tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN February 17, 2014 5:30pm-6:01pm EST
the first lady is passé. the french are having trouble dividing with the status of the first lady should be. what implications do you think this situation has for the united states and how we view first ladies. guest: the french leader was guest: i do think the implications and the french leader was just here and it caused the american press to take a look at this. sadly, his extra matterial dalliances have taken precedence or priority over u.s.-french relations or some or a concerns in europe number of them. what you do see is around the world the -- most countries around the world do not have such a prominent role for a first lady or fixation on the first lady as we have here in this country. i don't know if it's the free
media or around the world there is a monarch who could serve as head of state and we in this country have combined sort of head of state and head of government in the one office. therefore, the president, first lady do everything from turn the lights on the christmas tree at the holidays to roll the easter eggs on the holiday to welcome heads of state. we do have a fixation on this in this country. i do think the highly feminine aspect of this will be minimized when we have a first female elected and the first man will try to define what his role is. the idea also of matterial infidelity if the office and high -- matterial infidelity of the office and wilson had affairs. we all know about about john kennedy, president johnson and president eisenhower and his
terrorist. there is a long history of both parties with this. there is a long history of scant scandals. mary todd lincoln was scandalous. she was shopping buying tons of dresses and gloves and she even bought a very expensive china service and then liked it so much she got a companion set. president lincoln called her her flub dub and called her off financially. i'm asking this country to sacrifice and you're spending like there's no tomorrow. she went to continue to spend white house he gardener to cover her budget. that was a huge scandal. andrew jackson's wife, rachel, who was alive when he was elected but died right before the inauguration in 1829. she had been married two men at the same time because of the snaffue of divorce laws at the time and called negative words.
nancy reagan with a lot of dress fathers high-end designers while her husband is making drastic cuts in social programs and not giving the dresses back or turning them over to the museum. hat was a minor scandal. i think it's a good thing we are having a conversation like this because we have to have that conversation. it's a highly public role and ngendered. caller: good morning. the thing you're talking about this morning, the significant ersonal influences for spouses and this being talked about
with regard of the possibility of bill clinton being a first male and the question about think or not this would about term limits. could you comment on your understanding of the specialist on first spouses? what is your take on the influence of first spouses on presidential decisionmaking? guest: another good question. , the nd amendment president could not accept a vice-presidential position and then succeed to the presidency because he would have already served his two terms. you can serve nonconsecutive terms. before the 22nd, for example,
glofere cleveland in the was our 22nd president, was defeated and then was our 24th president. you raised a good point because hillary clinton had intimate access and influence as first lady during her husband's eight years. bill clinton will have that kind of intimate access. it does not violate the faith and wording of the 22nd amendment. and the ultimate judge of these things is the american electorate. they would have the ability to vote against her. if folks well like bill clinton and want his influence or like hillary clinton and the first ladyship is better training for presidency than any other office, maybe than the vice-presidency that they have the right to vote for and the ultimate jury rests with the american public. first ladies have been enormously influential over history. eleanor roosevelt as i said was her husband's eyes and ars.
roz carter and betty ford lobbied congress on behalf of bills. the reason i wrote three books -- i wrote three books on the first ladies and a number on the presidents. the reason i wrote my first book of the first ladies is because of president polk's wife. president back in the 1840's. i was interested in perhaps writing about polk and with those presidents we had our story from number seven to buchanan, pretty under we will aming group of presidents -- underwhelming group of presidents. polk was a good president. he only served one term. his wife was amazing. i wrote a book about first ladies because of her. sarah polk was sort of an eleanor roosevelt 100 years before there was eleanor roosevelt. she was unpopular because of her influence. the country was not ready for such an active woman, such a
sharp woman at the time. she did not have children of her own. in a day and age where a woman was judged as a wife or a mother, the fact she did not have woman allowed her to make politics sort of her vocation and advocation. she sat in congress in the audience and watched sessions of congress. the papers that survived from the polks' time in office, ere are speeches where mrs. polk's handwriting in the margins. she clipped newspaper articles for him to read. there is a cute line where folks would often say about mrs. polk, they would say mrs. polk is a master of herself and we all expect of someone else too. there's also a cute line that i found in an old diary where someone said they went to the white house and were meeting with all the dignitaries and the polks and said the best political conversation was with olk, dot, dot, dot, mrs. polk.
