tv American Artifacts CSPAN August 19, 2016 8:00pm-8:41pm EDT
power, and the ethic of work. today we are taking an historic chance to make welfare what it was meant to be, a second chance, not a way of life. >> monday night at 9:00 eastern on c-span. c-span created by america's cable television companies and brought to you as a service by your service or cable satellite provider. each week american artifacts takes viewers into museums and historic sight cites around the country. next we tour some of the oldest rooms in the u.s. capitol with senator mitch mcconnell. we hear about the historic events that occurred in what is now the republican leader's suite, the very rooms that, early in the 19th century, hosted the u.s. house of representatives, the u.s. senate and the library of congress. senator mcconnell recalls his behind the scenes into the
republican leader's conference room and his private office, and he recalls his own political career and the historic moments in which he participated. >> we are in the united states capitol in the senate wing and about to be given a tour of the senate majority leader's office by the majority leader himself. thank you, senator mcconnell. for your graciousness in opening up to this week. where are we in the capitol right now? >> we are actually not in the senate wing which is just further down. we're in the main capitol, the government came down from philadelphia in the summer of 1800 and the capitol looked quite different at that point. the two wings were added right before the civil war during the 1850s. but this particular space, like every space in the capitol, has its own history. and we do know that during that general period, they began to develop what subsequently came known as the library of congress in this particular space. it's been the office of the republican leader of the senate, whoever that is, whether we were
in the majority or the minority, since probably the 1950s. but before that, there were variety of different functions in this space. but the initial development of the library of congress has a story of its own which i think your viewers will be interested in. >> before we go there, just from a proximity standpoint, the senate wing is very close to us and the capitol rotunda, give us a sense of space of where we are. >> well, the capitol was like this until the 1850s. then they added a house wing and a senate wing. the reason they did that was because we had won the mexican war. we had vast new territory all the way to the pacific. they anticipated new states, new senators, new congressmen. and like all government projects, there was a big debate about how much to spend and whether to go big or to be modest. and in one of the great ironies of american history, the wheel
horse behind this first in the senate and subsequently as secretary of war the buchanan administration was of all people, jefferson davis, who argued for going big. >> interesting. >> we were going to have a big building because we wanted to have a big, important country. and i think that's one of the great ironies of american history, that later jefferson davis of course left and became president of the confederacy. >> before we go in this suite, it's actually been named after one of your predecessors, howard baker. when did that happen? >> well, before i got here. when howard baker left in 198, he was very popular with both sides of the aisle, both the republicans and the democrats. that was sort of a parting gesture to an outstanding republican leader. >> let's walk in. as we are walking in, i've been doing this for a long time. and it seems as though you're one of -- fair to say -- declining number of senators who really care about the history of the senate? i'm thinking about senator bird before you who spent so much
time. do you find that your interest in history is not as shared among newer members as it was in the old days? >> well, i don't really know. but i know there are a few who read a lot of american history. i've always been interested in it. in fact, i did my senior thesis in college on henry clay and the compromise of 1850 and i have a depiction of that which i'll show you subsequently. so i've always had an interest in it. once i moved in to this office and became republican leader, we got interested in the history of this space and produced a pamphlet that sort of outlines the various things that occurred here over the years. >> so what did it look like in 1800? >> well, everything was smaller then. and there is a plaque out in the hall that points out that in 1800, this would have been shortly after they got here, the house of representatives actually met in this space and conducted the 36-ballot election
that determined that thomas jefferson would be president instead of aaron burr. occurred right in this space. >> right here? >> right in this space. of course that was historically of enormous significance because burr was a scoundrel and jefferson's old adversary did a lot to influence jefferson's collection. even though he couldn't stand him, he knew burr was a scoundrel and the country needed to be saved from him. that occurred in here. then they began to develop the library of congress in here, too. >> but it would have been much different than this. was it this long? >> i think the walls must have been configured differently. the house subsequently for many years, until the expansion in 1850, operated in statuary hall. but the acoustics in there were terrible. they couldn't hear each other. they just literally could not hear each other. so the debates were quite
stressful because people could not -- the acoustics were just awful. that was one of the factors. in addition to winning the mexican war that led to the expansion decision to build a house wing and a senate wing. >> now, this room has got a number of paintings i want to talk about. but i want to stay with the history of it. 1800 was important. but 1814 was also very important. >> sure was. >> what happened? >> they had begun to develop the library of congress here. when the british invaded washington, they burned both the capitol and the white house. of course it didn't burn it to the ground because it's made out of marble, but it gutted the building. it took them four or five years to get back in to the capitol. they used the initial library of congress, which the books, to start the fire. that was supposedly happened in this area. they destroyed the initial library, of course, and gutted the capitol.
