tv Book Discussion on Lion of the Senate CSPAN February 21, 2016 7:30pm-9:01pm EST
brokered convention, yes, i also believe rubio's going to get the nomination, but i think it's going to come about because of a brokered convention after three or four ballots. and as old as i am, i remember back in '48 and '52 when -- >> '48, a long time ago. >> '52 when eisenhower and stephenson ran. they were both brokered convention. >> but we didn't have caucuses and primaries that decide delegates. there were a lot of unpledged delegates back then. there were no caucuses until '72. >> but they had primaries. >> they had primaries, but not many states had primaries. now, it'd be very hard to imagine a brokered convention. i by think that would -- i think that would damage the republican party if that happened, if you have a split like that, you know, i really do. anyway, thank you all very much. [applause] thank you very much. i appreciate it. >> booktv is on facebook. like us to get publishing news, scheduling updates, behind the
scenes pictures and videos, author information and to talk directly with authors during our live programs. facebook.com/booktv. [inaudible conversations] [applause] >> good afternoon. i'm gene mccormack, and -- jean mccormack, and i have the privilege of serving as the president of the edward m. kennedy institute for the united states senate. welcome to the heart of the institute, our replica chamber,
where every day senators in training are debating the issues that matter. yesterday we had a wonderful 8-year-old stand in opposition to something and be very articulate. i always think when i see that, that senator kennedy would smile. we are delighted to have so many of you here with us today for this program which celebrates the new book, "lion of the senate," by our own board member, nick littlefeld and our alumni, david nexon, and welcome to many alumni who served with senator kennedy. as we often say, you may be off the payroll, but you're never off the staff. [laughter] we're here -- happy to have you all here and especially happy to have our board members here, barbara, lee -- i didn't see anyone else who's here -- oh, randy cooper. so happy to have you all with
us. we're pleased to be able to host this program and to have a remarkable group of speakers and panelists. all with their own unique thoughts and perspectives on the senator, that significant period of time that the book talks about and on bipartisan efforts and what makes them work. we are thrilled to have doris kerns goodwin, vicki kennedy, mike meyers, trish knight, all of them together and to have the great panel, this great panel moderated by noted journalist tom -- [inaudible] we are sorry that nick can't be here in this room with us, but he certainly is here in spirit and in our hearts, and he will see and hear us, because we are streaming this to his computer live. but he had to offer words -- here to offer words for nick and for his family is nick's wife, jenny littlefield.
[applause] >> thank you. [applause] thank you. i want to start by thank the staff here at the institute for making this event possible, with special thanks to kelly who's put up with us for weeks. now i'm going to read what nick wrote. thank you for coming, it means the world to me that you are here. i'm sorry i can't be here with you, but i am enjoying this at home over live video feed. as you all know, if i were there, i would be singling out each one of you and describing at great length your help in the creation of this book, your part in all the experiences and your place in the memories that went
into its making. and your contribution to the creation of this beautiful institute, perhaps the most fitting tribute to the incredible man who brought us all together. senator kennedy and vicki deserve our eternal gratitude. i also cannot fail to mention the extraordinary leadership of jack connors and -- [inaudible] in bringing this institute to life. my deepest gratitude to david nexon whose dedication and contributions to the final stages of writing the book was absolutely essential to making it happen. i also want the thank doris kerns goodwin for her enthusiastic and immediate endorsement of the book and her brilliant introduction, and jim carroll for his invaluable input, support and guidance in the concluding stages of the project. thank you also to my dear friends trish knight and michael meyers for coming to be on the panel and our beloved tom toly pant for leading the discussion.
