Skip to main content

tv   The Presidency  CSPAN  February 14, 2016 10:30am-11:31am EST

10:30 am
themselves. this is about enabling individuals to help themselves, providing them with technological means to get in touch with that to have educational options where they may have a certain language, to bridge the gaps, so these divides,-- how do we use technology to close them? >> watch the communicators monday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span2. presidency,he journalist paul brandus discusses his book, "under this roof: the white house and the presidency - 21 presidents, 21 rooms, 21 inside stories." he explains how presidents from george washington to barack obama have let their imprint on executive mansion. you will hear about thomas
10:31 am
jfk'sson's bathroom, and situation room. this is an hour-long program. >> ok, good evening everybody. my name is doug bradburn, i am the director of the washington library and it is my great our booko a new to talks. i would like to welcome the c-span audience who is here as well and everyone watching on live as well, all 10 of you as well. [laughter] thousands of you. this is a way to bring authors to the mount vernon community free every month and we try to topics.levant books in we have a great one for you. mount vernon has had a long relationship with afford family,
10:32 am
ford motor company, going back to him before's original donation of the fire engine, keep thep mansion say. it is important to us going forward. i would mention that this relationship to port is crucial because the mount vernon ladies has never taken any government money. we only accept money from private patriotic people and foundations. it allows us to maintain the house for the public, but it is a continual challenge going forward. extremelye have an exciting speaker, paul brandus, who is going to talk about his wonderful book tonight about the histories of the white house and different stories. award-winning member of
10:33 am
the united states press corps. content for clients around the world and abroad. he is also a washington correspondent. for the week, he moderate panels for the washington -- for washington and around the world. he is a frequent speaker around the country for all sorts of groups. he is known recently as an innovator in social media. paul brandus's twitter account has the weakest following among all accredited members of the white house press corps. he won the award for best journalist on twitter. 246,000 followers on his twitter account. winghe started west report, it was all the rage followed by everyone of note. it is ranked as the most influential, political twitter accounts. i was talking to paul earlier,
10:34 am
and said i am right on your heels, i have 400 followers on my twitter account, so watch out your when his west wing account rage, who was running this massive thing? tonight, you will get to see who .est wing report is here several years as a foreign correspondent in moscow. he cover the collapse of the soviet union. he has traveled over 53 countries on five continents. that is more than george washington did. i will give him that. that is tremendous. he is on many boards. you, he wasto give part of an investor capital group that purchased the rights -- the rushing rights to air the super bowl for the national
10:35 am
football league, becoming the first person to show the championship game in russia. >> i did that by myself. the firsting to be person to show the championship game on this screen right here. at the rubenstein. [laughter] that is also something to point out. here tonight to talk about his book, "under this roof: the white house and the presidency - 21 presidents, 21 rooms, 21 inside stories." he is jumping the gun, because i have one more thing to say. at mount vernon, we know the importance of telling stories and how much a matter the sweep of history. the white house is arguably more well-known in mount vernon and many great things have happened there and no one brings them to like better than paul ventas -- better than paul brandus. everyone gets him a mount vernon welcome. [applause]
10:36 am
paul: ok, all right. ok. thank you. honor to speak at mount vernon. i am very appreciative. thank you for that introduction. you to mark.nk his mark in the room? did he bailout? ok. he is the chief librarian here and also with stephen macleod, the director of library services to my thanks and appreciation to all of you. there are a lot of books about presidents about president and issues that they have been involved with over the past 220 years.200 40
10:37 am
i want to add a third layer to that and that is the white house itself and healthy building has changed and my theme is that changes to that building reflect the history of american itself. i am going to break this talk into two areas. first, i will give a quick overview of how the white house expanded, how new technology came in and i will share a couple of stories that i hope will be new to you. let's start up by pointing out we americans like to think of our country is a pretty young country and in the overall scheme of things, 240 years is not that old. but when you think about it, the white house is actually one of the oldest, continuously residences for a head of state in the world.
10:38 am
presidents have lived in the white house longer then kings and queens in buckingham palace. longer than emperors have lived in tokyo palace. even longer than one of my old stomping grounds, the kremlin in moscow which became the rushing capital in the second time in 1918. the white house, for a young country, has quite an old history. there is one gentleman who never lived there, george washington, but he kicked the winning design and submitted by the i was architect james homeland. tragically, mr. washington died before john adams first moved in. construction of the white house took 80 years. -- took eight years.
