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tv   Eisenhower Grandchildren  CSPAN  December 25, 2015 6:27pm-8:01pm EST

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space program and the marinerer 4 flyby of mars. just before 9:00, writer and 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-span3. next, the moderated conversation with president dwight d. eisenhower's grandchildren. they will talk about his military and political career, his relevance for us today, his legacy and about the grandfather they remember. this discussion was part of the ike 125 celebration commemorating the 125th anniversary of his birth. ♪ ♪ o say, can you see by the dawn's early light ♪
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♪ what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? ♪ ♪ whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight ♪ ♪ o'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming? ♪ ♪ and the rockets' red glare the bombs bursting in air ♪ ♪ gave proof through the night that our flag was still there ♪ ♪ oh, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave ♪ ♪ o'er the land of the free ♪ and the home of the brave?
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[ applause ] tonight continues a wonderful weekend and for that matter yearlong of programming and activities at the eisenhower institute that is celebrating the 125th birthday of dwight d. eisenhower. we've been fortunate to have scholar, filmmakers, authors and veterans of the shape organization with us and members of the eisenhower administration. it's been a team effort and we are grateful to all of them. in short, at gettysburg college we still like ike. and i'd like at this point to turn the program over to steve scully, who will be moderating our town hall forum.
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>> jeffrey, thank you very much. before i begin, i want to recognize some of the brave men who served under general dwight eisenhower. we are pleased and honored and thrilled to have you here tonight. i think you all deserve a round of applause. thank you very much. [ applause ] >> you all do, as tom brokaw put it, represent the very greatest jeperation. thank you very, very much. i'd like to thank all of you who are with us tonight. a rare and unique opportunity to have three of the four living grandchildren of dwight d. eisenhower. i want to thank the eisenhower institute for allowing me to be part of this program. anne eisenhower was born at west
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point, new york. she is a world class interior designer. her work has been featured in leading books and magazines on display in new york city at tiffany's. she's been written about in leading newspapers around the world. she's a trustee of the eisenhower foundation. she's on the board of new york school interior design and her involvement with breast cancer research foundation. for more than a quarter century, she has contributed to the great work at the center for arts and education in new york city. anne eisenhower, thank you for being with us. [ applause ] mary eisenhower spent much of her life devoted to humanitarian and education work. she is the past president and ceo of the people to people foundation. now think about this. it was founded on september 11th, 1956. dwight eisenhower created the exchange program because he had seen enough war and his feeling was it's time to end the
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bloodshed and begin some diplomacy. from the earthquake victims in india to haiti and survivor of rwanda and the families of the victims of september 11th, she has made her mark around the world. she has received countless awards and honors, including the harry s. truman award for public service. and the friendship ambassador from the people's republic of china. thank you for being with us. [ applause ] and susan eisenhower is the chairman and ceo of the eisenhower group, a consulting company to fortune 500 companies here in the united states, around the world, in asia especially. she has served our government in a number of capacities. a member of three blue ribbon commissions for the department of energy. her work with the national academy of sciences and the nasa advisory council. nasa began during the eisenhower administration. she has authored and coauthored a number of books on international security issues. she's lectured at institutions
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including west point and the army war college. her op-eds are often seen in the "washington post," "the l.a. times" and other leading publications around the country. thank you all for being with us. susan, let me begin with you. clearly the great accomplishments of the end of world war ii under presidents roosevelt and truman and the great promise of president john f. kennedy. but now they're hooking at the grand achievements of your began father's presidency. a remarkable eight years. what should we know now that we didn't really know when he left office? >> there's a wonderful expression. the future is bright but the past is unpredictable. this is an old soviet joke. i sometimes feel like this is the way it is in this country too. we're beginning to discover more and more about our history, and dwight eisenhower is an interesting figure because he had a very different leadership style. he sometimes dialled back the rhetoric in favor of doing things behind the scenes.
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my sister will certainly confirm that probably his chief deathbed wish was that his archives be opened as quickly as possible. ever since that process started, people are learning more and more about how utterly engaged he was on all of these issues. i think this is one of the reasons for the last 20 years of an intense interest developed over this period of time, this very dynamic period of time in the 1940s and 50s. >> during the course of our conversation i'll weave in some of the more famous quotes by dwight eisenhower. but anne, you remember him as the oldest grandchild. what are your thoughts? >> oldest granddaughter. >> granddaughter. david is not here. >> david is much older. >> what do you remember about him? >> where do you start? he was very much part of our lives. we often lived near him.
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and things that come to mind are things like him reading my report card as sitting president and this was not fun. with david's report card right next to it. anne, why did you get an a-minus when david got an "a"? he was very much a grandfather to us, so it was a very unusual upbringing in that sense, living around him and yet -- as a normal person, and yet you'd see him in the crowds and you'd wonder what was going on. >> mary, one of the quotes from your grandfather, you don't lead by hitting people over the head. that is assault, not leadership. in terms of what we're seeing today in the republican party primary, what do you think about this quote? [ laughter ] >> i didn't think i was going to get any -- >> i just read the quote. >> i didn't think i was going to get any loaded questions. i think we need to stop hitting each other on the head.
