tv Paul Tsongas Campaign Appearances CSPAN December 31, 2015 10:55pm-11:10pm EST
to go something to exercise. so i went back to this and then i heard about the master swim competition. that would motivate me. nothing like embarrassment to get you going. so i swam last year and this year and last year competed9:v$h the swim team. >> how many laps do you swim on a given day? >> well, now that we're close to competition i swim about a mile a day. >> what do you think about when you're swimming, anything, getting to the other end? >> i think very deep thoughts like which lap is this? i just count laps and try -- if you think about anything, it's distracting so i just try to let my mind just float. >> feel good when it's all over? >> well, when i train by myself i really wasting my time. when i train with a team, it's a very different story. you cannot motivate yourself. you will not drive yourself as fast as you will be driven.
i know people figure that out about four centuries ago but after something like that, when you get a hard workout, it feels very good.. >> what about your children or your wife, do they spur you on to reach that extra lap? >> well, my daughter here swims for the team, so she's a good swimmer. when they came to see me at the first meet they were sure i was going to embarrass the hell out of them. i didn't win but i was at least in the thick of it, so they were enormously relieved. >> ready?>
>> paul tsongas, democratic presidential candidate, tomorrow you make it official. what are you thinking? >> what am i i thinking today? what am i thinking generically? well, today is just a day to relax and just sort of wander around, be in the house, get my thoughts together, get ready for tomorrow. >> how do you view this? is this the culmination of your career thus far in politics? >> well, you are talking to someone who had been pleased to be a congressman, so this is -- i consider the senate the dessert. i'm not sure what you would call on this the menu. it's not a culmination in the sense this is where ambition is taking me. it's more of a sense of i think i learned something hopefully along the way and i've written this paper and i have my ideas and the direction i think the country should go in. it's a culmination in the sense of this is what i think. take it to the country and let the country decide whether it's something they want to embrace.
so it's a bit different than the usual step by step ascension up the political ladder. >> can you take us through the thought process of what anyone thinks when they look at running for the presidency? >> well, i remember when i was ñ that i thought of running for president. and that's a different thought process. at that point it was can i win. so you look at, well, this is an election year and then four years later and then four years later. you look at everybody else in the senate and see what they're doing and calculate accordingly. that's americana ambition. this is different. this is a sense of i've been out here now in the private sector all these years. been out of washington. i see what's going on. concerned about this country's economy and the lugging that's going to result from the slide that we're in. and i want to somehow save that. this began as a book, began to
write it over thanksgiving and after i decided i don't want to run around the country again on another book tour. i did that in 1980. and then began to think about running. went to the doctor in january and said this is what up thinking of doing, test me. so not only for the cancer but also stress, that kind of thing. came back and said do whatever you want. you're fine. then a lot of family discussions, that kind of thing, to make sure that we all wanted to do this. and then looking at whether to get someone else to run on my ideas, whether to run just in new hampshire as symbolic candidate to get the message out. and finally to look at running through the entire country. the irony is what we ended up with was a decision to govern four states but when the story broke it broke as an all out run. so it got away from us.
so that is not where we are obviously that was the right decision. >> have you talked with former candidates to find out maybe some advice on what you can expect and look forward to? >> most of the people to run in the past, i've known in my prior lives. so i've had that relationship going back. but i did talk to m lloyd benson and al gore and michael dukakis and, in fact, i talked to gary hart and he and i served together. and we were recently close but not, you know, very close. he called me back, and my secretary said, gary hart is on the line. i was rupping o inrunning out t speech. i went back to the phone, i said, hi, gary, we both started laughing. the laughter rolled and rolled. not a word having been spoken between us. almost like a new brotherhood now that you've been invited to.
