Skip to main content

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  September 20, 2014 6:00am-8:01am EDT

6:00 am
6:01 am
6:02 am
6:03 am
6:04 am
6:05 am
6:06 am
6:07 am
6:08 am
6:09 am
6:10 am
6:11 am
6:12 am
6:13 am
6:14 am
6:15 am
6:16 am
6:17 am
6:18 am
6:19 am
6:20 am
6:21 am
6:22 am
6:23 am
6:24 am
6:25 am
6:26 am
6:27 am
6:28 am
6:29 am
6:30 am
6:31 am
6:32 am
6:33 am
6:34 am
6:35 am
6:36 am
6:37 am
6:38 am
6:39 am
6:40 am
6:41 am
6:42 am
6:43 am
6:44 am
6:45 am
6:46 am
6:47 am
6:48 am
6:49 am
6:50 am
6:51 am
6:52 am
6:53 am
6:54 am
6:55 am
6:56 am
6:57 am
6:58 am
6:59 am
7:00 am
it's not going to be the constituents the rise and intersect with the government without official, the agent. a big deal for us because it's a big deal for iowa. is that good? is that good, bill? a good. thank you all very much. i really appreciate it. [applause] >> thank all the students here. you were patient and u.s. brilliant questions. this plan is a national zealous reporter. thanks again for coming. applaus[applause] [inaudible conversations]
7:01 am
iowa governor terry branstad is running for a fifth term against democratic challenger jack hatch. the two candidates face one another tonight in a televised debate. could look at the ads running in the race. >> four years ago 114,000 iowans were out of work. unemployment was the highest in five years and oustate's budget was $900 million in debt. terry branstad came back and so did i will. today with a budget surplus, 140,000 new jobs, unemployment reduced nearly 30% and governor branstad is just getting started. terry is back. iowa is back. terry branstad is building hese honest, compassionate, a visionary. is always looking forward, where we can go next to do better, bring create jobs and grow the economy. we are seeing that. the jobs are there.
7:02 am
an appointment is low, seven the lowest in the nation. we are seeing young people move back. more i was working today than at any other time in our state history. i am really optimistic about the future. he has a passionate -- a passion for the state. state. >> after 20 years i once are tired of governor terry branstad to the scandals, ideals and political favors. $110 million bad deal taxpayer money given to an egyptian billionaire. and isu economists call it the dumbest economic decision made in iowa. for instead tried to abolish preschool funding while pushing tax breaks to wealthy special agents. aren't you tired of kerry? it's time for a fresh start. jack hatch or governor. >> the are two men running for iowa governor. >> support tax breaks for undeserving corporation, jack hatch support tax cuts for bill klesse families.
7:03 am
>> governor branstad was given $200 million a which we wealthy egyptian company. jack hatch was putting iowans to work. there's only one thing they have in common. for jack, that's one thing to many. >> i'm jack hatch and like you, i am ready for a fresh start. spin the debate airs live tonight at 8 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> next, filmmaker ken burns talks about his new pbs documentary, "the roosevelts," a seven part only covers the lives of theodore, franklin and eleanor roosevelt. from the national press club this is one hour. >> for more than 30 years ken burns documentaries present the stories of the american experience with the drama and flair. his topics have raised from the
7:04 am
brooklyn bridge to baseball, from mark twain to jazz, from prohibition to the national parks. remarkably, his works never become outdated. as we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the civil war, his pbs series on the war remains as relevant today as it was when it debuted in 1950. he captures the historic moments of american life, with the deep dives into archival materials, like personal letters, diaries, newspapers. his use of still photographs have been revolutionary. he has called photographs the dean they of everything he has done. and his evocative, slow scans have transformed the subjects into a cinematic experience. the slow-moving, the slow-motion scanning to me is now even called the ken burns effect. his new seven part pbs series, "the roosevelts" premiered last
7:05 am
night. and i have reliable information that the ratings were extreme high and that they are sworn. pictures will be broadcast every night this week. in this film he focuses on the powering but flawed figures who, before they were history, were family. he was able to draw on newsreel footage, radio broadcasts, and personal documents, notably a true of newly discovered letters tween fdr and his cousin daisy, as well as on an enormous line for photographs. ultimately, nearly 2400 stills were used in this series. burns has always rejected using the voice of god approach to narration, relying instead on contemporary voices to bring his subjects words to life. in "the roosevelts" you will hear some of our, some of america's greatest actors, including paul giamatti as theater, edward herman as franklin, and meryl streep as
7:06 am
eleanor. conference is also a frequent guest at this podium, because, like his films, he never becomes outdated mac please join me in welcoming the documentarian and press club member, ken burns. [applause] >> thank you all very much for coming. i'm so happy to back at the press club. it's really been a home base for many, many of our long, arduous, promotional tours for the film. and today is no exception. i do feel compelled to edit my room, just one little bit. he had the civil war sure is coming out in 1950. i was negative three years old then. [laughter] and though i was already working with stills, i had not yet perfected what we call the ken burns effect quite been. i also feel, now tha now that yu
7:07 am
brought up the civil war, myron, that i reminded you 24 years ago in 1990 when we came with the civil war, that i reminded you what william tecumseh sherman felt about newspaperman. he hated newspaperman so much that he was sure if they kill them all there would be news from hell before breakfast. [laughter] and, of course, unfortunately, you do not escape unscathed with "the roosevelts" though all three, eleanor about twice weekly news conferences with women only, the first time a first lady did that, and franklin who because he had been editor of "the harvard crimson" felt that that it made him a newspaperman himself and loved to develop and cherish the development of personal relationships with a newspaperman that he crowded in, men the crowd in 998 times for news conferences during his
