tv U.S. Senate CSPAN January 8, 2013 5:00pm-8:00pm EST
in a row, it's 4 a.m., its intense there's police cruising around in small numbers and the film crew start showing up. we thought this is great. it's everything we've prepared for. we made this happen. we learned in retrospect they were their that they heard erroneously we would be demonstrating in such a way to block morning traffic. and it was a phenomenal realization for us that going forward, making noise would be much more effective than preparing in many cases. and we feel that them street interviews every morning at 4 a.m. every afternoon and every evening for a recap some things happened in new york, something happened in occupy something has happened internationally. we want your thoughts. the whole system grew very quickly. the rest of my time was spent mostly in the kind of messaging and marketing side. i think i realized very quickly
that as these types of organizations sprang up spontaneously that there's very little stepping back. everyone is very close to the issue or very close to the content, to the minute by minute, and i think i spent a lot of time stepping back to make sure everyone was connected. so the e-mail address became the cingular central mode for everyone reporting what each as a group was doing and then in turn became a subgroup in its own as i trained people to handle the e-mails and put things on the calendar and those people change the system that we were using and improve the system and the capacity to set work flows and began connecting teams and being proactive in that way. so that's kind of my experience. i did that for several months and probably three months or so got a little burned out. i was working all day and to central square working all night
to get things done as many at occupy over. these were unemployed hippies and people without direction and they were not our traditional leaders and while that statement has no merit to anyone in this egalitarian occupied premise or in our general american egalitarian traditional promise ought to be doubled to participate it also had no merit because the people there, eight or nine hours a day also had full-time jobs. so, i want to speak to the idea that occupy was leaderless, and although i've never said it before today because that is the test of the phrase i think it was leaderful. and i think that's true. we were helping one another. we were teaching one another. we were supporting one another. and in this sense, i think
everyone outside of occupied had this feeling that if anyone were to grab the reins and take initiatives that would make the whole thing crumbled or there would be some pushback and really from within it was if you take the initiative, many will follow you, many will be inspired by that, and then in turn they will expect that you teach them, bring them up alongside of you and eliminate the hierarchal construction in favor of a network based form of teaching and learning which in my experience was a way for the organizational behavior of the group to really prove the model. it showed everything that researchers and theorists have said about that network based model being better for innovation, being better for the nimble turnaround and in many cases i would say being better
for public activism. so, it was leaderful. we did it. we had dissemination, we had inclusion. i generally think that there were missed opportunities are around the organizational behavior side. i'm not half way through with two minutes to go. i am also going to say briefly that we were aimful. the claim that occupied had no name was ridiculous. there were so many games and those ranged from corporate and government malfeasance on the financial side of the government seemed more interested in appearing leaderful and acting leaderful, more interested in unilateral discussions than any kind of inclusive atmosphere. the list goes way on. and the question for me was not
about establishing the names or announcing so the public could be satisfied. the occupied for me was finding a low hanging fruit. the things many of us agreed on that fundamentally contradicted systems of justice that we have all set up in equity and a lack of egalitarianism where we all assumed it should be all of us, the rich and the poor. if you were to say out loud some of the things being done in government and finance, no one would be able to say that they were okay without sharp reprisal. the fact that we don't say these things out loud and we don't see that out loud regularly is really the only reason that i can understand that they don't get taken care of covetousness, change, he falls, and that was my kind of participation in occupy, to find these things together, to find this a team together and find a way to make
change together. i will then echo what was said prior to me that nothing went horribly wrong. nothing in diet, and that all of these types of movements take a long time. and if you are particularly patient and particularly grounded i think in activism then you take a 20 year view and a 100 year view and if you are really good you realize your lifetime doesn't matter particularly much and you think that is mere few. there are a number of people that first level often occupy that are willing to do that. >> thank you so much. let's hear your perspective. >> in terms of why occupied a rose i don't have much to add, but i think that something dramatic has happened in the
last 15 years or so where six banks in the united states now hold 64% or so of total wealth in this country, and i think 15 years ago it was something like the same banks held 17%. simon johnson has numbers on this, but i think that's about right. and that is an unprecedented concentration of power in a very small number of hands, and i think occupied really showed a spotlight on that our current economic and political theory is can't deal with that fact because this wasn't supposed to happen. american political science is basically pluralist in nature that says that they are
contending forces in society to counter big corporations whether it is the labor union or other kinds of institutions that counter that the power of the corporation. but corporations will always imagined to be governed by antitrust law. they were not supposed to control a handful, 64% of all of the wealth and the country. that kind of power just isn't imagined in spending billions of dollars a year lobbying congress. that wasn't imagined in american political science so i don't really think american political science has grappled with what we have now. and also our economic theory always presumes basically a market economy. he may have wanted to overthrow the competitive capitalism, but citigroup did. when and if you are too big to fail that basically means you are not a market anymore. you know, you are into something