finally, i want to thank my children and my wife who are all here. it was with enormous gratitude and love that i dedicated the book to them. jenny, of course, won't agree, but i like to say that i consider myself not entirely unlucky to have this neurological disease because it means i can truly sympathize with the 44 million disabled americans whose daily struggle is at least somewhat alleviated by the americans with disabilities act. i finished the book at the right time -- [applause] as the situation in washington right now further mirrors the one described in the book, and i hope the history laid out provides a useful reminder to both sides of the aisle of how things did and work. i understand, for example, that many of our republican friends today possibly oppose an increase to the minimum wage, and there's a very useful
chapter in the book about how that worked out in 1994. [laughter] i began work on the book in 998 right after i left the senate labor committee. it became another member of our family, and we all joked about how long it was taking. but every moment of writing brought back to me the excitement of my time in washington. i was truly able to full -- fulfill the hope of every perp who goes to work in our nation's capital, to work hard on issues, surrounded by the best minds in the country to make a difference in people's lives and to have great fun doing it. i am forever thankful to senator kennedy for that privilege. if i could, i would end this by singing to vicki and then to all of you. i won't ask jenny to take on this task for me -- [laughter] but know that i am watching and singing and filled with joy at this splendid event and all the extraordinary people in my life who have made this day possible. it is now with great pleasure
that i want to introduce the man who, as senator kennedy's senior health care adviser, was the driving force behind the important legislation at the center of this book and who i have the great pleasure of calling my co-author, david nexon. [applause] >> well, it's certainly a wonderful pleasure to be here with so many friends, so many friends of nick's, so many friends of the senator. thanks to jean mccormack and the emk institute for putting on the event. and, jenny, thanks so much for that lovely introduction. anyone who has been close to this project knows without jenny there would be no book to talk about today. [applause] of course, the emk institute is a wonderful place to discuss
this book. not only because its subjects are senator kennedy and the u.s. senate, but because of nick. as has been mentioned, nick was not only extremely close to senator kennedy, but he has been a key factor in bringing this wonderful, the senator's wonderful vision for this place into a reality. now, i think almost everybody here knows that nick was senator kennedy's labor committee staff director, and effectively his top domestic policy adviser from 1989 to 1998. he had a truly remarkable insider's view of the events we focus on in the book during the critical years 1995-1997. his role as staff directer is and his closeness to senator kennedy put him really at the center of the action and also placed him in private meetings with the president, with other senators, with outside leaders. the book benefited tremendously not only from the dedication and insight he brought to it from that, but from the special access that he was able to talk
about and reflect inside the book. as jenny mentioned, the book had its origin -- or as nick said in his own statement, the book had its origin when nick left the senate in 1998 and wrote the first draft over the ensuing two years. i joined the project in 2012 and worked with nick to put the book in shape for publication as well as adding some material based on my own knowledge and involvement in the events in the book. those of you who know nick, and i think most of the people here do, and saw the recent article in the boston herald about him know what tremendous health challenge he faced in completing this document. i feel privileged to have worked with him on this project as i did to work with him on the senator's staff. we had several objectives in this book that were part of nick's original vision, and one that really evolved late in the process. first, it was a tribute to senator kennedy. not just by singing his praises
as so many have, but by showing him at the height of his powers in the fight of his life for the causes he had worked for all his life. using the government as a positive force to improve people's lives, to secure social justice, to help those who were most vulnerable, all the things that were threatened by the gingrich revolution. secondly, we wanted to create an exciting narrative about how the resistance to the gingrich agenda evolved, how it had seemed an irresistible right-wing tide was ultimately stopped and how senator kennedy -- even in that hostile environment -- was able to pass major progressive legislation. an increase in the minimum wage, ground-breaking health insurance reform and the child health insurance program. when the victorious republicans swept into town in january 1995, no one would have believed that enacting these bills was anything more than fantasy. no one except senator kennedy.
