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tv   After Words  CSPAN  December 25, 2015 10:00pm-11:01pm EST

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me just give me everything i can get an don't give an inch. be a counter voice to those people. it will work. it does not take many people to do that. >> host: senator, thank you for spending time with us today. thank you for writing this book. it is something i hope has a big readership. thank you very much. >> guest: thank you. >> that was afterwards, book tv signature program which authors of the latest nonfiction books are interview. watch past afterwards program online book >> now, afterwards on book tv. missouri senator claire mccaskill talks about her life and political career in an interview with political editor, susan glasser. >> host: i am so delighted to be
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with you today to talk about your new book and i feel like we should start at the very beginning, which is the title. plenty ladylike, which i want to ask you where you came up with that? seems like it has a little irony embedded in it. it has a little of your trademark attitude. what were you thinking with that title? >> guest: and a little humor. i want people to know that this is a book that will make them laugh or at least smile hard in several different places. it's an interesting thing that happened in my life, and about the eighth grade i had a teacher i love. she took me aside and told me i need i need to quit speaking up so much in class. the boys were not going to like me and it was not ladylike. it really impacted me. i was hurt. then, many years later in 2012, after my first debate with todd akin, he told the press after the debate that i was not very ladylike. so those two incidents kind of
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reaffirmed in my mind that i have to communicate to other young women that it is plenty ladylike to be outspoken, strong, opinionated, ambitious, and that is what i hope this book stands for. >> host: i was really struck as a consumer over the years and a number of politicians memoirs, many of which are not nearest frank and outspoken, if you will is your book is. it. it is a very readable book for that reason. this notion of being ladylike in being a member of the united states senate in the first place is an outlier, people are always blown away that i tell them that in the entire history of the united states senate, only i believe 44 women have ever served for the entire beginning of time. not only are are women not any close to the 51% majority of the population, even if you added up 100 years plus of history, they would not have
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gotten to 50. >> guest: really that number is smaller because a huge number of those women serve because their husbands died. they were appointed for short period of time, sometimes as little as one or two days. at the men scurried around trying to find the appropriate man to take the job. so, there really is a very small number, beginning with margaret chase smith, that began the modern era which are women elected in their own right. we are 20 strong now, i would like to see us at a bigger number. we are getting there. >> host: again, i thing that's what what is interesting about this book project of yours. you address that head on. you have a clear understanding that comes through throughout the book that you are a member of a very small class in american public life, which is the woman politician. that is not to say that is how it should be, i like that you address it head on, there such a huge
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debate around this question are our women inherently different in politics, and military, and any fear of public life? versus the fact that there such a small group that you have the expense of a battle minority. >> guest: that's exactly right. especially with what you have to navigate. in my 20s running for office, i was young, single, i've been in a prosecutor's' office rented by all men. from the judges, detectives, my colleagues, defense attorneys, with very few execs exceptions. in my 20s and 30s, i had to overcome a bunch of stuff, a lot of sexist behavior. i talk about those things. i'm also honest that i'm not sure i handled it correctly. i'm not sure did the the right thing and all of those
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incidences. i think at least the book will give young women an opportunity to understand how you can navigate around and get stronger, smarter, and figure out a way to excel in spite of the jerks that get in your way. >> host: i was struck by the fact that clearly you have a natural aptitude for politics, you are drawn toward it even though it was not something naturally open to women at the time. you tell this hilarious eye-opening story about when in high school, mounting mounting a very calculated campaign to become homecoming queen. you systematically lobbied the lesser members of the football team, the guys who did not get all of the attention and i was struck by being purposeful at such a young age. and your willingness to tell that story. did you really know at the time, politics was going to be my
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thing? >> guest: i did. i think i knew from the time i was was ten, 11, 12, or 13. when i was when i was seven years old i was told to say trick-or-treat and vote for jfk. i was raised in a household where politics was honorable. my mom had to stop a lot of envelopes, my dad was a committeeman. they worked on campaigns. they were not powerful, but i do get a sense sense that it was interesting. i was drawn to it. i did tell an embarrassing story. there's the first time i told an embarrassing story. how lame is that, that, that i ran a secret campaign for homecoming queen. but it's a a great example of how you strategically think of your goals. i wanted everyone to believe that i got it because i was so popular, i i really have pulled off a campaign. i thought it was a great way of
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reinforcing and that strategies important. >> host: i love that you told the story in the book. i've been a consumer of a lot of these books, there's a bookshelf in my high filled with memoirs of important figures who wear suits here in washington. i certainly never read an anecdote like that, and any of their books. honestly, because a lot of their strategic calculation is, don't reveal too much, don't say too much. i am struck by that, that you have taken a different approach, which is to say be willing to peel back the curtain more than usual. did that feel risky to you? >> guest: it did. i had a colleague try to talk me out of it. they read the the galleon said you really shouldn't go there. you shouldn't tell people that you are calculating how to become homecoming queen. >> guest: they flake several things in the book. i think there are two pages of things they wanted me to take out of the book. that wasn't what this was about.