and when people ask about jefferson's books being the start of the library of congress, that's true, but that happened after the initial library was destroyed in the fire. jefferson then either gave or i suspect sold, because he was always in debt, his books which are still on display in the library of congress building as the beginning of the library of congress. >> what are the most architecturally significant aspects of this room today? >> architecturally significant? >> is the fireplace -- >> well, it has fireplaces, some of which still actually work. but we don't use them anymore because of portraits like henry clay here on the wall. that was a contemporary portrait of clay, and smoke is not good for old portraits. clay would have been thrilled. you know, he and jackson were, i would argue, basically their rivalry began the modern two-party system.
they disagreed on absolutely everything. clay took jackson on directly one time in 1832, jackson won overwhelmingly. they argued and debated, and that was the beginning of the whig party under clay, which became the republican party. and of course, jackson was a prominent democrat. i think clay would have enjoyed the fact that since my predecessor, bill frist, was from tennessee, when i moved into this office and replaced him, i took jackson down, sent him back to the museum and put henry clay up. so clay finally bested jackson in at least something. >> now the other portraits that you have in here are from -- >> they were republican presidents. >> yes. you've selected which ones are in here? >> i did. i have bush 41. teddy roosevelt. bush 43. and of course, ronald reagan who's, for my party and for us, modern hero.
>> why did you choose the t.r. portrait? teddy roosevelt? >> well, roosevelt was the most interesting person who ever held the presidency. the only president who wrote books and made money off of writing books. and he was a big game hunter and fearless. i mean he threatened -- i mean he took enormous chances throughout his life, both as a young man going out west after losing his wife and his mother on the same day, and hunting, battling the terrain and the weather and all the rest, down to after his final run for the presidency in 1912, which he lost in a three-way race that he precipitated by taking on his former friend and colleague, william howard taft, he literally took off and went to south america and went down the
amazon in an extremely dangerous trek down the amazon, picked up a lot of exotic diseases which probably led to his not living past age 60. he had all kinds of health problems after he got back from the trip down the amazon. so, clearly our most interesting president ever, and happened to be a republican. so i thought that was appropriate to be in the republican leader's office. >> how do you use this room today? >> well, this is where guests come in. they start here. frequently i come out and have pictures taken with them. then we go into the conference room. we have meetings. those are not only -- usually people from home, but also senators are in here all the time, in and out, because my job as the majority leader is to set the schedule, to decide what we're going to debate, doesn't always guarantee the outcome because the senate's a really
unusual body. it requires 60 votes to do most things. and only rarely does one party have 60. so you have to talk to each other. you can't do much in the senate on a strictly partisan basis. so this is a beehive of activity during the week, not only of constituents, people who have particular interests, but colleagues in the senate. >> i just want to, before we leave this space, grand as it, understand its progression and usage. you said it was house of representatives and library of dong. and then what happened after that? >> lots of different things. the space was used i think for periods of time by vice presidents, by others. i have a pamphlet here that i think outlines the various uses. but for our purposes i think, since the 1950s, it's been office of the republican leader of the senate, whether we are in the majority or whether we are
in the minority. we don't all switch offices like they do in the house. former speakers in the house don't have nearly the office that the speaker does. but here, it's been continuously since the time of robert taft in the 1950s the office of the republican leader. >> how far away is the democratic leader? >> not very far. he's off the floor of the senate, too, about the same distance. actually, he may be slightly a few feet closer than i. of course, we deal with each other every day in opening the senate and in discussing the business of the senate and how to go forward. >> we're going to keep on moving through your suite. i'm going to let you lead the way here. >> okay. well, when i was a young man and began to have hopes that maybe i could have a political career, my role model was a man named john sherman cooper who was the republican senator from
kentucky. kentucky was pretty democratic, so it was little bit unusual to have a successful republican. so i identified with him. i was an intern in his office in the summer of 1964. and he was actively involved in breaking the filibuster on the civil rights bill of 1964. happily enough, 20 years after that, i won the seat that he had held and he was still alive. and this is a picture of when i came up to be sworn in, orientation, he asked me to stay at his house, which was a great honor. so i had gone from intern to senator. i didn't obviously defeat him. he retired in the meantime. i defeated the guy who replaced him after he retired. but it was a thrill to literally with senator cooper kind of go from intern to his replacement. >> this is another influence on your life.