washington and abigail madison were influential. one said he could -- madison could be defeated, james madison could be defeated if only it wasn't for dolly. so first ladies have had that kind of influence. it's almost as i said impossible, naive to think they wouldn't have some informal influence but they do not have any formal role or formal duty beyond what any citizen would have. like i said, an ability to introduce laws or pass executive orders and things of that effect. host: we'll have one more call for this segment. joe from west chester, pennsylvania. caller: good morning, professor watson. i just wanted to call and i was kind of forced to call after the gentleman from arkansas called. i just wanted to say it was very appreciative of the way that you handled that call, the
gentleness in which you spoke to that fellow. and your mastery of your subject. i just wish i had a history professor as enjoyable as you are this morning. i think i would have retained a lot more history. your parents must be very, very proud of you and that's all i have to say. thank you. guest: thank you, joe. i can assure that "washington journal" that joe is not my brother. i do think we all need to remember that these veterans have served our country great and great many ways and sacrificed and continue to sacrifice and their families continue to sacrifice every single day in dealing with losses or dealing with the kind of stress that comes with that sort of service. and it is absolutely criminal when our country does not fulfill its obligation and provide the kind of supports that we need for veterans. all of us know a veteran that we thank, all of us know a veteran that has struggled and needs that kind of support.
i am pleased to see that having studied the presidents and first ladies and written them all my adult life, many presidents and first ladies have been strong champions of our men and women in uniform. host: we have been joined by professor robert watson. "the he author of resident' wives: reassessing the office of first lady." [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] >> on our next "washington a nal" -- kevin kuhlman, look at how small businesses are impacting health care. and same-sex marriage, the goal of getting it legalized. after that, edward felton of princeton university, bit coin, which is exchanged solely online and recently experienced problems from cyberattacks. plus your phone calls, facebook
comments and tweets all on "washington journal" live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> last month former congressman patrick kennedy discussed society's role in fostering addiction and how the health care law could help. here's more. >> ultimately reneed to reorient our culture. our culture needs to be reoriented to stop keeping silent about this because the biggest enemy is the silence. it's the pathology of not being able to talk about the elephant in the room. and my mom had suffered from severe and persistent mental illness and alcoholism. we never talked about it. my family's pretty progressive, liberal-minded. never breathed a word about it. and then she disappeared to go to treatment.
i mean, david writes about it in his books. the biggest challenge here is we need a conversation. i love the fact mtv is trying to break these barriers down, but it's the stigma, as director can say that it's our most insidious enemy here. it's not just about prescription drug abuse. as david pointed out, i could have been addicted to anything. i was a genetically predisposed, had an environment that encouraged it and then, you know, it was oxy cotin for me for a while. was hospitalized for oxy cotton. i couldn't sleep and started abusing ambien. i was an be addict. we need to get to the bigger picture. it's not the name of the drug. it's the underlying issue, as you said, jaurn, about the mental -- john, about the mental health. as our culture goes forward, we do not have the nomenclature to talk about our emotional and
psychic development, the spiritual development that is so crucial to us as human beings. so we teach our kids, we leave out this important piece that part of their development is being able to be a social being and not be stuck on their phone or their, you know, ipod. i love technology, but part of our problem is we're more connected and yet we're more disconnected. >> that was just some of the discussion held last month by the clinton foundation. you can watch it in its entirety later tonight at 7:15 p.m. eastern time here on c-span or anytime online at c-span.org. >> tonight, we can conclude our series, first ladies, influence and image" with a live two-hour program. martha washington to michelle obama. >> she brings her managerial skills, makes mount vernon a
success operation and make it possible for washington to be away for eight years fighting a war. >> there was something about abraham lincoln that saw the potential and encouraged it and helped develop it. lessons in etiquette in the dinner room. the political parties they had where they invited important people. the strawberries and cream party talking to the important wives. she wielded a lot of power, both over mr. lincoln and where he was going. >> the involvement of mrs. roosevelt and the -- in the political career of president roosevelt is right from the beginning. she becomes much more active in her role after 1921 when franklin roosevelt contracted polio. she would encourage franklin roosevelt to continue with his political app bigses. >> first ladies, influence and image, from martha washington to michelle obama, live on c-span, c-span radio and
c-span.org. and we'll start the evening with a conversation with historian richard norton smith about the first ladies and their contribution to the nation live at 8:00. >> next, the results of a seann research institute poll ranking the impact and importance of the first ladies. -- iena research institute poll ranking the impact and importance of the first ladies. >> the siena research institute in loudonville, new york, has released a survine the first ladies. heeshes the results, the top -- here's the results, top 10. don levy is the director of the