else. and i don't think an economic theory either there were any real answers or ideas for how you deal with the situation like this. so i think that we are in new territory to it i don't even think the banks have figured out fully how to utilize their power, but this is something that we all should be extremely concerned about and i think what occupied did was said something dramatic was happening and seized the moment. in terms of the future of dhaka, i would say the movement right now dealing with this intense corporate concentration of power i think as many said occupy was the beginning. i think there are lots of different ways to fight corporate power and that our thinking of politics really has to expand more into things like
consumer organizing, using the power, consumer power to boycott certain companies, target others that do good things. we have to fight around regulatory changes that businesses need in order to get things done. whether it is a zoning approval or tax abatement.org utility service plan or any number of things that businesses come to the government for and seeking public approval we've organized share power in ways that we have never done before. and one of the interesting things about these big banks and other big corporations now, they are public. they don't literally owned, you know, 64% of the wealth of america. it's all of our wealth but we are not organized and we think of politics as voting for politicians. we don't think of politics as
voting as shareholders in the corporate board meetings and i think we need to radically spend the notion of politics. the last thing i wanted to say was that occupied the essentially is a movement and a weakening of young life, students and young life to people and that is a great thing in my opinion. a real activism and political awakening. and i do think in order to deal with change and make change in america we have to think about how occupy ortiz predominantly young white activists compared to other movements that have been fighting for or could be fighting for in the same trenches along for the same things and i specifically just want to talk about movement of
people of color and particular linkage is and many folks kind of have a mythology of what the movement was about and tend to forget what it was all about desegregation and people want to go to school and ride on buses, but by 1963 march on washington was a march for jobs and freedom, jobs was number one. before martin luther king gave the i have a dream speech he gave it to the afl-cio in 1961 and he said we've really don't need to have the two movements. if you all would agree to desegregation movements we could have one movement. we don't need to have a separate movement and the afl-cio rejected it and rejected that offer. andy young tells a story in the introduction to the book called the closing door by gary and he
says you know, after king was assassinated, the johnson administration came with affirmative action, and at the time, as you may have read and not remember, the civil rights movement, martin luther king turned to full employment and poor people's campaign as the principal demand, and the johnson administration rather than coming up with full employment we spotted with affirmative action. you won't see look at the eyes on the prize or marching in the street demanding affirmative action. they were demanding full employment and trying to reach out to whites, latinos, asians, native americans, that was the vision. and she said when affirmative action happened, we knew it would only help the upper-middle-class within the black community, a very small percentage of african-americans, kids who want to go to these elite colleges, you know, that
affirmative action was targeted or would benefit from. but we were scared of being read beaded and ostracized or attack so we backed down and just accepted that. he said we knew the poverty would remain in these basic issues of economic injustice would be made. i say this to say that movements can be the railed. they can be intimidated, they can be distracted, and generally in america we tend to just follow the pattern of decentralized government which is a form of moderated anarchy and we don't really work hard at cooperating together period. we all kind of get excited with local and helmand and having our voices heard and what ever we are doing that we don't think building a strong movement capable of taking on concentrated power. that's what happened to the civil rights movement. we have thousands of community
development organizations and communities of color. we have lots of local environmental justice organizations. we have lots of this local empowerment. we do not have a movement anymore. and i think it's important in terms of learning lessons that we not just replicate that all the time. not to just say we don't need local and problem and local ingenuity and all of that, but that will not be enough to take on the concentrated power that exists in this country right now. and last, i just want to say i think there are many opportunities for linking the folks who've been involved in occupying it the kind of initiatives that debra was talking about a very serious issue going on in the communities of color right now that could really be synergistic. i will mention 9,000 african american homeowners in detroit are suing morgan stanley. people that lost their homes deutsch for closure, and this isn't just going after the originators of the mortgages,
but wall street, the secondary mortgage market, the folks that that you deleted the stuff, and that is a direct connection between what occupied was fighting around and african-americans who were disproportionately seven times more lost their homes than white americans for example. many predominantly african-american cities and cities predominant with people of color are teetering on bankruptcy. many of them soledad goods -- sold bad goods. birmingham, alabama is an example. and so the whole cities are on the brink of bankruptcy, and that too can be part of a movement connected to these issues. immigration, the lack of immigration reform means there are 12 million undocumented immigrants in this country who do not have access to health insurance.