>> yeah. this is my great uncle with whom i share a name who, interestingly enough, was a local politician at alabama. of course, there were no republicans at all. and he was like the county executive. they called them probate judges and they still do in alabama. this is a piece of his stationary. that's where i was born, in north alabama. we lived briefly in georgia. i came to kentucky when i was 13. this is one of his old cards which shows you how politics has changed. looks like he's running in 1934 and on his card it says, "to serve you well, to make each transaction a stepping stone toward your perfect confidence is my desire and constant endeavor." that probably wouldn't work today. >> also was a paid political announcement. wasn't it? >> yeah, it was one of his campaign cards. obviously it was not a cut and slash kind of campaign. >> we're moving into the next suite. what is this?
>> this is the conference room that, as i indicated, this space has been occupied by the republican leader roughly since the time of robert taft who was only majority leader briefly. he was a real powerhouse in the senate. ran for president a couple of times. competed against eisenhower. but when eisenhower won, he wanted -- and i think his colleagues wanted -- him to actually become the majority leader. which he did. regretfully he died about eight months later. so he was only in here briefly. one of our best known and most popular leader is howard baker of tennessee. he retired the year that i got here. in fact just passed away the last couple of years.
everett dirksen, when i was here was the leader of the republican minority and a major player with lbj in making the civil rights bill of 1964 and the voting rights bill of 1965 bipartisan. >> he also used television quite effectively during his time. >> he was not particularly photogenic but he was a great actor. he was a great actor. he had a natural wit. could have made his living being an actor in plays on broadway. so he was entertaining. he sort of kept the republicans alive and of after the kennedy assassination we -- and the goldwater debacle in 1964 we were down to a small number again, which has happened a couple of times in the last 100 years. of course, everyone remembers bob dole who became the leader when i got here and was our candidate for president. when bob stepped down to run
full time for president in 1996, he was succeeded by trent lott of mississippi. >> do you still stay in touch with your predecessors? do you talk to them? >> sure. i was talking to dole just recently. i talk to lott frequent. and frist, bill frist, who succeeded trent lott is back on this wall. he was the one who put andrew jackson up outside. and that's leading to my story about clay and jackson. >> how do you use this room? >> well, we're having meetings in here all the time. the republican leadership meetings are in here. we have a particular issue we try and advance, i bring the leaders of both sides typically in to discuss ways to go forward. it is a beehive of activity. there are also constituent meetings in here, too. but mostly members. >> are you willing to share a story? doesn't have to be contemporary
and give away anything, but a memory in this room? >> oh, my goodness. i'd have to think about that, there have been so many. well, one moment you'd be interested in. i think when president bush wanted to -- ordered the surge in iraq toward the end of his tenure, the democrats had just come to the majority and they believed that the unpopularity of the iraq war was the principal reason they had come to the majority. so there was a lot of resistance to providing the funds for the surge to see if we could finally get the iraq war right. i was just elected leader but i was the leader of the minority so i had to try to sell to a new majority who thought they had just come to power because of the unpopularity of the war a strategy that seemed to be doubling down on failure. and so the best salesman i would find was general david petraeus.
we had petraeus in here. we brought in members after members after members after members and let him make the argument about why he thought it would work. he was a good salesman. we got the funding. the surge did work. and, believe it or not, the iraq war was won by the time president bush left office. so the sales job, in effect, was done largely in this room by general petraeus who was going to be the person to execute the strategy if he could get the funds for the troops. >> this is one of those "if the walls could talk" sort of rooms, isn't it. >> yes. >> next is your own personal office. correct? >> yes. >> so how long are your days? >> i usually have something to do in the evening. we're either in session or i have some event i need to attend
for my colleagues. so i usually get home around 8:30 or 9:00. >> when do you start? >> sort of normal time like most people, 8:30 or 9:00. >> you're regularly 12-hour days. >> yes. >> how much of that time is spent in here? >> i spend most of my time here. like all senators, i have another office in the russell building. we have three senate offices. but i have, as a result of being leader, sort of two offices and two sets of staff, the staff here deals with all of the senators. my staff in russell is mainly oriented toward kentucky and my responsibilities there. but, just to keep myself from running back and forth all the time, i generally operate out of here. the people from the russell office have constituents or concerns, they usually come over here. you'd be interested in what i have on the wall.