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yeah. it's a completely different dynamic than it was of course when he was around. because, you know, both houses were democratic, and he got along famously with everybody. and got lots through. and there wasn't this party line. i think once the elections were over people became americans as opposed to democrat or republican. he actually -- maybe i'll divert and tell a little story, but when i was in school here in gettysburg, yea, i heard two rumors about him in school that i was sure were absolutely wrong. and of course i was young, so the intensity was just terrible. i went straight from school to his house. we lived right on the edge of the farm. and he was in his nap room at the time of the day. i went straight up to his
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naproom and he was reading a book. i said, granddad, i heard two things about you today that i just can't believe. and he said, what? he put his book down, took his glasses off and looked at me. i said, is it true that your name is really david dwight and not dwight david? he said there were so many davids in the family that i got tired of being called bud, so i took dwight. he never actually officially changed it either. but the other one was, i said, and i heard you were raised a democrat. and he said, oh, yeah, but i didn't claim a party while i was in the army because back then -- i don't know if it's still true or not, but the officers didn't customarily vote for their commander in chief. i said, oh, what made you decide to become a republican? he got this look on his face. i was beginning already to regret the conversation because i knew i was in for a lesson. he said he was concerned about
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the front-runner taft being an isolationist. and he said, this is a two-party country and the democrats have been in power long enough. but granddad, what if you lost? he said, well, how's your weight coming along. >> both parties in 1952 wanted him to be their nominee. >> this is true. this is sort of hard to imagine now, isn't it? it is impossible to imagine. no, actually, they had -- probably because they came out of military circles. they had a very, i wouldn't say bipartisan way of thinking about themselves but a nonpartisan way. as a matter of fact, our grandmother mamie eisenhower made a rule. she'd tell her staff, i don't want to know anything about what party people are from when they come to the white house. they're a guest of the president and first lady and they're in america's home. it was often perceived she
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didn't know that much about politics. she knew plenty about politics. she didn't just want any part of it at the white house. i think it goes to show how much time has gone by, wouldn't you say? >> i had read from the book by gene edwards smith he would have easily gone to the u.s. naval academy, but he was accepted at west point. because of the age limit. you had to be 19. he was 20 when he went to west point. he graduated 61st in a class of 164. this is open ended to any one of you. when he was the first to admit during his high school and college years he was a pretty average student. >> this is what made getting an a-minus very difficult. >> now we know the rest of the story. >> i do know he attended the general staff command college at leavenworth and he graduated first in his class on that one. he said that that was what really -- it was his paradigm
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shift to make the army and leadership his career. prior to that, of course, we all know that he applied to annapolis first and it was for the free education because they came from very humble beginnings. then he was too old because he worked to put his brother through school. annapolis turned him down and he applied to west point and got that, so he wasn't really sure about what direction he wanted his career to take until he went to leavenworth. >> i would add a rather intriguing factoid here. if you look at america's great generals, very, very few of them graduated at the top of their class. this is really -- i've done a little study of this. most of them come right out of the middle of the class. that includes civil war generals as well as generals during world war ii. there are some extraordinary exceptions, of course, douglas macarthur being one of them. but the reason i mention that is
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that was never -- graduate in the middle of the class said something about perhaps your -- actually some of them had rather lackluster disciplinary records too. ike was one of them. way, way at the bottom on discipline. strangely, the army tries to train people to follow orders, but they also like people who ask questions. it's kind of ironic. i just throw that out there, but certainly by the time he got to commander general staff school he was expecting more of himself than what he produced at various times at west point. >> stephen ambrose wrote that he was known for his pranks from time to time. >> oh, yes. there's a famous moment where he turns up in dress jacket. apparently, he was only wearing the jacket. i think that got him a few walks around the guard duty there maybe for a long time.
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>> anne eisenhower, when you went to see your grandfather, you can't talk about dwight eisenhower without talking about mamie. what was she like? >> mamie was really quite wonderful. >> by the way, what did you call her? >> we called her mimi. we called her mimi. she was quite wonderful, very opinionated. didn't like you talking back to her -- not talking back. didn't like you having a big difference of opinion, but she was the most loving person and always on your side. she was absolutely amazing and she was a character. she just was wonderful. >> do each of you have a favorite mamie eisenhower story? >> i know mary has lots of mamie eisenhower stories, but i have to tell you just to anne's point there, she had these extraordinary china blue eyes and they positively sparkled.
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she had the most magnificent eyes and glorious skin. i remember once for the first time in my life, i had the courage to counter her on something. i said, mimi, you make me so mad. without missing a beat, she very calmly said angry, darling. mad means you've lost your mind. >> if i may tell a story, which is a mary story, but she may be too little to remember. she was going to school in pennsylvania and had a teacher that was giving her a very hard time. mimi came over. she was going to go to some concert or something. somehow this teacher wanted to meet mimi. he was toast by the time she finished with him. she always flirted with her eyes. she had this man eating out of her hand. i don't think mary ever had a problem again after that. >> yeah, i was in a play "fiddler on the roof."
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i was from wisera. it was my night. she was coming to, of course, support me. he was -- we're going to stop in the middle of intermission and we're going to give her a dozen roses. and we're going to do this and we're going to do that. she saw the look on my face when i was telling her about it. she said i'm not going, but she had him over to my parents' house for iced tea. anne's right. she very diplomatically and sweetly pulverized the man. >> steve, could i add one thing about this? she had an extraordinary ability to also serve this role diplomatically and in other ways. she could charm the socks off anybody. many of you know about eisenhower's occasionally strained relations with field marshal bernard montgomery during world war ii. >> we heard about that. >> yeah, i think they're still
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talking about that. she thought he was adorable. she made it her business to think he was adorable. she told me once of all her house guests, he was her favorite. she managed to tease out of this man some bit of humor. field marshal mont dpomry came to visit the white house. he looked around and said it's not buckingham palace, to which mamie batted those spectacular blue eyes and said, thank goodness for that. >> while we're talking about gettysburg and the post presidency -- because i do want to talk about d-day and his leadership in the military and his presidency. but we're here in gettysburg, pennsylvania. why did he decide to come here after he left the white house? >> i think he was stationed here early on in his career and they liked the town. and i believe that they wanted the farm because of his roots in
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kansas. >> this is a great story that i read from your brother david eisenhower. the book is called "going home to glory." imagine this. on january 20th, 1961, a bitter cold day in which john f. kennedy was sworn in as our 35th president. dwight d. eisenhower and his wife mamie hopped into a 1955 chrysler, drove up route 15. one secret service agent in front of them. he came to the farm. the secret service agent honked the horn and they came into the house and their retiring began. it seems to different from 1961 to where we are today. >> it was my father who actually did the driving because ike didn't have his driver's license yet. he was expected to go get his driver's license. which he did, having had, obviously, a driver since the beginning of the war. i would add that ike was really a country boy and he loved the outdoors. and my grandmother, our grandmother, came from denver, colorado and was a bit of
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debutante. she didn't like the outdoors very much, so she thought there was some romance to this two up, two down farmhouse they bought. she used to say she had one massage a week and that's all the exercise she needed. in any case, they had some great friends named george and mary allen on emmitsburg road. this was a huge plus because not only could i come back to gettysburg, but mamie had her pal mary allen down the road. >> i think also the proximity to washington. they were in the country and still accessible to washington. i think that was a big, big thing. if i may add one story, barbara walters interviewed my grandparents. i believe it was for their 50th anniversary. barbara walters turned to my grandfather and said, does mamie enjoy the outdoors in the summer. and he sort of chuckled and he said, she certainly does.