and they get sick and they die just like everybody, and where do they go? the given to hospitals in the inner city communities largely because to get treated, and why are they treated? because if you don't treat people with tb and other diseases, anybody get sick to get treated these hospitals don't have funding to pay for it. they are not covered by medicaid, medicare to read these our hospitals people of color generally rely on in the inner city communities. so this is a crisis. and it's folks that are involved to occupy can make the link and see how it is affecting immediately the same issues and how it plays out in the communities of color. i think there are some three powerful synergies that can be built to build a stronger movement. and last, i want to say that, you know, i'm very hopeful. the dream of a unified movement is a dream that's been a rally i think since the underground
railroad. but i think we have to be real honest. we've never done that. we've never done that. and perhaps the election of obama what i take from it that's positive i think a lot of people aspire to that. so, you know, this is the time. i think it is a historic opportunity and some philosophers said danger and opportunity tend to come together and we have both right now. >> let's hear your words. >> well, the occupied movement was the first movement in recent history to respond rationally to the new configuration of power, to the corporate today what is called the system of the inverted totalitarianism. it was an understanding of the formal mechanisms of power no longer work to carry out the end
incremental or piecemeal reform as they were designed to do. essentially we are trapped in a system of political paralysis. there is an inability on the part of government to respond rationally and it is a constant theme in paul krugman's columns to the problems that beset us whether that is climate change, or whether that is the financial collapse, the mortgage crisis, the chronic underemployment, unemployment, the fact that a million people a year go bankrupt because they can't pay their medical bills, 80% of whom have health insurance, all of our legislation is written by corporate lobbyists, the power and this is perfectly well what is coming and is radically if reconfiguring the legal system to criminalize the dissent, obama's assault on the civil liberties has been far worse than the assault carried out by george w. bush whether that is
the use of the 2001 authorization to use military force at to justify the assassination of american citizens. the retroactively makes legal under the constitution has traditionally been illegal the warrant was wiretapping, monitoring and eavesdropping of tens of millions of american citizens and we know of our personal information is being stored in supercomputers and utah, the use of the espionage act six times to shut down whistle-blowers. this was never designed to silence whistle-blower. was used three times until obama came into office, the first time being against daniel ellsburg as a former investigative reporter i can tell you that you cannot do anything at this point to challenge the official government narrative. you cannot even get background briefings because people are frightened of going to jail and of course the national defense authorization act which obama
signed into law december 31st, section 1021 permits the u.s. military to seize the u.s. citizens, strip them of due process, pull them into the military facilities indefinitely to sue the president over this and federal court to run into timber. and the obama administration appealed. what was fascinating as they went to the judge catherine after she gave her decision and the 112 page opinion which is a brilliant kind of deception on the destruction of the separation of powers and is worth reading and asked for an emergency stay meaning they wanted it back into the fact until the court would hear the case. she refused and they demanded an emergency hearing with the appellate court at 9 a.m. in the morning the next monday for an emergency hearing and an emergency stay which they got. the wally reason that i and the
lawyers can make out that the obama administration reacted so aggressively is because they are already using it and probably on the pakistani u.s. gold nationalism. the inability to curb wall street, a close examination of the obama health care bill which was written by the corporate lobbyists and particularly with valor who worked for bachus and is now back into the industry. the inability to deal with those of the most important crisis that is confronting a sports climate change. the fact that the obama administration has not only approved the southern leg of the pipeline but appears to almost certainly be ready to approve the northern leggitt. all of these are indications that essentially power has been wrested from the hands of the citizenry. there is no way within the
american political system anymore to vote against the interest of corporations like exxonmobil or goldman sachs and occupied understood this and they understood a number one where the power had been transferred to come and that was from the legislative bodies and the judicial bodies and of course the press triet let's not forget the press has been completely corporatized. you talk about banks, roughly half a dozen corporations, the general electric, rupert murdoch, clear channel, control almost everything to listen to or watch in creating this kind of faux narrative on the one hand it is core to gossip and from fox is court to gossip from msnbc. it's all the same john just spun out differently. the issues that matter to the majority of american citizens are never mentioned. it reminds me of what dorothy parker once said about katherine
hepburn's emotional range of an actress goes from eight to be curious about side of the paradigm, and you instantly become a pariah as anybody at mit knows noam chomsky's work will tell you, or ralph nader that understands better than anybody in the country. they also grasp that the only mechanism we have left by which we can save ourselves is civil disobedience and they courageously carried out the act of civil disobedience repeatedly what was the response of the state? the response of the state was to move in and eradicate the encampment in a coordinated effort run by obama's administration because it terrified the power lee and the democratic party, the kind of liberalism that speaks in the
traditional language and has demanded of the kind of constituency that they purport to represent. i watch what political pluralist this does and that is essentially what has happened. we have a system that is incapable of responding of the legitimate grievances and injustices that are being visited on tens of millions of americans. half of this country is now living in either poverty or a category called near poverty and what is the response of the corporate state. for hundreds of thousands of americans which means tens of thousands of these people are going to lose their homes and they are all about to push us over the so-called fiscal cliff. corporations no only one word and that's more to read because of the restraints, the regulations and the impedimenta corporate power have been
lifted, they have as understood and karl understood modified everything to get human beings have become commodities and the natural world has become a commodity. you see get 40% of the summer arctic sea ice melts and shell and exxon look at it as a business opportunity. it is insanity. we are now all aboard, moby dick study of the american character and as he said, my means and methods are saying only my object is mad. and the inability to stand up, whether it is over the inevitable, financial dislocation, these people are harvesting the country to do it any time hedge fund managers, and let's never forget that in institutions like this half of the trustee boards come from this class most of whom should be in jail.
when they walk into the inner city areas and start talking about poor children's education, it's not because they want kids to read and write. it's because they know the government spent $600 billion a year on education and they want it and they are going to get it. there is no mechanism left except civil disobedience and having covered movements of a round the world, the revolutions in eastern europe, the palestinian uprising sort the street demonstrations that brought down slobodan milosevic, you know the tinder is there. i spent the last two years in the poorest pockets of the country from camden new jersey to the produce fields in florida, the fields of southern west virginia to the you know the tinder is there but you never know what's going to set it off. it's usually something relatively benign. an elderly woman gets for close to her home in utah or something. but i know that it's coming.