7:08 am
presidency. but theater was equally adept at enabling the press and making them feel like they were friends, and ushering them into his private world, th though wed have a special purgatory for those people who displeased him with his writing, he called the anayus club, right? ananias club, excuse me, ananias club which is of course an ancient liar who was instantaneously stricken down from having told a lie. and if you're compelled to the ananias club, you're not in theodore roosevelt's good graces. so i'm sure that's not true of anyone who. he did kenneth walker back a little bit. he'd often confide to the port that the reason why criticize them suddenly had less to do with the writing and with the s.o.b. who owned the paper. he was fully taken out on the messenger. first of all, i didn't come your
7:09 am
without the assistance of hundreds of people. those of you had a chance to watch last night still there was a credit sequence that went on for many, many minutes that thank, quite correctly, hundreds of people. first of all, because this is public television we are dependent not on our sponsors but our underwriters. there's a huge and very important difference between them. i would just like to take a moment to thank the bank of america which i is that our sole corporate sponsor since 2006, and his plan to be involved through 2020. they have been an enlightened corporation that is helpless. i'm so grateful to pbs itself, and the corporation of public broadcasting, for major funding to i also grateful to the national endowment for the humanities. i began this business and often long time ago in the late 70s. i had the great good fortune to work with its chairman, joe duffy, who turned up today, not
7:10 am
like a bad penny but as a welcome old friend and it's great to have joe dear. thank you, joe, for all the support you and subsequent chairman, there must be about a dozen now since you, that have been supporting our work. we also have the sustained support of the arthur vining davis foundations, individual contributions, significant individual contributions from jack taylor and roslyn walter. and we also enjoy the sport of a new organization, a nonprofit called the better angels society. john and jessica fullerton and joan neuhaus newton, and the gulkin family, and bonnie and tom mccluskey, and the file foundation have all been treated to our film. i would literally simply not be here without their support. nor would i be your without the support for the corporation for public broadcasting, and for my longtime production partners for almost 35 years, of weta which
7:11 am
is the washington, d.c.-based public television affiliate and it said, sharon rockefeller. and they have been our production partners for that long. i'm also extremely grateful to our network. i think the best in the business. we live in a place in which we are saturated, buried in information, a little bit more on that later. but we also enjoy one home where we know, reliably, whether it's our children for delving into issues of science or nature, whether it is about public affairs for artistic performance, whether it is public affairs for history, we have the best place on the dial. and that's pbs. and i am so honored that my president, paula kerger out of here today. whatever you like about what we do, it's them. and the pic that they set for
7:12 am
me. the stones are also not made by a single person. writers have that come every borders, for the most part, who are now not having to blog and to be the post and all of that, have that luxury of working alone. but i also have what i think is even greater luxury of participating in an extraordinarily collaborative medium. there are many people responsible for this film, editors and producers, paul barnes and pam bolcom come all the extorted archives that helped us collect the more than 25,000 still photographs that when into the 23, 2400 that made it into the final film. same for the archives that found extraordinary in some these never before seen still photographs, moving pictures. all the sites from campobello island down to warm springs whether roosevelt made their home, most of them united states
7:13 am
park service sites that open the doors and let us film at ungodly hours. at the most significant person involved in this project has been my longtime collaborator, collaborator of 32 years, geoffrey ward, who was here, i'm also to say happily, with his wife diane. and we have just been making films together for an awfully long time, beginning not again, my ring, editing a text, with the civil war, but we begin with yohe was an advisor on a film we made on the celibate religious sect the shakers. and then our next summit came out in 1985, five years before the civil war, on the tribunal life of the southern demagogue huey long. we have been making history together and we've been talking together for almost all of those 32 years about making a film for a film series on one or more of the roosevelt. geoff himself threatened to
7:14 am
extraordinarily great books on the roosevelt's, on franklin roosevelt's early life. one of them is called before the trumpet, which takes them from his birth to his marriage to eleanor. and the second which is one of the gross biographies i've ever read, and please run to your notepad to jot this down, a first class temperament, it takes franklin roosevelt from his honeymoon to his election as governor of new york. it is a remarkable story and it is a remarkable story about an extremely complicated human being, overcoming one of the most devastating illnesses that you could imagine, and still managing to be, president of the united states, part of the story we want to tell. so now that i've completely buried the lead to, i will be rescued by myron, was absolutely correct to say that for the last seven years geoff and i and our
7:15 am