the third thing we wanted to show in this book was how the senate works from nick's up close and personal account viewpoint. the book is told in the first person, and it gives a vivid account of the -- [inaudible] of the senate, the unique ways in which it operates and what it's like to be a staff member there. and nick, i think, has got a real gift for narration which comes out very clearly in this week. fourth, we wanted to explain the senator's strategic formula for success in enacting not only progressive legislation, but really any major legislation. one of us who work -- none of us who worked with senator kennedy believe anyone will ever be his equal. but any legislature and, indeed, any citizen can learn from how he accomplished what he did. finally, as things worked out as a result of the book's long gestation, it has particular relevance for today, and it gave, i think, a special urgency
to our work and finishing the project. i know doris is going to talk about this a bit more, but i did want to emphasize that as we completed this work, we were very aware that the situation today is extraordinarily similar to the one senator kennedy faced in 1995 and the way he handled it has some valuable lessons, i think, for all of us today. today, as then, republicans controlled both houses of congress. they confronted a democratic prime minister. president. they espouse an agenda that is largely identical to the one that congressman gingrich failed to enact in 1995. they have used the budget process and the threat of a government default as a lever to try to force through the changes that they want, the changes that they wallet. the -- they want. the congress seems gridlocked, progress seems hopeless. but as senator kennedy showed, it doesn't have to be that way. those are the main goals we had
in writing the book, but there's a lot more in it that i hope, you know, readers will enjoy; the role of music and the incredible relationship between senator kennedy and senator hatch, the -- nick and patrick kennedy's mad dash to the arlington national cemetery to get soil from the kennedy grave site to take to the rabin funeral, the way senator kennedy's efforts tied senator dole up on the senate floor and essentially sunk his presidential campaign, the senator's largely unknown but very important role in the passage of the affordable care act, the genesis of the ryan white aids care bill and much more. before i introduce doris kerns goodwin, i'd like to close by reading from the conclusion of the book, just a few paragraphs which i think says what we thought as we -- and when nick undertook this whole endeavor and as we finished it. kennedy's life and legislative career are the stuff of history. but the challenges we face as we
make our own history never end. as senator kennedy said in his speech to the democratic convention in 1980, the work goes on, the cause endures, the dream shall never die. there can be no greater tribute to his memory than to continue to fight for that enduring dream and no better model for success than his example. [applause] thank you. and now let me introduce doris kerns goodwin. i think most of you here today know that doris is the author of seven wonderful books of history and biography. including the fitzgeralds and the kennedys and the pulitzer prize-winning team of rivals about abraham lincoln's presidency. she is a frequent and incisive commentator on politics and policy, and she was a friend b and frequent source of wonderful
advice for senator kennedy. nick and i were deeply honored when she decided to write the introduction to "the lion of the senate." doris? [applause] >> history at its best, i believe, is about telling stories; stories about people who lived before, stories about events in the past that create the contours of the present. i think we have to hope that by studying the lives of those who lived before us we can learn from their struggles and their triumphs. and what makes this book, "the lion of the senate," so compelling is that it tells a story. it tells a story beginning with the gingrich revolution of 1994 that brought in this transformation of control to the republicans in the house and the senate. "the new york times" noted at the time this is a shift of major proportions, it said. republicans have not been in control since 1954.
fifty years earlier -- forty years earlier when the dodgers were still in brooklyn and when the postage stamp was only three cents. [laughter] well, the story carries us from the devastating mood that really enveloped the democrats at the time. they'd lost committee members, they'd lost staff, they'd lost the chance to set the agenda, they'd lost office space to teddy kennedy's rallying the troops. not only to block the worst of the republican agenda, but as was said, to pass positive legislation on minimum wage, children's health insurance, portable health insurance. and to do it on a bipartisan basis. the story is not only historically significant, but it offered powerful examples for leaders today when we despair over our broken washington. what makes it so rich in detail is that nick had the presence of mind to actually write notes after each one of these meetings that he would go to. he took the time which we so rarely do to reflect on them
even at that moment. historians treasure more than anything diaries and letters. i mean, i couldn't have written the books i've written without those diaries that people kept at the end of the day, without letters that they wrote to their wives and families, ten-page letters at night. i worry what will happen to people, historians 200 years from now. they'll be trying to recreate our lives. they'll have so much stuff. they'll watch what we said on twitter, perhaps, but they won't know the by mate details from that varian bay tim understanding that comes from a letter or diary or notes taken at the time. so nick's notes become a treasure source that makes this book so real in life. the ultimate key that the book shows is that the success that teddy kennedy achieved was due to the relationships that he had built over time so carefully in the senate, nurtured over the years. from such relationships i fear are in such short supply today. senators, congressmen don't even have the time to spend with each
other. they're racing home on thursdays, they want to raise fund. they're spending time on facebook, they're not even talking to to staff, much less to one another. but in teddy kennedy's time, he understood that relationships were the key to everything. and he -- you'll see the great stories in here about orrin hatch, as david suggested. i mean, hatch had gone to teddy's mother's funeral. teddy had gone to hatch's mother's funeral. and most importantly, hatch loved to sing, and he would make up songs, and he played the tapes of his songs. and so at one point teddy had nick with that beautiful once on broadway voice sing one of hatch's songs, and finally hatch had to give in. he had to give in to whatever teddy wanted. nice move, teddy, he said, knowing that he had been bested. and then when teddy wanted funds to restore the house at longfellow in cambridge and he needed the support of senator byrd, the chairman of the appropriations committee, what does he do?