10:39 am
this is a wonderful painting from the white house historical association. you can see the basic contours of the building taking shape. this stat here is now what is known as the south lawn looking out on the southside looking out on lafayette square. what a wonderful painting that is. anyway, the construction took $232,000.s and cost that would be $72 million today. estateway, the real website zillow says -- [laughter] says that, not that it is on the market, it would be $390 million. location, amenities are
10:40 am
pretty good. [laughter] be a newgoing to tenant apparently in about a year or so. thatnot quite sure who is going to be, but they will get a four year lease. when adams moved in, it was november the first, 1800. this is what it looked like. this would be the south lawn here and at the time, if you noticed, there was no north porticos for south porticos. , thissteps at the time was 1800, this was the principal entrance to the white house going back on the south lawn. that is basically what john adams saw when he moved in. and on hise pleased first full day on november 2, 1800, he wrote abigail at: massachusetts.
10:41 am
he wrote her a letter and in it, added what amounted to a benediction of sorts for the building and, that is why -- how i got the title for the book. he said i pray to have been the best of blessings on the house and all who inhabit it. only wise men shall rule under this roof. roosevelt was so moved by those words. fdr found the phrase when he came in to the white house and ordered it carved over the -- carved into the metal over the fireplace. this is what it looks like carved by franklin roosevelt. not last, adams did
10:42 am
long. he lost the election of 1800 to thomas jefferson. when he moved in, jefferson being the architect he was, made changes. what became the east and west wings. jefferson also was really invested. the bathrooms were really just outhouses outback. the president of the united states would run out into the back. thomas jefferson was a very fastidious man and thought this was not dignified for a president. first twoadded the water closets and built a reservoir on the top of the white house which collected the rainwater. that is how they flush these water closets. so, a big improvement. jefferson also change the main
10:43 am
entrance to the north side. he did not like the south entrance. this became the principal entrance to the white house. this was very familiar. the famous palladian window above the door carved by these scottish stonemasons. i was no opportunity to promote scotland. that is who the carvers were. for that. jefferson also made an extra change. this is a modern floor plan. what jefferson did what is today's state dining room, he may that into his office. jefferson's office was on the state floor. this goes back -- looking at the state lawn. that was thomas jefferson's today's states dining room. this is what his office looks ed like. di
10:44 am
this is what jefferson did. he was surrounded by all of his books. thomas jefferson actually had a pet bird in the white house. the mockingbird is appear in the upper right of the painting. jefferson just allowed it to fly about the room. jefferson would feed his bird out of his own lip. he had a trained and the bird and jefferson would feed him. just a wonderful painting. the painting also shows jefferson meeting with one of his closest assistance and one of his best runs. lewis from his area of virginia and lewis was an officer in the army.
10:45 am
jefferson offered him a chance to work for him. jefferson -- go back to the war plan for a second -- what jefferson did is even let lewis live in what is today's east room on the south side. he had a sail cloth from a sailing ship as partitioned two hisl rooms -- one was bedchamber, one was a small working space. jefferson and the was would go and forth all day long across the famous cross hall and worked together and plotted aals together and created crowning achievement which was the louisiana purchase. let's jump ahead a decade now to dolly madison.
10:46 am
we were talking about her earlier today. first such a fascinating lady. one of my favorites. dolly madison was a wonderful first lady. every day loved dolly -- everybody loved dolly madison. through tons of parties. invitationanted an to the white house when madison was in office. not because of him, but because of dolly. she knew how to throw a party with the food and the booze, which was top shelf. a lot of her entertaining took what is today, the blue room. this is another painting. flamesthis went up in when the british came to town in 1814. that story is pretty well known.
