tv Public Affairs Events CSPAN December 24, 2016 12:00am-2:01am EST
and that is because. >> the purview of hume? >> any regulatory or even until recently consumer attention. >> afterwards there's a book to be every saturday at 10:00 p.m. and sundays and appear mr. them. you can watch previous after his programs in our website, book to be.org. >> you're watching book tv on c-span to with top nonfiction books and authors every weekend. book tv, television for serious readers tonight a book tv in prime time we want to show you some programs from our afterwards series from this past year. first up senator mitch mcconnell talks about his life and politics with senator lamar alexander. the book is "the long gain". >> it this is the book about a shy boy who grew up in alabama,
overcame polio, was inspired by henry clay at the university of louisville to become a senator and did and then set out to become the majority leader of the united states senate ended. mitch, have a confession to make when i was asked to do this, here's what i thought. how can anyone get mitch mcconnell to talk for an hour. in your book and you point out that you only speak to the press when it's to your advantage, you talk about a time when bill gates came in to see you in the two of you just sat there and people were uncomfortable waiting for one of you to speak and you recount that someone once told george w. bush the you are excited over a certain road and he said really, how could you tell. so why so few words? >> guest: one not afraid of talking but i found i learned a lot more by listening. so frequently i start out by listening and think about what i want to say before i do it.
so i think it's her to say i'm in the era of trump, very difference then in my approach to commenting on public affairs. >> will you're not the first one, i remember the late novak used to said the hardest interview he ever had on meet the press was one saturday mike mansfield asking the question he would say yet and then you ask another one he'd say nope and then he'd run out of questions. and herbert humphrey was easy cans one question he talked for 30 minutes. >> guest: you don't get in trouble for what you don't say. i don't think there's anything wrong with being cautious about your comments and i surly don't mind talking, but i usually like to know what i'm talking about before i ventured down the path. >> host: your not so cautious in your book, there's a lot of unexpected material in there. polio couple talk about that,
your fist fight with dickie mcgrew. your vote for lyndon johnson in 1964 over civil-rights and then when it gets to professor obama and senator harry reid, your democratic counterpart in the senate conservative fun you don't hold back. and and then i think most people would be surprised to learn that you're an all-american tailgater at the university of louisville. the start with polio. 1944, your two years old living with your mom and five points alabama. the dr., your dad is overseas in the war. the dr. says, mitch has polio. it is hard today to imagine how terrifying those words must have been for parents and. >> absolute. i subsequently learned that there is a serious epidemic in 1944 all over the country and the disease is very unpredictable.
of course you'd have the flu, you would think you would have the flu and a couple weeks later some people would be completely normal, some people might have an iron longer be dead. in my case, it affected my left quadriceps, the muscle between your knee and your thigh. in one of the great, good fortunes of my life this little crossroads, five points alabama was not even a stoplight there were as my mother was indicated with her sister while my dad was overseas fighting the germans. happen to be 60 miles away. roosevelt having gone them himself in the 20s. >> host: because he had polio as an adult. >> guest: he got it a try nine a completely paralyzed below the waist.
>> host: and your mother had no way of knowing that you be completely paralyzed. >> guest: the worst case for me would've been a brace on my left leg. and so i do not have a severe cases present as well have to. but the key you know imagine i'm two years old you know it to your kids are like, my mother took me over to they taught her physical split therapy regimen regimen and told her to administer it four times a day and keep me up my fee. so she literally literally wash me like a hawk for two years every waking moment. try to convey to me the message that they did not want me to think that i couldn't walk but i shouldn't walk. >> host: how do you keep a two-year-old for washed walking? spee-02 she wash me every minute and prevent me from prematurely walking.
she told me that years later. my first memory was a last visit to warm springs where they told my mother i was going to be okay and i be able to walk without a limp and we stopped in a shoe store in georgia on the way back to alabama to get a pair of low top shoes which were a symbol that i was going to have a normal childhood and i did. >> host: how old were you. >> guest: i was four. >> host: what an amazing thing, you have a chapter in your book called resilience, i, i guess resilience must come from that to some extent. >> guest: if impression is being on a set that early age are significant as some people think it would've had had one on me. if you stick to something you keep working on and giving it your best chances are you may actually overcome whatever problem.
