what a oral history project could be than ted kennedy did.
if you look at the 46 years, it reminds me of the john kennedy to choose the five greatest senators of american history up until that time. they struggled to find who they were. ted kennedy would not be at the top of that list of great senate xxs. not only because of the enormous legislation that, in many cases did not bear his name because of his modestness. he was his own abiding symbol of passion. giving a voice to those who had no voice. and seeing a number of people
work for him here, i might also note, i don't think anyone is going to disagree, in those 46 years, he always had what was considered to be the best staff in the united states senate. [ applause ] >> and i always thought of him as someone who the founders would have loved to see in the united states senate. as we know, what they thought was this. they want conflict. they wrote the institution. they devised our system in a way that they felt the way to get the best policies was to duke it out all day long. but at the end of the day, still remember that we're all americans and have relationships that could be tremendously important. and i think no one understood that better than edward kennedy
and i know so many wish we hear what he says about that. i haeshd john mccain on television the other day and you have, too, say ted kennedy and i, we fight all the time, but we loved each other and we were pals. the founders would love hearing that. and ill think it's getting to be tragically too seldom that we see that today. that's one reason why his message now is so important. i remember asking senate xx kennedy, i think it was in the winter of 2008. but to be absolutely honest, if i were 10 or 15 years younger, i'm not so sure i wouldn't be trying to run for president again, myself.
so love of the senate did not require lack of interest in what a president can do, as well. here we are at a time when americans tell pollsters they are very down on congress, emk institute in boston. and i think this project, as well, can show people how crucial it has been through history to have leaders of the caliber of edward kennedy in the senate. and i think if we are truth be told, once or twice in washington, you occasionally will run into an egomaniac or two. one thing that i think is so right is this was an amazingly modest man given his life and all of that accomplishment. and you really hear it in thiez tripts. a lot of it is so much about what he saw and whom he worked for. this is not all about me and how great i was and how important a career i've had.
i think the best way to sort of look at this is to say that these transcripts not only show how ted kennedy fit into the history of the 20th and 21st serge ri, but also i think it remind ds me most of all, and i was telling vickey last night, i sat down reading his transcripts about 10:00 a.m. and i thought i'd read for an hour or two and i had a few other things i'd had to do. aened at about 4:00, i was still mesmerized staring at these transcripts on the screen. the intensity of the issues which almost makes you cry. that wonderful distance through personal tragedy cannot help but inspire everyone who reads these. the best place to close, not
only was ted kennedy a great student of history, but particularly a student of the history of massachusetts. and a student of the history of the adams family, which like another family i'm thinking of, was a great massachusetts political family. i talked to him more than once about this. he was always struck about that amazing coincidence that 50 years to the day that john adams and thomas jefferson both dies on the same day and john adams last words were thomas jefferson still lives. and ill think the best thing about this project still is that six years after he left us, he e we will begin hearing that voice and reading those transcripts and those of the interviews of people who loved him and work with him. and i think you will say along with me, that thanks to this project, edward kennedy still lives. thank you all very much.
[ applause ] >> thank you, michael. for those very special remembrances. it means a lot knowing you're someone who's bchb working ochb this project from the beginning. i'm judy woodriffe and i just want to thank everyone for being here. again, i want to thank the miller center for the extraordinary work you've done. i especially want to thank mrs. vickey kennedy for being a part of this day. it is really an honor. i never was lucky enough to cover the senate on a full time basis. but i interviewed senator kennedy many times over the years on the central role that
he played and we know the reason the press flocked to him is because he was the part -- if there was a big issue, than senator kennedy was going to be part of it. so time and again, we would look to him for an important point of view. and i can tell you from those years of talking to him, his love of the senate as an institution came through vividly every time i talked to him. now, a number of those issues that we would talk about fall under the heading of zifrl rights. minority rights. congresswom women's and gay rights. access to education. immigration. we are so fortunate to have with it us for this next part of the
program, some of the leading figures in this city who worked either alongside him, who worked for him or even in opposition to him over the past three or four decades. please join me in welcoming, first, the former united states senator from the state of wyoming. the former united states senator from the state of connecticut, christopher dodd. >> former obama white house domestic policy advisor and she also served as the senator's chief council on the judiciary committee, melody barns. [ applause ] >> the former secretary of
education under president george w. bush. she's now the head of the bush presidential library and center, margaret spellings. dr. barbara perry, the co-chair of the miller center oral history project. and we may have joining us, we certainly hope to have joining us, u.s. representative john lewis votes under way. but we know he's going to try to get here. when he gets here, we will work him into the conversation. so let's get started. i'm going to grab a microphone. and i'm going to start with you, senator simpson. let's see if i can get this right. >> there's a screw loogs. >> i'm doing this so i can see all of you while we're talking. i just want to quickly go around the group and ask each one of
you to refleblgt on him. when you think about senator kennedy and ewe think about civil rights, broadly speaking, what do you think ant? >> well, first i think of the first time i met him, which was in the brar and lounge in hudson wyoming in 1960. he was out campaigning for his brother. we're both the same age. he was working on his brother's campaign. and he said you know what i'm going to do? i'm going to ride in the rodeo. i said well, you'll like that. and he rode for seven seconds. a ride is 8 seconds. he talked about that the rest of his life. he said it was close. he said well, i tried. and i said that's all a steer can do. and, so, people from the west
don't understand much different than that. but that's another story. i had fun with him. other people could grind away on policy but i wasn't good at that. i was good at getting something done. and i was a legislator and he was a legislator. and the minute ho knew that the presidency was no longer in his grasp, he said i'll be the best legislator in the united states senate and he was. and that will go down in united states history. melody barns, i'm going to turn to you next. when you think of him and civil rights, what to you think? >> i think of i can hear his voice. and it comes out in the transcripts. always talking about knocking down the walls. and civil rights beings the great unfinished business of this country. and he had -- there's an urgent patience about it. and an insistence about getting
things done and moving forward and civil rights. but at the same time, he would take the quarter loaf, he would take half a loaf, he would take a third of the loaf if he thought he could move things forward. i remember we were working on the employment nondiscrimination act. and several of my colleagues in here joined on that together. we lost that vote in the senate. the bill to prevent discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered americans and the workplace. and we lost that 49-50. and we were down in the dumps. i literally was crying coming off the floor. and we got back to his office and he looked at us and he said why the long faces? he said we have advanced a cause today and an issue that has never been debated on the floor of the senate and we are going to celebrate this. and literally, he picked up the phone and started dialing.
and we had a party. i mean, we had a big party in his auchsz to celebrate the fact that we were moving this issue forward. and i think ant that urgent to get it done. but, at the same time, he would recognize all steps across the goal miechb. >> secretary margaret spellings, you worked with him in a different way. you were part of the bush administration chlts you worked with him very closely. when you think of senator kennedy civil rights broadly defined, what do you think? >> we worked together on education, on mental health parody and on immigration. and imthink he had an incress e credible sense of timing on what you can do and how to put the cast of characters together, knowing what 20 hold and what to fold on and how to see the contours of the deal. he also really knew the stuff. he knew the history of the stuff. he knew the policy, i think, as a staff person working with him. he wasn't one of the fly over senators not that any of them
are on this panel, either. but he really knew the guts of the policy. it was a joy to work with. he was humble and would do what it would take to get done. make a call, do an event. just no job too big or too small. >> senate xx dodd, you were a good friend of his for a long time. when you think of him and civil rights, what do you think? >> first of all, let the record reflect that i was not at that bar in 1969. [ laughter ] >> it would be the only time i wasn't with him. >> two things. first of all, again, vickey, thank you. this is terrific. i wrote the resolution that created the kennedy caucus. so it's a great venue to meet in this venue that bears his name and his brother's names. two things come to mind.
he was great fun and had a great joy of life. i thinkon countless occasions, literally being with no one else, literally no one listening but me. and he would get as passionate about an issue. and i'd have to remind him. it's just the two of us here. we're out in the middle of the ocean. no one is going to listen to you other than me. you can calm down. but he cared about things so deeply that even with personal friends and a moment of relaxati relaxation, his commitment to these issues was so profoundly deep that really tran sended almost any quality that i can think about. and to pick up on melody's point, involved in the question. meeting in the conference room. and i wish i koumd get him $7 billion. i think bob dole even agreed to that amount. and i wanted nine or ten billion. and i kept banging away here as
a freshman senator thinking i could get more money out of bob dole. teddy called for a break. and said you go balk in that room and you take the $7 billion you're offering, you idiot and come back next year and get the other four. it was a wonderful learningless son-in-law. i told bob dole the story this morning in coming here. so his passion and commitment and that wonderful ability and understanding that in this constitution, that the great lessons and the great vickers has been incremental in our history. it's going to that more perfect union we often talk about. never achieving it, but always striving to get closer to it. barbara perry, you've -- you are the one person on this panel who's had a chance to look at everything. you've been part of this process.
when you -- seeing what you've seen, knowing what you know, when you think of the senator in civil rights at large, what do you think about? >> well, i think of the senator and to others. but we did not have the honor 06 working with him but had the honor of helping this subject. it kind of goes back to the early 80s, i remember v universi university of virginia when i was there earning my ph.d. in political science. and it seemed like every year, ted kennedy was there. he was always there as a surrogate father for many of them. and that, you would think, as i read through these tripts initially and particularly the early ones that he did was jim young, my colleague.
was that he went back to his family and he went back to his family roots and he talked about when, as a young boy in prep school just outside boston; he would come in as a teenager every sunday and have lunch with his famous and colorful grandfather, john f.fitzgerald who had been a member of congress and they would walk around the city and that was part in parcel of him soaking up the lessons of history. one particular lesson was, of course, the discrimination faced by his grandfather and faced by the irish americans and the new irish imgrants and the cathol s catholics. it seems to me that is part in par cell of him devoting his life to gaining an equality and inclusion for as many people as he could bring into the fold. >> that's a great start. i want to zero in now on one of the issues that he spent a lot of time on. senator simpson, i wanted's also an issue you worked very hard on for a long time.
and it'sism grags reform. at one point, in the oral history, he expressed frustration over how congress deals with immigration. he said it was one of three issues that bring out the worst in terms of the functions of the senate. he added immigration starts out as reasonably sanitized. and then, basically, detier rates into racist amendments and racism on the floor of the senate. did you see that, too? and can you expand on what he meant by that? well, civil rights to him was the rights of imgrants and refugees. there's a difference that's not being picked up today in the world. he was serious about stuff. that he -- when i came, he had kept the issue of immigration to himself. he didn't have a subcommittee. so here i wonder into this place. and howard baker did a wonderful thing. he put me on the select
commission of immigration and refugee policy. i said i don't know nick about it. he said -- and you're a freshman. so you're going on. and along came father ted esburg who feels the chairman and miller damon, he was over on the other side. and there was ted. you can see a great grup. >> so he said, al, this is so important, why don't you get to be the chairman of the subcommittee on immigration refugee policy and i'll give you all the help in the world. jerry tinker, you rebel that wonderful staff guy, bless his soul. so i said, well, okay. he said and i'll be the ranking member and i can feed you 17 years worth of stuff on this issue. and you're going to learn it and i'll help you. i said great. we worked. i had a guy named dick dei, i don't want to take anymore on
each annals,but let me tell you, he, when we got the bill done, he said, ael, i tried to help. and boy, he did. sometimings he'd say this is going to be a hot a e amendment today. he said i'll tell you what. i don't like it, but i won't show up. i'll let it go. and then we'll get it in conference and do something with it. so he came to me before the bill passed. he said i'm awful proud of what we've doen. that's the way he worked. he had tough issues because he had a political group that advised hirm and a ledge slatsive group that advise ds him. sometimes they weren't in accord. that was a tough one for him. that was a human thing to him in massachusetts regardless of what was in the bill.
don't forget, all humor comes from bane. that's the way that works. so melody barns, senator dodd, what would you add there on immigration? what did you see in him? in that comment, it does go pretty deep. well, it does. but in any issue, it's always something that -- he understood that politics is more than a neck up. it's an emotional skper size. you need to unction that. even among your colleagues, as you make your arguments, you have to understand that human beings, who are motivated and probably as much by their own pernl experience as anything else.