will it look like occupy? will it be called occupy? you may never know. i think it's better to think of occupy not as a movement, but as a tactic. rosa parks refused to move on the bus. it's five years until we see the freedom runs. because the state hasn't responded rationally, because the state has proven paralyzed coming because it not only cannot address the grievances, that essentially allows corporations to extract more and more in this reconfiguration to the form of the neo feudalism the only thing i can tell you as a reporter is that something is coming. ischemic thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you very much for your incredibly powerful statement. i think one of the questions
that comes to me is what exactly is occupied? it's been mentioned as a tactic, for the disabled, it is a way of organizing individuals to respond rationally to what is happening. i think that there is quite a bit of agreement on the part of the panelists about what the problems are, but less agreement on what occupied exactly is and what it can become what it needs to be in order to respond to the big problems. so, for example, do we need a big strong movement as was pointing to, and can occupy become a big strong movement without losing sort of its essential character would seem to be much more local, much more spontaneous, much more sort of space in ways that seem sometimes to be fragmenting.
okay i'm just trying to see these our perceptions of occupied but can it become this without ceasing to be occupied or is occupied as a tactic that anybody can use at any moment? so, what someone like to -- >> let me just add quickly that there was a process within occupied and i'm talking about the lost control of the park. it's when the individual tent went up because they've been able to keep alcohol and drugs out once the tent went up they came in and activists were staying up all night and did the escalation teams and we were also seeing the nypd dropping homeless people often essentially overload the system. so by the end of lease for the new york about what your experience in boston was but it didn't work and the consensus worked very well and they make this point when you have small groups and worked very well at the beginning and it didn't work when you have 4,000 people
especially with the capacity for block. i wouldn't get too caught up in, you know, movements that i speak of as someone that covered them, of movement of the kind of mysterious force of their own and it is always the ruling class that determines the configuration of rebellion or response to the in a devotee of the class were in the united states to respond rationally to the grievances that drive people into the parks means that something will spring up inevitably. >> it is for occupied to grow as part of a number of international and international occupied kind of phone calls and virtual meetings and that kind of thing and all went back bringing that knowledge and sharing power and all that went
well on the scale. i tend to think the main problem is the focus became the day-to-day running of the camp and that we were not prepared for and we definitely saw them driving people and of least heard of them driving people to the camp that became difficult to manage and there's a lot of issues by running the camp, and i think's separating the khanna aspect from the movement aspect but certainly helped scaling the program. >> i don't think that civil disobedience is half -- enough. i make $60 million a week -- $60 a week and when i had kids i
couldn't live on $60 a week and sustained over time as student movements when you go out for a brief time you know, you take action and then it's over then you go look for a job and it's over. i think we have to have a much more sophisticated approach to it and i also think we need an approach that my mother can get involved in and she's 82-years-old in a wheelchair but she voted for obama thinking that i was fighting the system. there has to be ways to get my mother involved. when i was a kid, people -- my father was a minister very active in the civil rights movement, and what people don't see on the tv shows about the civil rights movement was the years of conversations every sunday with people in church to
tell them they are people. they are a children of god, that was their story line and god doesn't make bad children or junkie children and they are as good as anyone, and it's years of that to build their confidence to get them to a point of taking action. and it's not just something i don't think that happens spontaneously. it might in some cases but i don't think that we are going to build a really strong, really powerful broad movement just waiting for some spark. there's a lot of education that has to happen. there's a lot of tactics. my first political action was i'm from philadelphia, boycotting them to make these little cupcakes and coca-cola and that's because leon sullivan and other organizers felt ways
to involve 7-year-olds in the movement, and that was boycotting coca-cola. i think we have to have a lot of tactics, a lot of strategies to bring people together and we have to have some difficult conversations about race to the by don't think the story of health care is as simple as corporate lobbyists wrote and that is the whole thing. a lot of institutions played in that. things are just more complicated than that. there are a lot of unions that lobbied and got stuff stuck in the bill for example she embodies everything at this table both in terms of corporate influence but also aspirations of people who voted for him, who pushed for things that he included as well. that's why he is a transition figure and i think that he's a reflection of kind of where we
are as a country and where we are in the movement. >> what happens when you have a response like the chicago teacher strike as they turn his back on him when you have the bailout of the auto industry they crossed the uaw and i think that obama like clinton is a figure who is essentially serves corporate interest but speaks in the traditional language of there's hardly a campaign promise from 2008 that barack obama hasn't broken including unions and raising the minimum wage and i think that goes back to sheldon's point that if the engines of corporate power drive the political process and the economic process, the personal narrative of barack obama is irrelevant, and that's why there is such continuity whether it is in pure real war, assault on liberty, curving wall street
from bush to obama, and because those who actually decide and we just went through the $2.5 billion electoral. in terms of building a movement all of those activities have to be done and they are being done, but they are being done on a much smaller scale and that is exactly what i saw in eastern europe that you saw the candlelight vigils against the communist dictatorship and then suddenly 70,000 people showed up. this is what they point out in the 1978 s say the power of the powerless, losing interest. so yes you are right. those activities have to be carried out. but working with the occupied movement after the destruction there is a kind of despair and i think we have to understand that we have to keep going.