>> give any impediment today? >> guest: the quadriceps is more important going downstairs and up, so i'm not great at going downstairs, but i've had a perfectly normal life. when i was a kid i wasn't good at running long distances but i can play baseball, sport that doesn't have the kind of back and forth like basketball does. >> let's move onto dykema group. your. your father occurs you to have a fist fight with him. >> hidden encouragement, had no choice. i was about seven and we lived in athens alabama and i had a friend across the street name dickie mulgrew who is your older and considerably bigger. he was also a bully and and he kept pushing me around. my dad was working in the yard one day and he saw the and he had seen it before. he called me over and he said
son, i've been watch and the way he's been pushing you around and i want you to go over there and beat him up and he said that he's older and bigger than i am and dad said i'm older and bigger than he is. so so i chose dickie. i went across the street and started swinging and i beat him up and bent his glasses. it was an incredible lesson in standing up to bullies. i thought about that throughout my life at critical moments when people are trying to push you around. >> host: 's you have a chapter called standing your ground. let's jump ahead to the university of louisville, people working working at c-span might wonder what to those senators talk about when there on the floor. the answer there talking about the university of louisville sports program, before get to that your honors thesis was the henry clay and that it inspired you to want to be united states
senator? >> guest: i had been interest in politics in school. i ran for the student body in high school and it was a big high school, very contentious race and i won. and so i began to follow politics. i remember at age 14 when the conventions were really the coverage of conventions were really dull. they focused on the podium and listen to all the speeches on tv >> host: or there is a big zenith radio and we listen to the whole thing pretty boring, i thought thought i was probably the only 14-year-old, thought maybe you are watching to so i began to to try to practice this craft and see if i could get good at it and that i ran for
president of student council in college and law school, and clay was the most famous politician in kentucky. >> host: what about clay inspired you most? >> guest: internet terribly significant state he had to become a major statesman and then kentucky people focused on clay so i wanted to learn more about him. >> so he was known for crafting compromises which is a duty word today for some people. >> guest: it is but it's absolutely essential. you and i and our daily lives to it every day in order to make the senate function so i did my senior thesis on henry clay and the compromise of 1850 and continue to follow him with aspiring
kentucky politicians to. >> host: there is another aspect of the university of louisville and that is the athletic programs, describe your tailgating schedule. >> guest: well, football football is an important part of life. >> host: but you take it pretty seriously. >> host: i do, i have about 12 season tickets every year. we go to every home game and an occasional away game and we make a day of it, we go out early, with one of my friends has an rv in the parking on and we talk about what will happen in the game and they would go to the game and then we talk about what did happen in the game, it is a complete lengthy exercise and of one of the great joys of life. >> host: let's jump ahead. were talking early early 1960s when you're at the university of louisville, you and i both drove
to washington, we both realized in a green mustang toward the end of the 1960s. i had worked for senator howard baker and i can remember 1969 center baker say to meet you need to go over me that smart, young legislative aide mitch mcconnell. but let's go back to louisville, and louisville you let a marcher part of a march on the capital about civil rights. you are in washington as i was to hear martin luther king speech in august of 1963, the, the i have a dream speech. you had goldwater come speak to the university of louisville because you're president of the college of republicans but you voted for johnson and 64. >> guest: i think the silver rights movement it was the defining moment of our generation. and 62 i had been fortunate
enough when i was in college republican president goldwater accepted an invitation to come. in a 63, the summer summer 63 people like you and myself got to see the i have a dream speech and then a 64i was an intern in senator cooper's office, two important things happen at 64, broke the filibuster of the silver rights bill and senator cooper was in the middle and we nominated barry goldwater, one of the few people to vote against the silver rights bill. i was mad as hell about it and i'm so irritated about goldwater voting against the silver rights bill and defining the republican party in a way that i thought would be unfortunate, that i voted for lyndon johnson which in retrospect was a huge mistake. but it was a protest vote. >> host: that feeling carried over into your senate days, you
voted when president reagan vetoed the sanctions on south africa for apartheid, you voted not to override his veto. >> guest: i voted to override it. >> host: which most republicans do not to. >> guest: i just felt like reagan was simply wrong about whether or not south africa sanctions could work, and i know that there are people who think sanctions never work, occasionally they do, they worked in south africa they worked in burma number of years later and i thought reagan was wrong and i did vote override is veto. >> host: how did you get interested question what those extraordinary and it lasted over 20 years, i remember watching you stand up and make speeches on the senate floor and wondered
what you're doing. >> guest: i start following her after she won the nobel peace prize in 91. for listeners for listeners who are not familiar with her, her father was the founder of modern burma but he did the very long, he got assassinated. she went off to europe and went to school and lived in the united states for well, married a guy from britain, had gone back to berman 1988, to care for sigma other when this movement started. she was thrust into the leadership, the military around the country since the early 60s decided to have a free affair election and they got creamed. their reaction to getting for creamed was to arrest all of the people who got elected and put her under house arrest in her own house where she remained
most of the time for 21 years. we would slip notes to each other and i offered her along with others some burma sanctions bills that ultimately made a difference. >> host: you visit her.long ago? >> guest: amazingly enough the regime began to crumble into thousand 11 and so then we are to talk on the phone and i actually went to burma and night january of 2012 and got to see her in person, invite her to come to the university of louisville later that year and she did come in september 2012 and now she is the de facto elected leader of the country even though the constitution prohibits anyone who is married to a foreigner to be president.
but in the constitution exactly to keep her from being president. she is de facto president, she is putting a president who was who was a close eye. >> you mention the mcconnell center, what is that? >> guest: is basically a scholarship program for the best of the brightest kids that i start about 25 years ago, ago, you have to be from kentucky and there's ten each year. ten freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. so it's designed to compete with ivy league schools and can scupper sharper kids to stay in kentucky for education, believing that if they say there they're more likely to stay there after school, 70% have chosen to stay in kentucky where most of the sharp kids off to the east to school never come back. what i do is bring in speakers and we have had great ones over the years, hillary clinton was
there when she was secretary of state, joe biden has been there while he was vice president. chief justice roberts was there and so that's a treat for not only the students but they also address a larger public audience folder there. >> host: let's switch to politics, the subject you like to discuss, your, your undefeated and you have won six races in kentucky, 12 county primers, let's talk let's talk about the first one, the bloodhound commercial, you were, well i think all of us in the united states senate our political accidents, not all of us will a minute but we are. you surely were. you were 30 points behind of the election year. >> guest: it was a desperate situation. roger who was. >> host: how did you find roger? spee-02 in those those days he
was doing a political consultant >> so he was willing to take on someone a democratic state was 30 points behind. >> he thought he had some clients he thought were going to win and me. i appreciated that he was going to take me on but this is a tough competitor. you can he started fox for rupert murdoch. here's a situation, it was july of the election, 1984, i was down 34 points, we had a meeting in louisville. i said rogers this race over and he said i've never known anyone to come from this far behind the sleep to win. but i don't think it's over. a very competitive guy, competitive guy, i was wanting against a smart democratic incumbent that didn't have obvious well abilities, we're looking for some kind of issue, needle in haystack.