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she sits on the air-conditioned glass porch and looks out and enjoys every bit of it. >> did he ever talk to you about d-day? >> well, i can tell you i used to -- we were at an elementary school. occasionally i would walk from the school to the gettysburg college campus where he had an office as he was writing his memoirs. occasionally he'd give mow a ride home. on one occasion, i went into the office. and in an anti-room in the back, he had a huge map of one of the most famous of the d-day pictures with all the ships and barrage balloons. it's a famous iconic picture. i asked him about it. if you opened it up, there were these maps you could pull down. i got a little bit of a primer
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on this. i was way too young, of course, but i think my sisters will absolutely agree that we saw the documentary "crusade in europe" based on his memoir. how many times did we see that? three, four? maybe five times? certainly by the time we became adults, we were well familiarized with his story. >> what does his leadership tell you about that period in american history for either one of you? >> in 1990, when he would have been 100, we had a series of events. there's a famous picture of him with the troops the night before, and he's looking at number 23 was how i knew him because he had that picture on his desk and daddy had that picture on his desk too. i always wondered who number 23 was. i met number 23 aboard the
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uss eisenhower. and his name was wally strobele. i said all my life i've seen this picture because deploying the next day and that kind of thing. he said, well, he might have been asking me about the fishing in saginaw. that's what this intense look is. >> it's fly fishing. >> it's fly fishing. >> to answer your earlier question, once upon a time now as a grownup i saw my brother on tv giving an interview and the question was did your father and your grandfather talk a lot about world war ii in front of you. he said, oh, no, never. i picked up the phone and immediately called my father. i said we need a reality check
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here. my memory is he talked about it all the time. he laughed and he said, anne, you have to understand. david didn't get enough. we talked about it once in a while because david really loved the subject he wanted to hear more. you didn't want to hear more. the one time you heard us it was probably too much. >> it's fascinating. my own father was part of the second wave of the d-day invasion. >> is that right? >> he didn't talk about it though. dwight eisenhower had a ready-made political base in 1952 because 12 million men whom he had led, most of them were going to support dwight d. eisenhower. >> i had the enormous privilege of taking my salt group to normandy this last year. we studied the grand strategy of world war ii and the operational strategy, and we studied leadership and followership and all those things.
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when you're at the cemetery, the thing that is really, really striking is that it is -- the famous cemetery, it's a cemetery of kids. they're kids in that cemetery. you know what, i have to tell you this trip was so moving to me and how thrilled i was our provost came with our group. but there i was and really for the first time in my whole life i think i realized what my grandfather's burden had been. we heard all about it. we heard all about the operations about it. maybe i never got enough. i think that's when i first understood the burden. he lost a child. he and my grandparents lost a child at the age of 3. i mean, this is a cemetery of kids, and that's how tough war is. aren't we honored to have people who worked -- yes, that's right. supreme headquarters allied expeditionary force. >> motivation is the art of
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getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it. brilliant. did you want to respond to that too? >> well, i think he was right and i think that was part of the whole people to people movement. i think the personal diplomacy and that kind of thing -- >> don't you find it ironic that it was created on september 11th, 1956? >> i did. i guess that had been forgotten within the organization. it was about seven years after i was working there. i know what it was. it was the 50th anniversary of people to people. we looked at the record, and of course there's a great footage of his speech when he was launching. it was september 11th, 1956. the ironic part about it is
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people to people was created as a peaceable way to combat the cold war. we found it almost eerie. >> steve, can i add something to that? don't you think that's something we should have today? we were talking about the political situation earlier. wouldn't it be extraordinary if somebody thought their job in leadership was to make the other side feel like they wanted to do this for the country? this is where you see a very, very different leadership style between then and now and especially dwight eisenhower's brand of leadership. >> let's be honest -- [ applause ] a very different republican party back in the 1950s. >> yes. >> did he enjoy the presidency? >> did he what? >> did he enjoy the presidency? did he enjoy his eight years in washington? >> i don't think enjoyment would be the word. i think you enjoy being
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president much more nowadays than you did back then. >> why? >> because nowadays there's perks like the rock stars stop by and things like that, but i think he saw it not as a job whether or not he enjoyed it or not as it was his duty. he was elected president, and his job was to achieve certain goals and he worked at it, concentrated on it. he was not the type of man to sit back and say, do i like what i'm doing today. just wasn't the type. >> let me go through some highlights. the creation of the interstate highway system. development of nasa. he placed the arkansas national guard under federal control. he won the praise of martin luther king of being resolute. precivil rights 1960s.
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he made five appointments to the u.s. supreme court. we went from 48 to 50 states. alaska and hawaii were entered into the union and he ended the korean war. >> could i add something to that? he modernized our infrastructure and balanced the budget three times in eight years. which is really an extraordinary part of that record. and left office with a budget surplus for his successor. >> if i can jump in, there's kind of a fun story. that same trip when he would have been 100 years old, a lot of us -- about five or six people who were in the government at the time he was president were along. one of them was the assistant secretary of the treasury. my dad went to bed early one night and the rest of us just kind of hung out. they were really telling stories on grand dad. it was like i had no idea. >> do tell.
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>> one of the stories was great. it was the assistant secretary. he said that he got this phone call at 2:00 in the morning. apparently grand dad had been up since like 11:30 was pacing. inflation was a half a percent last month. what are you going to do about it? he said we'll talk about in the morning. can we go to bed, mr. president? >> i would just like to add one thing. the question of civil rights comes up a lot. my grandfather was very active in that area not the way it maybe was later on, but he desegregated washington, he desegregated the military. he is the only president who has had an african-american pall bearer who was with him during the war till his death. that says a lot.
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>> your grandfather spent 16 years as a major in the army and he changed the policy in the military. you're up for two promotions. you're up or you're out. up until 1953, the president would shake hands at the military academies for the top 10% of the class and then would sit down. he said if i'm going to direct these, i'm going to shake hands with each and every one of them, so talk about that. >> that would be typical of the style of his leadership that he brought to the war. he spent an enormous amount of time meeting with as many troops as he could before they were deployed. it's an extraordinary number. this is british troops, american troops, and other allies that fought with us. and i think he saw it as a way
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to motivate people, to remind people that were all part of the same cause, the same team. >> he said in preparing for battle, i've always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable. susan? >> seems logical to me. the reason you go through these plans is so you know exactly what the elements of the strategy are. for instance, if you go to national defense university, you'll see the plans for operation neptune, this is the amphibious landing on d-day, are about this thick. the reason you go through all that detail is you have some idea of what has to be thought through. then, of course, once you hit the beach or once you actually engage in battle, then much changes and it changes very
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quickly, but at least you know what the general plan is. this agility, this capacity of every fighting man to understand what we were trying to establish, is the reason we won that war because the other side was ruled by a dictator. what went on the dictator's head is what was going to happen and nobody knew what they were trying to accomplish on any given occasion. >> first, real global president. he traveled because of the jet age. he is the first president to have lived on three continents. how did that shape his world view? >> i don't know how it shaped his, but it certainly shaped mine. when i went to -- when i was studying languages in high
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school, we moved at one point and the only language that was offered was french. and he said, no, no, no. that can't happen. we have an entire continent below us. you have to learn spanish. he cut a deal with the school that i could go to the local university to learn spanish and that happened. i later got married and moved to south america, so i really could have used the french, but he was really very global thinking. as you say, he did live on three continents. a good portion of his life was outside of the country. he could see that the world was rapidly changing. and certainly as grandchildren, he tried to prepare us for it. >> he talked a lot about the integrity.