this is what occupy has done because as it is pointed out we are essentially speaking truth to power. we are exposing a decayed corrupt system that no longer responds to the need of the citizenry and that is why they are so frightened of the occupied movements. >> debra what don't you have the last word for the panel and start thinking about your questions. >> is this on? i want to agree about the importance of deepening the connection between the rage and response of occupied with existing institutional structures. we don't live in a totalitarian world with the only thing anybody can do is take to the streets. there are other forms of mobilization of, or that are out
there whether it is in the labour movement or in shareholders organizations or. there are other forms of opposition and one of the things that i think is important, social movements, there is no science, i agree they have to come outside and change doesn't happen only by the internal political process and in fact it never happens by that alone. there has to be points of pressure, but social movements don't succeed. they don't tell a unified narrative that lots of people can sign on and get on board that squier its hopeful they have some solutions and they don't succeed when they don't deepen their roots in communities who have grievances that they are taking out. when you come in from outside come and occupy wasn't just from outside, it did bring in some
people who were absolutely on the front lines of those grievances, but there are many other people who are suffering in the ways that you were describing that were not brought on and unless you wink out to those people went to the story that brings those people on board, you are not going to india and have a successful movement better occupied, and occupied as i said it's very important because in the absence of something like dhaka you could feel like there was no road to the test to connect the communities that are hurting and it's more systematic and more unified way is if it is going to succeed. is that i've also clarify what i think one of the main issues here is. you have said occupied challenge to the poverty of creativity
around governments, a round the society in general. we are not when we demonize and i think and i speak for myself, let me and my tight circle of friends and perhaps occupy at large when we demonize mitt romney or obama we are not talking about a person that has served the made his way into the presidential arena, we are talking about a system that is only controlled by certain types of people and only promotes certain types of people in the system itself, the structure it is all corrupt very fundamentally, and that very many levels from top to bottom, so when we talk about organizing around a similar principle, i don't think the solution is necessarily to consolidate around the existing labor movement to but i don't think it is necessarily to formulate a third-party platform. i think that the solution is to use the tools and use these bodies in order to consolidate
power, and to use the power to challenge the way in which decisions are made fundamentally. >> okay. i'm going to cut you off now because i'd like to take the time to have some questions from the audience. the call is if you are going to ask a question you should go to one of the microphones so we can be sure to hear you. >> yes and i will alternate between microphones as long as we have people at them. why don't we start with the left mic or my left mic to the suspect is it not work in this country because people do not know what it means? >> do you think cooperation doesn't work -- >> non-cooperation. stannic the civil disobedience in this country. >> why not? >> and if not, why not?
>> so is the question does civil disobedience work and if not, why not? >> is it the only way that it can help in this country? >> and doesn't really work to reverse and it works if you get the numbers to the important thing is about building numbers and sustaining it. but it works. it worked in the labor movement. the problem is all of the movement since world war i, it's been destroyed. all of the radical movements. and i just going to have to disagree with you on labor. it is a spent force in this country. you look at the chicago teachers strike if the had to break with a traditional democratic establishment as embodied by rahm emanuel and barack obama as less traditional leader and the outside the mechanisms of power to respond. but leader is fighting in action if you look at the although bailout which i mentioned
earlier in order for the bailout to go through, they had to accept a decline in salaries from the older workers, from about $76 an hour to 50 and it had to agree the other plans to hire new workers at $14 an hour and had to agree that it wouldn't strike. if it struck all of the bailout money would have to be repaid. so while the democratic establishment hold up the industry this continued assault against the of devotee of organized labor what is left of it to protect the working class. >> okay. microphone on the right. >> my name is bill lewis and i am a member of occupied boston. i've worked with that gentleman making a lot of malaise in the streets. i had a couple of comments and then one fundamental question. the first comment is a huge percentage of occupied is indeed
minority. a great portion of our effectiveness is that we are not outside as we are insiders with the people on the streets. we are the locals. that is why occupied is so effected. it is and outsiders coming in. it is the people themselves doing mutual aid as we call it. we are helping each other. so that is just a comment. mauney main concern is to fold. i have a daughter she's 27. she has all the bad aspects of a girl that left her life wrong, she has her oldest daughter that's tenet, she's single, she's living on the bear minimum of section 8 etc., etc.. she doesn't have a thousand years or ten years or even one year. her children need help now. and voting for obama allowed her to maintain her support that she would have lost under romney cities to make a difference. and finally, my main objective right now as a member of
occupied boston is that we spend all of this time, we are great people, talking to ourselves, we are not the ones we need to talk to. we need to be talking to the almost half of america who voted against their own best interests repeatedly. and for the same reason that i assume chris was to talk to people understand what's going on and to talk to people who are republicans who view the world differently and to get them to look at their own best interest and answer the question what did they want their own will to be. >> so my question is how can we get to those people to estimate how do we get to the people we need to get to? >> there is this low hanging
fruit that is extremely appealing to people across all constituencies and across all parties. it sounded to me like you were saying how can people for the last reach out to people on the right but the whole spectrum is totally wac. i don't think we need to reach out to the 50% of people who i don't know, voted for romney in obama but to vote for both sides and appeal to people on a very rational and reasonable set of points and to show that series of financial switches as a business owner the stimulus is a total joke. the stimulus package for small business never made it to small businesses. that is a host of examples where i don't think it is actually that difficult to talk to people to engage people to educate people, it reminds them the party dynamic isn't positive for any of us, for any of the parties for which the decisions are made and which the leaders are promoted.