10:47 am
it is common knowledge that then anded what was still now, the famous piece of artwork in the white house and that is of course the famous gilbert stuart and it hangs in the east room. it is not your average sized painting. it is eight feet by five. it is half the size of the screen and is gigantic. even though she know the british were coming, she refused to leave until that painting was saved. she said, i am not leaving. assistance tried to take the painting down. was ironedhe frame to the wall. they took a hatchet in took it down. it was only then that she left. a truly -- truly courageous on her part in one of our greatest
10:48 am
first ladies. there are seen that takes -- snack cakes. [laughter] the president was nearly killed on his own inauguration day. we are talking about andrew jackson. this was one of the very few photos we have a jackson taken in 1845 long after he left the white house. just a striking picture of him. afterd a couple of weeks this. inaugurala wild, party which he was sworn in. who wasoint, jackson not in the best of health, kiev trouble breathing, -- he had trouble breathing.
10:49 am
probably the wildest party ever held at the white house that we know of. i don't know. those are sort of the first early stages of the white house. jefferson was adding the first half rooms. -- adding the first bathrooms. about thisto talk for a second. this is a guy we don't think about very often, but he was an enormously consequential president we have ever had. was padded through the united states during his than thes, much more louisiana purchase. polk was a big believer in
10:50 am
democracy. he used one of the first -- employed one of the first uses of technology. the most stressful job in the world. they are human beings. they need time off. this time did not -- this guy did not take time off. of daysto a hand full off. worked his fingers to the bone. micromanaged everything to a ridiculously granule degree. what did he do? aftert a couple of weeks leaving office. , playing golf -- we will talk about the movies in just a bit.
10:51 am
was president by the way when the first known picture was taken of the white house. here it is in 1846. there is no balcony on the south porticos. know asony that we now would notbalcony, be billed -- built. for much of its history, that is what the south portico looked like. let's jump ahead -- i am sorry that this is blurry. but he needs no introduction. this is one of the most famous photos of abraham lincoln taken photographer alexander gardner in couple of weeks before lincoln was assassinated. i think this was taken on february 18 60 -- february 1865.
10:52 am
this photo has been colorized. look at this uni. abraham lincoln in the flesh, which is just remarkable. i am going to pause on this for a second. lincoln suffered from depression. had died. sons the work was getting to him. you can see all of this in his face. look at the sadness in his eyes. this was about two months before his assassination. lincoln, like polk before him, relied on the telegraph as well. he was so impressed with the telegraph that in, one day he got the first coast-to-coast telegram sent by the chief justice of the california supreme court. mcgowan was so impressed that
10:53 am
two days later, he ordered the federal government to discontinue its use of the pony express. a really big deal. at the time, it took eight days to get the pony express to get something to the west coast. lincoln did away with pony express in a hurry. it was this technology that helped him manage the civil war. the moneyr seen "lincoln?" it is very authentic. daniel day-lewis, who plays nds hours waiting in that room. it is adjacent to the white house, by the way. technology was mirrored by other presidents and other presidents we don't think
10:54 am
of too often. -- he was a. hayes real high-tech president. he knew what he was doing. the white house got his first telephone. number of the first white house telephone was one. that was the number. but not everyone could call because there were only other -- orause there were only two three other phones at the time in washington. it may have been only three
10:55 am
phones in all of washington at the time. if you were one of the other two guys, the president actually answered the phone. i am pretty sure that does not happen today. [laughter] let me come back to lincoln for a second. i want to tell you about the greatest misunderstandings about him and it concerns the so-called "lincoln bedroom." you see the air road there. arrows -- you see that there. that is what is called the lincoln bedroom. not so. in lincoln's time, that was his office. he called it the shop. this is what his office looked like. this room of the nerve center of the lincoln presidency. speeches here.
10:56 am
he issued the emancipation proclamation. everything happened in this room. hehad maps on the wall where could track the civil war. you see the window on the left, there is the unfinished washington monument. the government ran out of money. can you imagine that? the government running out of money? [laughter] so it just stopped during the war. he could look beyond that across the river. depending on how the war was going, he could see confederate campfire sometimes the in virginia. the enemy was often that close. remarkable wartime conditions. the president was really just a couple of minutes away. that is lincoln's office. then, his office was turned
10:57 am
into a bedroom by the trumans. this is what it looks like today. that is the famous lincoln rosewood bed. that is a another misunderstanding. we can never slept in that it. that he ever slept in that bed. the question is if lincoln did not sleep in fact bed for the lincoln bedroom, where did he sleep? this is an authentic floor plan of that era. he slept in the southwest corridor. it is on the other side of the mansion. mary had a separate bedroom. the rush of visitors was so great, nearly the first family, confinede was nearly to these couple of rooms.