he memory rises longfellow's famous poem, the midnight ride of paul revere, and he continued to say it over and over again until finally, i think, senator byrd said, okay, i'll give you the funds. [laughter] and then there's this great story of inviting strom thurmond at 89 years old to dipper at -- dinner at teddy's house, and they ask him how did you stay in such great shape? he pantomimes his gym routine every morning. those kinds of relationships are what made things work in life as well as in the senate. and in a certain sense, i think what the book shows is a love that teddy kennedy had and that nick and david had for this institution of the senate. i worry sometimes that today the people who are there in these congress and senate seats, to they really recognize the history of the senate, of the institution of what it did? that's why this room is so incredible, this institute is so incredible. if you feel it, you feel like you've come home as i think teddy kennedy often did.
he felt like the senate was his home. he understood its rules, its quirks, its rituals. he recognized that seniority was a big deal in the senate, so what does he do when he wants to get somebody's support, a junior senator? he goes to that perp's office rather than the other way around. when he wanted someone in congress to come with him on something, he would walk over to the house, defying that sense of hire arty that -- hierarchy that too often paralyzes things. he hung out at the elevator at times just waiting for some senator to come by. at a certain point when he wanted to stiffen the spine of president clinton, he actually got himself involved with a group of mass troopers that were coming to a white house ceremony. he sat in the front row, but how could clinton do otherwise but say, hello, senator? the next thing you know, they're having a 45-minute talk. the next thing you know, something was happening. horse trading happened. now we have a sense that it's all transparent, you can't
bargain. it's part of what made compromise work in that time. but most importantly, what you see is that ability to cross party lines to get something done. it made the republicans who came with him feel proud that he were part of children's health, proud in some ways, too, that they had gone along on minimum wage. and it makes you believe, i think, as david said if this leadership could make this happen at that time and we're facing a similar time today, then perhaps it can happen again. that's what history can do, give you hope and solace from the path that the present can be made better. but i think in some ways, perhaps the most inspiring story of all is the story of how the lion of the senate was completed in these last years. as nick' relentless illness took hold, gradually taking away his strength, his body, his faculties. what really happened, his daughter kate lowenstein said, is that piece by piece everything he loved to do was taken away. his great physical joys one by one; jogging, tennis, swimming,
singing and finally speaking itself. but what still remains, so incredibly strong, is his mind and his heart. and that combination along with david's help, along with the help of technology to translate his thoughts into printed words, and most importantly along with a loving circle of family and friends have brought this splendid book to life. and what a book it is. hands down, in my judgment, the best book on the inner dynamics of the senate. hands down the best book on the incredible leadership skills and attributes of senator kennedy. this is a book, i believe, that will be read for generations, a book that will keep the memory alive of a very special time and a place when the lion of the senate roamed the halls of the congress, when he was able to work together we republicans to make our country a better place. bringing back the past has been the joy of my professional life. indeed, i've spent years living with dead presidents hoping to bring them back to life, waking
up with them in the morning, thinking about them when i go to sleep at night. i do believe that when we can tell these stories of people who live before, they truly do come back to life. i truly believe the people we have loved and lost in our own families and the public figures we have respected in history really can live on so long as we pledge to tell and to retell the stories of their lives. i am so glad to be a little part of this story tonight. thank you. [applause] >> everybody hear me okay? that's good. this is kind of like herding
cats. so i apologize in advance, but we'll try to keep it intellectually orderly. we're going to babble up here for a little while, at which point after 15 or 20 minutes you might think of a question or two. and when we call for them, someone will come and give you a microphone so that we can hear you, and we'll take q&a for a while. and then they always give me the unpleasant duty of calling a halt to the proceedings. at which point we will have a very special treat at the end. so with that in mind, our story begins -- part of what makes it so dramatic is that it begins in a moment of personal triumph and larger, crushing defeat. senator kennedy had been reelected in 1994 by just a point or so less than his
typical landslide margin. i think it was about 18 points over some guy with utah ties, trish knight. [laughter] but at the same time, his party had lost control of the house for the first time in 40 years and of the senate after a brief period in the majority, and he was looking at odds in the senate that would make even many blanch. and i thought we'd begin with a potential panelist. -- special panelist. there's a lot of people here, no doubt, from massachusetts where people fancy themselves great officionados of politics. but there's another place in america where they put politics in your gene structure, and it's a place called louisiana. and a product of that amazing culture, her dad, you know, is