it turned out, this is back on the honorary days. he had been making speeches for money while he was missing votes on the senate floor. so they turn that into a couple of ants featuring a kentucky hunter type person featuring bloodhounds looking for him to get them back to work. it electrified the campaign and get people interested in and got people talking. then a sql later we had a guy who look like him, an actor who is being chased by the dogs and who literally ended in the tree and the key line was we got you now, they treat him right at the end. not a landslide. but even though reagan carried
49 out of 50 states, we lost two seats to the senate and he was the only democratic incumbent senator to lose. >> i think the democratic components would find your method of campaigning which is to smash them in the mouth for the get started probably, i'm guessing your toughest campaign other than that was the last one in 2014 because you had the senate conservatives funds on the right and harry reid on the left. is a pretty big brawl. you started out by an ad that called your republican opponent, now the governor of kentucky to bail out. >> guest: you and i witnessed the results in 2010 at 2012 at 2012. >> i was glad the attention was on you. >> guest: the senate conservatives fund have basically cost us five races.
in 2010 and 2012. by nominating people who cannot win. said the beginning of 2014 i said were not to let that happen anymore and so what we dig not only my race but others around the country, we got the most electable people nominated and basically took them on because if you're dealing with a group of people who think compromise is a dirty word and toys want to make a point but never want to make a difference the only thing to do you want to win the election is to beat them, so we won every primary including my own. as you indicated my primer was an incredible guy. he he got elected governor of kentucky. he carried two out of 120 counties. >> host: that's kind like your fistfight but one of your top aides says this in 2013, the 13, the senate conservatives fund has been wandering around the
country destroying the republican party like a drunk who tears up every bar they walk in. the differences cycle is that we strolled into mitch mcconnell's barn he's not and throw you out, he's gonna locked the door. those are fighting words. >> guest: i think that's what needed to be done. as a result, if you look at 2014 as a result of that approach that only mine but several others, we took the senate back. we had the most electable candidates on the november ballot everywhere. >> host: let's talk about the senate democratic leader, harry reid. you and i were at bob bennett's funeral a few days ago and you and senator reid both spoke and said what i've often heard both of you said that people think mitch mcconnell and i don't like each other but we are good friends. a new you say in your book that you're friends with harry reid.
but then he say his a jekyll and hyde personality and when he hears that he says you're classless and then like donald trump you think women are dogs and pigs. not in your book you say he may be the worst majority leader. so the senate is a place of relationships, what about this relationship between the democratic and republican leader. are you friends or not? >> guest: i've been very public about a couple things about erie number one, i didn't like he shut the senate down and prevented people from voting. i didn't like the way he ran the senate. i think his public rhetoric is frequently very inappropriate. >> like what? >> guest: the example you just mentioned a few weeks before were taping this he took all of donald trump's most outrageous comments and attributed them to
me. well i don't do that to him. i don't don't think there's an equivalence here, but nevertheless to a lot of people it looks like refuting all the time, were not viewed in all the, we have to talk on a daily basis, i do object to the way he ran the senate and michael the current majority is to be as different in every way from perry and the way he ran the previous majority. i'm trying to do everything totally different. i do object to the way he ran the senate. i do object to the inflammatory rhetoric by calling alan greenspan a political -- he may be a many things but a political hack he certainly isn't. or calling george bush a loser same the iraq war is lost right in the middle of a major military exercise. i can't failed to express my objection to that kind of
rhetoric which is frequently flat out wrong. >> let's talk about the senate conservative funds any right about senator reid, you're a chapter entitled professor obama. why did you eat choose those words? >> the the president is a very smart guy. i think he knows a lot about a lot of things. i think he would do a better job dealing with others if you spend less time trying to acquaint wherever he's talking to at the moment with his brilliance and more time listening. just to draw a contrast to the president vice president. i've been been a number of major deals with vice president. they were important and worth doing for the country. he doesn't spending spending time trying to convince me of things he knows i don't believe. and i don't spend time convincing him of things that he doesn't believe.
we don't waste any time on that. we get down to trying to figure out what we can do together. i think the president would be better off, he's a brilliant guy, he successful in his political career and rising quickly to the top in american politics. but i don't think these electors are very helpful in getting an outcome if you're in some kind of negotiation. >> host: let's talk about divided government. you say that you and the president have not been able to accomplish more together because i've heard you say that divided government is the time when you do hard things because he spread the responsibility around. the democrats say about you the said early on that your main goal was to make president obama
one term president, i've heard you say that you made a speech earlier this time to go to work on entitlements that offer a hand to do that and you never heard back from anybody. so whose fault is it that we have not taken a bandage of the seven years of divided government to do more together? >> guest: i have a point of you on that, on the obama one term president i admire bob woodward who was the only reporter who reported the rest of what i said which was that in the meantime we have plenty of work to do and we have to look for ways that we have to look together. that was conveniently snipped off biomes to everyone. i think divided government is probably the only time you can do big transformative things. for example, reagan and tip o'neill raise the age for social security.