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this isn't about dressing me up and making me look like i am perfect and a wonderful politician and will save america. this is about the roller coaster ride. it was painful, especially personal parts to talk about. my first marriage and the failure of that marriage. the fact that my first husband was murdered, and dealing with all of that in this book and the shortcomings of my mother, along with his amazing role modeling for me. i don't think we do anybody any favors by trying to dress up politicians, like we are not real human beings who have major mistakes. if more people saw us as multidimensional, fallible, and vulnerable, vulnerable, then maybe we could communicate better. maybe they would be so cynical about government. that's getting me in trouble in
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some areas especially at home because i name names of missourians who were inappropriate to me when i was young. but, that's okay. my. my mouth gets me trouble all of the time. it's a daily occurrence. >> host: we'll talk about one example. we ran an accident a from your book and political magazine, that was one of the most read articles, and i can see why. it peel back the curtain on your high profile senate race, it was known to a certain extent that you decided to become involved by airing advertisements in republican primary campaign to get the nominee that you dig it. that's to say the one that you have the best chance of beating in november. that part was know, you never told the story of how engaged you were with that campaign. 's tell us about that now in your decision to be up front with people now about what you
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are doing. >> guest: this is a good example of where i want women to be more comfortable with strategic decision that are high risk. i think there's a tendency, at least my friends through the years who have been in situations where the had to take a big risk, there's a reluctance to go there with sometimes with women. i don't want to rock the boat, i don't want take that risk. this was a situation where millions of dollars are being spent on me at that time. driving my negatives up, they they're all in, millions of dollars are being spent. i saw three candidates who basically have the same position but one had a record of same things that were very extreme. i know he didn't have a filter because he came from very deep religious view of government. i know he would not filter those out or try to be careful about the way he talked about them. so we decided in the summer of the primary season that it would be great if we could send a
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signal to republican voters a chilly conservative he was. so we pulled and spent money on a pole to look at what it was about todd akin that primary voters like. i didn't act, it was very aboveboard and in the open. this is clem mccaskill, i approve this message, todd akin, todd akin is too conservative for missouri. you called this a dog whistle campaign. we're sending the signal to the party that todd was their guy but at the same time we're communicating to independent voters in missouri, that if you got the nomination, this is someone who is a little different in terms of his view of the world. it was a two four. it it helped with independent voters, in regards to tide akin and helped in the primary. it worked. he went from second or third in the polls depending on what you looked at, most of these are public polls. >> host: your private polling
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really reinforce what it reinforce was in the public. >> guest: we ran the ad watched him climb in the polls. then he won and exceeded our expectations about what he would say. >> host: go back to that the primary campaign was closing income is very tight. there's an extraordinary moment where your campaign directly got involved with aching campaign. you personally, as well as your poll connected with either supporters to get a message through to akin about a key advertisement that he was running. >> guest: i'm not sure the message got taken himself. what we saw was that mike huckabee was very happy missouri. anyone looking looking carefully at what was going on new that mike huckabee was really popular. he was at the camera talking about the things that were talking about in our ad. conservative values, we knew
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that ad, mike huckabee is good on television. it was a powerful ad. they took the ad down and put up another ad about about faith and family and the flames of freedom. it was flames of freedom, it was weird, it was it was just our opinion collectively within our campaign. >> host: you be a good republican strategists as well. >> guest: of you know the state know the voters. i reach out to some people i knew and said you want to tell them we don't think that's a very good ad. they then called us and i told the poster it was time to talk to them in broad generalities of about why the huckabee ad was so good. they took our advice. it was general advice given, there's no polling data exchange or anything of that nature. we gave them with what we thought. >> host: and literally within
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hours. >> guest: we cannot believe they were taken our advice. but they did. so i've given my advice to hundreds of candidates in my career. this is the first time i had a future opponent take my advice. >> host: is a remarkable story. i find it striking not only that you tell that in your book but this is the kind of thing that we all know, we'll soon occurs all of the time in american politics. but transparency around it, the willingness to talk about a publicly, usually that's left to hollywood versions and house of cards. >> guest: i think transparency is good, always. i probably felt a little defensive. i wanted people to to know that there is nothing we had done that was not aboveboard. it wasn't done through third-party committees, or through operatives, it was our
