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tv   In Depth  CSPAN  December 12, 2015 9:00am-10:40am EST

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books include florida republican senator marco rubio, many american dreams he outlines plan to advance economic opportunity. independent bernie sanders is another candidate for the democratic nomination for president. his 1997 -- >> argue it is republican party must focus on the working class in order to retake the white house. donald trump has written several best sellers. in his newest book he outlines political platform and finally governor chris christie have announce ..
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he christened me cokie and i have been cody ever since. >> host: you write in your book from this day forward iron the youngest child of the family. case >> guest: i said that to him when we were first meeting each other at a student political meeting in ohio in 1962 between our software and junior years
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and we were writing notes back and forth to each other, very important plenary session or whatever students do and he had something typically 19-year-old boy, i wrote back i am the youngest. >> host: who are the dogs? >> guest: a wonderful family. some of the most dedicated public servants in the history of the country. my father was selected to congress in 1940 before i was born, he was 26 years old, my mother was 24. they had a baby girl the day of his election and tweet days later a baby boy and they came here and i think about it now in my old age and think about these kids coming to washington.
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in this day and age they would still be on their parents' health insurance and there they are, they were not kids. was similar to what i talked-about in my history books, you have to call in and the when and where a expected to call, i will get the day's wrong but the cabinet arrives on monday, the senate on tuesday, the house on wednesday, supreme court thursday and received on friday, it was very formal and very organized. mom told the story of the first day she went calling and she was of very young woman and they were living in an apartment
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building on connecticut avenue. the horn honked and she goes running down calling and lady bird johnson was calling the door by driving her. they were a fearsome group. >> what happened october 16th. my father was majority leader of the house of representatives and a spirit that was very typical of him. and alaska. and a very tiring session up until that point. and headed to janelle. >> where were you that day?
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>> i was a young man, young mom. i had a child who just turned 2 and my little boy turned 4 when i was in alaska. looking for my father. >> indy? >> my mother is, was last year absolutely two years ago, no one did a does not come by dirksen senate office building as someone does not tell me something about my fabulous mother. she was from a long line of politicians, just recently at the brookings institution came out with a reprint of america's political dynasties and realize my mother's family were actually
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after the roosevelts, the second most political family in terms of office and all that. and she came out of that long line of public servants and when she married my father in 1937, his plane disappeared. and she decided not to run again in 1990. my sister was dying at the time. everyone asked him to do everything but and president clinton as ambassador to the
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vatican and that was a wonderful experience. >> host: you write we are our mother's daughter, that her friends, she was a little fearful of taking the seat because she would lose influence. >> guest: it was interesting. as a political wife she had tremendous amount of influence. people like mrs. johnson, mrs. ford, the rest of them, they were quite a cohort and they really ran everything, they ran the political conventions, voter registration drives. it was when they first started out in washington, african-american women in washington, actual social services, child services and those kinds of things. they were a powerful group of women and one of the things.
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and we made them think they were with them. and my sister said to her what you are going to hate, there is no maybe button, you have to declare yourself yes or no. she was of very powerful member of congress. >> you wrote about the fact she went to get a loan for a condo in downtown washington. >> this is one of the things that is very true. and the state's, but they represent the women of america, and women come to them with all kinds of issues and problems that do not come to the mailman.
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and women lost their credit when they lost their husbands. my mother went to congress. they were considering a bill to end discrimination and lending, they went into the back room and, sex or marital status, members of the committee, polite southern way, i am sure my colleagues omitted this by accident. years later, several years later, not that many years
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later, we bought her house, the house i grew up in. and she was moving to downtown washington, having trouble with a loan and she called the bank and said since my income and assets are on matter of public record as a member of congress, i find it passing strange that i am having difficulty with this loan and as the author of the equal credit act i am worried this is because i am female and elderly. >> host: let's take a quick look. >> it is my great honor to welcome you to this joint meeting in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of congress. this occasion is a special time, the bicentennial observance of
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the congress which would be marked by historical publications, ceremonies, exhibits, a special film and other activities in 1989. all three branches of the federal government in 1789, it was the congress which assembled can successfully lodged the united states of america. >> my mother was a great historian, the person who had a love of history in the. she was the chairman of the bicentennial congress, she had been chairman of several bicentennials along the way. this is a great gig, everything is likely to turn 200 at some point but she particularly appreciated that one. as i said, many members of her family had been in congress and
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she then assembles in independence hall where the constitution was written and establishing the congress and she was the person who was assigned to preside over it so she sat in the chair of george washington with the half moon and the sun on the back and touch the floor. >> host: you referred to your sister a couple times. >> guest: she was an incredibly intelligent and beautiful and delightful as human being. she was a politician, local politics in new jersey for many years, the mayor of princeton, died of cancer. >> host: you also had a brother tom. >> guest: a very prominent
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lawyer in washington and lobbyist and a very -- again very smart, funny, affable, well known person in washington, someone who is incredibly generous with his time and talent and died last year. >> host: from your book we are our mother's daughters, as children my brother and sister and i thought of lyndon johnson, hubert humphrey and gerald ford. who would come by for a casual dinner. >> guest: that was one of the great benefits of our lives. bobby and tommy, we might not have had the kind of money some of those people we knew had growing up in washington, had pleasure well beyond anything in
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the bank. >> host: is washington still like it was? >> guest: not even close. it is tragically different. i had the incredible honor a couple years, several years ago to be asked by betty ford to be one -- at the funeral, and i joked i would have been scared to death because she told me exactly what she wanted me to say, she wanted me to talk about that era when everybody was friends. before and my parents, very good friends. president floyd said to me, i don't understand what is going on in washington now and that was well before was as bad as it is now. when your dad and i were majority leader and minority leader of the house, we had big debates but then still be very good friends.