oregano tip o'neill did the last conference of tax reform. -- and balance the budget three years in a row, big stuff. arguably none of that could've been done in unified government. i'll give you an example of when it couldn't produce a big outcome. george w. bush was elected in 2004 and asked us to tackle social security. i was number two in the conference at the time spent a year trying to get any democrat even joe lieberman lieberman to join with us and their attitude was, you have the white house, you have the house, you have the senate, you want to do something on social security you do it, what that means is we'll see you in the next election. my big disappointment is that there's two things that have to be done to save america. entitlement eligibility changes. another words you have to change
the eligibility for very popular things like medicare and social security to fit the demographics of america tomorrow. not america in the 30s or in the 60s, social security and 30s medicare the 60s. the president knows that. he doesn't want to do comprehensive tax reform, spent 30 years and we need to do it again, it's it's not for the purpose of getting more revenue for the government the president won't do it in any other way other than to try to get additional revenue for the government. so these transformative issues we have been unable to address because the nation ceo simply doesn't want to do it. >> i suppose the best example of one we did do the was a civil rights in the 60s and we both saw that. i remember when i first came up
looking for senator baker, dirksen had the office you have and for days the big table senators came in and out as they worked together to see if they could get enough votes to get 67 which is what it then took to get closure. and they did that together because of their special relationship. have near broke a story senator john sherman cooper took you as a youngster to the signing of the voting rights act in 1965 and you had a conversation with president johnson's daughter, lucy. >> host: i saw lucy in 2008, at a celebration of her dad's hundredth birthday. birthday. i had never met her. i said lucy, we have never met but i was in this very room when
your dad's signed the voting rights act in 1965 and she said i was too. and i said and i said i'm sure everybody knew you but nobody knew i was there. and she said i'll tell you why it was there. my daddy said to me, did in the car will take you down to witness something important. i explained to me on the way down why dirksen was going to be prominently featured in his remarks. the reason, she said why would you have a republican. president johnson said to her, not only did most of the republicans vote for, but the nation will be more likely to accept it if they think we have done this together. >> host: of course to do that they had a relationship. senator baker used to tell me about the time he hurt his father-in-law
take a phone call in his office and heard dirksen say no mr. president, can't come down have to rank with with you tonight i did that last night and my wife is mad at me. then about 30 minutes later to be goats were outside and followed by the president of the united states pre-said if you'll come down and have a drink with me that i'm here to have fun with you. they disappeared in the back office the same office of the civil rights bill was signed. let's talk about the senate as mr. tuition. you said your main goal is to restore the senate as an institution. you're something of a historian. just thought about getting your phd in history, and you and you went onto the floor before your majority leader said you wanted to run the senate the way senator mike mansfield ran it was the majority 16 years by the time you came here. >> guest: what i meant by that
with my critique of harry reid is majority leader, first first we have to open the senate up, the last of the previous majority they're only are only 15 roll call votes on amendments the entire year. the first year of the new majority in 2015 we had over 200. so you open the senate top. let people vote. number two, when we talk about regular order which most people don't know what that means, it means a bill is actually worked on together. it comes out to the floor with bipartisan support and has a better chance of success. the best best example i can think of happens to be your bill to completely rewrite the know no child left behind which proved to be unworkable and unpopular. by the time you brought it out
of committee you have the democrats and republicans lined up, you took took it to the floor, was open for amendments not that everybody got everything they wanted and it passed with a large majority. we had done that time after time under this new majority. wethers trade promotion or five your highway bill which people think would be easy but we had done that in 20 years. cyber security, permanent internet tax moratorium, major opiate in hair when it addiction bill. we are hoping to achieve something important coming out of your committee related to some of the incredible cures that seem to be around the corner for our country. what does all this heaven? in a time of divided government refocusing on the things that we can agree on.