team have been producing a seven part, 14 hour series on the history of theater, franklin and eleanor roosevelt. pbs began broadcasting this series nationally and in unprecedented fashion last night whether showed the first episode and then show the first episode again at 10:00. and each subsequent night will show another episode until this coming saturday, the 20th. we believe it's the first time, short of a national tragedy, when a single network has shown, has taken up an entire primetime and then some. it goes from eight until until midnight, and our out of prime time, for one single show. we are very happy with public television confidence in the work we've done. i'd like to spend a few more minutes, before the good part, where i had a chance to have an exchange with you to take a little about what we're trying to do. those of you saw last night saw the table setting episode in which we set in motion what is the most complicated and
7:16 am
intertwined and inter- braided narrative that i think that i've ever undertaken. i certainly think that geoff thinks so as well, even though we have tackle together the history of the civil war, baseball, jazz, the second world war and are working right now on the history of the war in vietnam. we were drawn to doing all three in part because of the avalanche of information that i mentioned to you earlier. we live in a media culture in which we think we know everything. we have lots of information at almost no understanding. we are drowning. one of the default positions of this access of information is we tend to form superficial, conventional wisdom about the subjects we think we know about, even those happening today for those that took place in the past. and so it seems that for almost the entire history of this country since the roosevelt's, we have been compelled to focus
7:17 am
it on theodore, and there is a lot of books and very good books and films on him, or franklin, and a lot of good books. geoff has written two of them. and franklin and eleanor, a little bit less on eleanor but no has put it together as a complicated family drama that it is. i guess this has to do with the fact that in that superficial glance, we look at the door and say republican. we look at franklin and eleanor and say democrat. and we think we can segregate them into own individual silos. it is interesting as individua individuals, and certainly franklin and eleanor as a pair, it is exponentially more interesting if you have the opportunity to get to know them in concert. and that's what we tried to do. it is a complicated russian novel of the story but as not only these three primary characters but dozens of secondary and tertiary characters. and, of course, the world that they compelled and a world that
7:18 am
they -- that compelled them, that is dealing with the late 19 city, coming out of the civil war, the gilded age, the age of monopolies and trusts, world war i, the roaring '20s and jazz age, the great depression, the second world war, the greatest cataclysm in human history, and the cold war from one theater result was born in 1858, when our series began, to win eleanor dies in 1962, when our series ends this coming saturday night, we are dealing with a century. 104 years, an american century in place at the time were so much of the modern world was created. and these three people are as responsible for that world as anybody that i know. we say, and we set without some conviction and confidence in the opening of our film, which you might've seen last night, that no other family has touched as many americans as the
7:19 am
roosevelt's. and that is true. you only need to stop and think about the world we live in. if you've ever flown out of laguardia airport, you're in something that franklin roosevelt did, or went through the lincoln tunnel, or took a drive on the skyline drive, or the blue ridge parkway -- blue ridge parkway, our road the elevated in chicago, expected in the tennessee valley to see lights come on when you turn on a light switch, or in the northwest or the southwest. you have traveled over thousands of bridges built during the era. you've seen or attended thousands of high schools. you have driven on miles and miles of roads that they originally placed in this country. and more importantly, you will enjoy or you are enjoying catching a social strategic. you like the idea that our government takes its soldiers and pays for the college education with the g.i. bill. i'm sure you're thrilled that
7:20 am
your children do not work in mines seven days a week, 14 hours a day, that there are such concepts as a minimum wage and livable ours. i think you're certain that big monopolies ought to be at least regulated, if not broken up. i think you enjoy visiting our national parks and national forests and other sanctuaries of the beautiful wildness that a country still has preserved, in large part, thankfully thanks to these two extraordinary presidents, theodore and franklin roosevelt. their legacy, this is only a small, small portion of their legacy. they of course raise questions that are not always positive. and i do not in any way want to suggest to you that the film we've made is in some ways a valentine to these three human beings, that it is in some ways hagiography, hero worship. in fact we're interested in telling a complicated portrait
7:21 am
of the great strengths but also the great weaknesses and flaws. and my goodness, ladies and gentlemen, there on vivid display with these three characters. and more importantly, their deep wounds. and that's i think were the subtitle of her film comes in. this is the roosevelt's in intimate history. having said that i feel qualified in the early 20th century to have to warn you that this is not tabloid history. we are interested in getting to know them. we often debate in our films the tensions between a top down history and bottom-up history. this has been for many years the dynamic and the argument with in history. is it only top down? isn't only about famous people, wars and generals and presidents? or is it also about so-called ordinary people, women, minority's, labor, people like you and me, for whom the real history of america's written?
