tv David Rubenstein The American Story CSPAN November 10, 2019 7:50pm-9:01pm EST
it's never been more relevant in that respect but you have to look back at this incident to see where it happens. >> ladies and gentlemen -- >> now we have the main event, so everybody listen. i get the pleasure of introducing david tonight needs nwhoneeds no introduction, but e are going to do this anyway. the last time david was a featured speaker at the economic club was june, 2004. senator george mitchell as
president of the club and we had 288 members. flip phones were all the rage. facebook was founded. the world war ii memorial was dedicated. george w. bush was elected president and majopresident ande baseball returned to washington at the washington nationals. [applause] fast forward 15 years the nationals are in the world series. [applause] [cheering] and david rubenstein is back. the cofounder and chairman of the carlyle group as well as the chairman of the boards of trustees of the john f. kennedy center for performing arts, the
smithsonian institution and the council on foreign relations. we all know that he's also engaged in many other philanthropic activities that are too numerous to mention. david coined the phrase philanthropic philanthropy with the restoration of some of the country's great historical landmarks including the washington mann demand, sit back because there's a number of these. the washington monument, the memorial, the u.s. marine corps, the war memorial, washington library of mount vernon, monticello, montpelier and at the arlington house. david has also purchased copies of the historical documents like the declaration of independence of the emancipation proclamation and magna carta to ensure they are publicly displayed at places like the smithsonian and national archives.
and of course we at the economic club know that he has become an insightful, revealing and entertaining interviewer that the signature event and since 2016 as the host of bloomberg television david rubenstein show peer-to-peer conversation, he's become quite a television star. david a long life enthusiast is releasing the book the american story conversations with mass historians consistent with david's ongoing gift to the nation he will donate the book royalties to the library of congress literacy a award. [applause] and now in its 12th year as economic club president, david has completed 133 interviews for club today that has over 900
members. we can truly say without exaggeration that the economic club wouldn't be what it is without david at the helm. with a hearty round of well deserved recognition and applause, let's all please welcome david to the stage as our extraordinary leader. [applause] thank you very much. thank you. thank you. thank you for that undeserve ond standing ovation. i want to set the stage by giving a little background that leads up to the buck.
i want to thank everybody for coming this evening. i realized i'm not as famous as many of the people we bring in for interviews and i want to thank you for giving up your evening and all of you that helped make the club what it is. my experience they worked with me at the white house and asked if i were to spea would speak te economics and i said okay but i don't even know what it is. i wasn't invited to speak for how many years. some of you may wonder how i got to be the president of the economic club and i've wondered that myself many time. like many back room backroom cie filled by guess and that is how i got elected what happened is i got a call from vernon jordan said what i can see him at his office in new york so i said okay, went to see them at the
office and it has already said i'was already saidi'm going to d i'm going to make you sit here until you become the president of the economic club of washington and i said well i don't really know, i'm not even a member. he said that isn't a problem. [laughter] ultimately i agree because he's very persuasive and he's the kind of person many of you may know these kind of people you can say no to them, but eventually you will say yes. so it's just easier to say yes at the beginning so you don't have to bother for saying no until you get yes. so i said yes and he said mary brady takes care of everything so you don't have to do anything. and she does. [laughter] [applause] all you have to do is get one business person a quarter, you invite them, you know them, get them to come in, questions come
up and that's it. i realized most of the business people were relatively boring and people were falling asleep, looking at their watches. the questions came up and these were all old members, not the current but the questions were not very good so i pretend that i was reading the questions but i was making them up as i was going along. as you've heard we have a lot of the mouse about me talk about the three strands that lead to the book one is interviewing int the second is my interest in philanthropy that we will talk about tonight and then third is my interest in history. first on interviewing. i had a little background in it.
i started to draw people to our events. i wanted to have big-name speakers but nobody wanted to hear david speak a long time ago maybe not even now i would get former secretaries of state and they would come and we would pay big fees and they were not that great. people were falling asleep. eventually i said what if i just interviewed them and make it easier so i would go to the agent and say why don't i just interviewed them and they would say is that the same fee? yes. okay. so i would interview them and got to the lively and so forth. when i got to the club a year or two later i felt comfortable doing the interviews and it's fun.