siena research institute. dr. levy, what do you see in this top 10 list? >> what's most amazing about this survey, five times, 32 years, we interview historians, political scientists, those scholars who study the presidency and the institution of the first lady. what's most amazing is the consistency over time. eleanor roosevelt first every time. this is first over 32 years and she really stands out as the quintessential american first lady. if we were going to put a picture of first lady in the dictionary, it would be eleanor roosevelt. >> why is that? >> well, we look at 10 different categories. we look at the background of the first ladies, their value to the country, how much value they had to their president, whether she's her own woman and, again and again we see eleanor roosevelt stand out. she truly was a trend setting first lady. she was not only f.d.r.'s
partner and counselor, but she reshaped that institution. she told american women that they mattered and that they were important in political and social life, and clearly eleanor roosevelt not only campaigned for f.d.r. but she was instrumental in setting policy and the tone of the country during very difficult years. she's warmly remembered for her entire time as first lady and for the work she did subsequent to being a first lady as well. she really was a modern trend setter for that office. >> now, don levy, the current first lady, michelle obama is on that list. is that a surprise to have the current first lady on the list? >> it is a little bit surprising. it's the first time clearly she was included. the last time that the survey was taken was just before the obamas took office. and she enters at a very pretty high level for a new first lady at fifth and actually kind of
bumps down hillary clinton to the sixth position. i think that michelle obama stands out on a number of the categories. her value to the country, her value to the president, being her own woman, most especially, and also her growing accomplishments in office. interestingly, we also asked about which of the first ladies might these historians and political scientists imagine as serving as president, and while hillary clinton is clearly the number one choice, there is support for michelle obama as it leads to a hypothetical president of the united states in some future time. so michelle obama enters at a very high rate. hillary clinton, though, when in 1993 when we took the same survey during the early years of the clinton administration, actually entered the survey at that point at number two. it's not unprecedented but it is impressive. >> now, don levy, two things i want to ask about on the top 10
list. number one, only one republican, betty ford, is on that list. why is that? >> well, there's two ways to understand that. number one, many of the first ladies on that list, they stand out as having accomplished a great deal, as being first ladies that all first ladies clearly aspire to. but frankly what we find, this is a survey of practicing historians, political scientists, many of whom are nested within the academy, authors who publish books on the presidency and the institution of first lady and frankly as a group that group tends to be a little bit more biased towards the democrats than towards the republicans. the only republican on this list is betty ford. in fact, several of the recent republican first ladies made the list of those first ladies who could have done more while they were in office. no first lady is a runaway choice as to those who could have done more, but laura bush,
pat nixon, mrs. eisenhower, barbara bush are first ladies who could have done more. clearly eleanor roosevelt stands out. abigail adams, dolly madison, really before the era of partisan politics took place as we know it today, but there is a small bias that we can perceive amongst these historians and political scientists. >> one other thing is that a lot of these first ladies on the top 10 list are within our lifetime beginning with jacqueline kennedy, hillary rosalynn, betty ford. is there another bias for contemporary first ladies? >> these first ladies are better known to all of our historians but they also had a much more wider and important role in the modern era than some of the early first ladies. still, it's north wotey to see
some of the early first ladies, be a game adams, dolley madison clearly played important roles. martha washington makes the list. so we're not without the early first ladies, but many of the first ladies and some of the ones who fall in the bottom line during the civil war era with the notable exception of mary lincoln, are little known to many of the historians and really i think that with the notable exception of abigail adams, martha washington, it's truly the more modern first ladies who have been full partners in a sense that is known to those who follow the institution of the first lady, full partners to their president and are in the news each and every day, are taking on issues and really not only speak to the country but in many ways to the world about what and who america is. >> well, let's look at those bottom five. margaret taylor, florence arding, leticia tyler, eliza
ohnson, jane pierce. >> mary lincoln has been amongst the bottom five each and every time we've done the survey until this year. i think that the other influence that we see in this survey sometimes is when there's new historical work and/or new works of popular culture that open up the book a little bit and tell the story of a first lady. that first lady's rating moves a little bit. mary lincoln, portrayed by sally fields in the recent film about lincoln, and also some of the literature on lincoln of late has told -- given a little bit wider perspective on mary lincoln. she doesn't rise to the top. she remains near the bottom, about 10 places from the bottom, but her stature increased a little bit with i think a little bit more understanding of the difficulty situation she was place -- difficult situation she was placed in and not thinking of