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for have and's sake they were protestants, we will leaders of our parties in the house, the debate would be over and we would sit down together and be good friends and they were. >> host: we are our mothers's daughters. let's explain what the women's vote is and what it is not. it is not a vote based on abortion or other so-called women's issues. all our polling tells us men and women vote exactly the same on most questions. the women's vote is an economic vote. in the 18 most votes are economic votes. the women's bill feel themselves economically more vulnerable than men because they are. there is still the last phenomena in. women also have a very different relationship with the role of government, not to say women
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love government, and a government less, and very understandable reason, think about the major beneficiaries of the biggest government program, medicare and social security, we wish you guys lived longer but you don't. who are the people taking care of the people on those programs? win in. who are the people on welfare? and married women with children, all of those things, government programs, elderly women or young women and who worked for government and work in all kinds of government-funded institutions, libraries,
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hospitals in many cases, it is women. there is a different attitude about government. that is what i am bringing to the voting booth. >> host: one good example gun-control. women see this, no machine guns on playgrounds, ban on assault weapons would never have passed congress had there been fewer in 1993. 23% of republican men voted for it that 67% of republican women. >> guest: expired and was never renewed. it is salient right now and there is no accident that hillary clinton is talking a lot about guns and gun control and a lot of is through appeals to women. >> host: cokie roberts, a lot of your history books, all of your history books are focused on women. where did you get the idea? >> guest: not like there are not history books about men. there are a lot of those.
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the first one was founding mothers about the women, i got the idea from the women i was just talking about, the women of my line up, who are influential in washington and government. and politics as long as i have, has been an enormous amount of time, the founders said this about that, about 99.9% of the time someone in congress is wrong. i felt a tremendous need to go back and read what they actually set about the right to bear arms or religion in the public square or you have to be born in
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america to be president. so i started wondering about the women of this incredibly important social period of our history and figured they had to be at least as influential as the women of my period, and when i learn about them i really had a hard time. it was very very difficult. to find out what they were up to because it was so little by way of letters and diaries with the exception of abigail adams who wrote and wrote, a family and saved her letters and the rest of them were hard. >> host: you lament in ladies of liberty that martha washington burned all her letters. >> guest: just today i was
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reading a review of a new book about marquette and george and highlighted this fact, she is elusive, she has earned her own letters. what we have is this middle snippet of their relationship and letters from other people that they were able to piece together and the mount vernon ladies' association has done a fine job trying to find everything they can to flesh out a picture of martha washington. >> host: good afternoon and welcome to booktv on c-span2, this is our in-depth program. once a month we invite an offer on to talk about his or her body of work. this month it is political journalist and commentator cokie roberts who has written several books, many history books, a couple of autobiographies, biographical books as well.
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if you would like to participate in our conversation there are several ways of doing it. we will put the phone numbers on screen, 202-202-748-8200 in the east and central time zones, 748-a 201 for those in the mountain and pacific time zone, you can also send cokie roberts a text message, this is only for text, please don't call this number but if you want to send a text 202-717-9684 is the number to call. if you can't get through on the phone lines and want to make a comment try social media, e-mail, twitter@booktv is our twitter handle and finally you and leave a comment on facebook,, you will see a promotion with cokie roberts speaking, just make a comment underneath that and we will find that comment and begin taking those calls in just a
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minute. cokie roberts, who is steve r o rog rogow? >> he was 2, change it to roberts, steve and imac in summer of 1962, he was at harvard, we were at a national didn't association meeting at the university of ohio and i had met his twin brother before that in boston and i kind of looked at boston campus and sought this guy who looked like mark roberts, they didn't look exactly like mark roberts. we all had name tags so i went up and looked at his name tag end said iu mark roberts's brother? he looked at my name tag and
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said are you barbara boxer's sister? that is how we met. we started dating off and on, in 1966. >> new york times? >> guest: for 25 years and went to the times after college, some wonderful experiences of being and intern for scott western, he was a wonderful mentor and kind adviser. she made shore after the year was up, n.y. times hired steve on city staff, new york, and
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went to california with the times and athens, greece, and came back here in the washington bureau. >> host: it was your mother in law and described u.s. the best jew in the family. >> guest: that was not a heavy competition but that is true. i am a very serious catholic but we are about to enter -- tonight is the first night of hanukkah and we are about to enter the busy season. >> host: why did your mother in law describe be that way? >> host: >> guest: that is very unusual. it is not any more but at that time it was and i think it was very difficult for steve's parents. they had not really had the
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experience of having non-jewish friends and they were very concerned about what it would mean for him to marry outside the tried and so it was a difficult course ship and finally we convinced them that we not only honor them and love them but also their religion and for be the only way to embrace judaism was to know about the religion. was a more cultural phenomenon than a religion. so i started being serious about learning about judaism and celebrating certainly the holidays and at one point, steve joked to me my mother was right. i should have married a jewish -- couldn't have gone to a temple on the holidays.