when i was on the family medical leave act, seven years before president clinton signed it into law, february, 1993, wasn't getting very far, and he said you need to do something different than that. and i think this is what he did with immigration. he said there are a bunch of colleagues who serve here who have had difficulties in their family lives. and nay never lostz their pay. they were never told they couldn't serve in the senate necessary to be in that time of crisis. don't talk about them by name. don't mention a colleague by name. but talk about those senators that you know about that went through that on the floor of the senate. they were never docked a nickel of their pay. making some intellectual issue. that's how he won the bill. so he had a wonderful ability,
in a sense, to bring an issue back down to a level that any human being could understand. and so familiarly in moments when people would resort to language or emotions that were particular u he would remind you of their emotional status. when i think of the story about his own son with teddy junior going through, and that everyone would have to pay for very expensive medicine to be able to qualify for receiving it. many of those families could not in that trial, september teddy could. it was incredible to him that his child could survive and live because he had the resources to pay for it. and these other families would have a child who would not.
and when he talked about it on that level, how do you walk away from an issue? so he had a wonderful ablt to do that. and to me, it was one of the great qualities he brought to public debate. >> whether it was children's hemt or immigration, how did you see that from the inside? what was -- how did he work? these issues that were so hard? >> well, a couple of things. one touching on both, senator dodd's comments. he had enormous, it wasn't -- and it was also born out of the history. he took that in his own experiences. there are great pieces of the transcript that he talks about in the army.
understanding how you work everyone. very much match what senator kennedy said. it was that history and that prospect that he brought to the floor. but, at the same time, tra steejic. tlrn strategies and trrp tactics. the senate is a place that's chemical. anything can change. all of that helped him to understand where there was a moment to move forward. when there might be a moment to pull back. he also coupled that with these
very difficult, very complex issues, with effective. we work hard. so he would bring in people for briefings. again, this is all in the transcripts. it started from the beginning of his career in the senate p. and he would stud day. he would take home these bags. and he would read enormous amounts of material. and he would say, you know, that guy, he worked for it. call so and so. he worked for jack. and he was always accumulating. and he also reached to staff as an extension. in enormous ways. i remember robert rights, when he was labor secretary, walked in and said this is where all of my staff is. but he was an extension of himts to gather information. >> i want to come to margaret spellings on education. but i have to pick up with first with senator simpson.
what does it mean, the chemistry, the chemical nature of the senate? what do you think that means? >> oh, it's real. these guys never know each other. they're out of here. they've got to be in detroilt. bob dole, we all can remember. we can't be here tonight. we've got a fundraiser in detroit. the chemical is the human contact. the joke, the hue nor, the pat on the bat. the intimacy of the ride on the subway or staff meetings or late nigh
nights. >> it wasn't about the wine. >> no. >> it's very real. it's about intimacy. and that word is a good word. and it's about taking risks with your feelings and so on. he talk tsz about more. a risk to openness and humor. >> he didn't have any of that. he just waded right in and it didn't matter. i remember he introduced me he said this man came to us and was using his family's name just because his father was a governor and a u.s. senator. to think a man would come here using a family name. >> i heard that with great regularity. [ laughter ] >> well, chris' dad and my dad
were in the senate together. we both ran for office and we both lost by one vote. we said god, our folks would be proud. >> senator dodd, do you want to add anything on this? >> allen has it right. i mean, this is, i think michael said this. i think vickey as well. it's such a unique place. there's no other place like this. and it's an acquired taste. you don't get it when you first come here. it does, it takes time to understand. there really aren't any rules in the senate. you read jefferson's rule book, but the place operates on comedy. that's the only way things happen. the institution is willing, the membership is willing to let it move forward and to occur. and it takes time to understand how the webs and the ebbs and flows of that relationship. the day i left for the senate, march 3rd, 20e 11, pat toomey walked up to me and said you're living today, i'm arriving
today. what ice your big advice? i said my big advice is simple. i was on the floor of the senate, the back of the chamber. the place was full. it was swearing in day. you're a minority in your first term. you're not going to have a lot to do this year. there's an opportunity that you won't gept a chabs to do. i looked over and i said pick out every one of these people and the next year, take each one of them out to breakfast, lunch or dinner. you're going to like them a lot more than you'd ever imagined given your political differences. two, i'm really going to scare you. you'regoing to agree with each other a lot more than you ever possibly could imagined. and thirdly, you'll do things together and make the place work. now, i think he's done quite a lot of that over the years. but to me, it takes the time and the effort. when i ended up with my co-sponsor on lifting the travel restrictions in cuba, it wasn't pause of the the longics. it aes because we were friends.
he said give me your best argument only why you think we ought to do this. he said put me down. i said the bring yanls of my argument? was it my logic? he said no, i've got a bunch of rice in southern missouri and we'd like to sell into that market. he never would have had the conversation. so that's the chemistry of it. it's not the rule book that make those things happen. it's because you get to know your colleagues. you spend time and you unction the moments to fall back. as with teddy, of course, people can serve here as long as he did and never get it. some get it rather quickly. teddy got it quickly. and he used it so mag nif zently for the benefit of the country. >> margaret spellings. you ran the department of education for president george w bush. this was a time coming off the animosity of the 2000 election
that most people did expect that there wouldn't be a lot of cooperation between the democrats and the thoun and the new president. bud when it came to no child left behind, senator kennedy was what? in the forefront of working with the president? take us inside what happened? how did all of that come agent. >> so it started, to pick up where senator simpson whether he felt left off with this relationship and this intimacy and this friendship and respect that president bush and senator kennedy developed literally on day one. you'll remember on the first week of the president sill, we had movie night at the white house. we were i believe violated with our spouses for hot dogs and so forth. the movie was 13 days. we're watching it in the white house movie theater. with george bush and ted kennedy watching 13 days. and vickey kennedy and i are
sitting here what the heck are we doing here? but it started with this respect, this relation shim. and i'll never forget the first substantive meeting they've had together in the first day of the oval office. there was all sorts of discussion on school choice and vouchers and president bush's push for 2340 child left behind which he had run for. and bush said to senator kennedy, you know, they're going to come in here and ask us a bufferin of questions. it's a first day on the job. and i'm going to say we had a great discussion and we're going to have a great relationship and we're going to get started on this important piece of legislation. they're going to want to pick at us and divide us, but i'm not going to on day one. >> so nay e nay had laid the foundation and we had a lot of open communication, always agreement, clearly.
but just that intimacy, that constructive flow. and that's what it takes to get stuff done. >> but what do you think it took to get things to work? these are two different individuals. very different backgrounds. they come from a huge political families. >> well, i think, you know, it was their shared belief in the you are jeyou are jent need to nor and to have higher achievement levels pd. and they shared that commitment and that passion in a muscular, federal role to do that. so president bush took on his partisan friends in that mos cue lar federal role. and senator kennedy saw an opening and an opportunity to advance that civil rights i shall shoe, if i could say it that way, to gain additional row sources, additional funding, which was a top priority for him, obviously. and over a course of a little less than a year, oddly enough,
which is breakneck pace in this town, we got it done. we spent six weeks on the senate floor, you'll remember, chris, debating no child left behind. when you think ant that now, six weeks on a bill with hundreds and hun drepd e dreads of amendmenteds. it's just almost unheard of now. >> barbara perry. >> could i just follow up then through follow up for senator dodd and secretary spellings. if you go on the website of the bush 43 library, and i had occasion to do this back in the spring because i was doing a paper on no child left behind and the close relationship between president bush 43 and senator kennedy, on the bush 43 website is a handwritten letter from senator kennedy to president bush 43, thanking him for inviting him and his family to the white house to see "13 days" and to say, i know that we have a number of policies and
commitments and goals in common, and i look forward to coming down to the rose garden for many signings of bills that we both can agree on. >> and that was at the beginning. that was the first week. >> yes. >> at the very beginning. what -- melody, you were around then. how did it look from inside? >> well, i was on -- i was his judiciary chief counsel, so there were some issues that i worked on with my labor committee colleagues as they were moving the bill through, but they were driving the day on that. but at the same time, it was easy through the briefings and the conversations we had across the office. i mean, there was a lot of push and poll. and you know, i think -- >> what do you mean, push and pull? >> well, consistent with what margaret was saying, not everyone on the democratic side was particularly thrilled, you know, that senator kennedy was doing this, but he believed in it and he was coercing and cajoling and splash the dog was
used at key moments in time to bark. but there are all kinds of -- >> how did that work? [ laughter ] >> some things history shouldn't know. >> i mean, was he sicking the dog on -- >> no, no, no, no, no. not at all. but you know, he believed in a full toolbox to try and move things forward. [ laughter ] i learned from the master. to move things forward, because he believed that it was so important. he was a legislator's legislator. he believed his job here was to help the most vulnerable, and we didn't accomplish that by just standing and screaming and doing nothing. and so, that was his commitment, and that was also the reason why he consistently believed in working across the aisle. he always -- another thing he would say to me -- one person, melody, could stop anything in
the senate, and that meant you always had to look for consen s consensus. now, he was always willing to be that one person, but he was always willing to build consensus in that way. >> barbara, back to you on this, what would president bush say about senator kennedy? because you would think, again, coming in one of the more progressive, liberal members of the united states senate, who he finds himself working with closely on this issue. did he -- what did he say. >> yeah, they had a genuine respect and common cause on getting this done. when education -- you know, the standard orthodoxy for republicans was to deabolish the department of education, that kind of thing, and president bush wasn't that kind of republican, a compassionate conservative and all that, and he saw in ted kennedy a partner that could advance the cause. and the bill had been overdue for six or seven years and needed to get done. senator kennedy, i think, saw the opportunity for enhanced federal funding for a commitment to poor and minority kids that
we had not seen before, and it's the law in the land today, even. >> senator simpson, what, from your side of the aisle, what did it look like when you would look across and see -- i mean, you lived this, but you would see senator kennedy working with republicans on issue after issue after issue after issue? yes, there were clear, huge disagreements, but there were also so many points of working together. what did it look like? >> well, my father came to the senate the year ted kennedy did, and he was ahead of him in seniority by one. so, when i came to the senate, the old man said get to know this kennedy kid, he caused his folks as much pain as you've caused your mother and i. [ laughter ] mother and me, rather. ann is here. it's mother and me. and so, the minute i came here, i just said, here i am, and he
said, are you millard's kid? i said, that's right. and from then on -- and then my father came here the year i was sworn in, which was '78. then in '79, i asked pop and mom to come for reception. first guy that went through a reception was ted kennedy. got down on one knee. pa had parkinson's disease and pretty battered up. and started to tell dad about jack kennedy and what he had to deal with with some of his neurological, you know, things that were a part of whatever that history was. that was something that really meant a lot to me, and i knew right then that there was a guy i could work with. again, it goes back to the chemistry. but when you look across the aisle, and i look across, and here's a guy like dave lumpers. well, i was terrified of him. he'd go up and down the floor and talk about being a country lawyer, you know, and he could have chopped you into shreds. so, i got to know him. then i started telling him
stories about the big, quiet horse at the park county fair and stuff, and we just became the closest of friends. but the problem was, when i left the senate and i came back one time and i was giving hugs all around, and one of the newer republican senators said, what were you doing right there? i said, i was over talking to bumpers or levin, the guys i had come with. he said, we don't do that. i said that's why it doesn't work around here, you jerks. you've turned into the salt pillars. you ought to turn backwards and see the whole works go down. i said other things, too, but i don't want to get into it. [ laughter ] >> i want to -- any one of you who want to jump on this. but when it came to some of these tough civil rights issues, whether it was, melody, whether it was voting rights, some of the civil rights amendments, how did he deal? you said, you know, he'd say just keep going. did he never get discouraged about how things were?