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he said the supreme quality of leadership is integrity. without it, there would be no success whether it is on the football field or in the office. >> he drove that home to us. he had a major hand in raising us. he could almost -- not really, but almost tolerate you sassing, but do not lie to him. if he found out -- that was the wrath. he was emphatic about integrity even within the family. >> a great eisenhower quote from the presidency, a society that values its privileges over its principles soon loses both. >> yeah. yeah, that's a good one. >> his vice president was richard nixon. what was the relationship between these two men? >> business. >> that was it? >> yeah.
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>> that famous quote in 1960, if you give me a week, i'll think about it. >> a little unfair. >> can you explain the back story? >> the reason it's unfair is he had a weekly press conference. that's already such -- there's an exclamation point behind that since we don't have weekly press conferences anymore. the question as i understand it was the last question that was asked as he was walking out of the room. he was suggesting he would take up the question the next week. to be reading a relationship by various things said at various times really probably isn't fair. i would just say two things. probably you've got some other impressions. richard nixon was quite a young man. he was a young vice president. and also our grandparents didn't really mix business and pleasure. you didn't see a lot of his associates around at dinner or going to white house movies or anything like that, so i think
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that's another indication. but i think it is fair to say that nixon was used a lot as a vice president, especially overseas in latin america and in the soviet union. but the fact that they didn't have a relationship outside of business is i don't think the way we'd have to examine that subject. >> you're both shaking your heads, so go ahead. >> i want to emphasize that did change later, especially when my brother got involved with nixon's daughter. they were instant family. when grand dad had passed away, the nixons were very, very good to my grandmother. she said almost embarrassingly took good care of her. they really did become family eventually, but during the presidency it was just strictly business. >> i want to broach one very touchy subject, so please bear with me. it's camp david.
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>> sore subject. >> yeah. >> actually, i have an explanation for that. grand dad was very fair. if one of us got something, the others got something, right? i'm the youngest, right? camp david was named for my brother, and then a large presidential yacht was named anne. a little more modest was the susan elaine. >> the susie e. >> and the motor boat was the mary jean. >> you all got something. >> the largest, the medium, and the motor boat all lined up with all of us on the back. obviously, we couldn't put camp david there. >> then we'd still have the barbara anne. >> the -- i might have had the motor boat, but i caught more fish. >> it was known has shangri la when roosevelt was in the white house. >> i don't know why grand dad
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changed it, but he did. the big mystery is why kennedy didn't change it. he did change barbara anne. i doubt anybody will ever change it. >> the answer to anne's question is the spirit of camp david. >> there is an iconic photograph of your grandfather with president john kennedy at camp david.
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what was the relationship like between these two presidents? >> i think kennedy had a lot of respect for grand dad. he consulted with him a lot, particularly about cuba. i'm sure it was mutual because grand dad always engaged him. >> i think you have to look at it again as the role of ex-presidents then. it was to leave office and go off and do the -- live the next chapter of your life unless you're called upon. to underscore mary's point, he did get called upon, but it wasn't like they were talking all the time or they even had a relationship before. they didn't know each other particularly before that inauguration. >> just a funny aside, someone
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gave me a picture later on in life maybe 20 years later, 20 years ago, which is the famous picture of john john on the knee hole in the oval office. we're playing around the knee hole of the desk. sort of fun. >> is it true that president kennedy complained that the golf cleats had damaged the floor in the oval office? >> i think he did, but i think he was, i don't know, mistaken. grand dad was -- maybe not. i don't know. >> i'm trying to find out if this is an urban myth or not. >> some of the students are going to walk around. if you have questions, we'll get to them in about five or ten minutes. sherman adams, how important was he to the eisenhower presidency and the creation of this new position, a military-like position, the white house chief of staff? >> i think it is well underestimated how much eisenhower brought his own
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management touch to the white house. certainly the national security council apparatus was defined by eisenhower was a very unique coordinating body that later ended with the kennedy administration. this is the idea that the nsc would serve as a coordinating role to make sure what was decided at the cabinet level in policy was actually implemented by those who are set to carry out the decisions. today, nobody's really sure. whenever i hear somebody say, well,you know how washington works, i always want to say, do you know how washington works? you can probably trace how that period worked with gray areas than you can today. >> you also talked about news conferences. john kennedy the first to have live televised news conferences, but in the 1950s, we saw the explosion of network television
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from the early 50s until the end of his presidency, so how did he use television during his presidency? >> well, he was the first television president really. in the sense it didn't explode in the same way after kennedy came onto the scene, but much of his -- much of the great moments were televised in the 1950s. i don't know. it's hard to know what impact television had, but he had such a magnetic way about him. his west point yearbook described him as big as life and twice as natural, and he really was. as a kid you knew that. it came through on television and it came through in crowds. >> he spoke at my high school graduation.
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>> mine too. >> it was rather upsetting for me because a lot of the girls did not want him to speak because they felt he would take away from their day. they really made my life quite miserable. going into graduation, i was very upset. he gave a speech and i zeroed out. he made a statement. he said, if you've heard nothing of what i've said today, always remember one thing. ankles will always be needed, but knees will always be knobby. the room collapsed. the girls who had the mini skirts up to here, the ones who criticized him for coming to the school were wrapped around his finger. it was the first time i had ever
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been in sort of a public situation and realized how important he was. to see it firsthand was absolutely amazing. >> mary and i were at a school called west town. he came to speak at our school as well. it was in the middle of the vietnam war, and west town school was a quaker school. most of the students there were conscientious objectors. you can imagine this great military figure comes to a gathering like this. he got vicious questions from our fellow students, and then the big man on campus, the big soccer star, because they don't play football at west point, raised his hand and said i gather you were sidelined from his football career. what was that like? he lit up.
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he took up smoking. he had the whole school eating out of his hand. back to your question, i'm sure that that kind of emotional intelligence with crowds, it worked on television as well. >> and to add to that that specific day, i was in the sixth grade and susie was a junior or a senior. >> sophomore. >> i can't do the math. >> can't do the math right. >> my class was allowed to come because of me. right at the peak of some really intense questions -- and i got them all because it is kind of interesting being an eisenhower in a quaker school. anyway, this guy danny
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easterling raised his hand and said, well, what it was it like to be president? and i thought, just shoot me now. i was embarrassed he asked the question, but he took that to be as important as the last question he just asked. he gave him a complete description, said it's everything from meeting with other heads of states to the boy scouts. >> the boy scouts. that's right. that's exactly what he said.