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>> host: you have written to books together, not from this day forward and hagata. >> guest: that is a service read at passover. it is liturgy and we had passed over close to 50 years and years and years ago i wrote a little version of the hataga. our first passover and that we had i had bought a version of its and everybody who came had an argument about it, doesn't have what i like. i got a bunch of them together, typed up a version which we still use but at one point published and put it between hard covers, so we did along
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with a lot of commentary and introduction, talking about the way passover and easter are connected so it was a very interesting exercise. >> host: in "from this day forward" you write about how steve roberts got you your first job. >> guest: my job at npr. my first job i actually got through the college placement office but it was a wonderful thing, production company in washington comment and in fact with them after i was doing that for about a year we put a program on the air in washington for a meeting of the minds where i was the anchor. i was 21 years old and it was the lead in to meet the press so i found myself going full cycle
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to come back around on sunday morning but dave and i when we got married never, never had a conversation about staying with my very good job. we assumed i would quit it and move to new york where i was working so i did. but then we moved, i worked there, we move to california. we move to greece, i worked there and we return to washington and steve helps me get this job. >> host: cokie roberts, nina totenberg. >> guest: we were very good friends. and we had each other's backs for a very long time because they are the people who got me that job. what happened was they went to work at the new york times
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bureau and he was sitting at a desk with someone he didn't know and she was a woman who introduced herself as miller who has since become famous and he said where did you come from? she said i came over from npr and he said what is npr? she told him and that sounds like a perfect place for my wife, been doing a lot of radio reporting on cbs. she said call me and steve calls and nina said get me in her resume, delivered my resume to nina and the rest is history. >> host: we are our mothers's daughters, the debate over the role of women has created enormous upheaval for society and the family for women like me who grew up and graduated from
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college before the revolution, it has all gotten a little exhausting. >> host: >> guest: i was interviewing gloria steinem about her yearbook, life on the road and i said to her aren't you work out? she is ready to keep going. you feel like you had these arguments over and over and over again. what is the point of them? put one foot in front of the other and march on. >> host: what are the arguments? >> guest: leaning in and all this stuff, the conversation to me was worth having, conversation about equal pay for equal work, making the work
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place a more caretaker friendly place to be. i don't just mean moms that people taking care of old people, only 1-third of the households in this country are taking care of elderly or disabled family members. caretaking is a blessing but also an enormous undertaking and the work place has to be far more accommodating to caretakers if we are going to be the most productive country we want to be. those are the real issues, not with his this tiny slice of american society can afford not to work is doing right thing by staying home when they have small children. i want to stay home, why talk about it? you know? >> host: "ladies of liberty," you write my interest in the
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power of political wives comes from my experiences. >> guest: i got to that earlier. away that i saw my mother and her other political wives through the kinds of work they did, have 8 huge impression on them. i saw how incredible they were. >> host: abigail adams, remembered the lady. >> guest: that took a while. such a fascinating character. at the time when the continental congress was leaving and trying to decide whether to declare independence she had no patience whatsoever, she thought it was ridiculous, these men were little delivered and she kept saying for heaven's sake,
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declare independence, these british are terrible and by the way they were occupying boston. at this point her husband writes to her and says if it gets really dangerous take our children and fly to the woods. thanks, john, hope you are having a nice dinner in philadelphia. she was politically astute and thinking about all these things. as she started thinking about independence she said to her husband you are going to have to come up with a new code of laws for our new country and when you do, i ask you to remember is the ladies because of men would be tyrant if they could. there has been a lot of commentary over the centuries about whether she was kidding. hi don't think there's any question she was not. in other debtors it is very
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clear. was she talking political power? legal rights? i don't know the answer to that. she certainly knew that women have no legal rights, married women could not own property, they were the property of their husband and i am sure she saw abuse. my guess is she certainly wanted to see legal rights for women but she also said in later letters she talked about if i can't vote at least i can be a politician in this way. she was aware of the fact that women did not have rights. >> host: who was marcy? >> guest: a very important propagandist, she was from a famous political family, she had been educated in boston with her brothers until they went to
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harvard, she wrote plays and poems that were designed to rev up sentiment against the british and she is very successful in doing that and the patriots, john adams and samuel adams kept asking her to write more. they met in her parlor and she does write their at the time of the revolution, highly influential. >> host: i will opine and say my favorite woman back then was dead aretha franklin. >> guest: debra reid franklin was a really just carrying on sort of woman. benjamin franklin's wife, common-law wife, she was a very
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astute businesswoman. it always amuses me because, benjamin franklin -- he was not in the united states. he was in england for most of the years leading up to the revolution. all those years for a very long time. so she ran the postal service and in fact there are records of that thankfully. and in fact at one point word louden, the nobleman who was of particular head, a fired one of her workers, and she got furious and told him off and not only are you interfering but you are slowing down the service, just
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back off. the children's book up, this is a beautifully illustrated children's version of "founding mothers". deborah read holding lord loudon in her hand and telling him off, it is quite wonderful. >> host: benjamin franklin got the title, she didn't work. >> guest: that is true of their printing business as well. the printing business was essentially a franchise business that went to the frontier, she ran it and she ran it very well and she missed him, she kept begging him to come home. their only daughter got married and still wouldn't come home, just keep the wedding cheap. some things don't change.
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finally she died, he wrote to his friends that he had to go home because my wife in whose hands i have left my estate, ben had to go home, figure out what his affairs where. he did give her credit. he makes me crazy but he did give her credit for that. >> host: cokie roberts is the author of these books. we are our mothers and daughters in 1998, "from this day forward" with steve roberts in 2,000, "founding mothers," the women who raise our nation, "ladies of liberty" in 2008, our hataga, united traditions for interfaith families in 2011, "founding mothers," remembering the ladies children's version came out in 2014, a book we have not talked about yet, your most recent, "capital dames," the civil war and the women of washington just came out this year.