because things didn't -- they don't move quickly in the senate. >> right. well, just as an overarching comment on that, i remember one night vicki had a meeting in the dining room, and it was pouring rain. i had gone to him with an event. and he said come home and we'll have dinner in the kitchen and vicki's got this meeting and she kept opening the door and telling us to be quiet, because we were too loud. but i asked him that very question. i was like, you've been here almost 40 years. and he looked at me, he said, the senate works, it is amazing. and there was true rev ranserenr this institution. this person who had been here for 40 years still thought that this institution was absolutely incredible, and he believed that it opened the door and created the opportunity for things to get done. and he -- i always found him to be -- and my guess is my colleagues from the kennedy staff out there would feel the same way -- to be a person of great hope and optimism.
and he would regret the loss, but he was always looking for the door. so, the phone would ring on a saturday morning, and you know, i'm like, "hello?" and he was like, have you read blah, blah, blah. go read it, call me back. he was always thinking, always looking for a way to move things forward. and i think that also comes through in the transcripts. he talks about this innate sense of optimism and hopefulness, and that permeated his work. >> barbara, pick up on that from looking at the transcripts, how did you see that? because again, somebody looking from the outside would say, how could you possibly stay engaged after all this time, and frankly, you know, really discouraging moments. >> well, first of all, melody's absolutely right. and in fact, jim young and the senator had this great dialogue in one of the transcripts, one of the interviews, where jim asked that same question. so, it's almost as if you're asking the senator today. and the response from the
senator -- and i think jim was particularly focusing on all of the difficulties that the senator and his family had faced throughout their lives. and the senator was just very clear about it. and one item that we haven't talked about this afternoon is his deep religious faith. and he quoted from matthew chapter 25 about the need for all of us to work to feed the hungry and to house the homeless and to visit those in prison. and i thought about that this past week with the visit of the pope. vicki earlier mentioned the senator's first communion and the fact that he kept a diary, and i spoke to his nanny about it and she took down the dictation. i don't think vicki mentioned and many of you know, he was given his first communion by the new pope, pope pius xii at the vatican. so, i remember my first communion, but it wasn't quite like that.
>> not everybody got to have the pope, that's true. >> but throughout the transcripts and the interviews, the senator keeps circling back to that deep religious faith. and so, when jim young says, but how do you have this optimism, how do you keep this optimism? and i think jim, again, meant that both for his personal tribulations, but also for the legislative process, he just kept saying, i take great optimism from my faith. >> chris dodd, you spent a lot of time with him, again, over the years as a good friend. you didn't see discouragement on some of these issues? >> no. i agree with what's been said. i'm sure he had his moments, but i think all of us, his staff here and others would echo what's been said. it was pretty amazing. and not only in light of the difficulty of getting a bill passed. just think of his own family's life and what he witnessed growing up in a large, wonderful, vibrant family where tragedy visited them with great
regularity. and that would be enough for any family, any individual to have dark feelings about anything. and so, teddy -- i think in some sense, maybe it was the strength coming out of those experiences which gave him a sense of optimism, ironically, in a way. so, i can't say i ever recall a single moment where he felt as though all was lost or how tragic am i or how difficult we didn't get the bill passed or something. i don't recall a single instance where that was the case. >> what about -- any one of you, senator simpson, senator dodd, melody, margaret. in terms of persuading other senators, other members of congress on some of these issues, because he was relentless on some of these things. >> well, he was -- >> how did he -- >> well, he did it, and again, we're starting to sound repetitive, and again, because he was such a great teacher, in a sense. the great benefit i had was
being his friend but also could watch him and how we did things. we were just whispering to each other when you were talking about the letter he got from president bush. i've got a stack of them, i can tell you. the first call i got when my children were born was from teddy. i'm sure you all remember that i ran for president. the first call i got -- >> you did? >> the first call i got was from teddy and vicki. ju just, in the letters he would write, the notes he would write, the visits he would make to people. he paid attention to what was happening in people's life, and that personal touch. and it wasn't because he was looking for your vote tomorrow or because there was some issue on the table, but i guarantee you because the senate is still made up of human beings. everything else being equal, you don't have some big, overriding ideological feeling about a question. and if teddy kennedy approached you on something, you'd probably heard from him on a moment of grief or a moment of joy in your
family, and you'd listen to that phone call and you'd take that message, and everything else being equal, you know, i think i'll give him a vote. i can't tell you how valuable that is and the reaction that alan got from some member who suggested there was something wrong with him if he went and said hello a to a colleague who enjoyed serving with before is exactly what's wrong. and another thing that needs to be said because it's very important, teddy celebrated compromise. he celebrated. when was the last time anyone ran for public office in this country and announced in their constituency that if you elect me, i'm a great compromiser, in a sense? and there was a time when if you ran for a legislative body, that skill set was critical to the success of it and your success, in a sense, and we have so den graded in the last number of years, denograded the ability of people to work out differences. we celebrate it, respect it, encourage it in any endeavor we're engaged in life, except our public life.
and teddy would be horrified today. put the issues aside of where he'd stand on a question, he'd be horrified that members would run for this institution to serve in this body and do nothing to celebrate or enhance the ability to work out our differences. that would bother him more than anything else, in my view. >> i think the thing that got me, that word again, compromise, which to many is a four-letter word -- the point being that if you can't learn to compromise an issue without compromising yourself, and you so well, melody, talked about, he'd take an eighth of a loaf and start with it or a tenth or whatever and then get something moving. but we did this face-off program for eight years on mutual radio and just whacked each other to bits five days a week, and i'd go back to the floor and he'd say, god, you really stuck it to me. i said, you deserved it. and then the next week i'd say, geez, that got a little bit personal. he'd say, you know, get over it. but our mothers died within five days of each other, and there
was a "face-off" program. i'll never forget it, somebody said -- there was a recording -- i think at the end, i said, you know, ted, they're up there clearing the way for us, i think. and he said, they'll need a bulldozer, which was true. but one thing he did, he got into it with strom thurmond one day, and old strom was, you know, giving whatever business strom was doing and ted really nailed him. afterwards, i said, you know, ted, what the hell. remember what our mothers taught us, you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. he said -- your mother tell you that, too? i said, yes, and you should remember it. he said, well, i'll think about it. then five days later, delivered to my office is a 44-star flag, very rare, because there were five states came into the union, maybe six, within months. so, the 44th was kind of a beat-up thing. and here's this thing delivered to my office. it says, "i did talk to strom,
and this is for you." and on the bottom, he wrote "here's to my friend, al simpson, a great friend, a great senator, even if he still seems to be playing with 44 stars on his flag." [ laughter ] i have that in my den. [ applause ] >> i want to see this flag. margaret spellings? >> i just wanted to add one thing about the compromise. not only would he compromise, but he would stick with and defend the compromise that was reached, not for a day, not for a week, but for a long, long time, and he expected that from the other side of the deal-doer. and it showed respect and it showed that incremental progress was okay and he was willing to defend it over and over for years. he defended no child left behind to the hilt long after a lot of others had flaked off on both sides of the aisle. >> and can i add to that two things. one, if you go back, and i see
some colleagues who worked on this, to clarence thomas' confirmation hearing, and we know he was an active component. in the evening, he was working to negotiate the 1991 civil rights bill with the same people that he was debating and arguing with in that morning. and it was the ability, the things that the senators were talking about, to understand the humanity of his fellow senators, but at the same time have the debate and then go forward and to negotiate the deal. i will also say in another instance, you were talking about how he did this, and i go back to the hard work. and i can think of another confirmation hearing that we were working on, and he literally, i mean, he had us working day and night and putting white papers together and memos together, and he'd say to me, i want to go visit senator "x," and he would make an appointment and he would personally go and sit down with that senator, deliver the memo, make his argument for a half hour, 45 minutes. we'd walk out, he'd tell me what happened. he's like, okay, now i want to
go visit senator "y." one person at a time to move those votes. and he did. >> well, i want to wrap up. this has been amazing. i want to wrap up by asking each one of you, as you think about this extraordinary man, and i'm going to start with you, barbara, and you think about what comes across in these oral histories, what should the next generation, the young people of today think about -- how do they think about public service, how do they think about civil rights, you know, based on what we've learned from senator kennedy? >> well, two things. one is that the senator says in one of the interviews that, particularly on marriage equality and gay rights that he's so delighted to see things moving forward and that things were moving forward in his life and that generations to come will not even be thinking in these terms because equality will have been reached. and i think that's one point to keep in mind. the other on public service is
that you will notice, if you received your commemorative book on the way in today, if you turn towards the back, you'll find that one of the last full-page photos that we have is of senator kennedy and president obama together on the day that the president signed into law the edward m. kennedy public service act. and it seems to me that the senator and his family, certainly, we know, represented public service and their commitment to public service beyond anything that anyone could ever even imagine. so, i think that's the inspiration that he leaves behind, both in this oral history and in his career. >> margaret? >> yeah, i would say a respect for public service and a respect for other public servants. i mean, i always thought, you know, he was here for the right reason and he gave everybody else that benefit of the doubt also. and this, you know, shared commitment to doing the right thing on behalf of our country. and you know, it just oozed out of him, and he had that respect
for his fellow members, for staff, for constituents. when you're walking through an airport in boston with him or, you know, in front of him at a hearing, just that mutual respect for contributing to the good of our country. >> melody. >> the quote that bill used at the top of the program was one that jumped out at me from the transcripts. and when his mother said to him in the early '60s, when he had given a speech, let the tape keep running, teddy, you know, show them that politics is joyful and that it's fun, we take the issues seriously, but the people we enjoy. and that is what i experienced working for him. no one worked harder. no one of us the staff worked harder than he did. no one took these issues more seriously and no one was more passionate about them, deeply committed to them. but he had a joyfulness and a love, as margaret was saying, as the senators have said, as barbara said, he had a love of the senate, he had a love of his
colleagues here, and he loved for the people that he was trying to help and support and the voice that he could give for people who couldn't sit at that table. >> senator dodd. >> well, in response to your question, to some degree, but i can't have this program end without thinking about this room, and right over here against the wall on july 15th, 2009, we passed the health care bill, the affordable care act. and teddy, of course, was not he here, was dying, would die the next month. the longest mark-up in the history of the labor committee was the mark-up for that bill. it went on for weeks. mike meyers i saw earlier. just a remarkable job. michael pointed out, just tremendous staff. but i'll never forget vicki and teddy calling me at the crack of dawn the next day after this. and this is so classic teddy. here was this bill that his entire life -- if you took all of his life and tried to pick out one issue, in a sense, it
would be the health and well-being of everyone, in a sense. and whether you're talking about civil rights or education, i suppose maybe that moment, watching the culmination, which would turn out to be, in a sense, a piece of legislation that only could have happened because of all the work he had done over so many years. but the first words out of his mouth were not about the health care bill. there were four committees in congress dealing with this. we were the first committee to finish our work, and all he wanted to tell me was, you beat the other three committees in getting the bill done. he was ever the competitor, in a sense. and aside from the substance of it, the idea that we actually beat three other committees in getting a bill produced in this very room on that day of july 15th. and so, that day and that call sort of culminates in a way the feelings and thoughts i have about this remarkable guy, so, great fun to be with. i have lots of stories about his humor, the joy in the senate, how he made people laugh, welcomed people to the institution and made such a significant contribution.