it's where people are. it may be that labor is a spent force. it may be the civil rights organizations are a spent force. it may be that the community based organizations and narrow minded to get a foundation grant or government, low-income tax credit to build the units of housing and that isn't going to change the system, you know, that's where people are coming and that's where i started. for the last four years i've been working with the building trade which is the most conservative part of the labor movement, and i have been working with them to try to get young black and latino kids of color into the building trade so they can become the board of the future. and the building trade set as they are, conservative as they are operate 1200 job training
structures and it's the second largest job training mechanism outside of the u.s. navy. and guess what, they are actually in a coalition with the bills and many other organizations that train high school dropouts, inner-city kids working together for the last four years to say how do we change from how do we improve, and the national leadership of the building trade has gone across 350 cities in the u.s., tried to convince the locals that the need to change. and the need to have a new vision about how to grow the labor movement. that's encouraging to me. and i think that we have to do that kind of work reaching across not writing people off. if anybody is justified in writing off, white construction workers who spend 100 years. people like me would be justified in writing those
people off. i'm not writing them off because in order to change america, i need them and i want them to understand the need me, too and i think that we have to proceed like that. i've been on the street and the demonstrations. i personally don't like the riots because i saw what comes after. if you don't have a plan to come if you have no capacity to run the city you get shot, people go to jail, you know, you win a victory that lasts for a little period of time and then you lose in the end because the people fighting you have much more staying power and much more capacity, and you haven't done a real deep work with people in your group to actually continue to fight. and so, i think this is a real fight. it's not 1i want to lose. it's not 1i want to see our communities lose, and i confess base and the dangers are bigger
than they ever were. >> okay. thank you putative i'm going to ask to not make comments but ask questions and try to keep them short because we have little time and many people. yes. >> given the technology that we have, you know, and the 21st century and given the wealth that i have seen that we spend on the entertainment industry, my understanding is that the eradication of poverty is possible in that it isn't, you know, some sort of fantasy like the eradication and i just want to ask the panelists is the revocation of policy in america a possibility and what is the method to getting those if we can't depend on voting someone into power that could help us get there. >> poverty rates have been going up in this country for the last two decades, but the wind down.
and so here is a place where i actually think the government policies matter and whether people put pressure on the government, whether it is through mass protests or from institutions like the labor movement or through election campaigns, policies matter. as you say, we have enough wealth in this country that there is no reason anybody in this country should be hungry. there is no reason why anybody in this country should be poor. it's actually an atrocity that so many children in the united states grew up in poverty, it's totally against the ideals of the country that was founded on that i think are powerful ideas that resonate with many people and what the occupied movement correctly is picking up on is.
they've made the situation for people worse and that we actually need better policies but we are not technically limited. we are politically limited. >> in the interest of gender balance i offered my spot to the young woman behind me but she demurred, so here i am. i wish this conversation, the entirety of it were focused on the democratic party whether it is an ally of our struggles in the interest or not, and what if anything might be an alternative to fast politically, not just in civil disobedience to the time sympathetic to civil disobedience. i am sympathetic to speaking truth to power and challenging power. i'd like to get some -- ralf meter likes to quote cicero said
freedom is participation in power to reverse, with that in mind, can we have a little bit of a further elaboration on political alternatives at knowledge and the difficulties and the constraints to the established institutional democratic party or if you don't think that is the way to go please say so a little bit more explicitly. thank you. >> i supported nader and i voted for joe stein in this election because i believe a democratic party beginning under clinton a essentially sold out for corporate money. clinton continued like obama to speak in that field european language while he gave us nafta, the greatest betrayal of the working class since the 1948 act and while he d regulated the
fcc, allowing corporations like mur dhaka by the way who is apparently about to buy the "los angeles times" and "the chicago tribune." he deregulated the banking system and welfare and under the traditional welfare system, 70% of the recipients for children. and for doing the business of corporations, he got corporate money so that by the 1990's the fund-raising democratic party of the fund-raising parties with the republicans and when obama ran in 2008 he got more to it and i look at other countries like germany. the labor party in germany never polls more than 5%. but it is a counterweight to read it is a force to protect labor and the reason that i supported him is and because anybody is going to win. but i think that he's right. what we needed to do is build five, tenet of 15 million people who begin to put pressure on the democratic party from the other side, who draw the line and say that's enough. we are willing to walk out.