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campaign. i think it's a great example of being strategic. i i thought it would be great for women to see a woman's campaign engaging in that. a lot of that stuff goes on, not always aboveboard immense campaigns. i thought it was important to show, as colbert would say, little strategically. >> host: you're right. i think that were calculating which is generally a negative version of strategic and is applied offered to women in public life or in big roles and executive jobs for example. as struck by the fact that your book has a quote from sheryl sandberg on the cover whose book, lean and generated so much conversation around this question of how women can get ahead. there is a huge backlash in some circles around her statements that women basically should be
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calculating and be willing to embrace and plan their careers, not be so zeroed in on their thinking around childhood and being mothers, and that is a career killer as women but to think more broadly. >> guest: there was controversy around it. but we agree completely in this book also because i tell some of the personal stories about my children and family, i want young women to see that you don't have to do it all perfectly. what you can do it all. you can prioritize your family in a way that is healthy and happy without sacrificing a hard edge may be. this notion that you have a good job and don't rock the boat, don't ask for more money because
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they are giving you extra time off and that is more valuable to you then more money, ask for both. asked more time off and more money. i agree with sheryl sandberg about this. >> host: i think it is too, i'm struck by the fact that on one hand that probably resonates with you and is valuable advice, don't be afraid to take your career in your own hands, on the other hand when you look at how few women have reached the upper levels of weathers american politics, multimedia, american companies who are at five or 7%. >> guest: corporate boards are terrible. >> host: women leaders in any position including journalism are staunch and leave though. these the women who have leaned in. so your account, the 1% or's
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account is not an account of leaning in. although something you have done. what i've written about myself is this question of that still doesn't explain why we have so few women in leadership position and visible positions in the senate because there is a broader category in cross of women who leaned in then a category of women who have made it in these. that's where this extraordinary level of criticism and scrutiny are play some role, in my view. it was eleanor roosevelt all the way back of the 1930s that said that to be a woman in public life you need to have the skin of a rhinoceros. my guess is that still resonates for you all of these years later >> guest: absolutely. my haters have a particularly tough edge.
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not too long ago one of my responses was like you have a face like a viper. lots of things about my weight. really tough stuff. but, i have parents, my dad kept telling me you can't get anything done without making somebody mad. this disease to appease that i think we have, that women want everyone to be happy, and makes us good elected officials because we want to bring people together. we we want people to agree on common ground. i think more women in the senate will help government be more functional. we we are those types of people, that's good. the bad is you can't make everyone happy. everyone is not going to like you. i have one third of my state that probably think i am satan on a horse. they they just do not like me. that's okay. i'm sad they don't like me but i'm not going to let it slow me down. i'm going to focus on what i can
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get done, be transparent, work hard, and accomplish things. i'm blessed i get the chance to do that. i can't sit around and worry about the fact that people say horrible things about me and frankly that's why women avoid politics. they are afraid of how it will feel, how it will impact their families and the horrible things that will be said about their husbands, or their kids. that is a real fear real fear but you have to get over it. critically, in this day and age a lot of that doesn't work anymore. negativity just does not have the bite eight used to have in politics. i believe that. i believe people are kind of over this dark grainy screen, her husband is a cheating slb, i think they kind of get that this is political. >> host: on one hand it's over, on the other hand they have been empowered by more than before. the level and ability to create
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and judge women in ways it comes out even more loudly. the decibel level in general of politics have gone up. it magnifies whatever is already out there. i do think you are onto something about this that why it is so many women are versed to entry politics or the senate, just in general being in the public fear. it's well well documenting it is extremely hard to recruit women to write opinion columns for example. that's where you're putting yourself on the line, it's a form of writing that is not on the same subject. like work, life balance. i said that all of the time is a woman editor. i have enormous interest in recruiting women for writing roles, in particular running opinion columns and things like
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that. it's structural, women understand the penalties of higher. what is it in your background, maybe your family experience, may be in your personality that you are not worrying as much about that criticism, you're not internalizing it. >> guest: i do internalize it but it motivates me. >> host: to prove them wrong? >> guest: yes. >> host: so the whole narrative of success is a way of rewriting --'s. >> guest: when i was demoralized as a young legislator by some of the comments that were made to me in about me, i just internalize it and focused. i'm going to show them. i'm going to show them that i will do well. but i will continue to get raises by my bosses, i will rise