7:22 am
we believe it is a mixture of the two. even in a film like this we try to engage a top down alongside a bottom-up history to tell something more complicated, more nuanced, with undertow, et cetera. but this is also an inside-out history. i don't mean to suggest that this is in some ways filled with psychobabble. but we are juries about where these three people came from. after all, it is a family drama. we want to understand about their parents. we want to understand about their childhoods. we want to understand about their spouses and their children and their lies within their families. and we feel that by understanding it, particularly for these three ordinary people, and ladies and gentlemen, biography has been a constituent building block of almost every film we've worked on. it is usually important to understand the world they created. that is essentially the world we have inherited, at least in a
7:23 am
political and social fashion in the united states. it is hugely important to understand where they came from. just stopped to consider for a moment that the topical this other story. essential question of their time is the central question of our time. what is the role of government? what can a citizen expect from his or her government? what is the tension between pragmatism and ideology? what is the nature of leadership? how does character form leadership? how does adversity in life create character, which in turn forms that leadership? these are the questions we ask, the means testing we apply to our own leaders today. and they are as relevant now as they were back in the time, and vice versa.
7:24 am
our film is essentially an exploration of their lives, inner and outer, the way they shape this country, and to try to do on the fault line of that. we live in an age, that same media culture, whose default position is also to lament the absence of years. we are cost of leasing, oh, and doing a film like this coming from a film like this has brought out near you, is that we just don't make euros anymore. but let's just remember that we are asked acted in the superficiality of our media culture today, we are for some reason expecting perfection in our leaders. and when we find they are not perfect we turn away from them and say, they just aren't leaders. but let us examine the very nature of the word hero. it is, we get from the greek. the greeks in no way defined as perfection. in fact of interested heroism to be a very complex negotiation,
7:25 am
sometimes a war between a person's obvious strengths and are equal and perhaps not so obvious weaknesses. and it is the negotiation, it is that were sometimes and with these three people, it is indeed a war, that defines heroism. achilles had his heel and is hubris to go along with all of the strengths and find characteristics. and maybe what i hope in some ways, and people ask what do we want from the series, we just say we want to do enjoyable we think is a ripsnorting good story. we might also want us to re-examine the way in which we apply that superficiality to the people of today, so that we might gain a little bit more tolerance, perhaps a little bit more civility in our conversations. everything will not be just black and white. now, "the roosevelts" provokes that in some people but wil whae try to do is offer a nuanced portrait. let's consider the oldest of
7:26 am
them for just one second. theodore roosevelt was born in 1858, was a sickly asthmatic child. he overheard a common childhood as you might aren't last night, that he was not destined to live. he heard a doctor telling his parents that he was going to die very early on. he struggled all his life to remake his body, to turn it into, as his father said, get action, be saying. and all his life the to roosevelt worked as hard as he could to make and remake his body. he never escaped the not that afflicted him as a child, but he did remake his body and he became somebody. by this branch of the family, the oyster bay branch, was also susceptible to a good deal of depression, susceptible to alcoholism and susceptible to mental illness. and he felt all his life that he had to be in action, not just to
7:27 am
escape the specific gravity of his physical and was, but to escape the dark gloom that seem to overtake him when he was in a constant frantic rush. he once said, black care rarely sits behind a rider whose face is fast enough. black care rarely sits behind a rider whose face is fast enough. that tells you that wonderful 19th century with of saying something very understandable in the 2020th century, which is, you can outrun your demons. and theodore roosevelt spent his entire life, not for a moment hesitating, trying to outrun his demons but if you look at the oldest photograph you can think of in your mind of an ancient theodore roosevelt, he looks to be about 85. he died at age 60. i am 61. he is -- it is an amazing life dedicate to this, escaping the
7:28 am
specific gravity. and he also led to over compensate for a deep flaw come his wonderful father, a man he adored more than anyone else in life he had. his mother was an unreconstructed and southerner and insisted that her husband not fight in the civil war. he did what many wealthy people did in that time, as he bought a substitute, paid someone else to fight for him. and this was a flaw which eight and theodore roosevelt and made him, i feel we should also say, despite all of his great habits, and may i say, this evening, episode two, his presidency, you get to meet theodore roosevelt and all his wonderful glory. all of the great things. he always thought that if he did not a crisis on hand as a president, you could be judged a great president. he is a sterling example of that. as david mccullough says in her film, many people thought he was the crisis. [laughter] and perhaps we were lucky that
7:29 am
we didn't have a major crisis on his watch. but his presidency is a model of engagement with its citizens. the united states was in a period not dissimilar to know when there was a huge disparity between the wealthiest and poorest. the middle class is disappearing, with under assault, and theodore roosevelt road to the rescue. he understood that government had to be an agent, a player in a complex dynamic between industry that was unchecked in between the worker that was not getting a square or a fair deal. and he did all his life. i invite you to revel in all of the great strengths and delights of getting to know theater roseville. of the three he is definitely the person that you go out and have a beer with our drive across the and she with. and i engaging to spend this week driving across the country with theodore roosevelt. but he did have this thing. he thought war was a good thing. he was reckless that day on san juan hill. he was disappointed he didn't get a disfigured and wound. he was very proud of the fact
7:30 am
that his regiment had suffered the worst casualties, to the horror of the united states army, and to the order of the united states army, he lobbied, something you never do, to win something you never do, you are honored with the congressional medal of honor. and so we need to look at theodore roosevelt. and as you will see episode three, which is tomorrow night, tuesday, he pushes his four sons as close to world war i and to combat and danger with the most horrible tragic consequences you can remember. that will make you want to weigh very carefully. and i would urge you not to make a final judgment. weigh very carefully these twin poles of one of the most extraordinary presidents, theodore roosevelt. franklin we know his story, we think, pretty well. he was stricken with infantile paralysis, polio, at age 39.