but the policy of voting for the least worst in eductions where the primary emotion that is sold to the fear, fear of the other, if it is romney supporter, homosexual couples will teach your children in kindergarten, i don't know, these wacky ideas, and romney was this interest corporatist governor of the state, you know, where did obamacare come from? was written by the heritage foundation and put into practice in 2006 by romney in massachusetts and then was adopted by obama. it's a completely faeroe de date. and so, for me supporting third-party movement is part of the resistance, but of course not enough. and actually i agree with your point and the work that you are doing, but i think it's -- when i talk about the start, i'm not sitting out watching c-span waiting for a spark to it i was
arrested in front of goldman sachs and the white house and every where else, but i think that we can't the demoralized with numbers and after the success of the occupied movement i am finding within the occupied movement a demoralization and i keep telling like when we go and i was just out of occupied sandy in that sense i come out of the seminary's well the texas it is a kind of moral in paris this. and that is what he gets. that is what americans get and king and malcolm got that if you, you know, we were where we should be, and fate is the belief that the good drawls to itself and as some of you may know why maybe in fierce debate within anarchist over the issue of violence and i debated them in september because i think
that because we have this truth we do have this capacity. i think the movement is a mainstream movement. i think it actually articulates the concern of the mainstream and i think what's frightened the state more than anything was seen on the weekend mothers and fathers from new jersey as they did show up and push their strollers up and down the park and they loved a few bricks so -- ..
pulitzer prize winning author robert caro discusses the passage of power. the latest book in the multivolume biography series intielgted "years of lincoln johnson." c-span: in the fourth book the pass of power. you talk about the tension between lyndon johnson and robert kennedy. five gus background when they met and why there was so much hatred. >> guest: the first time they met it was fascinating. lyndon johnson is the powerful majority leader of the -- for center of joseph mccarthy and the committee. the -- how do we know what happened the first time they met? with him told me the same story. he had breakfast every morning johnson in the senate cafeteria
and joe mccarthy had the round table near the cashiers' register he would sit with the staffers. johnson walks in one morning and mccarthy was there including bobby kennedy. and mccarthy jumps in deference to johnson except robert kennedy. he sits there. and johnson walks over to the table and shakes hand and sees bobby kennedy isn't getting up and johnson knows how to handle any situation like that. he stands there as it's described to me like this. and forcing robert kennedy to get up. and george reiding said there was no reason for it. two dogs come to the room and the hair rises on the back of their neck and there's a low growl. it was something chemical between the two guys. .
c-span: what was the next time they had a confrontation? >> guest: well, the next time they actually had a confrontation would probably be at the democratic national convention in the 1960, where jack kennedy joined president kennedy, well as the nominee and lyndon b. johnson vice presidency. >> how would would kennedy have been and how would would johnson have been? >> in 1960. johnson was 52. i can answer that quickly. bobby kennedy was born in '29 i guess he was -- c-span: thirty five. there was a great deal difference in age. what had lyndon b. johnson done until the time he was selected and what had robert kennedy done? >> at the time that johnson start running against jack kennedy for the nomination for the 1960 democratic nomination.
he has been the senate majority leader for six years. he has been the greatest majority leader in history. he made the senate work. it introduce it's own bills and past bills. it was center of governmental inquestion knewty and energy in washington. and he was considered the most powerful democrat in the country. they called him the second most powerful man in the country second only to president eisenhower. kennedy had been a congregation staffer. for the last two years he had been running his brother's presidential campaign. c-span: you say he worked for joseph mccarthy, why? >> guest: well, he left -- he believed that something had to
be done about the communist conspiracy in the country, and mccarthy was the only person doing it. and, you know, considering a large part of the book, is how bobby kennedy changed. it's an evolution. he sayings to somebody all that happened was i got older. i don't think that is all that happened. he changed as a human being in too something by the end of the book, you see something different. when he was a young prosecutor for first mccarthy's and john's committee, liberals called him a -- if you see newsreels of him, questioning witnesses in this way, you know, not giving them a chance to answer, you know. he was a very hard nosed militant prosecutor. c-span: so you go back to the '60 convention. >> guest: yes.
c-span: why did john f kennedy offer johnson the vice presidency? >> guest: can i say first, nobody knows what is in somebody's mind. he had -- in retrospect, we see, and i think that john f kennedy saw it >> the begin not in retrospect. he was a brilliant politician. he had to have lyndon johnson. in 1956, the solid south was not solid for the democrats. horizon hour had taken for the life of the states in 19 of a. one was texas. no democrat including john f kennedy was going to win the presidential election next nixon without carrying texas. he had in a way, he had to have a johnson on the ticket. c-spann against him for the nomination. why did he lose? >> guest: that's what is a as
fascinating story in the book, to me. [laughter] i'll say it's fascinating. all of his life one quality about lyndon b. johnson is the decisiveness. his ability to -- willingness to act to make decisions and to try as hazard he could for everything. here he wanted to be president all his life. lyndon b. johnson only had one goal in his life to be president. in 1958, he seems perfectly determined -- perfectly positioned to become president. he's been the majority leader, he has all the senates in his camp, he has passed the first civil rights act in history for some of the northern an tangnism. he calls, i have in the book in 1958, he calls seven or eight of his top lieutenant to his ranch, he says i'm destined to be
president. i was meant to be president. you all know that. i'm going to be president. then suddenly and they're wait forking the campaign to begin. and suddenly he doesn't run. he doesn't give any orders. he doesn't want to go and speak anywhere. he's terribly indecisive and really he shows his -- throws away his chance at the nomination? c-span: why? >> guest: people who knew him best say like john who later became secretary of the treasury and navy, the great politician, once had me down to his ranch for three days, and those interviews were fascinated to me. he was closer to lyndon johnson during the early years than anyone else. he had comet to my guest house. he had a grand ranch. he come about k5u 30 in the
morning. and knock on my door, he would be in jeans and open ranch shirt. he then had a great stable of quarter hours. we go over to the railing where the mexicans were running them and we would sit on the fence and he would talk to me. i asked the question. he said the one thing about lynn don johnson was afraid to fail. one thing most important to lyndon was not to be like daddy. his father had been a politician for awhile a successful politician and had failed, lost the ranch and the family was plunged no to the only bankruptcy but the laughing stock of their town. johnson when he was senator majority leader. bobby baker is his man who counted votes with him. baker said i learned never to let him fail on the own.