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in the system to be effective, and make a difference. every time one of them did this to me, i just work that much harder. i kept my head down that much more. so maybe is that, maybe i used used as fuel. >> host: that's very interesting. maybe it's just that conversion machine. so obviously a woman politician who face all these and then some is hillary clinton. another well-known fact about you is your decision to endorse, not not hillary clinton, but brock obama in 2008. you give an account of that in your book and actually you say that your daughter was a key person for that. so tell the story about that. >> guest: that was a hard decision. they were two amazing candidates, both historic in their own way. it wasn't like i was choosing between good old boys. it was a strong smart woman, an amazing african-american,
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inspirational leader. i was close to brock obama. we work together, i was his friend, i his friend, i was inclined to support him but as i was inspired by his candidacy. but, i was was reluctant. my daughter got my face and said you should look at yourself in the mirror. our entire lives you tell us that you made sacrifices when it comes to the family in order to make a difference. now, an important moment in history, you you are not endorsing brock obama because you are worried about your political skin. she was right. i was worried about the blowback i was going to get, and i, and i did get from my women supporters. from women who had been good to me and help me and allow me to succeed in politics. they were going to be bitterly disappointed, and they were. but i called the next day after she confronted me and told the now president that i was all in. i wasn't deed all and from that day forward and worked very hard
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on his campaign. >> host: there was real blowback, i don't know if it was specifically addressed at you when madeleine albright said there is nothing worse than women who do not support other women in public life. did that sting at the time? spee2. >> guest: it did. but my counter argument to her is what we are fighting for is a level playing field. once we begin to achieve at the same level as men, we cannot cannot in turnaround do what they did to us. we are going to assume that you are better just because your woman. it it is about level. it's not about a preference. so, that door swings both ways, qualities equality. so i really do think that while it was a hard decision, i felt great about working on behalf of barack obama, now i am working just as hard for hillary clinton. i think people who do it i i do want to take it safe and well go
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all inches if i'm for for you, i'm for you. i'm out there doing what i can to get elected. >> host: has she won the all-important mattie primary? your daughter. >> guest: yes she has. not all of my kids are there yet,. >> host: so they're giving a look to bernie sanders? >> guest: i would think trying to figure it all out. i learn a lot from them and i try not to tell them what they think. if i try to do that it has bad consequences. i want them to come to their own conclusions and i'm comfortable that they're smart, independent people and they'll come to the conclusion that hillary clinton is the best candidate for president. >> host: she's been presumed to be in overwhelming front runner. back in 2008 it is the case, certainly this time as well there are these persistent questions about her popularity on the left the surge of bernie
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sanders and the poll and he is not even a democrat. that's an interesting phenomenon. she think it reflects the discomfort with her or a desire desire to have a conversation with the party. >> guest: we have a cap of thousands on one side and they are all aiming at hillary clinton. i'm not seeing any of them spending time criticizing bernie sanders. then, in our party, bernie is speaking to folks who believe very much that the status quo is a problem. is speaking to issues that we care about in our party. he does it with a great deal of passion, he has always been someone who has walked a different path. i think he seems more like an outsider to many in my party. i do understand why is getting the attention he is getting. in the long run, i do not think
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if you get outside my party and get to the very independent voters in the country, it decides statewide elections in my stay, i do not think practical stamp point that they will vote for a man for president with a man who self identifies as a socialist. >> host: it's ironic if you still look, she. >> guest: she is still an amazingly strong position. i think the more she keeps her head down and earns this nomination, it's fine if bernie runs, in spite of joe biden runs. she needs to earn this nomination. she wants to, she wants to show that she is a fighter, i think in the long run it will strengthen her. >> host: one thing that is striking that could cut either
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ways she was criticized for not embracing the historic nature of her candidacy in 2008. you want to see is a woman candidate at that time until the very end of when she dropped out of the race. she gave her famous glass ceiling speech and said that she had not destroyed it but made many cracks in that glass ceiling. clearly, she has come to a different place in terms of embracing gender as an asset for her in this campaign. when you think about your own experience on the campaign trail and talking about a woman senator opposed to a woman senator, what is your advice, your candid advice to hillary clinton about whether to play that gender card or not? >> guest: we have actually talked about this. in my race for governor i was so prove to everyone that i was qualified. that i knew every answer to every question.