7:31 am
up to that point he had been the pampered only son of his old father james and his much younger wife sara delano. they pampered him, instilled in him thank goodness all the confidence and optimism that any child has ever had. but he was essentially a very lonely child, and a little bit too thin, a little bit too ambitious, a little bit to charming as he tried to hit all the marks, all the footsteps of his more famous this custom, theodore. and he tried to emulate his preposterous and unprepared for trajectory to the presidency. it's only when he could not take another step that is extraordinary and put the injured into him and he was producing, and he became what we would say is the greatest president of the 20th century, and arguably, and for a lincoln man, not difficult anymore to say, but has come up to parity in my eyes as arguably the
7:32 am
greatest president in american history. he is infuriatingly ovate and manipulative. we need to take franklin roosevelt and balance the scales in the same turn. i invite you to watch as he and eleanor in this episode tonight and in the next one, begin to transit away from theodore roosevelt, who dies at the end of our third episode. and then the fourth through seventh is largely about franklin and eleanor in the world that they inhabit, as well as the ghost of theodore, who is watching over everything, magnificently, and never fails to make an appearance of some kind in each one of those subsequent episodes past his death. i am saving perhaps the best for last. eleanor roosevelt, though not a president, as we say in the film was the most consequential first lady in american history, and arguably the most important woman in american history.
7:33 am
she is, as geoff ward likes to say, a miracle of the human spirit. she should not have escaped her child. her father, president theodore roosevelt's brother elliot, was a hopeless alcoholic. he was also mentally ill. he died very young. she spent her whole life idolizing him unnecessarily, i think. her mother was this exquisite beauty but very remote and hypochondriacal, and was disappointed in her daughter's looks, and called her own daughter granny. oath parents were dead by the time -- both parents were dead by the time of honor with skin. she and her younger brother, for whom she'd always feel responsible, who died in her arms in the throes of delirium tremens many years later, and% off the grim and pious relatives, where there was an abusive nurse and two were alcoholic uncles.
7:34 am
she was terrified of everything. out of these expenses she began to notice that issue is useful to other people she to be loved. she decided to translate that problem, that fear into action. every day she got up and she faced her fears. it's an amazing thing. i've got four daughters that i'm so proud of. my second daughter was terrified of the vacuum cleaner. whenever it was roaring, she had to be out of the room, or sleep or out of the house. one day when lily was a year and a half, two years old, she walked into the room where the monster was roaring and walked over and sat down on it. [laughter] and in our family, sitting on the vacuum cleaner is our idea of what you do in life. you move forward and to face the thing that worries you the most. eleanor roosevelt sat on the vacuum cleaner every single day of her life. we made a film on the national parks, and it was said of
7:35 am
theodore roosevelt by stewart udall in the film, at the distance in his eyes, that he could maybe see a round the horizon and establish going to happen in the future. i believe all three of these remarkable people have distance in the eyes. and no one more so than eleanor. liberated from having constituencies as her favorite uncle and her husband did, she could see all the coming issues of race, and of poverty, of women, of children, of labor, about silly everything that is on the front page of our discussions today. she was right on every single one of those issues, a testament indeed to the human spirit. so these are our free roosevelt, flawed, wonderful, deeply wounded, who all basically reduced their philosophy into one spectacularly simple
7:36 am
equation. we all do well when we all do well. it is very fashionable today, ladies and gentlemen, to blame the united states government on absolutely everything. it has now some of become something other. but we are only to blame, either by not voting or by voting for the wrong people, or however that government is. and if you don't like it, stop bitching and moaning and complaining and do something about it. that's what the roosevelt did. and theodore roosevelt said, the government is us. you and me. thank you. [applause] >> we have enough questions to go for two hours. so please, i apologize in advance. so i think will do a rapidfire. all try to ask if you could give questions and answers as succinct as you can, that would
7:37 am
be great. >> i have brief nine part answers on all of them. [laughter] >> sure. seven part. tiahrt and fdr were strikingly different personalities with key are being boisterous brilliant and unlike. fdr being charming and money platoon and elusive. which of these figures did you find harder to grasp and why? >> that's interesting, all the adjectives are describing theodore r. all positive. to or three of them for franklin or negative. they're both equally disturbing and equally magnificent. franklin roosevelt is a much better president and the much better in some ways human bein beings. but you will be infuriated by his manipulative as an opacity, and at least early on his sort of overweening ambition. they're all complicated people. william shakespeare was described by john keats as having negative capability, the ability to hold intention these
7:38 am
things, when the rest of us want to make a judgment, good or bad, yes or no, red state or blue state, gay or straight, whatever it is, we have to superimpose on the other. and the best figures in our lives and in the, art, our literature, is where we have held the very comforted facets of the human being and tension. i think that's a we tried to do in this series. >> most historians ranked fdr just after lincoln and washington on the list of great presidents, with teddy not far behind. that being the case, why does it seem that the roosevelts have faded in the publics view compared to, say, reagan to jfk? >> when you live in a media culture and consumer culture that is focused on all consuming, and thereby disposable moment, blissfully unaware of this circle tides that brought us here, or the tides that will take us away, it's very understandable that we will forget our past.