on the very, very short list of the people who helped john kennedy carry louisiana in 1960. and, of course, she went on to become senator kennedy's beloved wife, etc., etc. is to it's only natural -- so it's only natural that i turn to somebody i love to hear talk about policy and politics, vicki kennedy. [applause] help us understand how the senator looked at the '94 election as he sifted through all those numbers. >> well, first of all, thank you so much, tom work liph -- oliphant for being our moderator. thank all of you for being here. nick, we love you. the book is fantastic. absolutely fantastic. i love talking about the '94 election because it was exhilarating, and it was also
complicated because that night was bittersweet. but i like to think about the sweet part first, if i could. and i go back to labor day of '94, if i could, in thinking about it. when teddy's aides came to hum and said -- well, actually, they came to me and said we've got to let the senator know, and maybe you should let him know because, you know, you're his wife and all, that the race is kind of even. he and mitt romney are even. and i said, i think maybe you should tell him -- [laughter] and so teddy's reaction was we're even steven? for those of you -- so we had a meeting in our apartment to sort of talk about, okay, what's the strategy, where do we go from here. and this said it all to me about teddy. different people had different ideas, and one of the
recommendations was, you know, people are hurting, this is a different kind of mood out there, and you really need to rethink some of your views, you know? this is a new time, and you need to think about really getting behind this welfare reform bill. people want to see a new you, they want to see something new in welfare, you need to come up with something new. teddy sat back in that chair and got that look that many of you know so well, and he said: i'm not winning this election on the back of poor women and children. what's your next idea. and it was just, it was fantastic. because he said he had to be true to who he was. and while it was a very competitive election, he said it was not his hardest election because he knew exactly who he was and what he believed. the first question in the debate that first debate with romney, and i'm getting to your answer, but the first question was from
sally jacobs of the boston globe, and she said, senator, why is this race even close? in it, i think, is the seeds to the answer to your question. he said, people are hurting. people are worried. we've lost a lot of jobs in new england in particular, but really around the country. and there are simple, easy answers, and they're wrong. he used to love that expression. and that's what i think he felt happened on election night, that there were simple, easy answers around the country that people had grabbed onto because they were hurting. the economy had been struggling, and they grabbed onto the wrong answer. ..
and then the battle was joined. it was just not a dirty that the democratic party is that was what the winning formula was to continue to be true to the principles. programs change our values don't. and said the for those who want to be pale carbon copies. the you did not trim your sales but a continuing to be true to their principles that were progressive to
help people. >> at this point we'd the flip side of the analysis and that is why i turn respectfully to trish and i remain not be a household name up here but has been around washington for years. in the truth be told him that is one big reason why kids have health insurance today. [applause] and we will get into how we operated in the senate but
tell us a little bit from the hatch perspective how that '94 election -- election was viewed. >> that long introduction. [laughter] but first of all, a settle dialogue underneath that social security act it to be engaged in a three-year effort to get legislation on dietary supplements that is very important to senator hatch and they were not 100 percent thrilled but the relationship it enabled them to move the bill on which to
the consternation of the chairman of the health committee and i can remember vividly knew the end of 1994 where we reached a deal on that legislation and many in the industry said just walk away because next year maybe we are a majority and we didn't think that was necessarily true. but get what we can now. >> did you have the sense of the fragility of the majority even as the result of a landslide? >> obviously the health security act was a big dynamic and we felt that was
overplayed. one could say that about the affordable care act once it was enacted. i had been working in congress 20 years at that boy and i didn't believe that what happened. sometimes i still don't think it happened. >> did he have an agenda? so we are familiar up here and what mattered most to him over the years and that it didn't really change. but try to help us understand where hatch was is coming from. what was significant was the judiciary committee so before he played a major
role on the labor committee we were switching to emphasize regulatory reform. with some of those nominations sites. so one unchanging into horror judiciary driven and then tried to carve out a niche for herself because there were other things taking place with big ticket criminal-justice issues. >> i will ask for doris perspective renew or on a panel like this of to get
>> and there is no wavering what he wanted to do but the first job is to get the democrats together. so we have to get them together to resist the gingrich agenda that was very revolutionary so we still need to move ahead as if we were still in the majority. and at that point with minimum-wage and health reform. we have done the leader to raise the age.