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>> he made danny feel very important and like he'd real asked an important question. and it went through my mind that i thought that was just as important as the rest of the stuff to him. >> did he have a sense of humor? >> no. >> wait, wait. >> he had a sense of humor in a kind of ironic way. one of my favorite stories really takes place at penn state, and i was just recently at penn state to help mark the 50th anniversary -- sorry, the -- worried about the weather if it was going to be outside where they could accommodate many ore people. so, he calls up ike on the phone and says what are we going to do about this? move the crowd in, stay inside and ike said with some exasperation, listen, i haven't
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worry about the weather since june 6th, 1944. >> you laughed when i asked the question so is there a story behind that, his sense of humor? >> well, i think, like susie said, i think it was more of a subtle sense of humor. i'm reminded of when he taught me how to ride. i think i was about 5 and we were at the farm in gettysburg. he had six horses, right? and he put me on the biggest nag in the stable. it was kind of pathetic because i was so small that they had to double the stirrups to get my feet into them. and it was english so there was nothing to hang on to. so he gives me all these instructions. he says, you hold the reins this way to turn left and to turn right.
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never let the horse make, you know, think you're afraid. grip with your knees and turn your toes in, and he just gave me the whole gamut. did you understand that? i said, yeah. he said, repeat it back. so i did. he said, good, right on the horse's back end. and i ended up on the horse's neck but not the ground, so i was very proud of myself. >> a couple of good questions and we'll get questions from all of you. where does the name eisenhower come from? what's the genealogy of the name? >> german. >> how did he get ike? >> it was a family nickname. there were lots of ikes in the eisenhowers. and he's the only one that carried it through to adulthood and kept it. >> was he a religious man? >> he was a spiritual man. >> you'd appreciate this, steve. he, as far as i know, is the only president elected without declaring what his religion was. he became a presbyterian after he was elected president of the united states. >> when he made a decision, whatever the decision happened
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to be, did he second-guess himself? >> i don't think so. >> it boils down to the how's your weight question? he never entertained that he would lose if he was running. he never second-guessed himself, i don't think. >> i'll tell you this. our father, john eisenhower, the person aside from mamie who was closest to granddad than anybody else said one of his real genius in a lot of ways he learned from his mistakes but he didn't replay the tape. you have to keep moving on. finding yourself in a continuous cycle of self-doubt. >> neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him. >> wow. i haven't heard that one before. that's a good one. >> i haven't heard it either. i'm glad i didn't hear it.
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>> one of the most famous speeches he ever delivered, january 17, 1961. and this is a question from a participant talking about the industrial complex. what would he think about it today? and how significant was that speech? and why are we still talking about it today? >> there are two things about that speech. one is the military industrial complex and, also, the other is the last paragraph. it's very interesting. i think in terms of to date, the world is so different today. it's hard to say what he would think. i know that he called the military and the technology awesome and he didn't mean it like awesome. he meant it like awesome. >> biblical sense of the word.
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>> that's right. and that last paragraph is a prayer. the very last line was that the world be brought together by the finding force of love. i think he was showing his, you know, kind of what he had learned throughout his military confrontations and the things that kind of haunted him. he really wanted everybody to come together. i always called him the first tippy. >> you know, i think it's an extraordinarily important speech, and i think it will continue to be talked about and reread, not just military industrial complex but where he warns the nation about mortgaging the assets of future generations. and he calls on the country to avoid taking the easy way out,
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basically, to paraphrase it, to squander the resources of future generations. the military industrial complex, i'll just be direct with you, it's alive and well. and it was an important speech because here was a military man who had the capacity to examine the situation and without disrespect to his colleagues to acknowledge that the unwarranted influence of a permanent military establishment, which he acknowledged was going to be required during the cold war. was something that could threaten our democracy if not for an alert and knowledgeable citizenry. and this is what we're trying to do here through the eisenhower institute is to bring about a capacity to understand how important being alert and knowledgeable is in a democracy. one of our great challenges today.
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>> of course he, more than anyone, as you just indicated, in a very unique position to talk about the military, he had a lot of frustrations with the army, despite his leadership role. if any of you want to talk about that, stephen ambrose writes about it. mary jean smith writes about his own angst when he was moving up the ranks. >> you can tell i'm a washingtonian here. i just was, you know, probably one of the greatest things in my life was to have an office next to general goodpastor for every bit of five years. maybe longer than that. he was granddad's day-to-day security person during the white house years. he also worked for george marshall, by the way, too. but he told me once that he was standing in the oval office and the defense appropriations bill was put on the president's desk.
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and he's looking through this going through it line by line. as only a five-star general could. he knew exactly what they were talking about, what the requests were. he looked up, said god help this country when someone is president who doesn't know the military as well as i do. and that's not to say that we shouldn't have a strong military. we should indeed but he had this capacity to do what was necessary to do the job and what was pork or unnecessary expenditures. >> and this is directed to you as a world class interior designer. >> i went to a dinner in new york once upon a time. typical new york dinner where you're introduced to somebody and they don't hear your name and you don't hear theirs either. in this particular case i happened to know who the woman was.
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i was younger and i just knew who she was. we got on the subject of embassies in the united states and she said, well, i really don't think that the ambassador's wife should be allowed to decorate the personal -- the public rooms. and i said, i totally agree. i just saw x, y, z embassy and you wouldn't have believed what they did to it. and she said, i would take it one step farther. i don't think the first lady should be allowed to decorate the public rooms of the white house. she said look at what mamie eisenhower did. she called in bee altman. okay. another deep breath. they were actually honoring klemm that night, the curator of the white house. and i didn't say anything to her. she did turn a little pale when i was asked to come up and cut the birthday cake. afterwards i wrote and said, you know, i was taken aback by this
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comment. i do not know the facts. can you fill me in? i said my understanding, she never would have called in bea altman. and of course this was very sticky because the kennedys, of course, used top decorators and everything was french. so this was an ego thing. you're right. your grandmother did not call in bea altman because bess truman called them in when they renovated the white house. i took this letter and sent it off to my dear friend. but it was interesting. he told me at the same time she started the antiques program in the white house. she had a big influence. she did what she could. because there was no budget. >> worth noting that mamie desperately wanted to get the bea altman furniture out of the
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white house but ike said we're going to balance this budget and we're not going to do it by redecorating the white house. >> and this is with all due respect to bea altman. >> how did your grandmother get the name mamie? >> they all had nicknames. >> it was her given name. >> it was her given name. >> this is fun family stories. some great questions so thank you very much. >> could you talk about vacations growing up? >> christmas, thanksgiving, easter, all of the china and silver would be put on the tables. we were probably the only 3, 5, and 8-year-olds that knew how to use finger bowls. >> it really came in handy.