7:39 am
but each one of those presidents that you mentioned, jfk and particularly ronald reagan, whose great hero was franklin roosevelt, you begin to understand how they shaped, particularly franklin roosevelt shape the world we live in today. it may be just the my obvious of our existence -- myopia of our existence that we don't have distance and her eyes, backwards or forwards, to understand the centrality of the roosevelts to this present moment. >> the roosevelts lived in years when public figures could reserve a modicum of privacy in the personal lives. how did this affect your research, and ultimately your ability to create an intimate portrait? >> they wrote a law. they're hugely important and so they have been written a lot about. we tend to romanticize as simpler, those earlier days, simpler, like the 1930s when the greatest economic dislocation in the history of the world happened.
7:40 am
simpler like the 1940 when the greatest cataclysm in history happen. franklin roosevelt was the most accessible president ever. he had 998 news conferences. those reporters who may have turned off the newsreel cameras, just as he went into the process of standing up or sitting down, and the arduous sweat dripping, painful process, which we would not do today. we would be grasping for every single moment of it to feed the hungry ma, nevertheless knew exactly what it cost him to stand up, sit down, understood even more intimately what was going on in the dynamics of his administration, and in the pressing issues of the world. we now have a president surrounded by a gigantic moat, a bubble we call it, that does not permit we think in order to understand us. but, in fact, it's the other way around. we don't understand him and so default to the conventional wisdom. i think we know as much about the roosevelts. we also went know a lot, i could
7:41 am
do with her private life and that's been extremely helpful, especially to go to the letters of daisy softly, you mentioned later, that if given dimension to what was then often a one dimensional portrait of franklin roosevelt's very complex personality. >> fdr and eleanor h2 on a wide circle of friends and supporters, both professionally and personally. what did they draw from one another? >> as much as our tabloid sensibility once to accentuate the difference is, this is one of the most remarkable, if not the most remarkable partnership that i've ever come across in my life. she was his conscience, the conscience of his administration. he was the pragmatic politician investigated done. he betrayed with an affair with was assistant secretary of the navy in the 1910s to one. an affair with her social secretary. and that in some ways became a liberating moment for eleanor
7:42 am
roosevelt. i think it's important to understand that sometimes out of this adversity sometimes great things. it gave her already a spectacular social conscience, a kind of code that allowed her, permitted her to go out, however angry and wounded she was, out into the world and do the kinds of things she did, become the kind of woman she did. they never lost sight of each other. they knew where each other was. in good times and bad, when they were mad at each other and they work. they were working together. how fortunate for the rest of us the thing that they were working on was us. that is to say, they have translated their problems and the adversities and figured out, as geoff says in the opening of the film, that it would be helpful if we talk of the people they might be able to escape the things that afflicted them. >> we have a question. what did you research reveal about eleanor's alleged extramarital relationships?
7:43 am
>> nothing. she had spectacularly close, we would call them intimate and passionate friendships with a number of women, some of them were committed to one another. jan that we don't know anything. but i would also remind you that the film details not only these relationships and their tenderness and genuineness, but also her just absolute passionate relationships with three men other than her husband, though not sexual, that were in her life. at the end of her life she was living with another man who she said, i have love more than anyone else. i invite you to stay tuned to episode seven to find out who that is. [laughter] i'm glad you asked the question. thank you for your answer. some press media related questions to fdr was famously accessible to the press, carefully cultivating gives me the image at press conferences and over martinis. could you talk more about his relationship with the press and out of shape its historical
7:44 am
image? >> that's a really good question. he was famously accessible as i described. i don't think it's shaped his historical image but, in fact, the image that comes down to me is this one that i was describing earlier, a sense of how kind of naïve earlier times were, when you turn off the camera, that the secret service would turn off your camera, or confiscate your filter it was just a gentlemen's agreement that we wouldn't cover the degree that the president was afflicted with polio. there's discretion but it is in no means naïve. they knew, as franklin roosevelt knew, as his advisors knew, at to see this process. ladies and gentlemen, they were many, many audiences with all this was awful display for the audience. so if it was a secret it was a secret held by hundreds of thousands of americans who got to meet the president or see the president or hear the president up close and in person. but this is a sort of a red
7:45 am
herring about him. they knew about it, and didn't think it was necessary. they understood that if people ate can't, as you would do if you saw and understood the full dimension, and geoff and i are as par proud of that of the storytelling is anything, to tell the full dimensions of what polio met. most people say, he got polio. and here is what the press didn't show, and leave it at that. it's really important. and a good deal of our fourth episode, the 1920s, is dealing with one of took from this human being, still a human being, to actually figure out how to go from being paralyzed for the rest of his life, to being president of the united states. and it is a hell of a story. but they understood that if they paid him that was political poison, and everything was over. >> how important was radio for fdr's leadership? i know you'll say it's important but if you could elaborate on
7:46 am