the we had not taken action on a previous loss to pylon to much in thought it was time to move ahead on minimum-wage. he did not despair of moving forward. and this is the way he always approached these things. >> that points to lead diminutive lady very nice. of very effective inside the club. >> said they found common ground but they agreed to pick those up and move forward. >> we need your help because michael is unusual in the
all-star lineup because he stays with the top assistant well past 2000 to help us understand that this didn't stop with a few years of frenetic activity. i sold i can remember the '60s 1870's. he knows all about with the turn-of-the-century for medicare party, no child left behind, etc.. i want your perspective that takes us to the day that he passed away at what we see through that is carriage.
>> coming back through 94 they're thinking of their own reelection in their own district. it is very hard to say no. think wholesale. so convincing people of that when they're scared for their political life. >> do you bang on them? in there is one story in the chicken there was senator kennedy is sitting down with other congressional leaders and they are talking about the minimum-wage and there was some little bit of hesitation and senator kennedy and it is
indignation that the democratic leaders were from the minimum-wage. so for them to stand up and say this is calicos. so this is the one to say this is the path we need to take the. >> key say he has to stand up to members of his own party and the courage there also. and creating that drug benefit to push the people that were getting close at that point with ellen to give anything to president bush in they came close. there was an opportunity to
do things for the american seniors even members of his own leadership said don't do that. and those were opposing him on that. is said it was the right thing to do. >> i want to follow that with another question. help us understand the context for this period in the mid-90s. one president of an uncertain ideology under one-party control in this force that is so hard to
understand. hand as you look back through american history history, are there analogous situations where we can compare this or does this merit the word unique? >> we have seen cycles where an activist government and people feel good about what is happening with the progressive movement led to break up the big monopoly and a certain period of time with world war i with private values to become more important so we went into the twenties with the desire of normalcy and then
to get great control then is the depression and a period of time with the desire to become bigger then you have that rise of the social movements pushing from the outside. in the great deal of legislation and then one of the cycles and did you do have clinton and with that election. with that under current of frustration in the concern about what in order -- law and order that people are worried about themselves, he
came up with an interesting thing to have a national program and even now it is the battle of ideas that that happens in a certain sense so what made it successful for the republicans then joined with them if that was experiencing when i looked at the current election it is worrisome that we turn our backs for people who have experience lowe's ever able to compromise and work
with each other and they should be honored for that now wonder if we are creating a bunch of young people to you want to be one of those that cannot get along with each other? in that is part of that outsider mentality. >> i would like to follow that up but first, senator kennedy had to play defense because there was a torrent of proposals in the house and senate on the tax side of the regulatory side in order to unite the members of his own party he also had to list president clinton
who was being tugged in different directions under that preceding labor day. and how that evolves in 1995? >> president clinton had been very hopeful through his skin payton 84 there were very supportive in print campaign for him. the president had a different time clock sometimes the president would call at midnight. [laughter] and david be sound asleep.