and do those come because when people elected by the government they say we know we have big differences but look for the things you agree on and do those. and that is how this majority is different from the previous one. >> host: what you have to do is give the other site credit, in my case of no child left behind that would've never happened if patty murray of washington had not been as interested in a result as i have an art bill, it's not a bad thing to give someone else credit, usually it helps you get where you want to go. you came here 50 years ago working for senator cooper. what is the most different about the senate today and what is something the same? >> guest: think what's different is the two-party labels mean
something today. when you knife first came to washington there were liberal republicans and conservative democrats. i think the two-party labels today are more descriptive of america's two-party system. democrats are mostly a leftist summer and republicans are right of center. so i think the labels mean more today. what i think is in different is there is not as much animosity or unwillingness to work together as is pretrade in the media. with the internet and 24 hour cable television going on people get hammered with what they teach them in journalism school. that only bad news and conflict is news. so so people are way more upset about the process
than they ought to be. they are legitimately upset about where they are in their lives. it's affect the average american is three or $4000 a year worse off today than they were when president obama came to office. that's a legitimate complaint, but the senate is not dysfunctional. it used to be but not anymore, one of my great frustrations is not many people know that. i remember when i came to the senate as a senator having work before i thought i knew what i was getting into but i did not realize what it was like to work in a body that operates by unanimous consent. most people don't realize you the majority leader but if the leasing carefully and see spaniel stand up and say i ask consent that the senate open tomorrow at 930 we have a prayer and and go to this bill. if one senator objects commit
you have to start over, how would you if you had to suggest to someone a book to read about understanding the senate, do one or two come to my? >> guest: it would probably put people to sleep because the senate is ironically working out pretty much the way george washington predicted, according to legend he was asked when he presided over the constitutional convention what you think a senate will be like and he said he thought it would be like the saucer under the teacup and the tea was/out of the cup and cool off. centers 100 years ago were not popularly elected. and only one third of the senate was up every two years. so i think on purpose the founders wanted the senate to be a place where the brakes could
be applied pretty easily. men over the years as you suggest the notion of unlimited debate empowered every single senator to have an impact. if the house is like a triangle with the speaker at the top the senate is more like a level playing field with the majority having to write first recognition. but after that it's a jump. stepping back from all of that what should people take away from the senate? it's a place for think slowdown in a rarely done at strickland partisan basis must to have a huge number of your party. spee-01 i think the first chapter robert caro's book about lyndon johnson and i think it's master of the senate, i think it's called the desks of the senate. when after the election the
engineers committed and if the democrats have won more than the republicans they on both the republican desks move enough over to the other side to even it out. to me that's a wonderful way to begin to think about the place works. limit switch gears. you are are married and had three daughters, divorced while you were mayor of jefferson county which is louisville. your bachelor for 13 years. and then then at the suggestion of a friend you had your assistant telephone the assistant for the chairman of the federal maritime commission and that's how you met elaine you have now married. that wasn't a very romantic beginning. >> guest: i had befriended a few people when i was a staffer in the senate and kept up with them. i went home to try to have my own career.
and as indicated i have been single for quite a while. and i wanted to meet someone new so i called up julia was a friend for a long time ago and said to know anybody new and she said i got the woman you are to me that was elaine chao whose families a classic example of why we never want to totally curtail immigration in this country. >> host: tell us something about her family's story. >> guest: her mom and dad born in mainland china, when they were young third touching the japanese invasion of china. when they got to be a little a little bit older there is the communist revolution. they separately managed to get out of mainland china and go to taiwan. they had met briefly on the mainland my father-in-law took a liking for her and took a search
for two years in taiwan. they got married and had three daughters my wife elaine was the oldest. he was ambitious and wanted to do better. so he came to america for three years by himself. he worked multiple jobs trying to get a start in the shipping business. he had been a ship's captain in taiwan. he wanted to be more than that. so for three years he worked multiple jobs to get his start. he called from a late mother and your law and three daughters to come over. they didn't have a a month enough money for an airline ticket they came over on a freighter and they were the only people on the boat other than the crew. he kept working and kept having kids. they ended up up with six store verse, for what to harvard business school and he built a
very successful shipping business. you have a that you see across america which is another reason why even at moments when were frustrated about attitudes towards illegal immigration, to remember that will virtually all unless you are african americans brought here against your will, the sons and daughters of risktakers. so the renewal process we have for the people come here legally tend to be the best american so i think alain and her family are classic example. >> host: i want to ask you about some senators. one living the rest of seats. the living one is john mccain, you and he had a big brawl or the first amendment. most people may not know that your first amendment view had to do with basically no limits on
campaign finance disclosure and devoted against the constitutional amendment that would've been desecration of the american plague. so you're pretty far out there on the first amendment but john mccain disagree with you. you fought it in the supreme court and lost, that was pretty acrimonious. what is is your relationship with john mccain today? >> guest: very close. that's a good example of being able to have one drag out fight over issues. it went over about ten years it was pretty stressful between us at various points, i called them up the day after he won, one of the worst days of my life was watching a republican house and senate in a republican president pass a bill that i was opposed to. and i was lost in the supreme
court and i call them up and say congratulations, you want come i lost we found that there were a lot of things that we can work on together and we became friends and allies on a variety of things. and that's where the senate ought to work. and and frequently does, not sure many people in public know that. >> host: do you consider mccain an american hero? >> guest: absolutely. >> host: i like you to give me one or two sentences about each of the following united states senators. all of them to cease. the first things that comes your mind about henry clay. >> guest: a great compromiser. >> host: lyndon johnson. >> guest: as a senator? overrated. i think the master of the senate was mike mansfield. >> guest: mike mansfield. >> guest: master of the senate. >> everett dirksen. >> guest: indispensable player
who knew when to oppose and went to join up in an unsung hero in the civil rights movement. >> guest: senator john sherman from kentucky. >> guest: role model is the young man, great conviction, very smart. >> host: ted kennedy. >> guest: she was the senate there's many books about him have been written and he roared and you and i both knew when he was passionate when she was about almost everything, but in many ways i think the most accomplished kennedy, he never got to be president, never was attorney general, but i think it almost every way the most accomplished candidate. >> host: 's really the most accomplished senator.