this is lincoln and his son, ted. >> this is an original? >> i think so. what -- you know, in the 19th century, so many children died of diseases. lincoln's son, willie, died while he was president. ted made it to age 19 and died of some disease. only lincoln's son, robert, had a full life. and since lincoln is such a distinct figure for republicans, and actually in many ways for democrats as well, i thought it appropriate to have him up there. >> people forget that he has kentucky roots because illinois has laid such claim to him. >> we all claim him. he was born in indiana -- born in kentucky, lived briefly in indiana, and ended up in illinois. so at home we have lincoln's birthplace and we make -- everybody wants to claim lincoln. >> you've also been to mary lincoln's house in lexington.
so she has kentucky roots too. >> she was from lexington. so lincoln roots in kentucky were real. and you probably remember that his famous quote that he wanted to have god on his side, but he had to have kentucky. what that meant was, he spent an enormous amount of time trying to prevent kentucky from seceding from the union because he thought it was extremely important in terms of the war strategy to avoid kentucky's secession. thus the saying, i want to have god on my side, but i have to have kentucky. speaking of kentucky, this is john marshall harlan. every first year law student can tell you who he was. he was from kentucky. he fought for the union. and after the war had some political aspirations. but kentucky, curiously enough, seemed to sort of go over to the southern side after the war and
became a totally democratic state. so harlan didn't get very far with his political aspirations. he had a partner, a law partner, named benjamin bristow, well known, and the two were sort of known as solid citizens who were incorruptible. and his partner, benjamin bristow, became secretary of the treasure in the grant administration. and the reason for that was he was sort of mr. clean and grant had all kinds of corruption problems. and he brought in bristow to try to clean the place up. bristow, also interestingly enough, was the nation's first solicitor general. and so bristow, after about a year, took a look at the situation, decided he needed to get out, he was afraid his reputation would get smeared. why am i telling you about harlan's partner? there is a point.
in 1876, after eight years of grant, the republicans, harlan thought, needed to do something different. and so mr. clean he thought would be the perfect nominee for president. so the republican convention was in cincinnati. in those days you weren't supposed to act like you wanted it. so bristow didn't go to cincinnati. harlan did, to try to get bristow the presidential nomination. when it didn't happen, harlan switched the bristow delegates to rutherford b. hayes, which is how he got on the supreme court and served for 30 years. the reason i have john marshall harlan up here, he was with a the sole dissenter in the case of plessy versus ferguson in 1896 which upheld segregation in public accommodations. it was rail cars. that dissent in 1896 became the unanimous decision in brown
versus board of education in 1954. so every freshman law student who's had constitutional law can tell you who john marshall harlan is. i probably told you more than you wanted to know. but how he ended up on the supreme court, it was a reward for helping hayes get the nomination. this is a depiction of the compromise -- the debate surrounding the compromise of 1850. the reason i have it up, not only henry clay, daniel webster, john c. calhoun, i have it up not only because i'm an admirer of clay but i did my senior thesis in college on henry clay and the compromise of 1850. >> is it because he was a kentuckian that you did that? >> yeah. i recently reread it. it wasn't very good. frankly, they should have had me rewrite it. so i'm not exactly sending it around for publication. it was one of the three major
compromises clay was involved in. that were widely attributed to holding the union together as long as it held together before the inevitable conflict blew things up. >> and gave him the nickname "the great compromiser." correct? >> yeah, that's what he was known as. >> what does that message mean for you today? >> well, because you have to compromise. and we do a lot of that. unfortunately, in today's world, the things we agree on never make any news. it's only when we have differences or something goes off the track or something's controversial that it seems to be important enough to be noticed which is a great frustration to people like me because we've had, in this current congress under the new majority, an extremely productive period with all kinds of things that are important, like trade promotion authority, cyber security, multi-year highway bills, complete rewrite
of elementary and secondary education legislation, major energy bill. in other words, on and on and on. almost none of which make any news because people are not interested in times when we get along and accomplish things. they tend to only be interested in our differences. >> do you find yourself muttering to that portrait from time to time? >> occasionally, yeah. occasionally. i have a democrat in here, that's everett barkley. only other kentuckyian who had been leader of the senate. he had a long tenure from 1937 to 1949. there were so many democrats in the senate when he was elected, the vote was i think 37-36. that shows you how many democrats there were in a senate that only had 96 members because hawaii and alaska were not yet states. he won by one vote. but he was a roosevelt guy. a very interesting man. he finally became vice president under truman and went into private life for the first time in a very long time. >> after that was over?