[laughter] but he understood it was hell full to be the last person because they accepted a lot of different points of view. so during christmas vacation was always helpful to get work done during that time before going in with in january to lay down a marker and have that conversation with the president. >> did there come a time in the winter or the spring when the senator became aware there was a guy working surreptitiously from
a lot of people appear in massachusetts with a guy named dick morris. in lead he had been retained >> i'm sure. [laughter] when did you become aware? >> i don't recall. in the end clinton is getting advice from a conservative that isn't the sort of thing. >> if you were sure where the white house was in knick is responsible for my knowing about it. so this story did not unfold
with one cataclysmic and shut down so i remember their early efforts in senator kennedy in the was the agent to arrange this, the senator went around the senate but he had nick go around and collect over 40 names for a letter to the president to say veto the bill and we will sustain it was the first time it was clear to get control of the floor.
>> this takes back previously appropriated funds. this was of broad program with the entitlement programs. so the first thing is that they proposed was a pullback for a number of domestic programs. the senator decided this is a good place to keep it from happening to rally was really going on in. it wasn't what the republicans is intended. there was a long sustained work in the caucus.
but then after making adjustments, kennedy on the senate floor this should get enough republican support so that he reached a compromise. and he was rightly concerned that would be a terrible sign of weakness. so the senator vernon up enough that they would stick with him and that was the beginning as it was the continuing struggle throughout so in the president wants to accomplish something.
>> at least you could demonstrate you plant the flag there is enough support to prevail so please plant the flag. >> don't want to ask you to do too much early but the minimum-wage kennedy had engineered to increases in they had come to the judgment as well was called for so how did kennedy gore about prevailing on an issue so associated? >> the minimum-wage is that
concept that people get into the american health care system on display. so that message gets through to the audiences around the country with the increase of the minimum-wage so just to demonstrate to the congress that the narrator was popular even in those states >> also demonstrates he was famous for saying not say all or nothing because then you get nothing but be willing to take half.
we always had to bargain among the democrats. but once it passed he will come back the very next day to introduce the minimum wage bill. they want to take a victory lap but you may have heard tideway if any of you want to start think of penetrating questions questions, please do the couple of minutes i will turn to you in and give you my microphone. >> call a senator hatch's experience, he must have been able to explain better
than most house senator kennedy operated in what it was like to be a conservative republican. i was wondering what his perspective for his -- was for children's health? >> there was a famous quotation that said warning his colleagues about anything to do with this maniac. [laughter] as always the same he will make some wild liberal proposal into being a co-sponsor than the next thing you know, they are negotiating in he gets half a loaf then he is back the next day. don't do it.
>> first of all, senator kennedy needed no explanation. i think the leadership was always worried he would take off like child care for example, and kennedy has a long history of public health with the orphans and drug act so he had then in the majority that is not unusual to be backed. >> let me see if vickie agrees the senator kennedy
saw another cup colleague. >> senator hatch was elected as a conservative state he wanted to fight kennedy because he has a liberal agenda. when reagan was elected because cautious senior committee members that senator hatch and not make a deal with senator kennedy so that forges neff said of operating select as we see a
with everything under the sun. with everyone that a whole state of illinois but finally he calls in the middle of the night clinton johnson would call him into in the morning. he said did i wake you up? he said no. i was laying here hoping represent would call. [laughter] so senator kennedy and hatch and others understand that dirksen wants to be a member to. so he said if you come with me on this bill and bring republicans schoolchildren will though avery of lincoln anderson. [laughter] -- abraham lincoln and
dirksen. >> so they used to be that greater sense when they were passing joint legislation but they to be proud to tell their children and grand children and. i was in that congress. the when you came into something how incredible that feels when you know, it has made a difference. i fear that is not happening now to move across the aisle rather than as partisan enemies. that encourages them to become an enemy is. that they like most, when
you need to raise the money for the election. the compromises are pushed out of that process so it is less likely to have that extraordinary moment. >> which leads me to the next question. >> natalie with conagra amount personally in getting to know them personally as an example is on disability where congressman sessions even to this day has a child with down syndrome. they have walked together with legislation probably that is the only issue they
could get common ground but they have that personal connection the resulted in the good law. >> my last question before i go up there, how did nicotine and kennedy get together with senator hatch in you to do the children's health insurance program? how does this happen from your perspective? >> that level of friendship so today we're all still friends. we remain friends what we
care about a hint lot we don't that is a part of the discussion and when kennedy approached a number of republicans and he approached senator hatch we were a bit worried that maybe territory he should not go into the. >> there is of passage in the book when we raise these concerns the he was the only one on the staff he turned to less to say find a way to do this right.