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aims? >> guest: they are colonial dames. you can have capital gains. they are quite a group of women. i frankly never wanted to write a civil war book. my own family thought -- thought on the losing side. interest in the civil war is enormous as you know and we were in the middle of the senseless centennial and so the publisher was interested in the civil war book and as i thought about it i knew there had to be some fascinating women to write about. the question was how to confine it so it did not become some massive saying, pretty big so i made it about washington. it is the really interesting period. >> host: it has been a best
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seller. one of the women you write about is fair arena davis. >> guest: jefferson davis's life. i am not fond of him but she is a very interesting woman. she came here as a teenager, they are married in their teens and she came here as a teenager and loved it in washington, and then he was in the cabinet, franklin pierce's cabinet, pierce's wife was in mourning her last child had been killed and so she was the first lady at that point. he was secretary of war, she ran a very extensive -- and then he
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went back to the senate's and of course seceded and she became the first lady of the confederacy. much to hurt this may. sheen is this was not a winning proposition. we don't have manufacturing, railroads, you would include the noticed that they didn't seem to. she said i am going to do my job and she did. although she was never fully -- grandfather, she was not fair compact enough to be a true southern bell. she always was feisty and interesting, stayed in touch as much as she could with her friends in the north particularly in washington, a
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elizabeth blair lee, of blair house fame, who was a very close friend of hers and that was one of the things that was interesting, to see how these women would not let their friendships disappear even though the men were killing each other. they had become so close. >> host: she spent her final years in new york. in the 18 after the war she got jefferson davis out of jail and that is what i love in this book, no matter who was present, these women would march into the white house and tell off the president's. you have got to do this. such a wonderful -- she was one of those, walked into andrew johnson, get my husband out of jail, and some very hard -- jefferson is not a likable person. then finally died and she
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decided -- if first lady of the confederacy is moving to new york. she wanted to do it, she needed to make a living. she didn't have any money and had a job offer as the journalist. she was ready, and lost cause. she wrote to her daughter as i said to you earlier, referred to as tiny, she wrote to her daughter and said i am free, brown and 64, i can go wherever i want to go and she moved to new york, worked for the new york world, wrote some books and she also ran a salon that was very popular. she was a brilliant conversationalist. everyone referred to her it that way. and i think most interesting, she befriended julia grant the wife of the general who defeated
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her husband's country. and when they first met it was page 1 news in all the newspapers of a country. that surprised me too. the way these women actually were covered by the newspapers was surprising to me, they were considered important enough to deserve coverage. that meeting was everywhere in the country and she went to the dedication of the grant memorial, very publicly, very considered act of reconciliation. >> host: you also write in "capital dames," 50,000 people turned out for her funeral in richmond. >> guest: her husband was buried there at the time, i guess they buried her in richmond and there was a cute confederate showing for her funeral. but it also did involved
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participation by several important yankees, and so it was not solely confederate. >> host: cokie roberts, as a daughter of the confederacy, colonel claiborne. >> guest: great great uncle, william roberts and boggs, waon general in the confederate army, did not surrender until june, months after appomattox. my mother's family. brought to the confederacy. >> host: as the daughter of the confederacy what do you think of the efforts to get rid of one of the flags's symbols of the
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confederacy. >> guest: one of my elderly cousins, my mother's generation who is very much a diagonals southerner said it is about remembrance, not about respect. and i think there is truth to that. having some context around it makes all the sense in the world. on the grounds of the capital in south carolina, in some of the states, georgia, removing it makes a lot of sense, first of all listed and happen after the civil war but the 1950s with segregation and the rise of white supremacy.
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it makes a lot of sense to get rid of symbols that are offensive and actually frightening to some people but in places where they are just part of the landscape, put some sort of context to them and talk about what the confederacy was makes the great deal of sense. use it as a history lesson. we don't go anywhere near enough history in this country. >> host: how did you get a b c? >> guest: they called me up and asked me. a nice way to come. i was working and still working at npr. i was also at that point working for the mcneill newshour and i was asked to go on a round table
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and they asked me on staff and i said i would as long as i don't have to leave in the r. i worked for both effort since. that was a while ago. >> host: you posted this week. were you the first female host? >> guest: lesley stahl. >> host: what was it worth to work with sam donaldson? >> guest: sam is one of the most delightful people alive. i miss him terribly. he is a unique individual. that is an overused burbot but not in terms of sam. one of the nicest, funniest people, and kindest people you ever want to know. also that persona, that bombastic persona is the real thing. people ask me all the time, is there a hidden george will the
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source and donaldson? they are who they are. >> host: how much are you working these days? are you retired at all? >> guest: it is different work. i work doing something everyday. the secret to the children's book of founding mothers, ladies of liberty which is due this week. and the paperback of "capital dames" comes out in the spring, approving for that. is a very busy moment right now. you may have noticed the president will be on the air tonight. fact that is my day job. >> host: cokie roberts, how do you research? >> guest: there is a book of the
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jefferson davis family letters and there had been a couple good biographies but then there are letters that are in university library and what has changed which is such a joy is the technology has made it easier. you can be in touch with someone at university library and they can send what they have and that is huge. you have to decipher the handwriting, annotate and figure out who the people are who are being referred to and all of that, but it is so much better than when i was doing "founding mothers". i just discovered the end of october i was in louisiana for the book festival and one of
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arena davis's descendants was there and he found her diary and i am so a angry that i did not have the diary for writing "capital dames" because he says she does wonderful descriptions of all the houses in washington and all of that stuff. he will be the person who gets to do that. >> host: was watching taser in count? said in sympathy? >> guest: yes. it was a southern town with southern sympathizers. virginia was the capital of the confederacy. and maryland was sympathetic. and 3% of the vote in maryland, not a popular figure, and came into hostile situations and the