>> yeah. he hated it. didn't like being in private life. so he decided to run against my role model, senator cooper, in 1954 and defeats cooper. but cooper has a pretty fast comeback after being sent to india as ambassador to india by president eisenhower, cooper. barkley accepts an invitation to the washington elite mock convention. and you will enjoy this. he's down there on april 30th, 1956, speaking to the students who are having a mock convention. barkley spoke of his willingness to sit with other freshman senators in congress. he ended with an allusion to psalm 84:10 saying, i'm glad to sit on the back row for i would rather be a servant in the house of the lord than to sit in the seats of the mighty. he then collapsed and died of a heart attack. president truman put out a statement saying, boy, i'd like to go that way.
you know. a politician in front of a big audience, with a cheering crowd, bam. >> and a memorable line. >> yeah. that's a great exit. a great exit. that's why i have barkley up. >> as you are working at your desk you have one "d" and one "r" peering over your shoulders. >> i do. that's a great lesson every day. >> you also have another bust of clay over here. >> yeah, you can never have too of henry clay, if you're me. i also have a bust of clay in here. >> you also have some documents and books. what have you chosen to display of those sorts of things? >> these are just very old books. i will confess i have not read them. but very, very old books and these two cases. simply are the right kind of vision i think for an office that's steeped in history. >> and the james madison framed document behind you? >> just somebody gave me that.
i'm a big james madison fan. i just finished reading lynne cheney's terrific biography of madison. i've been very active in first amendment type issues since madison was the author of the constitution and a supporter of the bill of rights. i just fond of james madison. >> i want to walk back towards this way as we wrap up. this office has a spectacular view of the mall. >> two things about this window. bob dole when he was in this office used to call this the second-best view in washington. he wanted the first best view which he said was down at the white house. >> he tried. >> didn't quite work out. but outside this window there are the steps of the capitol. in my first internship in washington in 1963 it was in a congressman's office. and i had the good fortune to actually be here on august 28th,
1963, when martin luther king made the "i have a dream" speech. now i confess, i couldn't hear a word because i was down at this end of the mall, he was on the lincoln memorial looking out at throngs, literally thousands and thousands of people. but you knew you were in the presence of something really significant and i went home that night and turned on the tv and if i had any doubts, they were dispelled about the significance of that day. and it was a thrill to think back upon that all these years later and see the progress that we've made in race relations in this country. king i think would never have imagined that we'd have an african-american president, for example. great progress. >> then you went on to be an intern for senator cooper. >> the next summer, i came back on the senate side with senator cooper who was actively involved in breaking the filibuster against civil rights bill of 1964. i was in the mail room.
not exactly making policy in those days. then i had another story the next year that you would be interested in. i came back to visit the friends that i had made the previous two summers the next summer, the summer of 1965. once again i happened to hit it on the right day. i was sitting in the outer office in senator cooper's reception area in senator cooper's office hoping to get a chance to see him. he walks out, grabs me by the arm, says, "i'm going to take you to something really important." we come over to the rotunda. and there i am in the back of the room watching lyndon baines johnson sign the voting rights act of 1965. had a better seat than i did for the martin luther king speech. one more anecdote you might be interested in.