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>> my grandmother really loved to celebrate the holidays. they were very important to us. i think they continue to be for that reason. >> another one. can you share your most favorite birthday gift from your granddad? bill, thank you for the question. do you have a favorite and do you still have the present? >> mine is a wooden and silver dressing mirror, and i still have it. it's on my dresser to this day. i think i was 5, 6. it was in california. >> this wasn't a birthday gift -- well, two things real quick on -- well, i'll keep it to one, how is that? i won a little -- like mary, i had riding lessons, too. it actually stuck with me. i started participating in some horse shows. i was in a walk/trot class at a horse show, and i actually won a
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trophy. it was this big, about that high, and then it disappeared. and about, i don't know, i guess about a month later it reappeared, and granddad present it had to me. he had take then dinky little cup and put it on a pedestal. had it put on a pedestal. so the pedestal was about this high and the dinky little cup is sitting right on top. so that i have dinky little cup and its pedestal at my house as a prized possession. >> do you have a favorite present? >> he gave me a -- it looks like a gold coin, but it has a little thing that you press and then up pops a watch and it was given to him by the crew of the mayflower when they did the re-enactment. it's dedicated to president dwight d. eisenhower and such and such a date. and then underneath it he dedicates it to me, and the
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date. >> he liked to given out a lot of medals, did he not? pre-presidential award. >> i think this is a thing a lot of books, for instance, talk about his passionate nature and sometimes discuss his nature. the one missing piece in a lot of this was this kind of sweetness we've just described. i'd like to tell you one other thing that might surprise you but i only found out years later because i was really the one who ended up being responsible for these horses in his stables. he took up horse breeding actual ly at the end of his career as gentleman farmer. and two foals were produced. one named sassy sue. i hope that wasn't directed at me. and the other was named kainai
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and was a lovely animal. one day later disappeared. years ago i found out what happened. granddad had a secretary who unexpectedly died and he discovered the deceased secretary's daughter wanted very much to have a horse. and he gave her the horse. it's called the ike files, this book. after all those years i found out he gave that foal to another little girl my age. >> great story. between his army years and presidency served as president of columbia university. did he enjoy that time at columbia?
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>> i think he enjoyed columbia. i actually heard michael severn discuss this at one point, who was later president of columbia. apparently columbia hired him knowing he was not going to be the typical president of columbia university. he took a leave of absence to go to nato so he was not there for the full time, and then when he came back, he ran for president. but, again, i'm not sure granddad looked at any job he did as enjoyment. i think he would take a job based on whether or not it would be fulfilling to him and then he had a job to do. he did it. >> it was duty? >> yes, absolutely. >> susan, you talked about the smoking and there's a question here. did your grandfather try to quit
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smoking? because that did contribute to his health. >> oh, it did actually. we know so much more about this now. actually our honored guests here can confirm the fact that ike smoked a lot of cigarettes during world war ii. there are estimates between three and four packs. you see pictures of him always with a cigarette in his hand pretty much. and i think we can give him a pass for that if it helped him win the war. he got a bad case of bronchitis and you ought to quit. he was having a hard time doing it and he did it. he went cold turkey. >> he also said he might take it back up again but he'd never quit again because it was hell. >> but when asked how he ended up giving up cold turkey, he said he gave himself an order i tried giving myself an order and it didn't work at all.
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>> on his birthday, 70th birthday, we were in the white house in the private dining room, and it was just us. he turned to my grandmother and he said don't you think after all these years i could have one cigarette? she had such a conniption fit that he didn't have it. he was still wanting it that much later. >> what was it like to be a young girl at the white house with your grandparents? >> it was totally normal. he became president when i was 4 years old. i didn't know anything different. it was safe, it was wonderful, granddad is handle the world. it was just great. >> so your favorite white house memory, do you all have one? >> i do. >> go ahead. >> christmas one year. it's kind of what do you give the president of the united states for christmas? he has everything, right? >> and did you spend it at camp
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david or at the white house? >> no, at the white house. my mother decided to throw a christmas pageant for him. she was very clever. she cut sheets out and did cardboard angel wings and put garland on the neck and then for halos she took coat hangers and put garland on the coat hangers and put them on our heads and strung them with lights and attached them to a "d" battery with a button on the bottom that we could push and the halos would light up. one of my favorite things -- of course i was always in the rear because i was the youngest. she did it by height. i remember going through the third floor -- rather, the second floor -- it goes ground, first, second. with all the lights out, there was a huge corridor and we were
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singing "silent night" and we had our little halos lit up and all of that when the pageant was over he gave us a standing ovation, came running over and gave each of us a dollar. said it was much less expensive than the theater. >> i would like to follow this up. anne and i have a funny story between us about the white house being normal. i must say we were so extraordinarily lucky to grow up here in gettysburg, pennsylvania, because our classmates didn't think it was particularly strange or at least didn't raise it that we were being followed around by secret servicemen. and we had them, of course, until the end of his administration. anne and i laugh about the time in alexandria before we moved to gettysburg that we had decided to go running through the woods to one of our friend's houses and two large men -- took a shortcut. >> and these two large men were
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running along behind us. and one of the neighbors was not quite cottoned on to this called the cops. these two little girls are being pursued through the woods by two grown men and when the cops arrive, all the badges are out. >> anne, it's your turn. >> favorite memory of the white house -- there were many. because i was a bit older -- >> but not the oldest grandchild. >> not the oldest. watching the -- we were allowed to sit on the stairs and watch the progression of people into the state dining room on the state dinners when dignitaries would come. there were some incredible moments like that. fun memories, driving our electric car in the basement and then all of a sudden all the
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tourists, all the people are going to do the tour of the white house are standing there and they're staring at us and we're sort of, you know, what do you do? >> and i never got a turn on that car, i might add. >> there were just lots of incredible experiences. one of the most enjoyable was -- and it's a great story, actually. my mother went out -- my parents went out one night and left us, you know, at the white house. and the butlers were supposed to take care of us, and they served us unbelievable things, great steak and ice cream and french fries and just everything. and so when my mother got home she asked what they had given us for dinner. and he gave her the list of all this horrible stuff. and she said, how could you do that? and he said mrs. eisenhower gave us the order when she went out that the grandchildren were to be made happy. and happy we were. we had wonderful meals there. the staff was absolutely
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incredible. it was absolutely -- >> of that incredible staff, one was gene allen, the subject of the movie "the butler." the movie "the butler" was inspired by him. he had one of the greatest smiles i've ever seen a human being have. >> how often did you go back to the white house or have you been back since your grandfather left, and how has that felt to each of you? >> well, interior designers are not invited back very often. however, lady bird johnson was the first person who decided that once you've lived in the house it becomes very personal to you. and she invited everybody who had ever lived in the white house back for tea. and, oh, there are some photographs that are absolutely amazing. that was the first time. i went back again because she had -- i don't know how it happened, but she invited my senior class for tea at the white house. i'm not sure who used my name, how they did it.