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talent, i found serendipitously, a diary of a woman, 1861, who lived in cleveland park and her it descendant let me use it. her daughters in virginia, very clear, her family is confederate sympathizers and she is trying to keep her children quiet so that the union group stations around the town. >> host: "founding mothers" was featured on the history channel. what was that like? >> guest: i had never done re-enactments. i am such a journalist and these are nonfiction books, very carefully researched books. i hadn't had that experience but
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fortunately the producer on that show was abc productions and they were very careful. >> host: you describe a woman named elizabeth who was your heroine. >> guest: she was my hair when because she had done the legwork in the nineteenth century. she tried to find out as much as she could about the women of the revolutionary period, the ones that were still living like elizabeth hamilton, were the ones whose descendants were quite cognizant of their ancestorss and so she wrote everything she could and a couple items about it. you was something of a character, but she did at least try to preserve that. >> host: if you want to know why
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aaron burr end ed up as the villain in the founding story let me introduce you. >> guest: they were not a great group. his father, aaron burr senior, was the president of princeton as was his grandfather, jonathan edwards. but his mother and father both died when he was very young. and so he was raised by uncles and he wasn't really raised at all. he was raised by wolves and so he did not grow up in exactly the right value. >> guest: thankfully did write letters. >> host: seemed overwhelmed. >> guest: she is the daughter of jonathan edwards, the great
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awakening and they had 12, 13, 16 children, what ever, and was so busy being the great creature that her mother really -- as a young -- they were all so young, a young girl marries aaron burr, minister, she has to be a minister's wife and it is hard hand it is really hard, the expectations were enormous in terms of what she had to do socially and what she was supposed to do religiously and raising these two little children, two in two years. and she never thought she was good enough. it was hard for her and she was not with anybody, it was just
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with her husband, in princeton, out with her family so that was hard. fortunately for her i think one of the great ladies, was an older woman who was there and try to help her. >> host: view note that you are writing about mostly elite women. >> guest: they had the ears of the founding fathers. i came at his having learned about the founding fathers and wanting to know if the women of the era would have influenced. in the way is the political women of my generation influenced the men. taking it from that starting point. >> host: we talked about some of the salons throughout the years. anyone today holding these
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washington gatherings? >> guest: not really. mrs. graham did when she was was the publisher of the washington post. she would have dinners filled with glittery people but i don't mean that in an absence -- and substantial way. it was substantial. really is not part of the culture today. >> host: cokie roberts is our guest which we have talked for one hour and now is your turn, phone numbers on the screen, 202-748-8200. in the east and central such time zones, 8201. and the mountain and pacific time zones and can't get through on the phone lines try a text message 202-717-9684 just for text, not for calls to include
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your first name and your city and we can identify you and flash different ways to get a hold of cokie roberts by social media. neville in cleveland, ohio, you have been a very patient man, go ahead with your question or comment for cokie roberts. >> caller: ms. roberts, considering the personal backgrounds with both parents having served several terms in congress, i wonder, having lived for a time in washington d.c. to what extent do you consider yourself a washington d.c. insider? a bill waitressing? >> host: why do you ask that question? >> caller: i am wondering if she
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brings a unique perspective connecting what is going on in politics today, unique backgrounds asking that question. >> guest: it is funny. my reaction to that, the truth -- in washington, the work of washington, i think what government does matters and i think understanding the workings of government is important to be an informed voter and the people who come to serve in both parties, most of them, almost all of them do it out of a sense of desire to be good public servants and to be able to help people in their districts, their
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states, so i am an admirer of washington and an admirer of the work that is done in and so i think this notion of trying to vilify the government and the people who serve in government is very destructive. .. only thing we have -- i would commend to anybody who hasn't done it to come here and go to the national archives, and go into the rotunda there. the closest thing we have to national cathedral, and there are the declaration of independence, the constitution and the bill of rights, like i always say as a catholic we like our lady's altar, the main altar and st. joseph's altar, but there they are as our charters of freedom that have created this country, and that's what america is. america is an idea of -- that was created to allow for
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government by the people, for the people, and that is what washington does. washington is that government. and i think that the notion of trying to turn it into some kind of evil entity is a -- is really fundamentally unamerican, and so i would proudly say, yes, i am a beltway person but a beltway person who still calls new orleans home. >> host: have you ever thought about running for office? you had a pointer in office for 50 years. >> guest: right. i'm the only member of my original nuclear family not to run for congress. they didn't all win. my mother is the only person who never lost an election. >> host: your father lost -- >> guest: my father lost his second election to congress, and then he lost the gubernatorial
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naker to election. but then -- the fact is i have felt guilty about not running for office but being married to a journalist who was always going to be a journalist from the time he was a little boy, it would have been a little hard on him if i ran for office. so i have tried to assuage my guilt by telling people -- by reporting on it, whether i feel like at least that like at least that w way i can serve voters. >> host: cokie, could you call paul ryan and get through him? >> guest: i would hope so. i think he's a very smart dedicatedbe member of congress. this is a text message from kimberly from atlanta. she remains a huge hero of mine
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and one of the reasons i spent years advocating for children, family, social justice, i look forward to reading your book. can only imagine how gasped your mom would be. >> guest: first of all, let me say, she would be so proud of this moment. she would be so thrilled that she has had the legacy. the rhetoric is hateful. let's just start with rude. momma wouldn't like that. hateful and personal and it's not the way political discourse should be carried out. >> host: is today unique from
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what you've observed in. >> guest: no. it was b a horrible period and then we had war. we don't want to replicate that. [laughter] >> caller: that's my daughter. i said, kimberly, i found the picture of cokie's momma taken with our family and turned to be part of the award because of your momma's nomination the air. >> guest: that's probably happened to you over and over now that she has the final loyola education.