i was charged with the responsibility of picking two more senators after senator jack kennedy chose the five that you've mentioned. and i picked wagner and vandenberg as two republicans and a democrat, but we left a lot of blank spaces in that reception room, a lot of them, and i have no doubt, i hope, that the next senator that gets charged with that responsibility, as i did, for picking a couple of former colleagues, that one of those spaces is going to be filled with edward kennedy. thanks. [ applause ] >> last word, senator simpson. >> judy, as i got to know him, we realized that our academic efforts in college were not exactly exemplary. and we talked about that. one day, the snobs were after us, and i said, hell, i graduated 18th in my class in law school, university of wyoming. he said, how many were in the class? i said, 18. and ted had a similar response
to them. and so, we had fun doing that. that was very important. and we both agreed on one thing. you can ask my dear wife, ann, and you can ask people who worked on my staff, i worked my butt off. nothing came easy for me in this place. i forced my staff to bring me that stuff at night. i didn't sit and sip wine and go off at 9:00 so i could get up around 6:00 and show off around town. i worked my butt off. and he would come to me and he would say, that's what i do, and what are we doing it for? and we both agreed we worked like dogs so we wouldn't make asses of ourselves and we would be ahead of the game. there's no other secret to it. it doesn't have anything to do with -- well, it has a lot to do with your own personal reflections and like of yourself. but let me tell you what he learned and what i would tell people. i would tell them that politics, if that is your life alone, is barbar barbaric. if that's what you want is to be
a politician without the softening agents of life, which are voting for him, history, music, singing, "danny boy," crying when you sing. i'd say, you don't have to cry every time they sing it. and he said, well, but -- then we did a couple of emcee things for the lab school. vicki and ann will remember. and one night, he said, let's just go out and do "beavis and butthead." i said, there are going to be about 1,000 people there, we're going to do beavis -- yeah, you don't know how to do it. and he sent me a picture with homer simpson on it instead of my name. but anyway, we did beavis and butthead because he learned the thing you'd want to pass on to anyone you love, humor is the universal solvent against the abrasive elements of life, and
he lived that. >> thank you all. thanks to this extraordinary panel. thank you. [ applause ] >> congressman lewis missed a great program. senator simpson, senator dodd, melanie barnes, margaret spellings. barbara, thank you all. now, it is my, as they return to the front row, it is my privilege to turn the program over to someone else who had firsthand experience working with senator kennedy. in the mid-1990, he served as his special counselor, the principal adviser on civil rights, criminal justice and constitutional issues. please welcome the secretary of labo labor.
how are you? >> good afternoon! wow, this is a family reunion. hi, vicki. thank you so much for giving me the honor to be here. senator simpson and senator dodd and all the distinguished panelists. you know, i've got to tell one quick story. you know, when -- i owe my career to the republicans winning the house in 1994, because i was a career civil servant at the department of justice, enjoying myself. and then when the republicans took over the house and the senate, they needed detailees. and i applied for that job. i got that job with senator kennedy, and it changed my life. and i was about four inches away from a certain someone. one thing about being a staffer, especially when you're in the minority, is that you get to
know people, and you either become mortal enemies or friends for life. and i was about this far away from this other staffer named melody barnes. we had no secrets, none whatsoever. and i could tell you about melody, but i won't. and so, i want to thank newt gingrich and others for the election of 1994, which allowed me to have the opportunity to work for senator kennedy. you know, i feel like, you know, when you are in public service, there are things that -- i think it's really important to make house calls. and as i was listening over the last hour, i often refer to it as i need to go to a filling station. i feel like i've been in a filling station for the past hour because, you know, i go out and i meet people who have done remarkable things, have defied the odds, you know, workers who got laid off, lost their
dignity, got kicked in the gut, people who were victims of cross burnings and the unspeakable victims of hate crimes and others. and you go out there and you see their remarkable courage under pressure. and it's like going to a filling station. i feel like i've been in a filling station for the last hour, listening to this remarkable discussion from a remarkable group of people. and to me, when i think about that filling station, i feel like the fuel of senator kennedy is what i would call graceful passion. there are many people out there who have remarkable grace but no passion. there are many people out there who have passion but no grace. i'm not going to name names. but there are very few people who have graceful passion.
and that's what i think of when i was listening here over the last hour. i had all these prepared remarks, but it was the heck with that. i just sat here and listened. and what came to my head was that notion of graceful passion, because that for me was what i saw sitting there working for senator kennedy. i remember the immigration debate in 1996. michael meyers was our leader, our fearless leader on our side. and what i saw -- there were maybe 80 amendments offered in the committee, and you needed one hand to count the number of amendments that passed on a party-line vote. and i remember sitting behind the two distinguished leaders, senator simpson, senator kennedy, and the mutual respect was palpable. it was absolutely palpable. the passion was palpable. you frankly didn't know who was a republican and who was a democrat if you had been beamed in from mars, because the
amendments didn't go off on a party-line vote, except for one, and that was one that senator thurmond offered. and he offered many bipartisan on ones. but i remember it vividly, and it went off on a party-line vote. and afterward, senator thurmond whispered -- well, he thought he was whispering, but at times, he talked a little louder later in life, and he whispered to senator kennedy, "i consider you my friend." he just kicked his butt, but he said, ted, i like you, i just don't like what you stand for. i consider you a friend. that was what the institution was about. and as i was listening to all of you describe the currency of the senate and the genius of senator kennedy, i was thinking of that graceful passion. when i go to the filling station, i do fill up with pragmatic progressivism. you know, what i learned as much as anything from the senator was
that idealism and pragmatism are not mutually exclusive, you know. and there was a guy named ben franklin that i was reflecting on as i was listening to you, because ben franklin started a thing called the leather apron society. and that was premised on the notion that we need to bring people of different perspectives together. and so, he got people together in this leather apron society, and he was an apprentice, as you know. he was a man of many talents. and as a result of the leather apron society that he constructed, we had a public library system. we brought people of faith togeth together. he made contributions to every faith community, including muslims who wanted to start a place of worship in philadelphia. and his biographer, walter isakson, who's one of my favorite people, you know, he
said, talking about ben franklin, "compromisers may not make great heroes, but they do make great democracies." and as i listened to you speak, i always think of ted kennedy, because at the filling station, you can fill up with pragmatic progressivism, you can fill up with a notion that you can get things done. you can fill up with humility at the kennedy filling station. there is no cynicism available at the kennedy filling station. there is no politics of fear and division available at the kennedy filling station. there is the politics of hope, and he understood that, and i saw it every day. and the politics of personal relationships. you never went back to his office after a hearing until you had prepared the thank-you notes, because if you hadn't prepared the thank-you notes,
you were in trouble, period, end of story. learn that at an early day. and that was remarkable about him. the attention to detail is available at the kennedy filling station, and that's what we saw today. the fun was available at the kennedy filling station, and we could talk about the christmas parties, but i think we'll just keep that in your own reflections. you know what we're talking about. and for me, vicki -- you know, people make a difference in life when they have ripples. and when i look around this room at the deaspera, the extended family, and i see what everybody's doing, whether it's back in rhode island or whether it's up in baltimore or whether it's all over the country, you know, the ripples are what come from graceful passion, because graceful passion is about
inspiring people to then govern and lead with that graceful passion. and i think, as i was listening last week, with the privilege of being 15 feet or so away from the pope, i couldn't help but think of senator kennedy, because i know he was in that chamber as well, and he was talking, as he listened to the message of humility and dialogue that the pope was talking about, that pope could have been talking about ted kennedy, because that's what it was about. so, i hope that young people who maybe go into that filling station of cynicism, may be going and thinking, you know what, this isn't for me -- i think this oral history project is as important as ever, because when you go to the kennedy filling station and you learn about person and you see what he did and who he inspired and the
simple humility that he brought to task every single day, the attention to detail, the emphasis on, again, graceful passion, i really believe that that is what will continue to bring us back. we've been through times like this in our history, and the historians in this room can go through that, and i came here today with optimism and i leave here with unbridled optimism, because i've been to the filling station over the last hour, and that filling station inspires me every single day, inspires millions of americans across this country, and that's why we need to tell this story, that's why we need to make sure that every young person, regardless of what party they affiliate with, listens to this and learns from this, because that's how we govern in the united states, and i'm confident that we can get back to this order. i'm confident that we can build
a stronger america, an america in which we listen, a leather apron society that is truly in the spirit of ben franklin and ted kennedy, a leather apron society that will produce an america that truly is an embodiment of our ideals. that search for the more perfect union is what civil rights is about. the most important dependent clause in the constitution, "we, the people, in order to form a more perfect union." that journey continues, and i have the privilege in my work of being able to continue that journey. we're all -- we may play different instruments in this room, but we're all part of that same orchestra, and that is the orchestra of opportunity and inclusion, and we will continue as we live out senator kennedy's legend and legacy to make sure that that orchestra is playing in sinkny throughout this country. so, thank you so much for the opportunity, vicki, and thank
you for sharing your husband with so many of us. [ applause ] wednesday night on american history tv on c-span3, programs about the civil war. at 8:00 p.m. eastern, the 150th anniversary of robert e. lee's surrender at appomattox. at 10:20 p.m., we visit the camp sumter military prison in andersonville, georgia, for a ceremony honoring union p.o.w.s who died there. later, at 12:35 a.m., we talk to historian leslie gordon. the civil warr the 8:00 p.m. eastern wednesday on c-span3. wednesday night, book tv in prime time features programs on the supreme court and its
justices. at 8:00 p.m., melvin urovski on dissent and the supreme court, its role in the court's history and the nation's constitutional dialogue. at 9:00 p.m., eren carmen on notorious rbg, the life and times of ruth bader ginsburg. at 10:05 p.m., linda hirschman on sisters in law, how sandra day o'connor and ruth bader ginsburg went to the supreme court and changed the world. and at 11:00 p.m., justice stephen breyer on the court and the world, american law and the new global realities. that's at 8:00 p.m. eastern on book tv on c-span2. this holiday weekend, book tv brings you three days of nonfiction books and authors. on friday, back-to-back airings of "after words." at 7:00 p.m. eastern, arthur brooks discusses had i latest book, "the conservative heart:
how to build a fairer, happier america." >> the biggest mistake i think that we make on the conservative side a lot, the one that trips people up the most, believe it or not, is the one that should be the easiest, which is to get happy. >> at 8:00 p.m., cornell west examines the life of dr. martin luther king jr. in his book "the radical king." >> martin understood that for not just christian, but for any human being who wants to reach a level of integrity, honesty and decency as a long-distant runner, you've got to kill something in yourself, fear. you've got to kill something in yourself, your obsession with position and status and wealth. >> followed at 9:00 p.m. by former senator john dan forth, author of "the relevance of religion: how faithful people can change politics." >> religion does point us beyond ourselves, and for faithful people, the me, you know, what's in it for me, the me is not
central. >> then at 10:00 p.m., senator claire mccaskill talks about her book "plenty ladylike," a memoir about her experiences in local, state and federal government. >> i don't think we do anybody any favors by trying to dress up politicians as if we are not real human beings that have made major mistakes and had major problems in our lives. >> saturday evening at 7:00, a panel discussion on national review founder william f. buckley jr.'s run for new york city mayor in 1965. and at 11:00 p.m., winston groom discusses his latest book, "the generals: patton, mcarthur, marshall and the winning of world war ii." >> one of the first questions i'm usually asked when i do a tv or radio show is why did you choose these three men from the second world war? and the answer is that they embodied, i believe, super
characteristics of courage, character and patriotism. >> on sunday night at 8:00, author david petrusia looks back at a turning point in world history in 1932, the rise of hitler and fdr. and at 11:15 p.m. eastern, alyssa katz discusses her book, "the influence machine: the u.s. chamber of commerce and the corporate capture of american life." >> there's a reason that i chose the chamber of commerce as a subject for my book, and it's because this single organization really sums h h h h h h h h h h we got here to this place. >> this holiday weekend, watch booktv on c-span2. each week, "american artifacts" takes viewers into archives, museums and historic sites around the country. next, senate historian emeritus john ritchie takes us inside the dirksen senate office building. we learn about the building's construction, its place in congressional history and the
building's namesake, former republican leader everett dirksen. >> once upon the time, the entire united states senate could operate out of a capitol building, and that was in the 19th century, when the demands on the government were a lot smaller than they are today. but as demands on the government grew and as government services grew, more public letters started coming in, more staff had to be hired, more space had to be acquired, and eventually, the three senate office buildings were constructed. the richard russell building, the everett dirksen building, and the philip hart building. right now, we're in the dirksen building. we're in the large multipurpose hearing room that's had various layers of history to it. the first senate office building opened up in 1909, which is now known as the richard russell building, and that was because the government was growing. this was in the progressive era. there were more and more services coming out. but as all the senators were all
in one building and all the staff were in one building, and there was sort of a small community of senators and staff that existed in that building until 1958, but steadily, the demands on the government increased. people started writing in, social security became an issue. so many other federal issues directed affected citizens. and so, they wrote to their senators and the senators hired more staff and they tried to find some more places to put them. at one point, the russell building was absolutely crammed with people. they actually had people working in the attic, in the basement, bathrooms were converted into offices, hallways were set up as offices with desks out in the hallways. people were squeezed in just about everywhere, and it became pretty clear by the end of the 1930s, after the new deal had so increased the size of the federal government, that they were going to need another office building. and especially because they needed more space for committees
to meet. committees were partly in the capitol building, partly in the russell building. they were in large rooms but without a dias, as you see here. they were at a large table which the senators and the witnesses and staff and others would sit around the table. there was very limited space for public to attend the hearings. and they certainly weren't set up for televising. and so, there's a lot of reasons why the dirksen building was built, but it actually took a long time to be built, because the initial plans were started in 1941, and then world war ii intervened. and so, as a result, they didn't build the building when they needed it. they waited until 1950s. but in the 1950s, there were a lot of arguments. it was going to be very costly. they were going to have to buy up the property, the houses that were on the street here in washington right across from the capitol building. and there were a number of
members who thought that it was extravagant and they shouldn't bother with it, and they delayed this. so, constantly, during the 1950s, the building was delayed until finally in 1956 it became so obvious that they needed more space, they were about to add two more states, which meant there were going to be four more senators. there was no space in the russell building for four senators to have more offices. and so, finally, they gave the go-ahead, and this building was constructed. and it was opened in 1958. it's not anywhere near as elaborate as the richard russell building across the street. it's a much more functional building. it's sort of a neo-neoclassical building. it has far fewer columns and fancy decorations. it's a pretty straightforward building. it's not as comfortable a building as the russell building. it's not a building that ever appealed to the senators the
same way that the russell building did, but it served its purposes, and its chief purpose was to be a place for the committees to hold hearings that could be televised. this was 1958. television was in its prime. there was a lot of interest to televise the proceedings of congress, activities. they couldn't go on the floor. there was no c-span on the floor of the chambers at this stage, but the hearings of the senate were being televised, and they needed better situation, better equipment. the capitol building, interestingly enough, had direct current at this time, rather than alternating current. the u.s. capitol building had actually first been wired for electricity by thomas edison. edison believed in direct current. and sometimes, if you're sort of ahead of the curve in terms of technology, you become obsolete faster than everyone else. and so, until 1960, the u.s. capitol had direct current, which meant you couldn't plug anything into the walls.