10:58 am
to insure his privacy and reasons of security, lincoln had the secret passageway that led sort of their living room, their library. that was lincoln's second floor during his day. it is not just the lincoln bedroom, but lots of rooms have changed purpose over the years. i will tell you one more story about how these rooms change. i am getting ahead of myself here. this is, again, current second floor. with an arrow, this is on the north portico, north side of the white house. you can see the second window from the right. that room today is a private dining room of the first family.
10:59 am
if i go into the white house i seein the morning, and the lights on, that is the president's private dining room. shadowes you will see a or a cello wet. a silhouette. here is president ford sipping his morning oj. look at that cool tb by the way. [laughter] by the at that cool tv way. [laughter] lastis nancy reagan on her visit to the white house. that is the private dining room. but, what people don't know , thisthis room, today room has a pretty morbid history. william henry harrison, first
11:00 am
president to die in office, died in the office in 1841. lincoln's son died in that room in 1862. lincoln's after his assassination, has his autopsy and embalming in there. a lot of creepy things occurred in that room and you wonder, when the president that eating breakfast or having coffee, i'm sure they are aware that that room has kind of a morbid history. it did not become a dining room until the kennedys moved in with jackie kennedy. by the way, it is not jacqueline but she pronounced it , jacqueleene. she wanted more privacy for her kids and she converted the room into a private kitchen in 1963,
11:01 am
in the last year of the kennedy presidency. as long as we are talking about the kennedys here, that is the i am getting ahead of myself -- this was the private dining room on the second floor. mrs. kennedy did not like the fact that she was going downstairs to the state floor. she thought it was too cumbersome and too intrusive. that is where the dining room on the second floor came in. now, as long as we're talking about the kennedys, everybody knows about the restoration effort the kennedys made in 1961 and 1962. the nixons tried just as much but never got credit, just to point that out. it is the changes to the west
11:02 am
wing that the kennedys made. i will talk about that here. we know that three months into kennedy's term he had the worst , humiliation with the bay of pigs and, in the aftermath, the president decided he was not getting the information he wanted quickly enough and it was not the right information. he wanted his own set up and he got something called the situation room two weeks later. it used to be a bowling room. they moved that to the old executive office building and this is what the first situation looked like in the early 1960's, room, or something. but this is what john f. kennedy wanted and what he got. it enabled him to get the information he wanted faster without going through channels at the state department and the department of defense. he wanted brock, unfiltered,
11:03 am
he wantedmation, -- raw, unfiltered, fast information. that is what he got. the irony is 1.5 years after the bay of pigs situation, there was a big role in what was the greatest foreign-policy achievement, the cuban missile crisis, where he convinced soviets to remove the threat. the situation room played a huge role in his presidency for that reason. the situation room is badly named. it is not one room, but several rooms. it is below ground. there is a view of the oval office. you can see if this several rooms. remember the famous obama bin laden picture? the night obama got bin laden, this is where that was taken. that is what president kennedy did to the west wing. find aer kennedy story i
11:04 am
little creepy, an actually concerns one of the most documented, covered, discussed events of the 20th century that a lot of people do not know, concerns the kennedy assassination. kennedyned that mrs. redid the mansion and she wanted .o redo the oval office and there is caroline and mary kennedy. she hated the green carpet that dated back to the truman era. she said, i want to redo the office, too. he said, fine. she picked everything out and the workers told her they both needed to be away for about two days to do the job. it was the fall of 1963. and the only two days when they would be away happened to be the third weekend in november, when
11:05 am
they went to texas. so, literally, and i mean literally, as the president and mrs. kennedy made their way from fort worth to dallas to get into the motorcade, we know it happens next, the workmen removed that famous resolute desk, ripped up the carpet, and as the president went from fort worth to dallas, they put in the new carpet on the day of his murder and the color is a deep blood red. this photo was taken the afternoon of the assassination. the picture was taken on november 22, at the time, daniel 1963. patrick moynihan, who went on to be a new york senator, he was a white house aide at the time and he looked in, saw the carpet and said, among god, it was as if god, it was as if they
11:06 am
knew a new president was coming. very morbid kind of story. mrs. kennedy saw the carpet the next day for a few minutes while her husband's casket was in the east room. she returned to the white house only once for the rest of her life, it was too painful for her. it is stories like that that i try to find because they're too many to talk about here. and, roosevelt, nixon, look at -- that picture in the upper right, i took that myself. look at how young the girls look when they came back from hawaii. that is one of the more confident pictures i have taken. i mentioned the movie theater, and this is one of the last stories i will tell. the movie theater is one of the truly great perks in the white house.