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>> caller: you can tell by the way show wrote that thing she is well over her daddy when it comes to spell asking glamar and all that stuff. >> guest: how nice for you to have such an accomplished daughter. i. >> host: ken, did you have a question or commenter. >> caller: i've got a comment. there's project my family was working on and that is one of the reasons the picture with cokie's mama and it's called "our republic" wall and going to be activate for all the state legislators, and. i'm now involved in gathering stories around the characters and two ladies in congress were incredibly helpful. one was your mama and the other was -- did you know a lady named tilly fowler. >> guest: yes, sure. sure. >> caller: miss tilly, wait this daughter of a senator out of georgia who was the foundation of this project, and one of the
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great things about tilly and her daddy -- her daddy was known as the silver fox, and tilly was known as the steel magnolia, and i didn't think about it until now but when kimberly called in, it dawned on me we ought to get kimberly to write a book about those two character. >> host: wasn't the representative fowler -- wasn't she a republican from -- i want to say florida? >> caller: she was, she was out of -- when i first met tilly, she was a member of the city council of jacksonville, and then she wound up with her career in congress representing that district in florida. she and her dad were famous for their fights. one of the things that you have brought out is senator kidd told me one day that his 40-something career in the georgia general assembly was no fun anymore.
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i asked him. what are you talking about he said the civility, the ability to respect each other, something happened. it seems to have gone. and i think this is what kimberly was talking about. and -- but let me let y'all go. i just -- >> guest: you get her to write that book. that's a good idea. >> host: sharlene is in reno, nevada. high, sharlene. >> caller: hi. cokie, really appreciate your work in journalism thank you for giving women a history. >> guest: thank you. >> my question is, how did you do your research for your books? it's almost as if you're right there on the conversations. >> guest: well, thank you. i'm glad you feel that way. i really tried very hard to make them as much in the words of the women themselves also i possibly can. but i -- it's a combination of -- it's really detective work
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to do women's history, but in some cases there are booked that have been published and that's very helpful, particularly if they're books of letters in other cases, what i do is go to the footnotes in books about the men and see what can find, and then, again, thanks to technology, i can find out easily online where the men's letters are, and then call up those institutions and find out if they have the women's letters as well. and since i have been doing these books there has been a lot more recognition that it is worth publishing. so, i've gotten a lot of wonderful cooperation from the curators and librarians at universities, libraries, manuscript divisions, library of congress, historical societies, historical homes, all of those
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places have been just wonderfully helpful, and the other thing that was due for this most recent book "capital dames" was that now newspapers are online, and i i cannot tell you how much fun that is. i mean, you can waste days just reading newspapers because all the ads are there, everything is there. you really get a picture of what life was like so the two wonderful sites, one is free that we taxpayers are paying for. it's in the congress library. you can put in search words and dates and you get newspapers coming up from all over the country. so that's been a huge advance from when i first started writing. >> host: in two of the books you
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include recipes. why? connection.'s a no matter where we are and no matter when we are and one of the ways is recipes. one of them are pretty scary. a hog's head. some youbs can make, i've made d are delicious. that's a martha washington recipe. the both. martha washington's cook book is at the historical society of pennsylvania, was given to her by her first mother-in-law, by the custis mother and so that
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cook book has to be book to the 17th century at least. >> host: is it fair to say 250 years later george washington would not have been george washington without martha washington. >> host: she had the money. >> guest: she had the money, first of all. he was a good custodian of her money but she also had a real public relation sense and as much as she loved her silks and satin she knew about homespun and she did have to look out this complicated business of being the first first lady and trying to be informal and inclusive enough to please the people who had just thought a
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revolution against monarchy but also formal and serious enough to have the european powers not laugh at us, and so it was a tough line to walk. >> host: david in tulsa, oklahoma, you're in line with cokie roberts. good afternoon. >> caller: hi, my vocation is civics teachers. you can imagine our textbooks. >> guest: they're horrible, just burn them. they're not worth using. >> caller: okay, i will tell the principal tomorrow we are burning our textbooks. what women do you think are most critical that my students at the endat of the year that have
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covered in class and have you covered minority women in history? >> host: what years you try to cover, who are some of the people that you cover? >> caller: with u.s. history we try to cover as much as possible from the 13 colonies and technology has been wonderful that you can bring resources that aren't in your textbook and so i don't use my textbook nearly as much as i used to in the early parts of my teaching career>>. >> host: who are the women that you talk about abigael?
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>> caller: and what is covered in a textbook is a little blurb on roosevelt. >> guest: i do write about her. i do believe her story is true because i did find a contemporaneous reference. first of all -- first of all, bravo to you and i'm thrill today know that you're each -- even teaching middle-school history. it's shocking that our children are not learning our history the way they should. i will tell you that i wrote these books very much in a manner that they are readable by middle-school students. i have like four grandchildren in middle school right now and so i can tell you it is -- it is
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-- it's fun to them to read these books because they're conversational and they're not too hard, but in terms of minority women, again, we have been talking as i said about elite women who had years of founding fathers. phyllis whitley i do cover because she wrote about george washington and she went to see him and he asked because she had been so gifted and i write about lucy terry prince in ladies in liberty who a wrote the first piece, poem written by an african american. and -- and then in zacagoria, who is one of the most interesting people i've ever gotten to know. she was o so resourceful and i
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know that her entirely through the journals of lewis and clark and it's so clear how in the course of the journey they get to know her and value her more and more as the journey progresses, so maybe pulling some of those journals, you know, the parts about her would be interesting to the kids becaused honestly it's -- it's noticeable how clark's view of her changes in the course of the trip. i do not have any hispanic women, a women from new orleans is of european decent but was came from the island of san haiti.e, which is now that's when you firstir got the difference in american society
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that we with any luck celebrate today. so there are aod variety of different women here but i do highly recommends that the kids just take a look at the books because -- i'm really not trying to sell books. but i do think it's something that's interesting and then the kids' books works for slightly less ambitious learners but full of information and wonderful pictures. i do think that weighs in the literature. wrote it because i want to kids to read it, and people say to me all of the time, it's important for girls, you know what, it's important for boys too. the notion that only girls can read about j women, just makes e nuts.