that. >> jonathan alter has a wonderful, wonderful passage in our film that, about the time his delivery the first of his fireside chats. theodore was a master at using the press, and using the bully pulpit and using the great moral office that both men felt the presidency had to become, taking the kids to citizens about what they thought their country needed. they were really good at campaigning for that. but as jonathan alter says in our film, every politician had come up until that point, and talk to like this when communicating with their citizens. franklin roosevelt could talk like this. he could lean into the mic and he couldn't going to you about the banking system. he could tell you what the bankers had done wrong. he could tell you what the whole principle of thinking was. he could tell you that according to become a very unfashionable pastime. and he really hoped that the
7:47 am
next day, monday morning, when the banks with their bank holiday, his cheery tone, his cheery name for it, that you might put your money back into the. and to run that had been expected the next morning didn't happen. people put their money back in, just as the president told them to do. a lot of it has to do with the way he spoke to them, just like this, in the intimacy of the homes, leaning in, which is what happens when you lower a voice. and you create an intimacy. it's not manipulative. it's smart, it's good, it's right, and it worked. as it was said after that speech, eight days after he was inaugurated, that he saved capitalism in eight days. there's good evidence that that's exactly what he did. >> why didn't the political opposition used to fdr's polio against him? >> well, i'm not sure if they
7:48 am
use that against them. the principal argument against them was patty was a traitor to his class, and he is a socialist anti-communist. i'm sure if you're convinced he wasn't born in this country they would go after that as well. [laughter] but there was concern that he was not up to the task. roosevelt had hired a journalist. let me repeat that again. roosevelt hired a journalist to write a report on his health. and that journalist in turn, with the urging of the roosevelt campaign, hired three independent doctors who all attested to his health. the one of the doctors was republican and said he couldn't guarantee above the head. [laughter] but then as result of that article, roosevelt and his team felt compelled never to comment again. they would say, it's not the story. as much as people tried to bring it up, and he became less the polio and more his physical
7:49 am
health, as he visibly decayed in front of his fellow countrymen and women, that became an issue. it certainly was an issue with a third term, and a huge issue at the fourth term. but people were not willing to throw the captain over in the second world war. >> was upon for the press, the journalists -- was it wrong for the press, the journalist, to cover of fdr's disability? >> i don't think so. we've talked a lot about this, that i'm not sure that franklin roosevelt could get out of the iowa caucuses today. that is to say, that we would be focusing on the extent of his illness but we would be distracted by the superficial things and not the content of his character of the content of his programs. we would be distracted by that, certain many commentators would say, that he couldn't possibly
7:50 am
be able to have the stamina to get us through any crises. and this is the man who handled the two greatest crisis since the civil war, the depression and the second world war. >> just a slight elaboration. how do you think fdr would have fared in today's media and political environment? >> i say i don't think, but then again, having franklin roosevelt after something, it's hard to imagine. we did have a democratic senator from georgia, max cleland, who is a triple amputee from the vietnam war. were doing a series on the vietnam war, and we've interviewed him. he made to a fairly high level of political office, the united states senate. so i would never say never on franklin roosevelt. i feel the same way about the door. he was the resistible himself. people loved and even for his coke bottle glasses and his harvard accent, his upper crust, stuffy accent and nasally voice
7:51 am
and rotund characteristics. they loved him because he didn't try to be something else other than he was. but he was hot and excitable. that may have jarred with the cool medium of television and he might have had 10 howard dean moments a day. [laughter] and maybe not can't i will. but look, i don't put it past any three -- i don't put it past any three of these roosevelt's of just being handed the ball and being able to run downfield to the end zone. >> how were the voices selected for theodore, franklin and eleanor? >> we have a remarkable supporting cast, and one more edit, and this is it, myron, that we do like third person narrator's. geoffrey ward has been my collaborator the rights that third person narration all of his life. we are very, very proud of that and we believe that in the beginning was the word, that the word is not the enemy of images and that they can go to this. our films are very much written in the third person and made an
7:52 am
activity after being written so spectacularly by geoff, by peter coyote. but we did want to temper the voice of god which i itself sometimes is just a voice telling you what you know, which is like homework, rather than a voice that is sharing a process of discovery, which we would like. so we have for the last 35 years tempered the third person voice with the course of first person voice, reading diaries and letters and journals. we've had, peter was that has passed through our films a number of times. we've had various actors reading him and wanted very much to try one of the finest actors of her day in paul giamatti. i think you'll agree after last night, and you'll see in the next couple evenings he is just spectacular. is agent wrote me today and said, good casting. [laughter] and it may been them. we agree wholeheartedly whomever that was. ed herman has played franklin
7:53 am
roosevelt, has got that hudson valley lockjaw done perfectly and displayed in in the state and the small screen and large screen for many, many years. and has really taken into and in most fortunes were able to get a little actress named meryl streep who -- i want you guys to all remember that name, and s-t-r-e-e-p. i believe she is really going places. i think she has a future. she's going to be terrific and we just feel lucky where able to get her early on, before she broke out, where she worked for sag scale and we be able to do it. she is obviously the greatest actor of this or any other generation. forget to us is incalculable, unmeasurable and we don't have the words to thank her for what she brought to our production. >> a few personal questions. don't worry. did you get good grades in history as a young person?