it really didn't serve the purposes of televising. as a result, the radio-tv gallery, where the radio and television reporters operated, petitioned the senate to have a role in the construction of the new building. and so, actually, there were television correspondents and representatives of the television network serving on the board that helped to design this building, and as a result, you have large committee rooms with paneled walls, and part of the panel can be lifted up, and there is a section in the back where television cameras and lights can be set in and not interfere with the hearings or with the people who are trying to attend the hearings. and the whole design of the committees were set up differently. the table that they used to sit around was replaced now with a dieus like this one, in which the senators would sit at the dius, the witness would sit at a
table facing them. it made for much more interesting televising. and this is, of course, the way we think of congressional hearings today because this is what we're used to seeing whenever they're covered. so, this building then opened in 1958. 14 of the committees were established here, and there was a plan to have the chairperson of each committee occupy the office immediately next to the committee room. it all looked great on paper, except of course, the chairs of the committees were some of the most senior members of the senate. they had long operated out of very nice offices in the russell building across the street. many of them really did not want to move across the street, some of whom did move across the street didn't care for the space as much as they had liked the russell building. and so, very soon, the practice of having committee chairs occupy the space immediately next to the committee disappeared. as sometimes happens some chairs do like to be next to the
committee that they spend most of their time with, but most of the other chairmen find it fine to work out of some other space. the dirksen building provided a lot of other services for the senate as part of the enormous growth of the institution. the basement level had two very large cafeterias, for instance. there was also an underground parking garage. there was a large area for a telephone switchboard because of the communications demands that were growing on the senate that operated out of this building and because senators were also sending home to their local tv networks film of their interviews and their statements and others. there was a recording studio built into this building down in the basement in a windowless room with a phony window with a capitol dome behind it that looked very distinguished as if
it was a senator speaking from his or her office, but fact of the matter, it was another service that the building was able to provide. >> i suppose the only time we never had a public debt was in the days when andy jackson was the president of the united states. but other than that, i have no recollection that we have been without a debt but never with colossal proportions as the debt we have today. >> when the very first computer was installed, it was installed in this building, and it was designed to send, or to prepare letters to constituents. so many people continued to write in to senators, not only asking for something, but also giving their opinions about things. and senators always wanted to respond to anybody who wrote to them. and so, the first computer was acquired in the 1960s and installed in this building to be able to send, you know, mass
mailings back to constituents. this is probably the most functional in many ways of the buildings, even though it has the smallest number of senators occupying the building. it is set up in the central section because of all of the committee activity, and of course, those are the things you're familiar with from watching televised hearings. >> i have reviewed in detail my 1973 work product -- outdoor recreation: a legacy for america. it continues to represent my philosophy and my commitment to recreation, to preservation and to multiple use of the resources of america. >> initially, televising was not gavel to gavel. before the days of c-span, the major networks would come to film, and they were only going to show, perhaps, a minute or
two or at the most three for an evening newscast. so, they didn't want to spend a lot of time and effort and a lot of money on film. they would only film the highlights of the hearing, and that meant when certain senators spoke, the lights would come on, and when they stopped speaking, the lights would go off. in 1972, i attended a hearing in the russell building in which senator kennedy walked in the door -- this was senator ted kennedy. and as soon as he came in and sat down, the television lights came on. and when he asked his questions, the lights were on. and as soon as he left, even though another senator was speaking, the lights went off. it must have been dispiriting for the senator speaking at the time, but that was the reality of the situation. today we're used to gavel-to-gavel coverage, and you can watch it almost any time. there are a lot more highlights
that become available of those hearings. the biggest hearings that that he place often are in the senate caucus room in the russell building. it's just a large space. but many of the hearings that we consider that sort of led up to those big blockbuster hearings took place here in the dirksen building. far more hearings, for instance, about the vietnam war took place in the foreign relations committee's hearing room here in the dirksen building than did the big, spectacular hearings that they held when they moved into the caucus room. and you see that played over and over. and quite often, the staff of these investigations could often be here in the dirksen building, even though the actual, the big hearings would be held in the russell building. and one of the most important hearings that the senate conducted in the 20th century was the investigation into
watergate, into the presidential campaign of 1972. while those hearings took place famously in the russell building, the staff forged right here in a series of rooms down a back corridor here in the dirksen building. and it was in there that one of the pivotal moments of the watergate hearings took place, and that was when republican and democratic staff members were interrogating some of the white house staff, and one of the people they were interrogating was a man named alexander butterfield, who the committee had determined visited the white house chief of staff on a regular basis. every day he was in to see the white house chief of staff. and the question was what was he doing while he was there. and there was some question about whether or not anyone had ever recorded any of these meetings. and so so, it was actually the republican staff member of the committee who asked alexander
butterfield if there had been any recordings. and the question was asked broadley enough that to be honest about answering it, butterfield had to admit that the white house had a very elaborate system of tape recording, that any time the president spoke in the oval office or spoke on the phone, tape recordings were being made. and this was a bombshell. it just changed the nature of the watergate investigation. much of the effort then became to try to open up those tapes to make them available for the committ committee, and the president, of course, dug in, tried not to make those tapes available. this is president nixon. eventually, the supreme court ordered that he had to turn over the tapes to the special prosecutor, and it was the revelations on the tapes that eventually led the house of representatives to begin impeachment hearings and led, eventually, the president to resign. but all that started in a very
nondescript, little windowless room when staff were doing what staff are supposed to do, which is preliminary interviews of witnesses before they go before the public. of all the types of hearings that are held in this building, and there are hundreds of hearings being held all the time, that, in fact, in the mornings when i would come to work, i would see long lines of people sitting on the floor or standing or leaning against the wall trying to get space in the hearing rooms, but probably the hearings that get the most attention are nomination hearings, and particularly, supreme court nomination hearings. a supreme court appointment is a lifetime appointment. the addition of any one member on the court will affect that court. it's going to affect things for decades to come, and so, there's a huge amount of public attention on to supreme court nominations. of the current nine members of the supreme court, only one had his hearings in this building, and that was antonin scalia in the 1980s, and that was in one
of the large hearing rooms in this building, in the dirksen building. >> do you have an opening statement that you'd like to make? >> no, i don't, senator, except to express my honor at being nominated by the president and the fact that i'm happy to be here and look forward to answering the committee's questions. >> this building then opened in 1958. it was meant to be built as inexpensively as possible at the time. and in fact, as soon as it was built, it was inadequate for its purposes in a lot of ways. one of the things they discovered right away was there just weren't enough elevators in the building. that may seem like a relatively small issue, except that when the bells go off and senators have to vote, they have 15 minutes to get from here to the capitol building across the street. there is a little subway that links them under ground so they can be shuttled back and forth,
but if they're on their office on the fifth floor, they've got to get the elevator down to the basement to take it over. and as a result, there were problems early on when the senators couldn't get over to the capitol fast enough to cast a vote. no senator wants to miss a vote. and so, they actually had to add in extra elevator banks into the building, and it's still a building that's relatively slow and difficult to move around in. down in the basement are absolutely plain, windowless offices. it's like operating out of a tunnel and that's where brand-newly elected u.s. senators spend their first four, five months in office, because that's known as a swing space. the senators that they are replacing were probably much more senior, and as a result, had much nicer offices. and the freshmen senators coming
in aren't entitled to move into those really nice offices. the middle-level senators who have been here for a few years are waiting their turn to move into those offices. so, when an office is emptied out and cleaned and painted, it takes a little while and then another senator moves in, and that office has to be emptied out and cleaned and painted. usually a senator who takes their oath of painted. usually a senator who takes the office in january does not get to move into their regular suite until april, may, sometimes june of that year. so after winning an election to the united states senate, and feeling like you're on top of the world, you show up, and you're immediately escorted down to the basement into one of these offices. when hillary clinton was elected a senator from new york, she was still living in the white house, because her husband had a couple months left to his term which was going to end later in january of 2001. she would leave the white house in the morning to go downstairs
to a basement office with no windows. everybody starts out the same. there are numerous committee rooms in this building, but the room we're in right now is really the room designed for the most special events when the dirksen building was constructed. it was originally an auditorium, a 500-seat auditorium with a stage that was sloped down. this is where people would come to make announcements, large meetings would be held, it was not a hearing room at first. and then in the 1970s, senator frank church began to investigate problems with the cia and fbi. and this was goaliing to be the first investigation into the intelligence operations.
the material they were handling was so secret that it had to be in a secure place. so this room was converted. a floor was built across. it was turned into offices for the church committee that was investigating the cia and the fbi. they had armed guards standing at each of the doors to make sure no one came in. reporters thought it was interesting that the church committee was trying to break through secrecy, but they were surrounded by guards to keep these secrets in here. but the fact of the matter is, if the congress was going to investigate, they had to promise to maintain secrets. so this room was a hub for that information. then, when the church committee led to the creation of the permanent committee on intelligence which still operates in the senate, this room became the intelligence committee back in those days. in the late 1970s and early 1980s. until the hart building was
opened in 1983, and the intelligence committee then moved over there. then what do you do with a room of this size? at that time it was turned back into a hearing room. it's now sort of an all-purpose, multi-media room. it's been designed for the latest technology, special events, special hearings. there are all sorts of conferences. all sorts of events that take place in this space. so it's carried on with the nature of the building being sort of an all-purpose building. this room is a room that has had lots of hard political events in here. but it's also had a lot of social entertaining. most of them are very pleasant and very forgettable occasions. one stands out in particular. and that was the 100th birthday of senator strom thurmond, of south carolina. senator thurmond is the only
united states senator to live to the age of 100 while he was serving in the senate, and of course the senate wanted to pay special tribute to him. so there was a large birthday festivity in here, which, in itself is a very nice occasion, and the then senate majority leader, trent lott came to pay homage to senator thurmond. and in his remarks, he was, as he said subsequently overly effusive. he praised senator thurmond's career in the senate, and then he recalled that in 1948, senator thurmond had run for president against president harry truman. >> i want to say this about my state. when strom thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. we're proud of him. [ applause ] and if the rest of the country had followed our lied, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either. >> which seems a relatively mild
statement, except that senator lott forgot that senator thurmond ran as the segregationist candidate against president truman who had helped integrate the armed services. and, as a result, there was a huge a pressure within senator lott's party for him to step down as the leader of his party. and eventually, he did resign as majority leader of the senate as a result of this one statement made in this one room. and so it's a reminder that just about everything that a politician says is probably ila going to be recorded and anal e analyzeda and held against them at one time or another, even at an occasion such as a 100th birthday party.