it's the kind of thing that led to the bloomberg show some of you might have seen an it in asa member of the club said to me why don't you do this on television for bloomberg and i said okay. i didn't really think that it would have been. okay we are going to put it on and i realized it was not 60 minutes. it didn't have that big of a viewing but they did play it 20 times a week and it's everywhere over the world. all over the world. so, anyway, i said what's going to be the name of the show and they said we are going to call it the david rubenstein show and i said i don't know if a long jewish name is going to work and he said it's not a problem it will work out. [laughter] so i started doing this and enjoyed it so it's been fun and people often ask me how i do it.
i read a lot and prepare and write down the questions and then i don't use notes. but there's anything wrong with using notes that i feel that when i do it better to do but without note. mostly carlisle and here and then i find when i go around the world people only know me for interviewing. some college or business students only think i do interviews that's okay that's what i'm known for now. let me talk for a moment about philanthropy. i started carlisle as some of you may know with a couple other people and it turned out that we got lucky and i will tell you what actually happened. we were not qualified, we didn't have a background in this area i
was propelled to do it i read about two things, one a man named bill simon who then the secretary of treasury and the forward administration. he left and did something called a leverage buyout and had a company could gibson greeting cards. about two and a half years later he made $80 million. i said wait a better than practicing law. [laughter] so i went down the street to bill miller and said you must know what they are i will do legal work but don't you start a firm. ultimately we got it together and raised $5 million at the start in 1987 and i was prepared to do it right then because i read an average entrepreneur
would start his or her company between the average age of 28 and 37 and i thought if i don't do it now my chances are limited. we had a good track record that we came up with an idea that had changed the face of private equities the reason it's based in washington is the idea that t we had. it was a mom and pop business. the deal done in 1989 had seven people in the firm because you werwewere supposed to spend 100f your time managing the fund you may have had them spend all your time on that so we raised and told my partners you manage that fund and i will do something else. i will not ask my investors for permission to do this i will ask for forgiveness later on.
i wasn't going to spend 100% of my time on that. i was doing to try to create a fidelity of private equity which is to say the growth capital fund, real estate fund and the brand name to build a large organization in different areas which hadn't been done before so that was the novelty that allowed us to grow and that is how we grew the firm then at one point of forbes magazine there was an article that was pretty high by everybody's standards except for delegates to -- bill gates. if i say i'm going to give $100 billion tomorrow you would laugh for the moment and then as soon as you have the 100 billion euro buy by a plane, boat, coue houses then you have 99.5 billion left. that's the problem bill gates and others had, what will you do
with this amount of money you can only do a limited amount of things. i don't have as much as bill gates but it's the same dilemma you can basically be buried with it, take your wealth but that's probably not a good idea. second thing you can give it to your children which is what most people historically have done. one of my children here would say that is a good idea but there's no evidence that the child inheriting a billion dollars goes on to win a nobel prize. maybe they do you never know. then you get down to you can give it away later in life after you pass away but i wasn't sure i would be in the place to be able to see what the executor was doing so i will try to give it away than bill gates called one day and said he didn't really know me into my office so he came and we had lunch and
start the giving pledge and i said i would be happy to start and there were 40 of us in the beginning. historically what you do when you have money most people give it away to educational institutions, ethical research, cultural institutions. one thing that happened by happenstance and many that have been by happenstance are often the best things. if i said what can i do with my money other than educational institution they may have came back in a month or two with a good report what happened to my happenstance and here is what happened. i was flying back from london to new york going through my mail and saw i was invited to a viewing of the magna carta. what is he doing in new york? it turns out the first ones were
done in 121-52-1297. one was in the australian parliament and british institutions and one was bought by ross perot for the british family that had a dispossession for 500 years they decided they would give up their land or the magna carta. ross perot went over, ran the auction, bought it for about a million dollars, rolls it up, goes back to discuss and he says it's the magna carta. sure, let him through. [laughter] but that is what happened so they put on the archives and then he decided to sell it and i was told that they the curator would probably sell to somebody that was from overseas and i knew that the magna carta was
the inspiration for the declaration of independence because the magna carta had so many things that led to the declaration of independence, things like no taxation without representation which led the fighto thefight with the britisi thought one of the copies should stay in the united states. and it's a little presumptuous to say that i would buy the magna carta's waited until anybody i went back and wasn't really a person that went to these much. they put you in a little room and say you were going to bid and you start getting. if you've ever been to these auctions you can get carried away. do you have the money for this, yes i think so. you can slip out the sid split r and nobody will know who bought it or you can tell the reporters
who actually. i said i don't mind. i went out and said i came from very modest circumstances. my father worked in a post office's entire life and i got very lucky in my business career so i'm going to give this to the united states government as a payment on my obligation to give back to the country. so i did that. he said i'm sorry i didn't take you seriously. nobody has come to my house before in with a magn magna caro i didn't know how to do that. some of you may have seen at the national archives and then i started getting calls. i realized there were other
copies and i realized if you put them on display the human brain isn't yet so evolved if you have a computer slide with a copy of the magna carta or you might just go to the next slide but if you go and visit their real magna carta you are probably going to be prepared to spend some time preparing by learning more about it for after you see it you might want to learn more about it so by having the documents on display i thought it would be a good idea to do this because people might learn more about the history and similarly what happened was the earthquake we had affected the washington monument and ahead of park services i asked how much it would cost to fix it and he said he would take a long time to get the money from congress.