7:54 am
[laughter] yes, i did actually. it was the farthest thing from my mind up what is going to do. i knew from age 12 i wanted to be a film maker. that was it. the fact i did well in history. i remember bumping into somebody from junior high who said, you were so good in the world history class. all new you're going to be the story but i don't even remember that. i remember history class but i remember liking it but i don't remember ever giving the impression that that was were i was headed. i was headed to be a film maker but i was fortunate enough to bump into history very early on. i'm completely untrained and untutored except by the genius of my different geoff ward and all the other advisors we employed to do this. the last time i took anarchistic was was 11th grade, you know, where they make you take it.
7:55 am
>> how do you juggle so me projects at once? do you take requests? >> do you mean like sing a song right now? i'm not a good singer. i don't think you want me to take requests. we are working, besides promoting the roosevelt, which is itself a full-time job, we have five films in production. it's just timing and management. it's like planes landing. this one has already landed and is taxing up to the gate and with the couple on final approach, a history of cancer which will be out next spring of which i'm serving as executive producer and cowriter on, and sort of senior creative consultant. i am producing and directing and writing with my daughter and son-in-law, senator burns and david van, a two-part history of the life of jackie robinson, the whole wife, not just 1947. geoff and i as i mentioned before are in the middle, actually more than halfway through editing with our colleague sarah bob stein, and most importantly lynn notebook,
7:56 am
a 10 part, 18 plus our history of the war in vietnam, which will be out in 2017, early 2017. and then we're already shooting a massive series called i can't stop loving you, about the history of country music. we are also a begin shooting early stages, a biography of ernest hemingway. we have four or five films that are threatening to sort of go from development and ideas into production. once they do we'll start talking to you about them. i'm already in discussions with pbs to talk about what the 2020s look like. it's clear geoff and i sort of feel that if we're given 1000 years to live, we would have run out of topics on american history. >> you have a new that draws from your mini documentaries. you describe it is not a selection of your film but as entirely new way of looking at american history. can you tell us a little more?
7:57 am
>> that sounds like it was written by someone npr. so we have an app, it's called the ken burns out. what it's attempted to do is take a moment, tiny teens from all of the film, 25, 26, 27, whatever it is and shooting them among the themes that i've seen take place, the recurring themes is seen take place in american history on innovation, on part, on politics, on war, on hard times and on race. we just added a new thing on leadership and will continue to add them as we continue to add films. it's a way to access all the films. at any point anybody can jump in to look at them from, or you can go to itunes or netflix if it's available there and get the films. this is the way to curate these things from many, many different films and show the american
7:58 am
history, the warp and woof of american history is related. i don't think they are cycles issue. i don't think we are condemned to repeat what we don't remember, as sort of lovely as the statement is. i do think human nature remains the same and superimposed itself on the randomness of events. it becomes a historian, indeed the amateur historians responsibility to try to perceive some of those patterns and to reflect them back. the app is just way to curate in a much more manageable way. the magazine wire decided it would take three and a half, five and half days to watch all of our films back-to-back. that's not including the roosevelt's. sewer into the fourth day, the sixth day, and this is a way to sort of get samples of these things. >> thank you. we are almost out of time. i would just like to make a few to point, part conclusion. first of all i'd like to remind you about her upcoming events and speakers. this wednesday, september 17,
7:59 am
johnston, president and ceo of wells fargo. this friday, september 19, president and ceo of cbs corporation, and a second or third, former senator jim webb of virginia. second, i'd like to present our guests with the traditional national press club mug to add to your collection. >> i now have a complete set. >> andy rooney national press club membership card. >> thank you. that's great. [applause] >> and the last question, with 45 seconds left, have you ever considered doing a documentary on the pay lends? and if so, where would you begin? -- palins. >> so this is a very important question. i think i would begin in russia so that i can have the best, the best view of the palins that one could possibly have. and this would be another
8:00 am
dynamic american family. in fact, i just read a recent news report in which there were punches thrown at a party. so we know it's not going to be lacking for drama in any way. [laughter] >> thank you, ken. [applause] thank you all for coming today. we are adjourned. >> you are watching booktv on c-span2 with top nonfiction books and authors every weekend. booktv, television for serious readers. ..


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on