mary lincoln someone who was mentally unstable as she had been portrayed for a long time. the other first ladies near the bottom in many cases are associated with presidencies that were seen as unsuccessful and that they added little to it. one notable first lady, florence harding, i think stands out near the bottom because it's more and more been seen she played some role in some of the perhaps corrupt aspects of the harding administration and the harding times. so florence harding is nailed really by these historians as lacking integrity. she scores right at the bottom there. the other first ladies that tend to be the bottom, in many cases they're associated with little known presidents and some of the presidents, both johnson and pierce, who sort of book-ended the civil war, a time in our country where we were really looking for great leadership and it wasn't until lincoln who, of course, is one of the most highly regarded presidents, took over. but the first ladies before and
after the civil war were seen as giving very little value to the country, very little value to presidents who themselves were unsuccessful. >> and the siena research did this in collaboration, in partnership with c-span and our first ladies series this past year. one of the new categories on this survey, greatest political asset. jacqueline kennedy, michelle obama and nancy reagan. one other new topic area was lasting legacy. and, again -- eleanor roosevelt topped that. >> what is it about those five ladies, don levy? >> greatest political asset is a category that matters now. no longer is the first lady only looked upon as being a white house stuart but rather as very -- stewart but rather
very important ally. eleanor roosevelt again stands out. she campaigned on behalf of the president. she was sent out to negotiate with various constituencies the entire roosevelt years. she really stands out. hillary clinton quite obviously was instrumental in many of the policies of the clinton administration and, of course, now is seen as the first lady most likely to serve as president. jackie kennedy makes the list. michelle obama as a current asset. nancy reagan shows up on that list in a very positive sense i think as a political asset and the work that nancy reagan did as part of the reagan administration. in some cases really taking care of the president, negotiating with various constituencies and even with warring parties and the administration itself was seen as quite crucial during the reagan years. greatest lasting legacy, jackie kennedy i think deserves
mention there. we just saw the 50th anniversary of the assassination of president kennedy and once again the nation was i think reintroduced to the role that jackie kennedy played, not only in her role of revitalizing the white house as an institution, introducing the country to the white house, but the grace that she conducted herself really was a model for the country at the time of the assassination. and that's truly a legacy that has stood out not only for the country but for the institution of the first lady and the importance of that position to the entire country. she speaks in many ways to the heart and soul of our country. at good times, demanding times and at difficult times as was that of the assassination, of course. >> that's a quick look of some of the top line results of siena research institute, newest survey on first ladies in collaboration with c-span's first ladies series.
>> tuesday night, our conversation with tennessee republican senator bob corker on his early career in business. >> i had, you know, started working like most folks when i was 13 doing all kinds of odds and ends. i migrated to being a construction laborer and kind of a rough carpenter. when i graduated from college, i ended up being a construction superintendent. after about four years, i, you know, had built some regional malls around the country and learned how to build projects. i saved $8,000. so when i was 25 years old, i went in business and started doing a lot of repeat work, small projects where i could be paid quickly. the company grew at about 80% a year the whole time, ended up being shopping centers around the country, retail projects in 18 states. so it was an energizing, it was a great place to be. i mean, the energy when you come into the front door, it
would almost knock you down. i sold that when i was 37 to a young man who had worked with me for many, many years and then, of course, have done several things since. i ended up acquiring a lot of real estate through the years through portfolios and other companies. i love being in business. >> later we'll talk with democratic senator amy klobuchar on being in the senate and mother of a teenage daughter. >> she called me and i picked the cell phone right as i'm walking in the senate. mom, you can't wear a bikini but a tankini at the pool party. and dad doesn't understand the difference between a bikini and a tankini. i said, get him on the phone right now. i walked head into lindsey graham and knocked him over practically. i said, i am not doing this balance very well.
i think for any mother it doesn't matter if you're a senator or if you're a nurse trying to balance the family and the work, you never do it perfectly. and anyone that says that they do is wrong. >> american profile interviews with senators bob corker and amy klobuchar tuesday night starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span, c-span radio and c-span.org. >> last month, jane little of the bbc talked about same-sex marriage. al qaeda's use of social media, and her own views about covering religious issues early in her career. this is held at the university of colorado in boulder. it's an hour and 15 minutes. >> hello, again. it's a real accomplish and a great privilege to be with you tonight and i'm grateful to
professor stewart and the provost for inviting me to come here to share some of my experiences in covering religion and the ways in which i've seen the beat change, rise, fall, evolve over the last two decades of my career which has been beat, evolved over the last two decades of my career, which is been largely focused on religion as a correspondent, editor, and presenter, or host, as you say here. that is on both sides of the atlantic. that is where my experiences, but i am interested in coverage of religion from all parts of the world. i've come full circle. steward who helped first launch made on my path, though i doubt he knows that, it was while doing an undergraduate dissertation that i read his illuminating book on the subject. beach at uc santa barbara, as i recall. that certainly accentuates to