i said i will put up the money don't worry about it. then later he called me back and said congress would like to put up half the money and i said okay fine so congress did and we fixed it and it's of course now open. the same thing is true with historical monuments. so the lincoln memorial and other things as they kind of fall and need some repair this better shape more people will come to see them and prepare by learning more about the building before they go to learn more afterwards. spam is important in our country we want that education. but we stopped teaching children civics and history, not stopped but we don't have as much as we used to and we don't have history courses as much as we used to end the result i and thu can graduate any college today
without having to take in american history course and you can graduate from any college as a major tv% without taking a history course and the result is right now three quarters of americans cannot name the three branches of government. one third of americans cannot name one branch of government. amazingly, 20 something% of americans think larry summers was the first treasury secreta secretary. 10% of american college graduates think that judge judy is a member of the united states supreme court which is not the case. [laughter] a survey was done recently are there any naturalized americans in the audience today? let me explain how you take a citizenship test and live in the country for five years is 100 questions come in the past 60 you are a citizen. 91% of the people that take the
test as they the same test was given by a woodrow wilson foundation to the citizens who are native born in all 50 states and 49 out of 50 states a majority of the nativeborn who took the test failed. only one state vermont did they pass which shows you people do not really know as much about history and so forth and they don't know as much about history you run into the problem that if you don't know as much about history or your past you might be likely to repeat the mistakes in the past. one of the things i have been trying to do is to educate people about more and this led to what we are going to talk about tonight. it led to what we are going to talk about and what is in the book.
[applause] carla was giving an introduction before but let me just say born in florida then moved to chicago and later became the library and the city of chicago and became the chief library and which she was for 22 years and then when president obama was looking for somebody to replace jim billington he selected a car lot and she did a spectacular job as the librarian of congress. [applause] >> first you tell everyone one of the secrets you are a superstar and as a librarian i have the article.
you said you don't use notes. i use notes. >> it works for some people. the best interviewers have notes. [laughter] when you were in baltimore, i mentioned that you had some difficulties as a child waiting to check out books. >> my parents were not able to go buy a bunch of books. there was a library about a mile and a half from my house. you could go and get a library card. maybe some of you hav had the se experience you could take out 12 books a week. i didn't figure out how to game
the system than i would have to wait until the next week. i read a lot of books. >> interest in literacy what you have done with the file library, you sponsored literacy award but you feel very strongly about the economic impact. >> one o >> one of the great pleasures of my life is reading and reading books because i came from circumstances no doubt many of you have as well when you read you get to be exposed to so many different things, so the sixth this ex- post me to so many different things the way that newspapers or magazines don't quite.