that is how we insisted to make it a block grant so we can argue was not an entitlement in with the letters back and forth and all that would flow from the friendship spill ratio selecting one very important part of the narrative and that was nick's approach in he used in the get your gun. >> twice i have to be embarrassed the girl that i very well have to be as pink as the nursery to wear satin
>> when i looked at trish. [laughter] because she is part of the power structure now in her away with her own company. >> first what i learned from the presidential debate just talk about what everyone it whenever you want. [laughter] >> imagine if it was kennedy and hatch. >> i have to say you did it so much better. we are fond of saying that when he says senator hatch that resulted in $24 billion
but i think that big lesson is i am treated by the current congress because that 24 hour news cycle is cable shows a the two-party in there is something to be said for the voters not knowing how sausages made. for those who lived in the offices they don't build the friendship that they had. the staff doesn't build a friendship that we had. and they are therefore very different reason. it is for change. changes could but with a house turning over more frequently and the senate and everyone trying to
those members counterpressures you need a sense of the public outcry but on this when he would go around to see if there was a way to find a common ground or a compromise and if he couldn't there was that a democratic initiative to reach out to the public to get the majority or the minority leader to reach out to the president and offer it as an amendment going forward. >> that is every piece of legislation.
>> this is an extraordinarily popular issue. >> but the problem that there is no senator kennedy or anyone like senator hatch of the mid-1990s. >> for anyone to be the leader in the '90s of congress but more than half of the senators came from the house as they were house members so this was the check and balance on the more popular house they want to change their rules to see more reactive and so that it is harder to get things done >> when you looked at who is
in the house in the senate the rich in world war to end the korean war and now it was the huge percentage because renewal longer have the draft as honored as it is in its own right. but to work together about that and result is those of our elected to congress. >> i can almost hear senator kennedy waving his finger you were all negative and a
if they had leaving and impacted them. is to care for a family member he would be looking for the touchdown he could find then he would try to bring them into the fold but it goes back to the answer that trish gave earlier. you have to talk to each other know each other. so what to be most concerned about is people don't know each other. they're not doing that face-to-face to understand what is happening in each other's lives.
>> just to follow up is a democratic system is the ability to see what other people are thinking and feeling in without that the system has the difficult time that we have to figure out in this crazy world to not spend attention -- tight with each other one-on-one. so how do we make sure what gives the most sustenance are continued? >> i find it hard to a mention -- imagine just because they go back to wisconsin '03 friday that it is still an obstacle.
and i just imagined him going there if that's what it takes. now they always make me be the evil person who stops. so this will be the last question that i have a treat as well as a request. and was able to visit with a bit yesterday so he communicates candid is true that the kennedys are controlling the paper.
there was the inability to get those tough tradeoffs. but in doing that there was a certain amount of joy in looking at senator kennedy who brought that together. in senator leahy says it is nothing more than a constitutional impediment of [laughter] and i think it is showing with the staff and the elected members. i suspect it is different when you are the person voting. senna using that kennedy paper with an assignment to if anybody would use this book as part of
documentation so it is possible for the kennedy generated bill passed in favor of senator hatch. [applause] >> the web like to throw the spirit of that question we didn't really pay attention but do you have a sense of the of modern relationship of staff m principals? can you put that in a historical context while
watching. [laughter] >> both of them could have a into private life making and how the hell of a lot more money. and without the benefits from the actual politician but you know, every day that you love what you're doing. to look at a collaborative way it you could argue they deal with each other more. now they go downhauls and don't even know who the other congressmen are.
but i think a career choice is a decade or more in the place knowing they're making things happen in is so attuned be honored. >> you to almost make the point that the people in the panel have an impact on more american lives than those in the 19th century. [applause] >> it is a treat in the challenge. who i admire more than any other person in the world so
i will turn to has kindly consented so it is all yours. >> i want to start to invite you to a reception as the event closes to say there will be a book signing and a chance for each of you to say something or give up personal message to neck. this is for you. you are an extraordinary person the kind of friend