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this isn't about me being a woman, this is about me being qualified to be the executive. it's not about anything else but
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that bunker mentality is easy for a corporate executive to be let's go back to the very interesting, unusual role that you've given to navigating the family and politics in a way that i never read in any of the
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male senators memoirs. your daughter, mattie, was the one who pushed and prodded you in 2008 to endorse barack obama. you talk a lot in the book about them at a young age, there's an anecdote where you're asking, your earlier in your career and you're asking your son to get ready to come with you to what you say is a party, but i'm gathering was not just a party. >> i was going to a political event. when they were very young, he was probably seven or six, something like that, five, in that category. i would say come on were going to a party let's get my car. we would go to some political event. i told him to get ready and you know how kids whisper and they don't know how loud their whispering. i heard him in the next room saying to his younger sister, if she says it's a party, ask her if anybody is going to give a speech. if. if anybody gives a speech, it's not a party. they were on to me at a very young age. i was dressing up our time
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together when i was working to be something that was more fun than it actually was for them. >> the idea that you were clearly able to establish, that there wasn't some barrier between the personal you and professional you. i imagine that has enabled you to keep integrating your family into your professional life. so many feel there is either family time or professional time and that one comes at the expense of the other. where do you fall on that? >> when i ran for prosecutor, the first woman to try to get elected as the da for kansas city, i didn't put my children in any of my literature. i was worried if people knew i had small children that they would think it was inappropriate for me to take on this law-enforcement type job that had some dangers associated with the small children. then i gravitate to the point now that i can't wait to take pictures with my nine grandchildren. it has been a process for me. where i come down is that i want my children to be part of my life.
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i want to be part of their lives. that means i want them to understand but i'm doing and i want them to be a part of it if they want to be. one of the highlights of my life, literally, was when my children really participated in my campaign. for the first time, my two daughters traveled with me during the summer of 2012 for the campaign. it was wonderful. when they were younger, younger, no mom we don't want to do that. you have more ability. you don't have a boston have to check in with. if you want her son your son in the talent show you have that flex billy. i would take off and go see my son. i may have to work on saturday or go give a speech at night, but in terms of my schedule, there was more flexibility when i was in an executive job then
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when i was in legislative jobs. i did try to integrate and pull them in to the extent wanted to be. now they are all highly opinionated young adults as a result of it. >> i'm sure they have lots of thoughts on politics. you were talking to your colleagues in the senate as well. there's a great example of kelly iota, republican from new hampshire with her small child when she was a top law enforcement officer there. something about hillary clinton's campaign office. >> it was a clinton campaign office back in 2008 she was the attorney general of new hampshire and she was bathing her newborn. she had her phone and hurt ear and you can imagine her trying to bathe in and dry and dresser child well she was getting instructions about a hostage situation. she remembered thinking this was so surreal.
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she would call her husband and say you've got to get home because i have to go. that idea of directing the state highway troll in an intense serious situation while your bathing your daughter is one great example in the book. there's a lot of great examples about how your career and motherhood is sometime funny, interesting and frustrating. >> everybody's had that irma bomb back moment. i remember when we had some radio program that we used to do and i i had to go on early in the morning. i don't know what happened i thought i had the sound fixed, but you can hear my toddler at the time and i had no idea. my boss said hello to me and said you were great on the radio this morning but i could hear theo the entire time. nobody else had told me.
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i felt mortified. >> i've stopped worrying about that. i've had dogs in the back of an interview, children crying, as long as they can hear me, i don't worry about it. >> it certainly humanizes us. i think that's think that's the thing. let's get back to the question of being such a minority in the senate and in the institution of government. i feel like sometimes i hear somewhat contradictory things from women who are in the senate or are in these political positions. on the one hand there's this writer rhetoric of power and sisterhood. we have these meetings and famous dinners and were there for each other and a more bipartisan group.