>> guest: we used to laugh with him about going to lincoln dinners and all you have to do is mention ted kennedy's name to fire the crowd. when i made my first speech on the floor about american history he came over unsolicited, took my bill and get stomach 20 democratic cosponsors within a day. he knew exactly how to make the senate work. senator robert byrd. >> guest: could have well been a senate historian. >> host: during the presidential campaign this year governor christie got over senator rubio for repeating himself during the debate. in your book you say, when i start boring myself to tears, i know i am beginning to drive the message home. another is, you think redundancy is a good thing. >> guest: and probably one of the few people in america that
thought rubio was to the right thing in that debate. i think the politics is repetitious. if you're trying to drive a message you have to repeat it a lot to make the point. i try to do that with my colleagues. one time is not enough. you can always count on three force not paying attention the first time. if you're really trying to make a point, repetition is a good thing. >> host: i want to ask you about sometime after three terms you're finally elected with the number two position in the senate. those november 13, 2002. then a month letter trent lott went to a birthday party and said something about thurman and suddenly he had to resign as leader, a position you had always wanted. he would seem to be the logical
person to move up but senator bill frisk took the position. at the end of january you had triple bypass surgery, so was your range of emotions during the two and half months? >> guest: i think my feeling was that i was never gonna have the opportunity to be the leader of my party in the senate. fortunately the health problem i had worked out fine but i had doubts during that time. i've been bypass by someone whose tenure circuit the lamb and had a significant health problem. i wondered if i would ever have an opportunity. to have the job that i've been hoping to have for quite a while it was a challenging time, but like other challenges i and others have come i don't want to make my story seem unique, if you just don't quit and keep
plugging chances are you will get where you're headed. i was tell students i spent time with the only way to fail is to quit or die. and we all have speed bumps and setbacks, are we defeated by them or just shake it off and keep on going. so i got my second chance and i got to be leader of the party that i wanted to be. when another disappointment it wasn't the majority leader, it was the minority leader. and you gave the blame for some of that to some of that republican violence. you talk in your book about that. the politics of futile gesture. >> guest: well it be some like why don't we shut down the
government to defund obama care. that's a futile gesture. obama's in the white house, obviously obama's not going to sign such a bill. the politics of futile gesture as a way describing tactical maneuvers that have no chance of success that only divide the party. that has been a challenge. spent a bigger challenge in the house of representatives and the senate, only if couple of couple of people in the senate have that approach, but it has been a challenge. on the outside is sought with the actions of the senate conservative fun. we've dealt with that by simply defeating them in the primaries. then he don't have a nominee who comes into the senate who wins second of all who comes in their thinking our job is only to throw stones every day and never achieve anything spit. >> one of the disadvantages a message you like to deliver is
that the republican majority is accomplishing a lot gets diluted. some republicans it's not an even presidential candidate saying it's not. that that makes it harder to read elect a republican president. >> guest: it's not just about messaging. we want to do things for country, no matter what her backgrounds are i think virtually everybody comes here wanting to actually accomplish things for country. you have to deal with it with the government you have. brock obama, whether i like it or not got elected. his been there for eight years and to suggest that we are to spend 100% of our time fighting with him rather than trying to look for some of the things that we can agree on that would make progress for the country struck me as absurd. >> why did you decide to write the book now?
>> guest: i think it was becoming the mood majority leader. it's a long game, i was not an overnight sensation. i thought it was a time in which the senate needed to be operated differently and was a pivot point for the senate. i think that's the reason i chose this time. >> host: is you are the king and there is one law you could pass, what would it be? >> guest: i think i would fix the entitlement eligibility problem. i think the one issue that can sink the country is the unsustainable current -- the way medicare and social security are currently crafted as unsustainable. it's the one thing that could completely tack or country.
centers have a weekly prayer breakfast on wednesday. tom daschle who had your job before said something, he reminded us and said he often thinks that he wishes he had priced even more than he did the power he had when he had it. in other words, he was saying take advantage of this incredible, accidental power that you have. you ever think about that? >> guest: i do. all majorities are fleeting. depending upon what the american people decide this november i could be the minority leader next to the majority leader position does present a real opportunity even in a body like the senate which is very different and difficult to make happen. there's a bandages to setting the agenda and the right of first recognition to move the country in the direction you would like it to go.
you don't how long that will last and he don't want to miss any opportunity to make the country better. you have to deal with the country that you have. i. i wish obama was not president, but he is. >> host: we have a few minutes left i want you to answer question the speech that kennedy got the cosponsors was known on is about teachers and when they can do that they go to the various desk and tried to find webster's desk in different and invariably one last me the question i want to ask you which is my last question. is it senator, what message would you like for us to take back to her students about the united states senate and the future of our country?
>> guest: i think the senate has been the indispensable legislative body because that is the place where things are sorted out. the place were only rarely does the majority good things exactly their own way. the place where stability can occur. most people don't think that in an area in which everybody wants instant gratification, if if you're looking for instant gratification or perfection, the senate would not be a good place for you. >> and at a time when many americans are not optimistic about our country's future, what, what would you want those teachers to tell their students about their future in this country? >> guest: i think because of our ignorance of american history we always think the current time
where in is tougher than others, we have had nothing like the civil war time we've never had a single incidence were a senator almost spee-02.the senator from massachusetts. america has massachusetts. america has had tough challenges, world wars, depressions, this is a great country. we are going to deal with whatever current problems are and move on to another level. i'm just as optimistic as i over was that this generation is going to leave behind a better america than our parents love you for us. >> host: that's an optimistic message from a kid who had polio, over came it, set his sights to be in the united states senate, made it and became the majority leader after 50 years of keeping his eye on the ball. he said in this life you have to be careful where you aim because you likely to get there.