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>> host: eighth graders can pick up? >> guest: absolutely. please go ahead. >> caller: hi, i wanted to ask you about some issues that a are too complex to even be talked about in radio or television even when you have a 3-hour program which is very unusual, i remember when ross perot was running for president, i think you were in this program, a three-way race and two-way race. the dynamic, and you pretty much threw up your hands in the air, there was another question going onth right now that's also -- is even more complicated than that one, and that is i think it's quite plausible that donald trump entered e the race because he didn't want any republican with fair tax to get in the white house because the fair tax
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would hit real estate so hard. i wonder if you have an opinion on that and if you have any how complicated issues can be extremely important to any election. >> guest: it was actually pretty easy to think about, but -- and had a tremendous impact. 19% of the vote in that race influenced the congress for years to come. but, you know, it's possible that donald trump has a motives an wanting to win the presidency but ill not describe those tobe him. i will take him at face value that h he wants to be president. we will see whether that's possible or not, but the notion that he's doing this to -- to line his own pockets or keep
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them from being stripped would surprise me because he's spending a whole lot of money, he's stripping his own pockets as he goes bound the country doing this now. >> host: is he someone you've known? >> guest: aye met him. interviewed one of the times that he was talking about running for president but -- >> host: any presidential candidates that you haven't met? >> guest: yeah -- >> host: ted ted cruz. i think ie met him on the hill. i guess i've probably met them, i've probably met them all but i don't know them well. >> host: thank you very much so much for upholding the family values, i believe money --
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>> guest: houston, i believe. >> host: money in politics has changed our government the most, not just where it comes from but where it is not spent on campaign. >> guest: well, money and politics isue a serious problem and it has lots of effects, one of which is to keep people out who would be good candidates and good public servants, one is to distract people from doing the jobs that they should be doing in terms of governing and get out and raise money all of the time. one of the things we are seeing right now is that because of the way superpacks can support candidates is we are not having the normal process and the presidential campaign. that's got its advantages because it means that a lot of people will still be there when people actually start voting and
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so voters will have more choices. it does have a tremendous impact and it both keeps people out of politics and drives people out of politics. and that's a serious issue. >> host: john is calling from ohio. john, please go on with your question or a comment. >> caller: thank you very much c-span for letting me speak to ms. roberts. it's really an honor to talk to her. i would just like to know, considering the legacy of past presidents and first ladies. you know, some presidents we always remember like washington and lincoln and some presidents being totally forgotten. what do you think legacy of president obama be, will obama care last? >> host: thank you, john.
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we are going to leave it there and get an answer. >> guest: as president george w. bush always says, you need a little bit more time to know what a legacy is going to be. history takes time and so we will not know, but i do see that mrs. obama we do some change in children's obesity rates and that's a subject that she's spent an amount of time. i think she has had an impact on there. one of the first things that are true, first ladies continue on on the topics that are interested in after they leaf office, and so i think that you will see mrs. obama, on the public stage, she and mrs. bush, laura bush have done things together and after mrs. obama is no longer in the white house she willge have the opportunity to o more. i had the wonderful opportunity
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twice to interview the two of them together which was utterly delightful and to see how they cooperate with each other, like each other, work together and i think you'll see much more after the presidency. in terms of president obama's policy legacy, you know, we will have the wait and see. i do think that aspects of obama care have now permeated the entire health system and will stay there, but whether the entire legislation sticks around or not, we don't know, but it's the kind of thing that gets tweets anyway. i mean, we are already seeing problems with the exchanges and so there are changes that will be made under any circumstances regardless of who is president or who is in congress and in terms of foreign policy where it's such a difficult period that we are really in the middle of chaos, almost in the world,
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we will have to wait to see how it plays out. >> host: c-span did a series last year on the first ladies. >> guest: right. >> host: one of the woman who came up for 50 years throughout the series was dolly madison. she not only was first lady, she stayed -- >> guest: she ran washington. >> host: there you go. >> guest: she did. for years before she was first ladyst too. she arrived here in 1801 with her husband as secretary of state, mud hole and -- and already the counted ri was having the kind of partisanship that we see today and regionalism and it was threatening this fragile little brand new country.