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if you have more women in the senate, you often hear, that were more collaborative, will find our way around the problems, here's patty murray making a deal on the budget where others fail. so you have that women empowerment on one hand and on the other hand you have way to minute, i'm not just going to endorse hillary clinton because she's a woman. worth fighting for for a level playing field, not to create a sisterhood or to replicate the failures of the past. i mention this not because we have all simultaneously contradictory things, but where'd he come down on it when comes to the basic question of is there something essentially different about having women in politics or is this just a historical experience? >> i think both can be true. i think you can make decisions based on merit without gender and at the same time, have a disposition that allows you to work on problems without worrying about whether or not
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you one or whether or not you get the credit. i think really the difference, this isn't complicated, i don't think, women who are in the senate, we all had to go through a lot of same things to get there. it is hard. if you get there, we have an immense number of things in common. there's almost like an unspoken language between us that we get each other. even though i have huge disagreements with, for example, deb fisher or joni interest on policy, there is still this collegiality that comes from our shared experience. a lot of it comes from motherhood or getting around some of the obstacles i talk in the book of sexism and other things earlier in your career. we don't want to throw each other under the bus. you look at the difference between how harry and mitch mcconnell talks about each other and to each other. they are at each other like this all the time.
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it hasn't always been that way between the two leaders but it certainly is now that we have two people who clearly don't really like each other very much. i think you can get a lot more done if you kind of like each other, even if you disagree. as long as we keep working at knowing one another, the women, a little bit better than we know everybody else because we talk about our kids and personal life, i think there will not be this idea of winning at somebody else's expense and that's what's wrong with washington. mr. mcconnell didn't want barack obama to win anything because he thought it would be at their expense and make him effective and they wouldn't be able to take over. now there is a lot of, we need to return the favor to mitch mcconnell and make sure they don't win anything because look at what they did to us. now we need to do that to them. there's not as much of that among the women. i do think that's a a difference.
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if there were more women, it would we would have more deals and compromises. i believe that. >> it's really interesting in that context to talk about another incident that has gotten a lot of attention in your career in the senate which was a time when you had a very public disagreement with another woman senator around this question of how best to ensure there were more prosecutions for military sexual assault. you, in particular, objected to what you saw and instantly felt there was a sexual narrative. >> there were two narratives i was objecting to. this was a decision between victims and who did you support victims or commanders. that's not what this debate was about. it was about what system would protect victims best. the media picked up on this
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simple, are you for the commander or the victim? >> here's a woman senator -- >> that's the fight i was really waging. as someone who spent more time holding the hands of victims and crying with the victims, i felt very strongly that i was advocating for victims. the other added catnip in this debate was you had to democratic women that took two different views. that elevated the difference way beyond what it would've been otherwise. and, by the way, it mass the fact that she and i had gotten so much done together. we had dozens of reforms we've done together and we just disagreed on one thing. >> you're actually really partnered with her on a lot of things and have continued after that. >> even after the vote, it was close and we came down in the well and kind of hugged each other, but senators are very
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competitive sort. >> you couldn't get into politics if you didn't like to win and weren't driven by seceding. did your relationship take a temporary hit because of that? >> we were both focused on trying to get the votes to prevail. we both had honest policy disagreement. yes, of course. i was counting votes and i was like oh she's talking to him, i better talk to him. it was just circling around each other and trying to get the votes and making sure people understood our point of view. after was over, i remember mr. rockefeller coming up saying i'm not sure two men would've been able to do what you just did. it was emotional and pitched in a had been elevated in the press. part of me didn't want to hug her or shake her hand or reconnect, but i knew i needed to and thank goodness she did too. so we are fine and were working very closely together on sexual assault on college campuses.