i needed, thank you very much for talking with us. >> think you. >> "washington journal" look at the look at the trumpet ministration and congress. beginning monday will take a look at national security and defense issues including challenges facing president-elect trumps national security team and a closer look at james maddock. on tuesday december 27 as trade and job issues examining how congress and the trumpet ministration could change current trade laws in an effort to create or trade laws. we'll discuss our energy and climate issues might be impacted by the new congress and the incoming trumpet ministration. thursday december 29 will talk about immigration and how trump and congress may change policy.
you did it always such grace also one talk about that was like growing up in bed with the stories with your family >> my a colleague agreed to interview me iso excited that you agreed to do this because it talks about our relationship and and i am so thrilled and i will get to your question but the fact is the relationships it had developed between the women senators want me in so much i am not running again and people say why? i just feel after 40 years there are people well can carry the banner.
we have you interviewing me i just want one feel it is time and how did i get tough on? what was my life like as a child when i sat down to write that so long ago to golda meir shares when a first thought about it was one new ims up person because my dad was my idol the youngest of nine brothers and sisters the only one board in america of the rest were aboard in russia. none of them graduated high school boy he is born 1908 and after he buries my mom goes to city college of new york at night debts gate great grades to be, a cpa
after i aboard with then goes to law school at night one thing gets his degree so really i unthinking it is my dad pet when i sat down to say of the aisle lessons they all came from my mother >> she did not even greg to reform school were. >> that was always such a burden on her she was always so sad she tried to get heard gt don't know what exactly happened but she was so smart and not. the kind of smarts that she had was from the hearts and the sole. i lay out the rules of "the art of tough" so one is always to do the right thing and i know what it is like mothers human trafficking we
maybe with my heels i am taller the base still do that i don't know but one day i had had it eye to count the number two pencil i would stab it in the arm and i was stunned at what i did so to tell that story we thought we would keep our little secret then does it come to school next three days and i pass by every day there was the vacant lot. i was in the inner-city. i took it to my mother i took everything to her. i think i killed albert she
said barbarous to. what did you do? but i don't think so so let me call the principal then she found out his grandpa died i was so relieved i hugged him when he came back but it is a lesson that you never use violence. and of course, i never did after that. >> even as the young girl when they were not organizing even to get a new apartment lobby carpet. or one of the favorite letters when you were 10 years old your mother is in oslo with an elvis you are not allowed to visit. day you want to read that.
and then i said at least to live a decent life so i studied for the exam because they could not get into the program. it was like studying for an exam. i was so excited i ticket to elisabeth she said i don't know. and i tried and they said women don't do that. they said like it was a fact of life. i did said okay but then i quit so went to another firm were they allowed me quietly to have a little business on the side when i was the assistant to the vice president i had a little
side business so i could make $250 a week. >> that is why so many times in politics coming in on your shoulders and barbara mikulski as well. and for young people to read your story to understand when most were expected only to have a few jobs. that was it. also your grace has been to have been married to forever you say this is one of my favorite quotations that i often joke he buried debbie reynolds said woke up with golda meir. [laughter] because remember young women
did not have the opportunities that we have today. so we had to settle for a lot less. when he met me i was pursuing my dream as an economics major and in to talk to out these issues have the day or here they are evicted nine appropriate for women but agenda that was the bit odd because with day but i was set kid and
going to the senate in negative will fly to the moon by yourself. >> host: then you make a decision that was monumental that you decide to move to california. how did that happen quick. >> sister had moved there and wanted to visit. phil made law review in florida so i think my eyes open up and running arms dropped to never see anything as beautiful as this. i grew up in brooklyn this by the way but i talk about only a book called.
i cannot describe it. o k. but i have to get a job in advance. so he did and we cannot to california but everything about that is so incredible and then your first son is born to months later and you were still in moscow and they will let your husband to go for the birth because he had an exam but this was dangerous back then there you are on your own. >> with no insurance. >> host: so we're shows he
but was there no leading interest to the affordable care act? so it is a very traditional time to grow what been the shadow of the lacrosse. now you are in california, northern california in the shadow of the vietnam war and you were not that involved you were right on the cusp but still got involved to organize to take those early lessons and to take the amount is much bigger than the vietnam war. >> you were right to point out to because of me going into politics. by that time had two little kids so then you start to
think long term and wonder what kind will will my daughter grow up? and to play painter around the time of the vietnam war but the special lead then because that is the first war that came into your living room. so i was a part of at anti-war movement of the meat -- of the marches peacefully. and i became a real activist and when the seats open up a beautiful place north of san francisco with those issues what could be the done
locally for women's rights or the environment? and said would you run? [laughter] he said it pays $11,000 per year by don't you do it? so i ran. it was so crazy. i came out on top of the other two republicans. >> so before a we had the vote and i came out on top it is the incumbent's position and they tried to use the. >> because my campaign was going strong. he looks across and says i
have been giving this a lot of thought. and said my wife is a physician and i speak wife of her and to say you should drop out. why would they do that? >> because you will be bad for women. but that was the first thing that came to my mind. and every hair went straight up but when somebody has gone over the of line. this is it part of the meeting is over and they got
up to shut the door. but he got revenge when. it was absurd that he can outlast so i lost that by a small boat. -- to vote. >> so even weigh how can you do this with four kids greg. >> said to kid. >> host: then she said no. you have times acid. >> but the book of what it was like to be a woman when but if not you would just cry yourself to sleep i would knock on the door going door to door.