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she had to bring the people together. she had events, parties where the men who were in government had to be there. they had to be there because if weren't there they missed out on all the political information in deal making and so she insisted that they come together and that they have drinks together and that they behave and she really did keep the country together in that period and then -- then she was first lady which she became wildly popular, particularly after, the british invasion of washington where she saved the portrait of george washington but she came back two days after the burned out flooded, because there had been a huge storm, city and started lobbying to keep the capitol in washington and she was successful in that and she did go offer a few years ahmadson's requirement from the
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white house and back to virginia, but she was always writing letters, tell her what's going on and she came back as a widow where she rained over the city until she died in 1849. so it was a stretch of basically half century and every head of state called on her and asked her for advice and when visiting heads of state came, they would call on her. she was very much the prominent person of the city. that's awful. it's for a whole variety of reasons. the emphasis on testing has been much more on mass -- math and reading. i don't know why the reading
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can't be about american history. so it has not gotten the kind of attention and then it has a lot to do with testing because if advance placement test aren't in history, then people don't want to tesach the history because they want to teach the rest and all of that, so it's a real issue, but honestly, if we don't know our history, we don't understand what thee country is all about and that's a terrible tragedy, and james madison wrote the constitution, and so the notion thatso they never heard f james madison is somewhat scary. >> host: your book founding mothers, it says this this book supports the common core learning standards for english language arts and literacy and social studies. >> guest: both sides by the way, liberals and conservatives. it might have even started with me now that i think of it
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because one day i was moderating an enormous panel of governors, like the 50th anniversary of the national governors' association. so it was this great huge stage full of governors and exgovernors and i was moderating it on the subject of education, and i think i asked them to raise their hands if they thought they could come together on some set of standards that they could all agreen and they all raised their hands and not after that we got common core. so i don'ton know. but at any rate, what it is conceived in the state, not in washington, washington had nothing to do with common core and it was in the attempt on the part ofhe the states to try to t some sort of uniformity about what people were learning in
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schools so that you had some ability to know what -- what young people were being educated in. and it's still run by the states, but it's become bugaboo on both sides because of various reasons. and that's ashame because the idea behind it is excellent. .. do you think should be pictured on the -- >> guest: i've gotten this a lot and i've had a lot of trouble with it. what i can tell you is i've got absolutely no problem getting rid of alexander hamilton. not my favorite. he's cute. i'll give him cute. but alexander hamilton, not only cheated on his wife, but he then fought this ridiculous -- leaving her pennyless with seven
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children. why was he -- his wife left in debt if was such a great secretary of treasury. i lost my love for him. my real problem with a woman on the bill is the women did not have the same kind of -- and still do not have the same kind of power as the moan who are on our currency, but the women who i can make a really good case for is clara barton. clara barton not only -- this one of the things when i say text books are terrible ourte books say she founded the american red cross, lining just happened overnight and it was easy... she needed it to be aligned with
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the international red cross which required decades of lobby in the united states congress to have the senate ratify the geneva convention, which is the same yes geneva conventions we'e talking about today. but she inserted the american amendment. and when she went as the american representative to geneva in 1884, they passed the american amendment which is still referred to that way in international relief circles. and what that said was that the american -- the international red cross could not only go into war zones, which is what it had been doing, but it could also going in after a natural disaster. so anytime you hear about the red cross being someplace after an earthquake in nepal or a flood in the midwest or after katrina in involuntary new orler whatever it is, it's because of clara barton. >> host: and i want to point out in "capital dames," you do an
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epilogue, which i thought was interesting, talking about how clara barton went overseas after the civil war for a long time, recuperating. there's an epilogue of all the characters -- >> guest: well, because the book ends in 1868 with the inour ration of grant. -- inauguration of grant. so the epilogue tells you what happened to these women. >> host: nancy, you're on with journalist and author cokie roberts on booktv. >> caller: first of all, ms. roberts, you're a national pressure. >> guest: well, thank you, you're making me feel very old! >> caller: if you could interview i anyone, any woman dead or alive, who would that be and why? and i'll hang up for your answer. >> guest: oh, gosh. you know, i'm going to be terrible at this answer because
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there's so many i'd like to interview, and they're all -- many of them are very different from each other, you know? the female pharoah. she must have been a piece of work, you know? think katherine of sienna. there are so many different women. all the american female saints who are just one courageous, wonderful woman after another from elizabeth to francis to mother theodore guerin. i mean, they're a fabulous group of women. so i just don't know where i'd begin and end with it, you know? there's so many i'd like to sit down with. that's, you know, that's heaven to me. i'm looking forward to that in heaven. >> host: bonnie in louisville sends to you, the aware ofness of many shades of black, marina
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davis was speculated as family. >> guest: shades of black, there was always a speculation. of course, just one drop of blood could mean segregation andal of that. but it wasn't as much that asean key. it wasn't as much that she was speculated of being a dark key, as they would have said, as a yankee. >> host: are your books on audiotape? do you head them? >> guest: yes. >> host: what was that process like? >> guest: it's hard. it's easier for me as a broadcaster, i'm used to using my voice. and actually the harder part, i write these books very, very self-consciously in my voice because, and i don't mean this
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to sound self-important, but a lot of people in america know my voice. and so, i mean, i've been on the radio forever and forever, amen. and so the fact is to write in my voice, i think, is important. it's harder to write in my voice than it is to write pretty. but i do write the books in my voice. so it does make it easier to read them than it would otherwise. >> host: ever time we have an author on "in depth" on booktv we ask him or her about their favorites, what they're reading currently, some of their influences. we're going to show you what cokie roberts had to say. we're also going to show you a little bit from a book party for "capital dames" that booktv covered earlier this year. and our live program will continue after this.
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> the truth is, these are great ladies, and they're so much fun to learn about.
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and they are funny and feisty and frank and irreverent, and they tell you things like, you know, steven douglas stinks -- [laughter] and, you know, they tell you things the guys don't tell you, and it's really a whole hot of fun to -- whole lott of fun to learn about it and read about it. and really i enjoyed it. i've enjoyed it now that it's over -- [laughter] and i actually did enjoy reading it when it was over, so i hope you do too. >> host: cokie roberts, who is ellen gilchrist? >> guest: ellen gilchrist is a wonderful writer of short stories. she's from new orleans, mississippi/new orleans combination. i've never met her. she was supposed to be at the louisiana book festival, but i looked all over for her and didn't find her. i love her short stories.


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