in 2008 i was in the rotunda. we were celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of lbj. i met lucy johnson who i had never met before. i said, lucy, i was here on the day your dad signed the voting rights act. she said i was, too. i said, really? i said i'm sure nobody knew i was here but i'm positive everybody knew you were here. here's what she told me. she said that her dad said come on, get in the car, i'm going to take you to the capitol, this is something important. and on the way down, he explained to her that everett dirksen was going to be right beside him when he signed the bill. she said, daddy, why would you want to have a republican there for this? he said it is important that the american people understand that this is done on a bipartisan basis and the american people will be much more likely to accept what we're doing if they
think both sides are involved in it. that was the story lucy told me on lbj's 100th birthday down at the statuary hall. >> you've talked about your internships in the house and senate side. when did this whole interest in politics get started for you? >> probably high school. i ran for president of the student body in high school. if i had lost, maybe i would have done something else. >> i mean was there a mentor that -- were you following politics? >> i just got interested. my fifth grade picture, you know how you have little mugshots every year? in my fifth grade picture i have an "i like ike" pin on. there weren't too many republicans -- you were in kentucky at that time? >> i was in georgia at that point. and you're right. there weren't too many republicans. my dad had served in world war ii way down as a foot soldier level under eisenhower and he decided to vote for eisenhower. obviously eisenhower didn't carry any southern states but my dad was a great admirer of the
commander. and so i sort of began to identify with republicans a little bit. four years later we were in kentucky and, even though it was a democratic state, republicans occasionally won. my dad was a republican. so i began to identify with republicans and decided to take a shot at it. i ran for president of student body in college and law school, too. clean sweep. >> once you got here, was the leadership position something you always aspired to? is this your dream job? >> well, unlike a lot of people, i really didn't -- i didn't think i was going to be president of the united states. i think there are plenty of senators who do think that. that was not what i wanted. i had hoped that maybe one day i could be leader of my party in the senate and it really was a dream come true. >> and what does this office allow you to do? what's its real power? >> i think to pull people together, to set the schedule, to try to push the country in the direction you think it ought
to go is a great joy and it is an interesting leadership challenge. as you can imagine, a club like the senate, a lot of intelligent people with sharp elbows and big egos who have their own hopes and aspirations, not only for themselves but for the country, trying to synthesize all that and make some semblance of music is like conducting the orchestra, you know. somebody's always a little bit off key. >> well, tying history into this conversation as we close here. when you look at the kind of politics that happened in this chamber during the civil war year, 1850 leading up to the war, really tough times with really important stakes. when people say today this is the most partisan environment that we've ever experienced, what does history tell you about that? >> history tells you that it not anywhere near true. it is a shame that american people think that things are more contentious now than they used to be. we haven't had a single instant
where a congressman came over and tried to beat to death a senator on the floor of the senate which happened in the 1850s. what's different today is that more americans are exposed to the arguments through the internet, through cable television, but the debates we have today are nothing compared to the, for example, what adams and jefferson called each other. in those days, there were fighting duels. i mean we had big, vigorous, robust debates throughout the history of the country. what's different today is that more people are exposed to. and i think the coverage of what we do is entirely tilted toward the things we disagree on and the contentiousness of some of our debates, not the outcomes that we get. which is disappointing. >> leader mcconnell, thank you so much for the tour of your office and for the history lessons you've given us. >> thank you.
>> you can watch this, or any other american artifacts programs, at any time by visiting our website, c-span.org/history. american history tv airs on c-span3 every weekend telling the american story through events, interviews and visits to historic locations. this month american history tv is in prime time to introduce you to programs you could see every weekend on c-span3. our features include lectures in history, visits to college classrooms across the country to hear lectures by top history professors. american artifacts takes a look at the treasures at u.s. historic sites, museums and archives. reel america reviewing history through archival films and news reels. the civil war. where you hear about the people who shaped the civil war and reconstruction. the presidency focuses on u.s. presidents and first ladies to learn about their politics,
policies and legacies. all this month in prime time and every weekend on american history tv on c-span3. coming up this week on american history tv on c-span3, as the national park service prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary, we'll take a look at the development of california's national and state parks. saturday night at 10:00 eastern on reel america, the 1935 u.s. department of the interior film "the land of the giants." it documents the efforts of the civilian conservation corps and the daily live in the redwoods. >> freeing for fire prevention provides for practically any kind of construction job that may be desirable. the conservation corps guys make everything from heavy bridge timbers to park signs. >> and sunday morning at 8:00, a panel of scholars examines the musical "hamilton," the history
depicted and the relationship between the academic history and the history portrayed in popular culture. then at teng on road to the white house rewind, incumbent president bill clinton and former kansas senator bob dole face off in their first debate of the 1996 presidential campaign. >> the bottom line is we are the strongest nation in the world. we provide the leadership. and we're going to have to continue to provide the leadership. let's do it on our terms when our interests are involved, and not when somebody blows a whistle at the united nations. >> i believe the evidence is that our deployments have been successful, in haiti, in bosnia, when we moved to kuwait to repel saddam hussein's threatened invasion of kuwait. when i sent the fleet into the taiwan straits. i believe the united states sat peace tonight in part because of the discipline,