here's the problem we have in the country. this is hard to believe that 14% of the adults in the country are functionally illiterate which means they can't read past the fifth-grade level. you may have a pretty good chance of being part of the criminal justice system. the link once in the system are functionally ill of it. two thirds of the people in the system are functionally illiterate. when you have a million or 750,000 kids dropping out of high school every year, a large part of them are going to be functioning illiterate and never be able to recover. we have a gigantic income equality problem and a lot of reasons we will not solve the problem tonight, but one of them is people at the bottom of the economic just cannot read. i encourage people to read and also encourage people to do something else. illiteracy is you can't read. it's hard to believe that 30% of
the college graduates in the country never read another book after they graduate from college. that's because they might be a newspaper but they don't read books. then we have the people that don't read it at all so we have to solve this problem. i understand that you read hundreds of books a year. >> i try to read a hundred a year and it's not that complicated. i'm not reading physics textbooks or chemistry textbooks. i have a lot of flaws. i read the books i know books ig about. i read history books, biography books and books about the government politics to get those are things i can read pretty quickly because i have a background in them. iif i have to read a physics bok i could read one book a year but i couldn't get through it so i'm reading things i know and also i
have a love of programs where i interview authors and when you interview an author i think that it's discourteous if you don't read the book. i like to read the book and if you do with takes time so recently in my book we will talk about in a moment his wife walk you can read it pretty easily pi had an interview recently with a woman that wrote a book on the history called these truths and its 900 pages and it's a serious book in history. the first comprehensive american history book written by a woman as it turns out and it's a great book. by doing a lot of interviewing it forces me to read the book so that is one of my tricks is to be interviewing people that way i have to read the book. >> i have to ask you and this is
the literary equivalent of boxers or briefs. [laughter] [inaudible] or hard backs. [laughter] i would say i like to buy hardback books because probably i can carry them around and they won't get crumpled up as much. i'm not as opposed to the paperback but for things i'm very technologically unsophisticated i would say as my office would know. [laughter] so it wouldn't work and it would break right away. i'd like to go to the bookstores and get them ordered and then carry them around. i know it looks strange to walk around with a lot of books but
i'm old and that's what i do. >> the planes are not that big of a problem, but yes i like to carry them around and it's good. the secretary of the smithsonian wrote a book about the history of the cultural museum and it's unbelievable what he did, but the book is smaller print and i said when you get older -- i said in the next edition can you have bigger print not quite gigantic but some of you may have seen these things i don't know if your eyes gets worse when you get older but if it's a decent sized print as my book is you will be able to get through
it pretty quickly without any eyestrain. i love books and collect all the books i've ever read i have a prayer book collection and i have been biting rare books for a while and owner copies of the federalist papers so it's a terrific collection. when the country was started there was no printing press so people came over and they were reading the prayer books and said we don't want to be members of the anglican church. we are puritans. we are different but they didn't know how to get one because
there was no printing press in the united states so they ordered one and it came over i think 1645. the man who brought it died on his way over but his wife inherited it and they decided to use it to print the first book in the country which was a prayer book. there are seven of those left now. one church in boston had two of them. they were financially in trouble so they put one up for sale. i paid the highest price ever paid for a book, but i didn't realize at the time that was true and they read the next day in the times of the woman selling it said we never thought we would get half of that so i realized i overpaid. of all the things i like to put on display so people can about it. books are an important part of my life and reading is one of
the things that helped me get where i am. wilwill there be another one? >> i served at duke university and i'm now at john hopkins so for university boards. i was the only one that had never written a book. this is embarrassing. how can i be on all of these boards and i recently got on the academy of arts and sciences. it's just embarrassing to have no book written. i didn't know how to do it. eventually, i thought i better r get this book done before i can't and my brain isn't working. so i thought we would do this series and let me -- >> it important to include so many things. this is an extension of what the
library of congress does for members. everybody has probably heard about the congressional research service on a dedicated specialists by a nonpartisan objection research for congress. this series is a way of engaging members of congress in a different way. >> for those who don't know it is a misnomer. it's not just for congress. it was set up for that as you know. when john adam was president of the united states, he signed legislation that authorized just as the government was moving down to washington from philadelphia. and i think they authorized $5,000 to buy something like 300 books 83 or four maps or something. so, it was a small number of books into this and the congress building in the capital. 1814 the canadians invaded the
country. the british invaded the country and burned at the white house and burned down the congress and so forth and then they burned down all the books. thomas jefferson who was always close to bankruptcy needed some money so he came up with a clever idea he would sell his collection, which he did come ds controversial. many people didn't want to take the collection because he wasn't considered a real christian. he believed in god but not in christ so much as a son of god so they had to go through every one of his titles to make sure there was nothing in the collection that would be improper to die so ultimately they bought it for i think twentysomething thousand and that became the collection in the libraries of that was burned up some points but ultimately it became the library of the united states and the main building was no built-in 97 under budget