11:07 am
here is president of mrs. reagan watching a movie. barack obama likes to throw super bowl parties. i think this was after he moved in in 2009. it is one of the most coveted invitations to watch a movie with the president. here's what i find interesting about the theater -- if you look at the records of what the president watched over the years, their case are obviously very eclectic and everything and they reflect the taste of the president and the times they live, but there is one movie -- this is the quiz section of the evening -- there is one movie that really resonated with more presidents than any other. can you guess the movie? it will be obvious when i explained it. what? >> patton? >> everyone from eisenhower up
11:08 am
to the president, can anybody guess? "gone with the wind" is a good guess, but that's not it. >> manchurian candidate? [laughter] >> that would be -- that would be -- no one ever gets this. the one movie that resonates with so many presidents is "high noon." [laughter] the gary cooper western. great movie. a lot of people have seen it. dwight eisenhower love this movie. so did ronald reagan, george w. bush, bill clinton claims to have seen it 20 times -- "i love this movie!" [laughter] was that good? [laughter] "what's your name?" so, it is really one of the few movies that has resonated with a
11:09 am
lot of presidents. why "high noon?" the plot of the movie is the bad guys are coming to town, the sheriff is all alone, his friends abandoned him and it is up to him to defend the town by himself. presidents, that resonates with presidents. they sometimes feel the world's burden is theirs alone and this -- and no one will help them make life and death decisions on their own, and that is why the presidency is called the loneliest job in the world. also, with very good reason, i think. there are a ton of other stories i can tell you here. i am going to stop here. thank you so much for inviting me. anti-really appreciate the opportunity to speak to you. thank you. if anybody has any questions, feel free. [applause]
11:10 am
by the way, don't speak until you actually have the microphone. question, anybody? >> how much as the footprint of the structure changed since they burned down? did they rebuild on the same architecture? how did it change? >> she is talking about after the fire of 1814. the outer shell of the white house was still there. they built around it. it expanded when ulysses s grant was president. they thought about moving the house over a bluff right after the lincoln assassination. there were security concerns. of course, in the truman era of the white house, it nearly collapsed.
11:11 am
they gave margaret the piano and the lake of it fell through and -- and a leg of the piano fell through and they really thought it would collapse. they had to move into the blair house. it was interesting. it was expanded deep below ground, too. any other questions? >> you talked briefly about coming into the white house very early in the morning and seen -- and seeingm the dining room lights. can you tell us about what it is like to have the job you have and what are the sum of things you have found to be a pleasure in the job, as well as a burden? reallye, the pleasure is
11:12 am
the reason why i decided to write a book in the first place. it was such a privilege. you are enveloped by history when you go in there. i was in the east wing last week. when you are in the center of the room where lincoln's casket john f. kennedy. there is a famous gilbert stuart truman was where sworn in. up the flooruffed with her roller skate the history is just remarkable. you said we can't escape it. you are walking where lincoln walked and thomas jefferson walked and thomas jefferson rolled around. it is mind blowing.