>> here you go, happy birthday, strom. blow hard. [ applause ] >> i should also mention why it's called the dirksen building. when the first senate office building opened, it was known as the senate office building. and it was known even more popularly by its acronym, which was the s.o.b. then, when this building opened up, that building became the old s.o.b. and this building became the new s.o.b. and senators began to think that at that was inappropriate, that they should have a more formal title for t senator russell died and was known as a senator's senator. he had great respect from all of his colleagues, regardless of their ideology, their party, so that building was named for richard russell who was a democrat. and for some balance, this building was named for a senator
everett dirksen who had been the republican leader from 1959 to 19 1969 and who was quite a popular figure with tousled hair, a deep voice, a terrific orator in the old school style. he won an award just for reading patriotic sheet music and speeches with music playing in the background. it was a quite popular piece at the time. ♪ >> down through the years, there have been men, brave, gallant men who have died that others might be free. >> and so dirksen, known at wizard of ooze, just as a popular person who actually
represented a great spirit of bipartisanship. because he was the minority leader in the senate with a very small minority. he usually operated with 35 to 3 36 senators on his side. but it was critical when it took two-thirds to cut off a filibuster. so if they were going to stop a filibuster on civil rights, they needed everett dirksen's support. the nuclear test ban treaty. once dirksen agreed to whatever the compromise was, then enough votes would come on board for the majority to prevail. and so everett dirksen, even though he was only the minority lieder was extremely important leader at this time, and it seemed fitting to name this building after him. senator dirksen liked to say that he was a man of principle, and one of his greatest
principles was to maintain flexibility at all times. and that made him a very agile senator and a man who understood that you have to compromise in order to build consensus. in the united states senate, compromise is essential for passing any kind of legislation. getting some kind of bipartisanship is important because rarely does a majority party have sufficient votes to be able to pass something entirely by itself. always the majority leaders have got to persuade members of the minority to come on board. and always there's some kind of a coalition that's being built. so i think that's one of the reasons why the u.s. senate wanted to commemorate senator dirksen by naming this second building after him. you can watch this or other american artifacts programs at any time by visiting our website, c-span.org/history.
wednesday night on american history tv on c-span 3, programs about the civil war. at 8:00 eastern, the 150th anniversary of robert e. lee's surrender at appomattox. we visit the anderson vil pri n prison. we talk to leslie gordon. the civil war at 8:00 eastern here on c-span 3. thursday on c-span, christmas at the white house. first lady michelle obama speaks to troops and their families in the east room. a tour of the white house holiday decorations and the annual national christmas tree lighting ceremony. christmas at the white house, christmas eve at 8:00 eastern on c-span. this holiday weekend, american history tv on c-span 3
has three days of featured programming, beginning friday evening at 6:30 eastern to mark the 125th anniversary of the birth of president dwight david eisenhower, his granddaughters gather for a rare family discussion at gettysburg college to talk about his military and political career as well as his relevance for 21st century americans. then on saturday afternoon at 1:00, 60 years ago, rosa parks defied a city ordnance for blacks to leave their seats on a city bus to make room for white passengers. her stand helped instigate the bus boycott as we hear from the attorney for rosa park and demonstrators. then at 6:00, william davis on
the little-phoneknown aspects o ulysses s. grant and robert e. lee. and a 1965 progress report on nasa's projects, including the manned space program and the mayriner fly by. all weekend and on holidays too, only on c-span 3. up next on american history tv, a group of authors and historians talk about the legacy of the 1965 hart-cellar act which changed immigration policy from a quota system to one that focussed on skills and family relationships with american citizens or residents. this event took place at the
university of california's washington center. it's a little over an hour. [ applause ] >> thank you very much. thanks for coming out. in california i really reflect what's happening in the sky. it's very scary. i like to introduce our tremendous panel, all very respected scholars. one of them even has the word distinguished in his title. he never laughed at my jokes. first, on the far, on left, matt garcia, the director of the school of historical, philosophical and religious studies at arizona state university. garcia was also the outreach director and co-primary director for an archive project for a humanities grant in 2008.
next to him is erica lee, erica lee is an american historian and award-winning author and teaches history at the university of minnesota where she holds the rudolph j.vicoli chair. and is the direct or of the research center. her books include "angel island" and "the making of asian america, a history." next to her, a long time, i'm a huge admire irof richard alba, his most recent book is "strangers no more." co-written with nancy phoner. in 2008, he received the award for the distension wished award of scholarship bestowed by the american psychological association. and professor of asian-american
studies, u.s. historian interested in questions of immigration, citizenship and nationalism and is the author of "illegal aliens and the making of modern america" and "the lucky ones." please welcome our distinguished panel. [ applause ] so, again, i just printed this out that october 3rd, 1965, lyndon johnson is on liberty island at a signing ceremony, and this is what he says in describing the hart-cellar act of 1965. this bill he says we will sign today is not a revolutionary bill. it does not affect the lives of millions. it will not reshape the structure of our daily lives or really add importantly to either our wealth or our power. yet, it is still one of the most important acts of this congress
and administration, for it does repair a very deep and painful flaw in the deep fabric of american justice. it corrects a cruel wrong in the conduct of the american nation. fast forward. this bill says simply that from this day forth, those wishing to emigrate to america shall be admitted on the basis of their skills and their close relationship to those already here. this is a simple test, and it is a fair test. those who can contribute most to this country, to its growth, strength, spirit are the first to be admitted to this land. the fairness of this standard is so self-evident, that we may well wonder that it has not always been applied. the fact is for over four decades, the immigration policy of the united states has been twisted by the quota system. under that system, the ability of new immigrants to conto america depended on the country of their birth. only three countries were allowed to supply 70% of all
immigrants. this is lbj? families were kept apart because a husband or wife or a child had been born in the wrong place. men of needed skill and talent were denied entrance because they came from southern or eastern europe or one of the developing continents. this system violated the basic principle of american democracy, the principle that values and rewards each person as a man. it is un-american in the highest sense because it has been untrue to the faith that brought thousands to these shores even before we were a country. today with my signature this system is abolished. we can never again shatter the gate to the nation with the twin bear juries of privilege -- i'm going to cry -- >> our beautiful america was built with strangers. they have poured forth into an empty land, joining in one
irresistible pie. those who do come will come because of what they are and not because of the land from which they sprung. stirring stuff. and i want to start with professor lee. and should i have cried? could you give us a sense of the reality of that bill at that, on that day, on that signing and the rhetoric, the soaring rhetoric that i just raid. >> you absolutely should have cried. it was a stirring moment. and to set the theme, not only is he there with this grand desk on liberty island, but he's got vice president hubert humphrey, lady bird johnson, hubert humphrey's wife,ionson wife, t e
home, momentous time. but i like how he down-plays it. and i hope what we'll get to talk about in a little bit is what that actually means, why is he down-playing the momentous change that he's about to write into law? but i think what you're asking is what was the system before 1965. what are the deepened racial -- what was he referring to? the injustices that he sought to erase. >> right, so what he's referring to are the national origins quotas set in place in 1924, the places set in why germany ireland. the quota for germany was 51,000.
the quota for italy was something like 3400. deeply unfair, unequal system that privileged immigration from northern and western europe, disadvantaged immigration from southern and eastern europe but also bars almost every asian immigrant group. and, you know, we could go back to the 1880s to talk about those laws. so this is an explicitly discriminatory, race-based system that the law abolished. >> what were the political forces that led to this legislation? >> to the '65? >> the '65. >> well, the 1964 elections created a super majority in both houses of democrats. it was the largest democratic majority since the new doeal. so that's legislative, now, but what accounts for that super majority, that land slide, in fact, what it changed in the
electoral map and the population was the rise of euro-american ethnics, what we would call white ethnics, slavic americans, the people who worked in the factories. the children of the people who had come before the turn of the century. they were now a voting block. they were active members of the aflcio unions. they had to be reckoned with. and so for that reason, the second and third generation of the european immigrants, the jews and italians and hungarians, they saw the quotas as an insult to them. people from my country aren't good enough to come here. what does that say about what you think of me? so it was part of this movement after world war ii of people of
european descent feeling that they were not recognized and appreciated. so what johnson was referring to was a symbolism of telling these ethnic groups, you're as good as the pilgrims. and there's a lot about the structure of the law which think didn't think things would really change, which they were wrong about. but the politics really has to do with i think a changing dem graphic, and those children of the immigrants, they were the ones driving the movement for reform after world war ii. they worked on it all through the '50s, but it's not until you have a change in the congress that they can actually pass it. >> right. >> and as part of the civil rights agenda. >> now richard, you wrote a book on italian americans. >> i did indeed. >> with this, again, with may suggesting an effort to be treated better, an effort to get more of their cousins and brethren into the country?
was it a symbolic act? >> it's a good question. i've never looked at the history of italians in this, but given what happened, you'd have to say that the impulse must have been more symbolic, because even though the act did away with these discriminatory quotas against various european groups, including italians, the resulting immigration of italians was really quite trivial. it was nothing like the immigration of italians that had been shut off in the 1920s when these national quota systems were implemented. >> but was there an asian lobby component in this? was it all eastern and southern european? >> the big coalitions that were operating in the '50s. i look at their archives, and it's all jewish, protestant
organizations, the greek americans, and there is one mexican-american, george i. sanchez and out of a letterhead of 100 people. and they were really token members because they don't have the same electoral strength or political voice that the ethnics have. that comes now, right? >> understood, but in a variety of papers i raid on the subject there was this idea that this le. so that was never the intechbts? >> no, they promised people in congress, don't worry, the asians won't come. they said don't worry, they're not going to come. >> i do think that we're at a major civil rights moment in american history. >> exactly. >> and that was not an irrelevant consideration. that this was part of cleaning up american law to remove, you know, what remained of a kind of
racist systems embedded in legislation. >> i just wanted to quote emmanuel seller. he told the house, quote, since the people of africa and asia have very few relatives here comparatively few could emigrate from those countries because they have no family ties in the u.s. so he was assuring. matt, as an expert on a lot of things, but including labor and mexican migration, what was happening around the early to mid '60s regarding the flow of mexicans northward and the stat us of the bracero program? >> it was a guest worker program started in 1942 and became very controversial in the late '50s, mostly around ernesto galarca who was advocating for the end of the program. and this was really what the modern farm worker movement started on. there were two things that sezer
chavez wanted to accomplish. and one was to end the bracero program and the other was to create a possibility for unions. in 1964 they achieved that goal, right? and in many ways mexicans were not really woven into this legislative act. it was dealt with in a different way. the question was, what would happen to these ex-braceros. where would they go? would they continue to flow north? and there was passed a border industrialization program, which is the beginnings of the kind of program that we live with today. it was thought that those production zones would basically soak up all of that labor that was now free to do what it needs to do in mexico. but in fact, many of those positions were taken by young women. and the need for, and really the
dependence on mexican labor continued past '64. so the immigration act really didn't deal with this at all. and that flow continued to flow illegally at that point. >> so let me step back before we go there, but between '42 and '64, millions of braceros had come north. >> 4.6 million, yeah. >> and there was a part of the immigration act of 1965 that put a cap on the western hemisphere, numbers from the western hemisphere. can someone speak to the numbers? what was the cap? >> 20,000. >> 25. >> for mexico. >> for mexico. >> that was actually in the 1976 act. it was atmospheric cap. >> so you had 4.6 million braceros coming north between '42 and '64, and then a cap, the 1965 act put a cap of how many?