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it just happened. susan and i went when mrs. obama did a mothers day lunch. i've been back actually very little. >> we all went back in '90 on granddad's centennial. >> i feel very fortunate because i'm a washingtonian, you know. i've had the opportunity to be there on a number of additional occasions, but it's funny. you asked what does it feel like? first of all, they still use the same floor wax because the immediate smell when you are going downstairs is exactly the same. and the other thing there are small things that you couldn't really say to anybody else without sounding silly but we spent a lot of time on the third floor of the white house. and in the solarium we had a parakeet and a couple of
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canaries. pete the parakeet died. and our grandmother was so incredibly sweet. she let us have a ceremonial burial for pete the parakeet in what is today the jacqueline kennedy rose garden. but we're sorry that somehow the marker for pete is no longer there. and so you go in there and you're always looking for these little things to see whether our little headstone is still there for pete. >> i do remember where all of the secret doors are to all the back staircases. >> a couple of other questions you may not be able to answer this you about you talked about montgomery. what about eisenhower's relationships with charles de gaulle? >> there was a lot of respect between the two men. and i've often heard it referred to that they were the only two on both sides that got along famously. de gaulle came to the farm --
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what was it, may of '58? >> '59. >> maybe that's why i remember it. i kind of -- i'm deviating. >> i think i should tell that story. because watching it from afar, do you mind? >> oh, no, no. >> when he would take people here to gettysburg, he would bring them because he would want them to see, you know, life in america, in rural america, and he would also like to show us off as a normal family. and so he would sometimes call unannounced and give us ten minutes' notice. i'm here sitting with charles de gaulle and i'll be down in five, ten minutes. so we learned to become experts to throw all the clothes under the beds. we could clean up a house in ten minutes flat. so one day he showed up with charles de gaulle and mary was very small. you must have been about 3 years old. >> i think i was more like -- i remember it. >> 5?
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anyway, charles de gaulle is sitting in our little house on a sofa. he was so large, he could hardly get in the front door. >> he was like 6'5", correct? >> he was enormous, yes, he was. and he arrived. he sat down on one of the sofas and he always -- it was always through a translator because he quote/unquote didn't speak english. mary is this little girl. she puts her arm on the sofa and stares at him. the reason i wanted to tell the story -- the reason i wanted to tell the story is because you can imagine you're there as a sister. you know you've got to behave. you have to do this. but we see a wild card here. and mary is staring at him, staring at him, staring at him. and finally it comes out. she says why do you have such thick glasses? and he turns to her in perfect english and says, i'm very blind. poor me. >> do you remember that?
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>> very much, yes. because i also engaged him in a conversation talking about the smocking of my dress and the lace and telling him why it was important and how it was done and all that and he completely ignored me and kept talking to granddad. >> the eisenhower name lives on at the eisenhower executive office building. they didn't have to change the acronym because it was the old executive office building. what was that like to have your grandfather's name attached to that building, that iconic building next to the white house? >> location, location, location. yeah, no, it's thrilling. it's thrilling. it's now known as the eeob and there's something really moving and wonderful to see that when they announce press conferences it's at the eisenhower building. i think it's the best. >> your grandfather did face criticism from the conservative
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wing of the republican party that he did not do enough to try to dismantle some of the programs that they didn't like as part of the new deal. you're shaking your head. why? >> i think he was absolutely correct. he had a brother named edgar and edgar, as we all remember, was quite a character and was much more conservative politically. if you want some great, steamy reading, read the correspondence. >> share one if you could. >> they're it's a marvelous letter. he's writing his brother the president, obviously lobbying to get one of his colleagues named as a federal judge. i'm sure this goes on a lot, but ike didn't appreciate it and wrote back and he said how many times do i have to tell you i
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don't see federal judges as patronage. the fact you my brother would write me a letter like this makes me so angry i want to do something. so he had to tell ed to lay off. i don't know how many times. edgar was frequently lobbying him about some very, very conservative things and i think on another occasion he writes him and says no party that tries to wind back things that the american public has worked for will ever survive politically, something like that. i'm paraphrasing. but it's a very rich collection of letters. and edgar was a great spirit, but they certainly had their political differences. >> in edgar's defense, he's the reason he wound up at west point. he was too old for annapolis.
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>> and the rest is history. >> edgar was responsible for all of this. >> another family question. your own father, what was he like, and what was the relationship like between your father and his father, the president? >> well, i'm not very objective about this. my father was the best. he was precious. he was very complex because, you know, he was an introvert that trained himself to be social, and he had -- he was probably as sympathetic as he was brave, if that makes sense. he understood what it was like to be in awkward positions so if you ended up in an awkward position of some kind, it didn't matter if it was family related or not, he always knew the right things to say. and he absolutely adored his father.
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they had a tremendous relationship. and susie can probably, you know, you all can probably speak more to that because you were around longer. >> you have a favorite story between your father and grandfather, if there is one that you want to share. >> involving both of them? >> now that's very hard. they were together so much and it was all -- i can't think of any specific one. >> it's remarkable, though. our father provided more moral support and help to his father. i know that's quite typical in a lot of these cases but when you think about it part of the reason we admired our dad so much is that, you know, he managed his situation being the son of a great man probably better than anybody else i've ever run across. he carved out his own career. he wrote 16 books by the time he died, and the last one he finished at the age of 92 about a month before he passed away
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and it got published by a major publisher. so that was remarkable. but i guess what i was going to say is that he didn't even have his graduation to himself. he graduated on june 6, 1944, on d-day. he got up to prepare for a commencement that morning and the news had already come in that d-day was under way. he managed that with a kind of grace. we were privy to his frustrations about it but it was never -- it was never singularly described that way. he handled it with great grace and we miss him every day. >> i have to tell a story on him, too, that's kind of cute. tom selleck played him and in my day he was the idol. playing granddad and i thought,
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well, you know, i thought he was a little bit young to play granddad and then i thought, i'm old enough to play granddad. so i told my dad, you know, who startlingly looked like his father. i told my dad the story. yeah, i'm old enough to play granddad. he said i can go one better. when people ask me what it's like to look like ike, he said looking like tom selleck. >> these are all great ones. did president eisenhower believe in some form of mandatory public service? >> not that i know of? >> good question. >> another question related to the current political climate, seeing this campaign unfold in this election, what would the candidates learn from your grandfather's attitudes, perspectives, methods and actions while in office? >> what can they learn?