under -- >> in the library of congress is three big buildings here. the main building and then the official monument of james madison, the madison building. and the members of congress loved the library of congress because the research service does a lot of research for them so this was the basic idea that led to the book. i like history and i like doing interviewing and i like the library of congress. i've been involved in and out of the book festivals for a while. i've been involved for a number of years. i don't know if anybody has been to it, but the idea came from laura bush. she was here in the inaugural party in 2001 and said jim billington do you have a national book festival here like the texas book festival that we have in austin. he said we don't yet, but we will. [laughter]
so they started that year. it was on them also i off of yoy remember, then he moved it to the convention center and i think we get about 150,000 or 200,000 in one day you get 140 offers coming and it's spectacular and it's a great way to insight people about books. i love the library of congress and i thought one of the things we could do this help educate members of congress more about history, though i know members of congress already know a lot about history. a great supporter of the
smithsonian thank you for coming as well. the idea was i would try to find in appropriate person to interview about american history like members of congress we would ask them to bring one of the guests. we had dinner at the library and a recession where members can come and this is the interesting thing about it. members of congress do not generally socialize that much with people from the opposite party. occasionally they might, but it's not something they do is maybe they used to say this is a chance without the price being there they can mingle with people on the opposite party and because they don't have as much legislation, we don't have as
much conference committee so there isn't as much interchange between the two bodies as they used to have so they come and look at documents that related then we come down and have a dinner and members are encouraged to sit with the opposite party and opposite house and then i will interview one of the authors and so forth and so we've had doris kearns goodwin and people like that. i think we've had about 40 of them and just this week or last week we had a book on sandra day o'connor and some of you may have heard of this book. in that book just as an aside, sandra day o'connor turned over her family papers to evan thomas and he discovered a marriage proposal from william rehnquist
to sandra day o'connor. they were different in those days and said she was still at stanford and something like hell about getting married this year or something like that but she said no. [laughter] >> and in fact you actually said that and you start out with those type of questions. your first interview was with john meacham. >> was the first one who had written a book on jefferson and john is a turkic scholar, now the head of the thomas jefferson foundation. ..
>> in addition to our historian historians, i interviewed john roberts. in the interview i said did you always want to be chief justice of the united states? he said no when i was little i had no interest in that. did you want to be a justice? know. a judge? know. know i didn't want to be a lawyer either but i wanted to be a and historian about american history and my father said that's a nice profession but you won't make any money you will write books nobody will read how do you support
your family? so he went to harvard and majored in history coming back from spring break and the sophomore year got in the cab and said to the cab driver take me to cambridge and he said are you a student at harvard? yes i am. what are you majoring in quick. >> history the cab driver said that that i majored and also. [laughter] so he thought maybe he had one - - his father had some good idea. >> so with george washington it turns out no member of his family and he was 57 and said i'm too old for that but for four years he didn't want to do it again so he stayed for
eight years. so he goes back to mount vernon at the age of 64 or 65 and rides around his plantation every day. it was a tradition that if you were passing through mount vernon you would stop off to pay homage to the great man even if you did not know him. it is said george and martha never had dinner alone for 20 years because all these guest came through that is why their marriage work. [laughter] they always had guest all the time. one time he comes back it was sleeting and snowing he has guess they are and didn't want to be impolite so he sat downstairs in the cold close he can't breathe the doctor says there's only one solution
cut the veins and get the bad spirits out. that doesn't work. so he died. in his will he has two unusual provisions. number one he wanted his sleeves to be free. he was the only founding father who said i want my sleeves to be freed upon my death however it's upon the death of my wife. how would you like to be martha washington sitting there knowing that the slaves know that they will be free as soon as you die. so she freed them quicker. [laughter] he said don't bury me for two days. the reason is he was afraid of being buried alive. the doctors were so bad in those days that they would put you in a coffin and you were not really dead so they put bells in the coffin you were supposed to ring it. the term dead ringer comes
from. it turns out he was dead. >> by thomas jefferson a great man and a great writer not a great public speaker he only run one - - wrote one public speech as president of the united states. but he had this relationship with sally hemmings which was denied for a long time by people that i think now the evidence makes it incontrovertible that it happened. why? his wife on her deathbed said i have a stepmother. do not marry again. he was 39 when she died he had
a total of four daughters. and then to daughters because one of them he brought to him france and the other one wanted to come over was sally hemmings because he escorted the daughter she was a slave on the plantation had not seen her and at the time i believe she was 14 or 15 the age of consent then was 12 it was raised up from ten years old. he saw her and when he saw her he saw his wife and many reason. thomas jefferson's wife, her father was a slave owner he impregnated a slave and the result was sally hemmings.