190. >> that includes canada. it has to include canada. >> the bracero act had ended and people thought people will just stop coming, and then you put a cap on the number of people who could come legally, so it seemed like an absolute recipe for undocumented immigration. >> absolutely. if it's 190,000, 190,000 plus one, that plus one was your first undocumented or illegal immigration or as they said in that time, the first wet back. so it went from wetback to illegal immigrant to undocumented, the way we talked about it. but that was your first illegal or undocumented immigrant, and it's just flowed nor and momore because of the need for labor. >> can i just interject something? >> i was going to add that. >> under the 1924 quota law, there were no quota us on the
western hemisphere countries, the quotas was for europe, to ep coo out italians, jews and poles. but mexicans were not excluded by any numerical limit. so the rise of illegal immigration or unauthorized migration from mexico which actually starts after '24 is a very interesting story, because they're not legally prohibited by a quota act, but what go noose place after '24, since you have quotas is everybody has to go through a formal station of port of entry, has to go through inspection, has to have a visa, has to pay a head tax, you know, all these rules that didn't,ist before. before you showed up. you just showed up. if you didn't limp, you know, and you had $15, you know, you could get through ellis island, no problem. so, and mexicans had for years just been crossing the border where it was convenient to work and they would go back and
forth. so now, if you didn't go through all those rules, you would be considered unlawfully present. so the mexican border is really weird. because it's easy to cross. but only illegally, right? so what happens, then, is so why don't they have a quota on the western hemisphere? it's because of the state department is very committed to a policy of pan-americanism. that we should treat our neighbors differently than others, and there's also this need for labor in the southwest where commercial agriculture is really taking off. so all the way up to the 11th hour, hart-cellar, the western hemisphere from quotas was still exempt from the bill. and it's only at this last minute that there's this frenzied negotiation in the senate where some more moderate members of the senate say wait a minute, we better make these global quotas, because there's a
population explosion about to happen in latin america, and if we don't have quotas in the western hemisphere all these brown people are going to come. they don't say brown, but they say explicitly that they want to forestall a mad rush, what they think is going to be a mad rush from latin america. >> in this pact that the government had portrayed, the collusionry act, there was an attempt to exclude mexicans and lant americans. that was part of the intent of the act. >> not to exclude but restrict. >> and some of the language is absolutely inflammatory that i just heard one of our presidential candidates. >> the tears are drying up. >> i just heard one of the presidential candidates use the same term. but in the congressional testimony they say we don't want to open up the floodgates to latin america, asia, africa and turn the u.s. into a dumping ground for all of these people.
>> and i think it's important to point out that the johnson referred to the fairness of the new system, and stressed the ability of people to enter on merit. but in truth, the main provision for entering, under the 1965 act was through family ties. and so there was a built-in, as the legislators saw it, a built-in selection mechanism that would tend to preserve, you know, the kind of ethnic racial composition of the country as it then existed and to limit the numbers of people, particularly asians, who were not well represented then in the american population, because they would lack the family ties to come. so the selection based on skills was a very small part of the quota system that was set up. and actually, it's interesting that canada at the same time also revised its immigration legislation and set up a very
different system, based on points, which was selective. of course that meant they got many asians and almost no latinos. >> one is family rye unification and skills. there was no asian lobby, there was no attempt, there was a promise that more asians wouldn't come in, but many asians came in, how did that happen? >> they used the skill categories. >> you see how that happened? >> and the family. let me get your tears flowing once more. the one thing that is absolutely important about the '65 act is that it bans racial discrimination, it bans discrimination based on race, et cetera, but that really was important. and then it does set up this preference system, you know, so he's very clear in his words the days of unemploymented limited
are over. but they'd been over for a while. and they'd put in border restrictions over the past century. so the two main pathways, family reunification and professional skills set the stage. it's almost like a perfect storm that does work in concert with global changes that could not have been anticipated. increasingly in asia some of the economies are stabilizing. there's an expanding population becoming more educated, but the economies are not expanding enough to provide proper employment for those with degrees. so they're underemployed or unemployed. and then there's this pathway into the united states for those with family but also those with skills. so, for asians, after generations of being separated by exclusion laws from their loved ones in asia, some of the very first who take advantage of
the new bill are those who are bringing, finally bringing over their wives and children and then their, there's a whole preference category, spouses, minor children, brothers and sisters. and this chain migration gets established so much so that for some, for some communities, the act is nicknamed the brothers and sisters act. >> if you go back to the skills -- did you, you both studied this. any sense, give us some of the sense of the numbers and the om occupations and the countries of origin right after the law was passed and how that worked. >> well, when you look at the flows and simply the education level of the asian immigrants and you compare them to the educational levels in their countries of origin. there's just a tremendous disparity. so what it led to was, and it's interesting how much it has therefore affected the way we perceived this in the united states. because the asians who came were
very well educated. you know, people with professional qualifications. and their children, of course, have done exceptionally well in american circumstances. so our image, now, of the chinese is really almost the pull apart from the image of the chinese in the united states that existed before the act, but it's probably also very different from the reality of the chinese population from which these immigrants are coming. >> i bet most of you would not be surprised if i said we have a lot of nurses in our hospitals in this country that come from the philippines, right? we all know about the filipino nurses. why do we have so many nurses from the philippines in why is that? well, after 1965, there was, first of all, there was a need for more nurses in this country. this is a time of great expansion of the medical, the health care system. i'm from new york. this is when a lot of the city
hospitals expand. so there's a shortage of nurses in the united states. and the philippines actually had a history of training nurses in the philippines that had been set up by americans. because the philippines used to be a colony of the united states, so there's a professional tradition of training and education there. so filipino nurses began to apply to come to the united states. it's a shortage. it's on the department of labor's list of occupations that you can come, you know, get a green card for. so the philippines, you know, so the other part of this is that every country has a maximum of 20,000. and it kicks in later for the western hemisphere, but, you know, once the sis teystem is i place, all countries are limited to 20,000. so the philippines, 20,000 is usd up almost entirely by medical, by nurses and other medical professionals. and in the philippines, nursing becomes an export industry.
>> mm-hm. >> there's a shortage of nurses in the philippines. [ laughter ] but there's no shortage of filipino nurses to come to the united states. the other part of the way these chains work is that once you come in through the professional cat go category, you can use the family catego category, so it spills into the other categories. >> i want to go back to matt and the new significance of, the term illegal alien and the undocumented. and the cap, the western hemisphere cap that led to an increase in undocumented immigrants and what the effect then, what the perception of immigrants were, how did the
hemispheric cap and almost the eliciting, how did that affect the latino, the mexican-american experience in the southwest, what it meant, i don't mean to put words in your mouth, but i'm interested in the relations between the mexican-american, the long-time latter generation american-born, how they saw foreign bourne cu foreign-born cousins? >> it created an artificial separation between mexican-americans and mexican immigrants, and you see this i think most pronouncedly in 1970s when caesar chavez again, he's trying to realize the second part of his dream which is unionization of farm workers, and he's finding that when he goes out in the field, yes, there's a lot of mexican-americans, but there's all these foreign people here, how do i organize people who don't have citizenship, how do i
bring them into the fold? and he's sponsored by the aflcio, and they've taken a line, look, we don't consider non-citizens as being people that we want to organize. so, in many ways you can see caesar chavez's position which is not to organization immigrants as a manifestation of a good union man of that time. what i always often say great leaders transcend their time and place. that is one division between mexicans and mexican-americans that played out sometimes in families, such as mine, so that, in communities where, you know, we might have a cousin who has come, but we can't embrace them the way that we would our mexican-american cousins who have been here for two and three generations. and these kind of conversations went around many mexican-american, mexican family
tables. >> so had it not been for hart-celler, it would have been seen more as italian-american, and suddenly now the newcomers were illegal. they were somehow distinct. could you speak to the significance after hart-celler and how it changed the way we talk about immigration in the united states since then? >> well, the, you have the hemispheric quota. the country quotas quick in in '76. and within a few years there's already this crisis narrative in the press about the border's out of control, we're being >> by what year. >> by the 1970s, i mean, the immigration reform and control act, which is passed in '86, which legalizes nearly 3 million undocumented, that happens in '86, but it takes five to six years to get it through
congress. there's organizing going on from the late '70s and early '80s. so it's already a problem. and the way that hart-celler has been explained is that it's a civil rights act, we treat every person the same. so people don't question, why do we treat mexico the same as new zealand. >> and we presume that's fair. >> and that's supposed to be fair. so this is kind of the perverse civil lights legacy of hart-celler is that we have to treat every country the same. well, we didn't treat every country the same under the origins act. we treated them in a racist manner. but there would be ways to treat countries in a rationale logic. being contiguous to the united states, i think you should get more people. you have a long relationship with the united states like the philippines, maybe you shouldn't be held to a cap. but we have this idea that you have to treat everybody exactly the same.
and that's a very abstract idea. >> jimmy carter was already talking about sanctions in 1977. so there was already an acknowledgement. i always remind people, this is not necessarily a republican or democratic issue, when we actually follow it through. we see republicans and democrats both sounding the alarm bells about illegal immigration and what to do with it. >> and yet, erica reminds us that there was a big band of immigration policy, this made it impossible for them to pass laws that would exclude asian people, and it changed the nature of the country, and it changed the nature of asian america. and i wonder if you could talk about, you talked about chain migration and skills. but you just wrote a book about this, and this is a plug here. [ laughter ]
it seems to me, erica, that asia-america as we know it today and its growth owes its very existence to the hart-celler act. >> it does. so, from -- >> you're welcome. >> thank you. as i say in my book. so from 1830, people came from asia, mostly japan. and larger numbers from the philippines. by 1960, that number stayed stag napts, so by 1960, there were still a million asians in the united states, largely because of the exclusion laws. about 1% of the population. now there's been a lot of news about this. some of which the headlines are a little troubling, but
asian-americans are the fa fastest-growing group. they grew from 2010. just this week there's projections into the population into 20465. and there's this headline about asians surpassing mentihispanic. but it's been the main reason why that population growth for asian-americans has been so large, about 90% of the population growth is due to new immigration. >> so richard, erica's talking about racial interpretations and potential tensions in the immigration, elicited by the post-'65. has the country responded well to the diversefication of its population, one, and are we prepared for more change going forward? >> well, the first question is
really hard to answer, because you have to sort of set up a hypothetical, you know. what would be better than the way we responded? we don't have very good models of that. a tremendous transformation, obviously, has taken place. you know, in 1970, say, before the new immigration spurred by the hart-celler really took off, this was largely a white and black society with mexicans were kind of isolated in the southwest. there was a small number of asians, so, you know, whites were more than 80% of the population. african-americans were about 12 or 13% of the population, and the number of foreign-born was very small. it was under 5%. u you know, how different is our world today from what that world was. now whites are a much smaller
part of the population. latinos have become the largest minority. asians are growing the most rapidly. the foreign-born today is almost 14% where we're nearing the historical records that were set in the early part of the 20th century. it's a profound change. not everyone welcomes change. is that a surprise? i don't think so. and, you know, i'd be happy to talk if you give me more time, i don't know that you should. [ laughter ] >> i don't know if i should either. >> there's obviously, there's a lot of unease among older whites especially, with the changes that are taking place. i mean, a feeling that this isn't the country that they grew up in. this isn't the america that they think should, that it should be. and, but i think one has to
recognize that this unease is deliberately being stoked for political reasons by some people who are running as candidates and it's being worked up in various ways. >> let me move you away from politics. >> okay. >> tell he what y tell me what you want to talk about. >> you answered it beautifully until that last sentence. i want to also talk about other forms of diversity, in youth and children and the youthfulness of our population which some could attribute to the 1965 act. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> one of the blessings of the united states aside from the diversity that the hart-celler act initiated has been the relative youthfulness of our population compared to that of many other economically equivalent societies. so we're not japan.