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>> when you look up the senate, one of of the things you do a great job in this book is really talking about how institutionalized sexism is, almost that environmental role in which it's very clear to you in a variety of ways that you are the small minority, that it persists so much into the now. i think for many people there is just a desire to say that's in the past. oh, well, gee don't we have more women in office than upper before? you can't read this book or sit down and talk with someone like you honestly and really say that's a fact, right? i thought it was really striking that you did such a good job. this is in some crazy world in which this is what happened to women in 1980s. this wasn't 1950s version of the senate when it was really a
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boys club. it has persisted into that. tell us a little bit about that. there was an incident with another female senator memoir that were talking about where she recounted one of her colleagues was commenting on her way, pinching her behind, sexism isn't dead in the u.s. congress, is it? >> it is not. i will say i have not personally ever felt diminished or minimalized by my male colleagues in the senate. i don't know if they're afraid of me or i don't know if i'm older that might have something to do with it, but i did have a doorman tell me i i couldn't come into the senate when i first got elected thinking that i didn't have a pass and i wasn't a senator and things like that. you're right about this point, there is a tendency in our society. when barack obama was elected president, okay were passed politics and i'm from st. louis and have been a part of a lot of
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racial unrest and bias in our country, particularly in the criminal justice system. the same thing is true of women p we have accomplished a great deal and we can pat ourselves on the back that we have made progress. if we think think we are done, if we think this is is over -- two people lost their job recently because two women came forward that there was sexual assault and they were found guilty. that happened in 1974 and it still happens today. we still have work to do. >> there's an anecdote in your book when you were first elected and there were a large number of democratic women that came into the senate and you were trying to push the limits. you were in a very tiny bathroom
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and you are all squeezed in their. >> it was the small bathroom and two stalls and just enough room to stand in front of the sink. this was just after the 2012 election. in walked deb fisher and elizabeth warren and some of the else was in there. we were all squeezed in and i tweeted, i just met elizabeth warren and deb fisher in the bathroom and were gonna have to get a bigger bathroom. and we did. we enlarge the bathroom. we may have to enlarge it again and take some space out of the men's space. we just grabbed an office and made that into the extra bathroom space. >> i was amazed that another anecdote from that period of
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time, i think it was kay hagan from north carolina who wanted to go swimming in the senators members only jim and found out that she was told no, you can't do that. she had to really press to find out the reason why which is that the men were swimming naked. >> not all of them. and i will never forgive kay hagan because she told me who it was among the men senators who like to swim naked. >> now i can't get it out of my hard drive. >> i know who it was too. >> i will not make your viewers think about this man swimming naked. >> and this is a friend of your. >> right. and that was just two years ago that we had to. >> that's what i i was blown away by. it wasn't 1965 where it was like over just walking around naked that was in the 2000. >> right. but kate took care of it and the time changed from members only
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men only to just members only. i don't want people to think it's some huge great jim, but it's adequate and modest and women can now use the gym and the pool. >> amazing. you obviously came into this and came to washington with a set of expectations at a point of view about what you would encounter having been in politics. what is the big difference between politics and your home state and politics here in washington? i think some of that does come out in the book. >> there are some things that are the same. the things that are different are that it feels much more like drinking out of a a fire hose here 247, if you're doing the job correctly. if you just kind of have people
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prepare your schedule for you and walk through it and people tell you how to vote and you follow their recommendations, but if you engage and are intellectually curious, it is an enormous amount of material to consume. that's a big difference. i feel constantly, am i adequately informed and prepared. i don't think i have ever felt that as much in any of the jobs i had in missouri. that is different. the dysfunction is different. i had never served in the legislative body that was this dysfunctional. the highway bill is a good example. you could not even get mitch mcconnell and john boehner to agree on how to fund our highways. much less the republicans and democrats. benard was pushing a three month extension and mcconnell was saying no we have to have a whole year. we were saying wait a minute, you two are in charge and you
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can even agree. they're not even talking to each other. that's much more frustrating because it feels like we are treading water and i think that's why so many voters are attracted to a donald trump who is all about, i can be different. while i think it's obvious he's different, odd i would say, and then of course, in a different way because of bernie's philosophy, not because he's odd but because he's really committed to certain philosophy and he feels like he's going to shake things up, that's why you see the voters attracted to those two candidates. they grabbed the status quo by the lapel and shake it into submission. i get that feeling. it can be very frustrating. >> interestingly enough, that aspect of the dysfunction that you are describing, the winging of authority among the leadership, that is also what is
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fueling these outsider groups, groups, it's sort of an irony. you're begging for leadership internally and that's also what voters are looking for. you're begging for leadership but part of the problem is that the leader's ability to lead has been eroded by the way our politics have gone. >> that's exactly right. it's a hard rigid ideology on both ends. it's made it harder and harder to embrace compromise as part of their job. the purist in the republican caucus, the iran paul, ted cruz, it's really hard for weiner. the tea party is so entrenched in the house caucus, the republican caucus even more than the senate. that's a problem. we can now go to certain outlets
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for affirmation, not information. both sides sides are doing that and nobody calls my phone and asked me to compromise. the people who are the loudest and the people who are most adverse to compromise, and make the joke that about in my state watching fox news and they think i'm satan on a horse and 30% watching msnbc and think i can do no wrong. the rest of our watching the incident with the stars were all crazy. some of them are watching c-span in the middle and they are informed. while they may not be calling me all the time, they do help as independent voters who are formed. there's just not enough of them. >> do you see that as being a reversible tran? if the parties are going to go away, the question is are we living in an referendum, donald trump democracy? >> i think time time will tell. if someone like donald trump would get elected elected there
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would be a backlash and you would see big changes. i don't think he will be elected but the money thing is a big part of it. that's why getting rid of citizens united has to be a priority in this country. >> i know were almost out of time but i'm really glad you brought that up because the nature of campaigning is very much connected with the experience you now have of trying to governor or legislate. you write your book that in your last campaign you needed to raise $40,000 a day. day. that number would be even higher today. how much does money suffuse your experience as a politician? and not somebody who can write a check to fund your campaign yourself. how much has that distorted or perverted what you do as a senator? >> made it much less enjoyable. it makes me not as good as my job because i spent much time at it. we have limits are direct campaigns, it is a matter of of making a case and asking people to contribute.