and after this rather ruckus laughter that had no basis to it, i said to him, why are we laughing? he said, it's life. so it's -- it's a unique yfqjt&% experience that others have been through and this is my turn. >> what do you think you'll be facing the next few months? >> for me it's really a campaign of a message. so i have to -- i mean, i'm a candidate in the usual kind of the message has to get out there. so much emphasis on getting opinion leaders in the united states, whether they're academics, political activists, opinion, those people who read the ideas, to have a sense of that, the sense of a direction, so in essence it's a campaign of people who believe not only in you, which is how we used to run campaigns, but not only you but the ideas that you represent so there's a momentum beyond any
one person the the country has a sense, yes, we're in trouble and this is where we have to go. so it's a different kind of campaign than the usual retail handshake i'm a good guy love me approach. it's an attempt to say, this is what i think the problems are, this is where i think we ought to go, decide whether you want to go there with me. so i never ran a campaign like that before. it's usually one-on-one kind of justing and macho combat. this has different dimension to it. >> have you been on the road already. what do you think about at the end of the day when you're sitting in the hotel room maybe right before getting ready to go to bed in iowa or other states? unlike other candidates i'm not going to run this campaign as an absentee father or husband. it's been something like almost eight weeks now, been away from my family three days.
either brought people with me or my family or i've been here. so i'm not going to be a seven days a week hotels, that kind of absence. what i think about is i miss obviously my family and it bothers me, but we all believe in this. but i'm not going to be -- i didn't cease being a father and decided to run. and i would hope that people would respect that. >> what effected growing up in this parts of massachusetts have in paul tsongas, how did it shape who you are? >> growing up here and i grew up here not in surroundings like this but in old mill city that was dying and you work and you work and you work and we all did. you didn't get anything. i mean, i'm not saying i had an unhappy childhood, but when you have a sense of economic decline, it is all consuming. i remember when i left high
school i said to myself, i'm never coming back. i want to go someplace that's on the ascending. and was away for ten years and came back to go into politics. there's no way when you live through a year recession like we're going through now, but year after year after year after year it does something to your psyche. not only people like me but anybody in that situation. and it's like people go through the depression. you never forget it. it's really a defining moment to use a bush expression in terms of who you are and where you come from. this idea of economic decline, et cetera, is not a piece of paper given to me by staffers. i lived through it. i know what it's about. i don't believe the american people are prepared for a reduced standard of living. i think the political consequences of that in terms of a demagogue coming along is very serious. and you have the administration judge who will never admit there's a problem because he's
been here this whole time and cannot say i've been in the white house and we kind of missed this problem. the country can't compete anymore. you can't say that. you turn to the democrats and the democrats have no economic policy, any economists finds credible. so i see that the road between those two and a lot of what you see in my ideas and in the paper i've written is the remembrance of those years growing up. >> your dad ran a dry-cleaning store? >> yes. >> what do you think he would think today? >> my father was such an avid republican. he would probably have to sit down dean si down and decide -- i know he would vote for me. the question is whether he would go over to the democratic primary to vote for me. he was a staunch nixon republican. when i got to the senate he said, this is wonderful if you would only run as a republican it would have been perfect. so i think he -- you're talking about someone who is an
immigrant, who came here and i remember when i got to the senate he said to me, when i was growing up here i thought a senator was a silver haired yankee and now it's my son who doesn't wear socks during the weekend. so i think he would be very proud, obviously. >> what about your wife? what does she think? >> i think both nikki and i have concerns about this. the other race where's ambition really dictated it was more of a sense of we want to be there so question we do this. we have a very good life. about lose that. and so it's not a question where winning would be a joy because it means giving up what we have now but i think she believes in what i believe in, that we have a responsibility to be out there to do this. that responsibility goes to the
children that we just can't sort of sit back here and make a lot of money, pretend there's nothing wrong. but in terms of what we think of normally candidate and the candidate's wifelvñ really bein totally excited about living in the white house because it's wanting it so you can make the changes. it's not wanting it because that would be a better life than what we have now. >> paul tsongas, thank you very much. good luck. >> thanks. >> road to the white house rewind continues with more from the 1992 campaign of democrat paul tsongas. the former u.s. senator officially announced his áq1991, in his hometown of lowell, massachusetts. he was the first one in his party to declare for the '92 race and called his campaign a journey of purpose. arkansas governor bill clinton would go on to win the 1992 democratic presidential nomination with senator tsongas
today we plant the seeds of america's economic renaissance and the rain is going to make them grow. 200 years ago our founding fathers gave us a democracy. it was based on the simple yet noble idea that government derived its validity from the consent of the governed. that consent nub cmust be const renewed. it can only be renewed by a full and vigorous debate on the issues that confront our nation. today that surge of renewal that surgeoo&f for consent pro as the constitution provided. today the national debate will commence. it begins here in this city.