11:13 am
>> in the floor plan, i think it was the current white house on the second floor, there was a room that was noted as "cos." what is that? >> in the west wing? >> the chief of staff office. >> it looks like it is in the private area. >> oh? i will go back and look at it. sure. >> fascinating. yes, sir? have you covered anything on the ford children smoking marijuana on the roof of the white house? [laughter] >> when ford was in the white house, i was a wee lad, and someone in the room could comment on that but i won't put him on the spot. i have heard those stories and i
11:14 am
have heard about jenna bush doing it. they are children. so, yeah, maybe true. yes, sir? can he get a microphone? it is probably true. can't prove it. >> i was interested to see the painting of the white house while it was under construction that showed all the bricks among the various rooms. we were told that, during the complete reconstruction of the white house in 1950, when they completely gutted it, mount vernon got the bricks and built the slave quarters in the greenhouse from the bricks. is that true? >> that is the case. the entire structure was not from the bricks, but they were
11:15 am
part of it to built the slave quarters. that is correct. the sad part about that, that is an interesting question, when the reconstruction, 1948-1952, truman told the guys to get the job done. as a result, there was a lot of debris from the building. they just dumped it into a giant landfill in virginia with all kinds of wood, frames, they were a huge waste and if you are an archaeologist, this became a good project. there is some landfill around to -- around here with a bunch of riches in it. >> fascinating presentation. thank you. i have a question from the introduction of you. what did the russians make of the super bowl? [laughter] how did you explain it to them? >> well i've never gotten a , super bowl question and one of these events, but living in russia, this is how long ago it
11:16 am
was, the redskins were a good team. [laughter] that is how long ago it was. ok, the year before, they had won the super bowl. and i was working and i thought, i missed the super bowl last time, i am going to watch the game next year. and i actually figured out that if i had some big-screen tvs and satellites, i could make it happen. there is a best western hotel, a radisson. i called called the nfl and pitched them this and they said, convince us and we will let you do it. i wound up buying the right myself. i came back in staged it in the russians -- i do not know what to make of it. it was weird. they think that they invented a baseball, too. [laughter] they do. they did not know what to make of it.
11:17 am
>> mount vernon has the best questions for any speaker. [laughter] there must be something to ask this man. i will go ahead. >> ok. >> this gentleman. >> get that gentleman. >> what is the most interesting story about ulysses s grant in the white house? >> well, grant -- i am not sure if this is apocryphal, he got a speeding ticket. he had his civil war horses and a buggy and he liked to go out around town and was speeding down the road and going too fast and he was pulled over and he started to give the president a realized, ithen he is the president.
11:18 am
he said do your job and he got the five dollar ticket and grant thinks him and went back to the white house. that is one of my favorite grand stories. [laughter] the president got a speeding ticket while in office. i don't think that happens today. >> i had read that eleanor roosevelt used to have all kinds of people come in and stay at the white house over her time period. what was the wackiest one that she had in? >> that would be a long list. [laughter] eleanor roosevelt would sometimes invite total strangers she met on the streets and there were often not enough bedrooms to go around. so i am sure hilarity ensued, , but that is what she did. she was a real people person. she would serve as personnel and she just liked to talk to people
11:19 am
and that is what she did. she was quite an interesting character. >> hi. >> was sally hemmings on staff? >> you are talking about jefferson's mistress, slaves, fathered at believe least six children. i do not think she was. i think she probably stayed back. that is a good question. i don't know. that is a good question. >> one of my favorite stories in the book relates to wilson, the last virginia president who got married to his second wife and
11:20 am
they had interesting -- an interesting relationship. why don't you tell that story. wife diedlson's first while he was in office and he was very lonely and wanted to meet somebody else and thought he never would. about a month later, he saw a woman on a street corner who happened to be a friend of the person he was with, his personal physician. an introduction was arranged. her name was edith and the president was smitten. they began dating and the president to impress -- as if being president was not impressive enough -- he really wanted to impress her and he shared top government secrets with her. [laughter] it was a huge security lapse and that is what he did.