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i i am constantly disappointing some of my donors and supporters because i ignore what they want me to do sometimes for what i think is right. i certainly disappointed my labor friends when i voted for gpa even though they were big donors of mine. i explained to them that that doesn't mean that i vote the way you want me to vote. i think the limits really help. what is really driving a new kind of politics are all these presidential candidates have spent more time shopping for their billionaires that can fund their super pacs. that's different. that's brand-new. i think there was a piece not too long ago that talked about the super pac money that has been raised so far was almost three times as much as what was raised by the candidate and that money was dominated by 67 individuals. so this is really a common part of campaigns and a certain class
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of billionaires funding political conversation in the scum country. people have to rise up and say i will not accept that. we can do it in this country. people have to get mad enough about it and they have to realize it's going on so this is something i'm going to be working on in my state next year. i am very excited that both bernie and hillary clinton have made campaign-finance reform an important important part of their campaign. it's one of the truths that hillary clinton talks about witches cleaning up the citizens united cesspool and bernie felt the same way. i hope the people who are mad about this kind of money in politics get active and involved in the campaign. >> senator claire mccaskill's
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book is called "plenty ladylike" and it just came out. it's conveniently timed for the senate summer recess so you can do some promoting a bit. this is your first book. what did you learn in writing it. what would you do differently next time? what was your big take away on becoming an author? >> it sounded more romantic than it was. at the beginning of the process i thought it would be fun. it turned out to be, and some things, painful because of personal things i went through and had a sit down with my children and talk about the way i talked about their father. that was hard. it's a little bit like childbirth. it's very painful going through it but i'm glad it's written and i'm proud that i was so honest and blunt and candid in this book. i think we need more of it in the public realm. i don't know if i have another book in me. my sister said to me you can't write another one because you're
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too far into this one. i don't know that all ever do it again but i'm glad i did it and i feel good about it. i hope, most importantly, i hope fathers buy this book for their daughters. i want fathers to empower their daughters. mothers too but it's important that young women feel, from their fathers, the their fathers, the permission to be ambitious and outspoken. and to be aggressive. when you hear from your dad, then it's okay that the male figure in your life, especially when you're nine, 10, 11, 12, 13 years old. my hope is that a lot of father's by this for their daughters and they will understand what ladylike really is. >> understand what ladylike really is. >> thank you very much senator. i really enjoyed our conversation. >> thank you, it's been great. >> thank you. >> that was "after words", book tv signature program. watch past "after words" program online apple >> here's a look at some authors recently featured on book tv "after words", our weekly interview program. nurse in new york time come
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columnist spoke about the challenges patients face in the healthcare system. two-time pulitzer prize journalist gilbert paul described the rise of big money in college football. in the coming weeks in "after words" we talk about the importance of william mckinley's 1896 presidential campaign. fox news correspondent james rosen's looks at dick dick cheney's time in the bush administration. in this weekend, weekend, darcy olson, president of the goldwater institute take a critical look at the review. new medications undergo to get fda approval. >> it's all about when your life hangs in the balance and you have a terminal illness, it's about giving you the right to try to fight to save your life by accessing experimental and investigational medicines why they


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