>> but it is a did picture of them bleeding -- bleeding and i of the first one that is -- you are running for senate clarence thomas hearings are going on. just with clarence thomas as the nominee that there is a photo of view meeting the with the end up the stairs of the senate. >> i look at all of us when they see that photo. i see a focus, determination , it really captured the moment
is the iconic photograph that for me it was the symbol of equality. you have a professor who is intelligent and then she was sexually harassed to the supreme court. and the guys in the senate and let me be. >> now the reasons i explained in the book. but what it felt like for us. >> you are demanding a meeting. >> keys said there's only one way. walk over there.
so my cellar did this way and was the bait -- happily working. but we walked over one and the rest of the women and they fell of set the top but they have those conflict on negative conference and one tree box charges. >> so we say hello where the women from the house want to come in and speak with a
senator. he said what a? we'll let strangers in the senate. i wrote another book along time ago i said what you talking about? we are with the in negative house we have over 100 years of experience between us we just want to talk to the senators. so don't take offense but anybody who was not a center is called a state. >> that is what she said. so in the back of my mind i said that is well and good but there are cameras there and we will tell them that we could not see anybody and
he said just a minute. he said go into the side room and george mitchell will meet with you. but the reopened hearings as i explained in the book there was a movie made about it by hbo but anybody within the sound of our voices that endeavor ever would have gotten to the senate. thereto people. diane was way ahead because she was much more known and had run for governor and as the mayor. i was considered more progressive because it was tougher so relieve the state was purple and red. supports attention on the
fact that there were no women. when i talk about the story the yen was in a stronger position you cannot have two jewish women running at the same time. and you are primary her fame this line you're good is the contents of your best bet of women of the senate. not any more. >> then i get the question are you serious? as if no state ever had to win the number one. i have to go back but with weekend that and he never
issues fell out the $0.5 -- protestant mcadoo's check it -- chicken soup. so be stuck together on the campaign trail and the messages were so powerful for free the downhill and the judiciary committee he is elected and you have some mass -- sunnyvale but then it started to grow and. >> then i remember barbara mikulski said you are giving
up the state house feed and she said nevada of women are. >> to say it is not about gender. >> day should have the house banking scandal but there was the investigation. so they tried to use that against to end at one point at nullify will keep running. >> the house banking scandal this is what it was.
it wasn't really a bank does not operate like a bank it took them days before they would credit that. i would write to a rent check our paper mother's medicine and then two weeks later i get the fine but they don't tell you. so are - - so then all of these people to put the fbi on the case. i thought where they sitting here with me they could be going after criminals? but they were running horrible adds and it was depressing show me your checkbook is a level not show you my checkbook that
infuriated the press. they've met me at the airport with a camera is she will not show was her checkbook. it was a total nightmare so i gave up. i don't need this. i can go back to being a reporter or tv show i said "this is it." i thought he would be happy. that we support you as a constituent. he said the stock about it when you get all my said there is the bane to talk about so on the way home i stopped off at the party they were watching "60 minutes" so now i walk home he is watching a baseball game with two kids waiting
for me and i said what you doing they did not even live there. they said mahon you cannot drop out. i said why not? i have to have some dignity is city art going to be slower but this is happening. sometimes you are up sometimes you markdown tears are coming in my daughter finally says you cannot do this. she looks at me and says mom what will the message me to count on you and you will just walk away?
so i guess they have it they gave it back at me and i stayed in the race and i win the race by a lot. that had a tough race for the general but i am so glad i did because in a lot of ways it is a book to say don't succumb to that. >> so talk about some of those battles. and also on the ethics committee your policing north fellow senators about harassment and climate change at the forefront of many battles i told my constituents there is good news and bad news about the senate.
were running against currency fury now i was on the committee with uic would you were doing and what you are up against with climate change you are running and i thought we see her now running for president and you put her away. >> but that moment she was caught on air talking about your hair and your reaction because what once again to the people watching this if they're raising their families to be changed the course of human events. put it that way. theory now was considered top tier candidate she had
million dollars of loans with her golden parachute race was neck and neck. and trying to help the president i was standing on the floor just looking out tens of thousands of jobs a month. california was a mass. b were struggling. and i am running for reelection. they blame everything on be even when their brains when. and it is tight i say she
>> they said the hard time but they did understand to stand up the iraq war. so many times you were alone or willing to take that stance. what i love is that it talks about if through the lessons of history also even when people did not agree they endorsed did you would be tough and stand up for that. >> i did beat her by 1 million votes but so who that is to the person is.
but to make america great that is hell of might work. but they don't think that way. they profit off of somebody's misery. but truly. >> one may not be enough one but when the cameras were off. they put it together when she was ceo she ship jobs overseas. >> we have one minute left. with get your incredible career and you can pass it
on others but what you want to pass 91 but even as they open the book there are quotations that say the first thing about be. but that is what i want to say to everybody. stand up for what you believe in and leave days -- lead this satisfying life. >> host: recommend your book but they need faith and politicians