we're not germany. we have a much larger population of young people relative to old people than you would find in a number of other countries of similar kind of economic stature. and i mean, let me add to this, one of the fruits of this diversity is the growing population of people whose families transcend single groups. and so one of the, i think the potentially transformative developments of the last several decades is the rise of interracial and non-hispanic/hispanic pairings. that's marriage plus other kinds of unions, and the growing population of young people that are coming from these family backgrounds. so i looked recently at some
census data. i analyzed individual data to identify children who were coming from mixed families. not simply because they were identified as such, because they're not always clearly identified as such, but because their parents were different backgrounds. so i looked at infants. and today about 15% of the infants in the united states come from mixed family backgrounds. >> wow, that's a lot. >> and i think it's reasonable to think that that will continue to grow some, at least, over the coming years, because the demographic changes in relative group sizes favor higher levels of intermarriage and mixed unions, at least in the near future. >> thank you. >> there's a dark side to that. i won't rain on it too much. >> please rain. >> but that is while we can celebrate the youthfulness of the immigrants, we also have to
think of descending countries and that results in a brain drain and a drain of people in their most productive time of life, they're coming to america and leaving those countries, so in some ways it perpetuates a u.s. imperialism. >> your point is good, but a lot of these young people are u.s. born. so we're not talking just about immigrants but the second and third generation. >> i just wanted to go back to hart-celler on this. at the time that hart- cellar was being passed, i think the thing, we all talk about the quote, the national origins and the treating everybody equally, but there's another side to immigration law which also goes back to '24, which is the overall ceiling, when johnson says the days of unlimited migration are over, that ended in the '20s with world war i. and the cap on migration in 1924 was 150,000.
before the war, the average annual migration was about 1 million. so they cut it to 15% of the pre-war average. and in 1965, they raised it in absolute numbers but they kept it at the same proportion of the population, one sixth of 1%. so when they raised it to 290,000, it was really stingy, really, really sting eye. and you had demgraphiers and researchers saying you better raise that number. there's a falling birthrate in western europe. so in a way, hart-celler, the unintended consequences with hart-celler is what enabled us to have a younger population, but it's not because hart-celler
wanted it that way. >> it was meant to do x, but it did y. and it banned discrimination, but yet has discrimination. >> am i to be sell bacelebratin? is this good news? was this a successful act of congress? or was it just -- did these, did they know what they with doing? >> no. >> no, they didn't know what they were doing. >> is this how immigration policy is always enacted? >> oh, yes. immigration policy is crazy. they didn't know what they were doing. >> and it's complicated. >> and it's complicated. >> it's a facebook status. >> but it's transformative. >> we have to accept, whether it's, you know, there's a mix of good and bad, but our country has been transformed by the
consequences of hart-celler. we're a very different society than we would have been had hartcehar hart-celler had not been passed. >> i think it's very difficult to see it from a latino point of view. the cap created the illegal immigration label. imperilled the use of farm workers, created divisions within families. it then led to in the 1990s things like proposition 187 that was kind of a continuation of those things that were created from 1965. and, you know, i've had these same arguments with my grandmother, frankly, and i think it's been very, very wrenching for latino families. and they are ate o're the ones the most vocal in saying we need immigration reform, i think because they've suffered the
longest. >> on that note, i'd like to thank you all for coming, and i'd like to thank the panel. [ applause ] and we are now going to take some -- >> here we go. thank you so much. we're now opening. we have time for questions. there are two of us coming with microphones. this is being recorded. c-span is here and will be broadcasting this in the next couple weeks. it is also on the website, what it means to be american.org. you can send it to friends, family, students who couldn't make it out tonight. so say your name before you speak. josephine's got the first one on the left. >> my name is jay. and i'd like the panelists to opine vis-a-vis about the
african-american community. they are edging out the after can american community in influence. what's the impact of x proposal on the african-american community. whether at that law has meant positively or negatively for that community. >> anyone? >> go ahead. >> well, it certainly shifted the demographics. african-americans are now 10% or 11% of the population, 12%, sorry, and latinos are 18%. i don't think it's diminished the role and the importance of after c african-americans in politics. i don't think that's been the effect. and i don't think that the argument that immigrants are
taken jobs from black people holds up either. you can identify a very small number of sectors in the economy, but really, it's different job markets. you know, they're not competing for work in agriculture. they're not competing for work in, you know, a lot of the how long construction, a lot of the work that immigrants do, especially undocumented immigrants, it's a different labor market. but there's a perception of competition. the reason for high black unemployment, incarceration, police violence, you cannot say immigration is the cause of any of those problems. it's a whole other set of issues that are historical and contemporary. i think one of the important things that happened in maybe like the '80s was that the african-american civil rights movement became much more closely allied with the immigrant rights movement, so i would say they are social movements of people of color, that there's an alliance, and i
think that's a positive thing. >> next question on the right. >> hi, melinda machado. we're at a time that the u.s. is in vietnam. could you talk about the vietnam war and its effects, refugee policies and how that affected, interacted with immigration policies? >> one of the things that johnson says in his bill as a way of promoting thed\ passage hart-celler is to name all of the different european ethnic groups who are soldiers, who are fighting on behalf of the american forces in vietnam. another way of including european americans from southern eastern european background as full americans. that's one part of it, and, but the whole refugee situation and
our humanitarian need to accept refugees was not on their radar yet. and, in fact, it would not, it was not on their radar until april of 1975. so when, the fall of saigon, april 30th of 1975. and when you look at some of those cables that are coming out of saigon at that very moment, it's chaos. it's absolute chaos. there's enough work that has to be done to evacuate american personnel, the south vietnamese is really, they're very secondary if on the radar at all. nevertheless, given the refugee crisis that we're looking at in europe, this is an instructive time to be thinking about what we did do, 130,000 south vietnamese were evacuated from april to december of 1975. that's a large number in a short time, given the fact that we had no refugee resettlement process
established yet. we had none of the social services established yet like we do now. and that over the subsequent decades we did resettle over 1 million southeast asian refugees, not only from vietnam but from laos. and my hometown has been transformed. >> i agree with what erica said, but the other angle is that the civil rights legislation, both in terms of the civil rights act and the hart-celler act, they're taking place in a cold war context, and the administration, both kennedy and johnson administrations were very, very conscious of the international reputation or the tarnishing of america's reputation in the, as the leader of world, you know the free world. and you have jim crow, the national origin quotas. so a lot of the willingness of the administrations to enact several rights reform, so we
look better around the world. and that's part of the symbolism of civil rights. so, in the minds of the powers that be, they're always calculating the political gain and loss from these measures, and foreign policy is very, very much on their minds. it's why johnson refers to the ethnic americans fighting in vietnam. but also, if you read to the very end of johnson's speech, he announces the cuban refugee program. that's the last thing he says at the statue of liberty. >> yeah. >> and there's no refugee act at that time, but there's special legislation that he's going to put forward to allow cubans fleeing communism to come to the united states. so i think the international context for all this is very much on everybody's mind. >> next question on your left. >> thank you very much. nima bliden. i right and teach about african
immigration. and immigration law has had a strange relationship with african immigration. we don't see africans as immigrants. >> in new york we're very aware of people of african descent as immigrants. so many people who are black in new york city are in fact first or second generation. so i think that varies very much by place, but what's also important and maybe neglected in the recent population projections that pays so much attention to asians is the growth of the african immigrant population. i siee no reason why that won't continue. africa, there's clearly a large group of people in africa who can qualify under the skills requirements of american law, and i would expect people to keep coming. >> one of the other -- they
didn't know what they were doing or the unintended consequences of the american immigration law is -- do people know about the lottery? in 1990, congress add 155,000 visas that you didn't have to have a skill or relative. it was a lot -- you could be -- now they wanted it for more white people to come. because you couldn't apply for the lottery unless your country had not sent people in the last 15 years. so it was for low-sending countries. and they wanted the lottery to get more europeans, more whites to come. but africans used it. [ laughter ] that's another unintended . . i population in the united states, i think similar to latinos and asian-americans,
we can't just talk about the african-american population with this incredibly diverse group of refugees as well as people from latin america and african-americans, so that's definitely going to be another aspect of future trends. enter ethnic relations within one racial group. >> next question on your right. >> peter leopold. immigration is i have complicated, and i'd like to toss back to the group one of the complications that you may have skirted a little bit in order to make it a little bit simpler, and that's the question about immigration and path to citizenship that of may spoke about the filipinos coming as nurses but they were h 2 a but were not on a path to citizenship. a lot of people who come with skills are not on a path to
citizenship. in the case of the filipinos, they're legalized, and allowed to stay, but it's not the intent, so if you could sort of reconsider it a little bit, breaking apart those that come with the path to citizenship and which is largely brothers and sisters and those that come with skills that we're just borrowing from other countries. >> so i was on a recent academy panel that considered immigrant integration which did look at the legal basis for people staying in the united states. and you're quite right to say that this is an oversight. because it's, in a lot of discussions of immigration, there's a connation of being foreign-born and being immigrant, but in fact, there's a sizable group of people who are foreign-born, residents of the united states, and they're not immigrants in the sense that they are on a path that leads
eventually to citizenship. so there's a large number of people who are settled here on h h1b visas, and these are visas that are meant to bring in highly skilled, essentially technical workers. often they work in the i.t. industry. they can stay for supposedly up to six years two visas. many of them do try, of course, to get green cards and to stay permanently. we don't really understand very much about the kind of, the experiences over the long run of the people who are coming on these non-permanent visas, even though they are really a very sizable group, probably 5% of the foreign-born, roughly are on non-permanent visas. >> and i talked about the bracero program ending in 1964. it started in '42.
but in fact, the guest worker programs continue and actually diversify so that in addition the h 2 as and bs. they're using that designation to come and teach in schools probably some of the toughest teaching assignments in california. and their numbers actually outnumber the number of people who teach for america. so, you know, there are many, many different ways in which the guest worker program continues, and these people don't have that pathway to citizenship. >> so i think we have to really ask, why do we have these guest worker programs. if there's work and there's a match between a person who can do that job and the job, why can't they just come and, they want to go home after a few years, that's fine. if they want to stay, why can't they stay? so there's this underlying assumption that is rarely challenged that we have to limit
the number of immigrants that, on the path to citizenship, but that's a completely arbitrary number. that's set by congress, there's nothing magical about that number. so we have an arbitrary system where people come who want to use their knowledge, skills or muscles, and we don't welcome them or give them the choice to stay, and i think that's a really deep unfairness. and a lot of the industries where these, where the lower-skilled workers are used, their conditions are horrible. you know, they're used in cutting the fast-growing pine trees that make paper in the south. and the beauty of these programs, the employers is that if somebody complains that they didn't get paid, they just send them back. or they don't renew your contract. so it's a way of really exploiting people outside the regular labor market. >> you're absolutely right. but i do want to point out a
couple of things just to put it in perspective. so, first of all, while congress may set an absolute cap, as we know, that cap is ex-seaexceede because many people can come outside of these rules. if you are the close relative of a u.s. citizen, the parent, the child, you can migrate regardless of caps. so we take in about 1 million people a year now. it's much higher than the hart-celler cap. we have, by far, the largest population of foreign-born, at least in the economically developed world. i mean, the common figures that's said is one of five immigrants lives in the united states, i suspect that ignores people in places like africa, who are crossing borders, because they're fleeing war or for other reasons, but nevertheless, you know, we take in a lot of people on a
world-wide basis. and we should recognize that. i mean, we can't take everybody. obviously. so there, i think there's a great deal of unfairness. there's a lot of abuse. but, in some ways, maybe there's an inherent unfairness in immigration. >> next question on your right. >> hi, my name's dana frank. i wonder if we could talk some more about non-mexican latinos and to complicate this whole story.
captioning performed by vitac >> well, you know in arizona, just last year we had what was deemed a crisis of the central american immigrants, and -- >> and children. >> and there were children, right. and in many cases, it was mexican-americans, local mexican americans who were opening their arms and welcoming them and creating sanctuary for these immigrants. so in fact, i think there is some common cause that's happening amongst their predecessors in you will. the mexicans that settled there. and in fact, what we find is that there's far more recognition of their experience and their own and that it often happens in a religious context. so churches have been the most important