when he saw sally hemmings at 15 he saw his wife that she was three quarters white so she was very light-skinned not unlike his wife and for whatever reason he had a relationship with her and apparently he said if you come back from france with me i will free all of our children. she went back with him they had six and four lived through adulthood and sure enough upon his death he freed all of them but not her. the reason is that if you were freed as a slave in virgini virginia, you had to get your name approved by the state legislature because they didn't want freed slaves living in the state and she wanted to stay in virginia. so he didn't want to free her.
he never denied it he just never admitted it. that's why it was complicated but had a relationship with her almost 40 years. so charles lindbergh is interesting. he flew 33.five hours from new york to paris. big deal. we do that all the time. there was a prize awarded $25000 the first person who flew from new york to paris for many people died doing it. as a young 25 -year-old pilot flunked out of university of wisconsin had a job and then decided to build his own plane and financed it and when he
landed it was such big news all over the world it was said he is the most famous man who ever lived because for the first time the world was connected electronically when he landed in paris everybody in the world knew. and there was a pulitzer prize-winning book on this in 1999 he knew everything about lindbergh and his incredible life story. one of the most famous men in the world so the book comes out and wins a pulitzer prize and he gets a handwritten letter to say that book was not that accurate because you didn't tell the full story. he didn't know what this was he agreed to meet with a person from a child and a young woman at the time and said charles lindbergh had
fathered seven children with three german women out of wedlock in two of the women were sisters and they didn't know they were each having an affair with him. so when the book came out in 1999 spending ten years of your life that he managed to hide from his family and his wife he had seven other children. these are some things you learn when you interview these people. >> when you interview them and to check some of the authors since you do a lot of research you have occasion to do that. >> it is a complicated situation. many times i'm here interviewing authors they have not read the book in ten or 15 years.
there is one who hadn't read his book in 20 years. it's a great book he had not read it. well i just read the book so when i interview him you realize he made a mistake do you say you don't know what you have written? or to suggest maybe it's a different fact or don't push it too hard or you will embarrass them some have it read their book so i can understand that. >> so what is the reaction of what they think. >> because congress told you. >> okay. [laughter] members of congress say it's one of the more enjoyable things they are doing because they get to socialize and learn about american history i
think they enjoy it. sometimes they say this is the most enjoyable thing they are doing in congress which is not a good thing to hear you would think passing legislation would be more enjoyable but many of them call that date night because they bring their spouse. i think they enjoyed a lot. so what i try to do in the book most of the interview is there was some excerpts and then and then you learn about the history robert caro he wrote a book on a man named robert moses in terms of building and construction and
it was called by time magazine subsequently one of the best books ever written. incredible book and it took seven years. so they said what about not local power or national power or lyndon johnson? that was 45 years ago. now he has written four volumes on lyndon johnson and he has the fifth volume to go the whole world is waiting but now he's 83 years old we don't know what he thinks about the vietnam war but members of congress would bring their dog eared and when you listen that is staggering because lyndon johnson is elected to the united states senate by 87 votes. landslide lyndon.
robert caro went back and did some research to find one of the people that managed one of the precincts that lyndon johnson had 1202 votes were cast alphabetically in favor of lyndon johnson. so without those he might not have one by 87 votes. but he did. so a lot of interesting things. >> you also mentioned in the book he is a wonderful writer and historian but also one of the most engaging people. >> some people write great books other people may not be great writers have better at public stories some people like scott berg writes incredible books he's now writing a good one on thurgood marshall but also to describe what he has written is dave
mccullough. he's now 85 or 86 years old he's incredible the way he does this book then the first book was johnson and then panama canal. but he is married for 60 years to his wife so he will write it up in a paragraph. and she reads it back to him. and they have been doing this a long time. then he tells the story once in the interview where he says she read the paragraph back to him and said that sentence doesn't work.