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>> respect. >> well, i would add something to that. eisenhower said on any number of occasions that everything he did was designed to elicit cooperation from the people he needed to cooperate with. and so he felt very, very strongly about not insulting people in public. and not -- boy, can we start right there? we see this in the debates. it's just astonishing for me. and not only that, but people say really insulting things to foreign leaders who are critically important for our own country's national security, so i think i'd put that right at the top of the list. if you want to elicit somebody's cooperation, you might save your strong feelings for behind-the-scenes moments and to at least speak respectfully in
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public so they have room to maneuver just as you wish that for yourself. >> i think the world changed a lot in my opinion when the show on tv "crossfire" came on. all of a sudden, before that, there had been discussions about politics. this is the first time people started screaming at each other, interrupting. it actually was quite amusing. and certainly very stimulating but it really did change things. nowadays when you see the news at night, they're often -- they've got people on opposite sides of an issue and they're often yelling at each other, interrupting. there is no politeness anymore. and i think it's rather counterproductive, quite frankly. >> would he be comfortable in today's republican party? >> i think the divisiveness
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that's going on would sorely disappoint him. yeah. i can't say he'd be happy at all. >> susan? >> actually, he was a great strategist and he was, i think also a great leader because he knew when to speak out publicly and when to do things behind the scenes. he had a small minority in the republican party that created a lot of problems for his administration, too. think of mccarthy, for instance. the republicans only had a majority of one. in the president's own party. so grappling with that was extremely complicated. i would say that i think he wouldn't understand using government shutdowns as a way for a minority to get its way. this really jeopardizes our economy, which jeopardizes our standing in the world. it even jeopardizes our national security. and i think he would be extremely distressed about that.
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>> who are the golfers in this crowd? raise your hands. i'm trying to figure out who asked the question. was your grandfather a good golfer, and did he give himself any mulligans? >> mulligans. wasn't the whole game about mulligans? >> i, unfortunately, was chosen as the person to learn golf, to be able to play with my brother, david, so when he grew up he could play golf with granddad. and it was not something that i was talented at. i could actually -- i could probably give you a lesson on how to play golf, only i can't do it myself. so i think i was a big disappointment in that, but i know one of his favorite moments in life was when he got a hole in one. >> and he loved augusta national, did he not? >> he was 75 years old when he got that hole in one and said it was worth living his whole 75 years for. but i will tell you something.
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he almost got a second hole in one about a month later. and he was heard as saying in a very loud voice, oh, please, no, no, no more holes in one. my office can't handle the mail. >> let's turn to a couple of final points about your grandfather. he passed away at the age of 78 in 1969. and when he died, president nixon said that he was a citizen of the world. would he have considered himself that? >> i think so. that's kind of what the whole people to people thing was. yeah. >> what do you remember about his death? >> devastating. >> yeah, devastating. it truly was. >> i have to say because i, again, want to honor those of you who served in world war ii who are with us here this evening, and i have to tell you that i have some sense of what it was like to have a relationship with your supreme commander.
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after we put his body on the train that went from washington out to abilene, kansas, and mary and anne can tell -- each tell their own story on this, the thing i remember most is that we stopped in every little town along the way and at about 2:00 in the morning, because, you know, we couldn't sleep at all. i looked out the window and just as we were passing there was a sole, solitary figure standing next to the train as the train went past, saluting. and i never forgot that. >> i never forgot during the day, even in the most barren of countryside, there were just crowds on both sides of the tracks, and people were holding up signs saying we liked ike,
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and i'll just never forget that. that and there was a political cartoon, too, and this one i'll take with me. but it was soldiers on the beach of normandy and the caption underneath is psst, pass the word along, it's ike. >> it was a very hard time because not only losing him, he was so very important in our lye -- lives really. we had two sets of parents. he used to call us the kids. i always used to wonder what that made my parents. but to lose him was truly major, but i think almost as bad was for my grandmother to lose him and us to watch her. their relationship was so close. and the whole idea of her
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continuing without him was just awful. and to see the grief in her face when you go back and look at the photographs during the funeral and everything, so many people try to be stoic, et cetera, and she tried. the grief is just so etched on her face. and we were feeling that, of course, firsthand, so it made it even more difficult. >> final question for all of you and this is rather open ended so you can add your own thoughts. what would he think about this gathering here today? what would he think about the institute and what you all have been talking about? >> why don't you go first. >> he probably would say we talked too much. no, i think he'd be absolutely delighted. certainly thrilled that people who worked under him came back to the eisenhower -- gettysburg college and the eisenhower institute for today's events.
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he would be absolutely delighted with the gathering and, as i say, he probably would tell us we talked too much. >> i think he'd be very honored that we were celebrating his 125th -- he might be a little shocked by the number -- but, yeah, i'm with anne. i think he might say that we said too much. but he would say it in a knee slapping way. >> and he'd be proud of all of you who are here, the best of the best from his generation. >> absolutely. >> susan, you get the last word. [ applause ] >> i don't deserve the last word here except to say that i feel honored to be associated with the eisenhower institute of gettysburg college and the college itself. i think he'd be really thrilled. he was very, very interested in education, and i think he would be thrilled that so many of the students here at gettysburg college are engaged in the
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eisenhower institute and show, you know, enormous amount of promise. we are actually, i think, creating some excitement about public policy and political science and public policy and that's terrific. so here's the word, kids. he used to say, and, boy, did we ever hear this because he had a few maxims that we heard all the time, drip-drip. he used to say take your work seriously, but never yourself. >> yeah, that's right. >> on what has been an important and historic week in washington, thank you for taking us back to another time, another era. we want to thank anne eisenhower, mary jean eisenhower, and susan eisenhower for your insights, your stories and your good humor, thank you very much. [ applause ] >> and our thanks to the eisenhower institute and gettysburg college. thank you very much.
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you're watching american history tv all weekend every weekend on c-span 3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook at c-span history. on the eve of the american revolution, williamsburg, virginia, was a bustling capital city home to politicians, people, and an enslaved populati population. we'll see revolutionaries and british loyalists mingle on the streets and take tours of the governor's palace and capital building.


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