11:21 am
i would think that being president was enough. if that doesn't impressive, i don't know what would. that is what he did and they wound up getting married and, during the first world war, edith learned to code and decode secret government messages. she went to work basically as a clerk for the war department and sent messages abroad and deciphered them. very interesting. after wilson got -- he was severely crippled that he had a stroke in october 1919 that nearly killed him. he could not speak, could not move for a long time. it was one of the greatest coverups in american history. his wife, doctors, staff, they completely covered this up. can you imagine that happening today? to have the president absolutely paralyzed and they covered it up, and she took it upon herself
11:22 am
to do his job and she looked at paper some assigned documents decided what was important and , what was not. this was all caps hush hush. eventually, people figured it out when the president did not appear for weeks on end. it was an incredible cover-up. i write about that. it is one of the most, not untold stories, but undertold stories. it is just remarkable. edith wilson. paul, you are a great storyteller. i remember you telling me about a speed dial. can you tell that story? >> speed dial? through andgoing hit a particular button on a own , and got a particular gentleman on the phone in california. paul: that has nothing to do with any of this. [laughter] like the super bowl, where are
11:23 am
these questions coming from? [laughter] >> it is not being recorded. upthe short of it is i ended hanging up on ronald reagan. no big deal. thanks a lot, jim. [laughter] i was working for a public relations company. they are still in business, despite this story. on the staff, after reagan left the white house, on staff at this public relations company was sheila tate, a former press secretary to nancy reagan. one night, we were working late at 11:00, 12:00 at night. and we were getting loopy and we
11:24 am
decided to take a break and offices. we went into sheila tate's office and there is her rolodex on her desk. and somebody started looking at and said oh, here is the private , number for the reagans. on a dare, i called the number. [laughter] i was 24 years old. i wound up calling the number and i was thinking, an assistant or someone would answer the phone. they picked up the phone and there was this unmistakable "hello?" [laughter] and, we just hung up and hightailed it out. [laughter] it was very innocuous. i was certain that we were all going to get it. nothing ever happened. [laughter]
11:25 am
so, that is the time. thank you. that is the time i hung up on the president. >> one last question to finish this off. paul i forgot about that. : that will go in the next book, maybe. >> hi. it was an excellent presentation. thank you. i have not been to the white house in over 40 years. now i am very interested in going. would you consider giving a behind the scenes tour to a few of us? [laughter] >> i think that i just did. [laughter] paul: the best way to get in there, on a serious note, security is so strict now, the best way is to go through your congressperson. i think that process is very laborious.
11:26 am
you have to start six weeks in advance. you have to give your social security number and all of that. i cannot get people to be on the -- cannot get people beyond the gate. and i do not encourage jumping the fence. [laughter] if you can take the tour, you should. it is wonderful. you will see the rooms we talked about, the east room and the state dining room. you can see the adams benediction. the red, green, and blue rooms. if you are really lucky, on the day you were there when the , president is coming or going, they may take you out back and you can watch the chopper, which is really a thrill. i hope you get to do that. >> let's all give him a big round of applause. [applause] thank you all for coming out tonight. a couple administrative notes.
11:27 am
his books are for sale right as a -- right outside the door behind you. we will chain them to the desk. until the signs all he can sign before he leaves. paul: oh no! >> if you run out of the stock of books, you can purchase them from us at a discounted rate and we will ship them to you. we have placards he can sign as well to have them personalized for you, or anyone. it is a nice gift for thanksgiving. paul if you like the book, get : on amazon and write a review. that would be helpful. shameless plug [laughter] >> thank you. let's give him another round. [applause] [indistinct chattering]
11:28 am
this presidents' day, american history tv on c-span3 will feature a special program on the 1966 vietnam hearing 50 years later. the hearings include testimony from witnesses who opposed or defended president johnson's actions in vietnam. we will care from former ambassador to the soviet union george kennan in an abc news special report from february 1966. then, retired general james gavin, followed by questions from senators, including chairman fulbright. >> in korea, we have landed. inadequate ground forces cannot win wars. it was incredible to me that we had forgotten the bitter lesson so soon. that we were on the verge of making that same, tragic error.
11:29 am
as far as you know, are the different in china from the war at that time? hear froml also general maxwell taylor and dean rusk. for the complete american history tv we can schedule, go to >> the reality is, the best president, the greatest presidents, have been willing to recognize the smartest person in the room. and to surround themselves with people they felt were smarter than themselves. >> tonight on q&a, former secretary of defense, robert gates, discusses his book "a passion for leadership, lessons on change and reform from 50 years of public service." he has served under several presidents, including george w. bush and barack obama. >> when i was director of
11:30 am
central intelligence, i came to believe very strongly that the american people had given cia a pass on a lot of things because of i believe that after the end of the cold war, we would have to be more open. about what we did and how we did and to another extent, why we did it to help the american people but understand why intelligence was important to the government and why presidents valued it. >> tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q&a. >> matthew andrews of the university of north carolina at chapel hill talked about how the racial tensions of the 1980's were reflected in the sports of whitea, particularly one and black athletes faced off in boxing matches and basketball games.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on