read it again. he said it's okay. she said i don't think it works. read it again. he said it's okay. leave it in. they have a little argument. so the book aims out with the sentence there is a review written by gore vidal who says this is the best book i have ever written except there is one damn sentence. [laughter] >> and taylor branch. >> he is somebody that was in politics then became a writer writing a trilogy of the civil rights movement. and taylor branch lives in baltimore and martin luther king you may remember the famous speech the way it was written that stayed up that
late the night before he had a speechwriter helping him. them what happened to be the last person giving the speech on the march in washington that he didn't block it. and the justice department was holding onto the microphone if they didn't like it they would yank the cord. so all the other civil rights leaders didn't want to speak. also if they spoke earlier when i get on the evening news. so by the time he gets up he is going through with it but then jackson is behind him and says martin tell them about the dream. so he departs from the text he
forgets it and talks about i have a dream. many whites have never heard that speech before or heard martin luther king speak before and they were mesmerized. that black preacher a sermon he had given many times for go but the people around him had heard it before but the whites had not heard in the press had not heard and it was mesmerizing. when it was over of course he stole the show went to my house and saw john kennedy and that was the first word he gave when he greeted martin king was i have a dream. but the next day didn't get as much attention as it subsequently got it was after he was assassinated it was played over and over that it got so much attention it was a great speech but not as big of a deal as it has become.
so that speech will have certain things in common but they don't say i they end with god and they use broad terms about the world and talk about specific actions that is with those speeches have in common. so when each segment to introduce each the one that touched you personally was about jfk. >> yes. some of you may be close to my age but when i was in the sixth grade my teacher asked us to watch the inaugural address - - in school was closed that day he gave it januh
1961 he is not a great speechwriter actually not a gifted speech giver and had many coaches and people would criticize him because he spoke too quickly and then you just see a flop of hair. but in this particular case with the intellectual blood bank and then it was considered inappropriate not to write your own inaugural address. so he was very sensitive to that after writing his book profiles in courage he was determined. so it was a speech from adlai stevenson so three days before the inauguration kennedy comes back from palm beach that this
time correspondent covering the white house he is called back into the cabin by president-elect and say what do you think that this guy will be inaugurated in three days and to ask my input so he gave his input it turns out the speech was already written but kennedy wrote it out in longhand couple of pages but it turns out the speech was brilliant because it was short only 14 minutes and had a way of calling on people to do something and the most famous line is asked not what you can do for your country one - - country can do for you but what you can do for your country and that was the signature line. he loves speeches by churchill
there was always a signature line to remember. kennedy wanted to have that and that was the signature line and it worked out even his republican opponent said it was a great speech. >> as a six graders that i will go into government and politics i didn't realize then the highest was private equity. [laughter] i later learned that. >> it was an incredible speech. and how he was a great speechwriter. >> patriotic philanthropy that help people.
>> philanthropy is reminds people of the heritage so from monticello to say all put up the money to fix it but so they know that thomas jefferson was a slave owner despite the good things that he did then wrote the sentence of the declaration of independence that we hold these truths to be self-evident all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights how could he have written that when he has slaves? the view is that all white men are created equal he was against slavery earlier but did not follow through. so that people can walk to us
history and so a book by joe mcclure would take weeks and weeks to get through it. and this is once was described. but ted sorensen said about them when she put the book down you can't pick it up again. [laughter] but one thing to think about and one man said down to the breakfast table in the 18 eighties in stockholm. and he was reading the
newspaper. his name was nobel that he turn the page and read his obituary. they said he died the inventor of dynamite thank god he's no longer with this one - - with us. but it was his younger brother that had died in the earlier version of fake news they put his name in there. so if you had to ride your - - write your own obituary so that my partner and my spouse that they are happy and then to encourage what we might be able to do to make your life more rewarding than it is
today. and then to contribute and that philanthropy and that time is the most valuable thing that you have you cannot get time back but you can't get time back. and that many of you personally if they were philanthropic or at say what more we could do to get back to our country and then to give back to our country. and then to make another announcement with the jefferson memorial.
so there is the education center we are building that now in lincoln memorial so when you go there if it will ever be done you could actually go there and learn about lincoln and we will do the same thing with jefferson. hopefully when people come to washington they learn more about our presidents. >> thank you for sharing cap up. >> [inaudible conversations]