never. c-span: in your acknowledgment, you say two people who have not talked to you one bobby baker and the other bill moyers. why not how hard have you worked to get them to talk to you? >> guest: bobby i made repeated efforts to get him to talk to me. doesn't think much of my books. as for mr. moyers, he does say compliment i are things about my books. he said great things about my books. but he simply said he doesn't want to talk to me far long time it was said he was going to his own book on lynn don johnson who is perfectly understandable. i don't think he said it for many years. he simply, you have ask to ask him why he hasn't talked to me. c-span: what have you missed because the two men -- there's a lot of people what have you missed from bobby baker or bill
moyers? >> guest: you miss a lot from both of them. you can remedy like of course bobby baker went to jail. he had a trial. a long trial. he's written a very revealing memoir, and there's so much testimony about him at the time that this scandal in the book, you are able to put together most of the picture what you want. but of course, it would be better -- it's always better i don't think there's another csh off the top i of my head, i can't think of another johnson person important to me who didn't talk tow me. i'm sure there's somebody. but i talked to john scores and scores of them, and people like george rudy or harris, i talked to probably twenty or thirty timings. whenever you can't talk to someone, you miss something. c-span: how much of the bill
moyers lack of talking about this has anything to do with some of the charges made back when he was an aid that he was involved in things like wiretapping of barry gold goldwater? >> guest: you have to ask him that. you know, with moyers, there are -- he's written so many memos. i think i spent probably three months going through all the memos when he was johnson's aid in the white house. you see a lot of what he was doing. but of course, you know, he's a very keen observer of people. you like to have been able to talk to him. c-span: go back to the relationship between lyndon b. johnson and bobby kennedy. >> so his brother said that johnson was afraid to fail. all the people who knew him best said he was afraid to fail and be like he was father. he was afraid if he ran for the
presidency he would fail. i think that's basically why he didn't run. c-span: i want to go back to bobby kennedy. how badly did jfk beat lbj? >> guest: the final tally 806 to 409. that's not realistic tally. when they get up to wyoming, kennedy doesn't have the necessary votes. you see johnson's strategy, and it's a strategy the more you like at 1960 you say it would have worked if only he could keep kennedy from getting a majority in the first battle. the bosses that the david lawrences, the dick dailies. in the back room, they were lyndon johnson. and kennedy gets down wyoming, he still doesn't have the necessary votes. the chairman of the wyoming delegation has promised teddy kennedy that if it comes down to
his delegation, he will give the last five votes in that delegation. they have ten of the fifteen. he will give -- anyway, he will give the last five votes to kennedy. you see it's coming wyoming. and walter cronkite says on television there's teddy kennedy hurrying across the floor. and he's hurrying over to the wyoming delegation and you see him say something to the delegation chairman. he says, wyoming casts is fifteen votes for jfk. so after kennedy has the majority, of course, a number of states switch to him. actually it close that he was going make it on the first round. c-span: i started asking earlier, you say lbj and robert kennedy, they were both ruthless. >> guest: yes. c-span: explain what it means and give us examples, if you can. >> guest: of course, it's easier to do it with johnson.
janson's ruthlessness throughout his life was striking, you know, in the last volume. he ruined -- he destroyed the senate career of the senator named earl by forcing him to vote what later and early version of medicare. he clemons knew if he vote for it he would be destroyed because the ama had been active in his state. they called the social laws medicine. so scwawnson says unless i need your vote, i won't call on you. he really knows that he needs the vote. and when it's a -- i think it's a tie vote, and he sends bobby baker to clemonson. he said the sweet suite was
pouring down the face. he had to give the vote. johnson had to win. he had to win. robert kennedy had to win also, and it's fascinated in the 1960, campaign janson realizes that key to the campaign are the western states. johnson thinks he has them. the ken i i kennedy think at the begin he has them. they send the younger brother ted out there. ted is such a great politician he's like 27, he starts to win the western state. bobby goes out to reinforce this, and johnson then realizes what is happening. and starts -- the guy who went out there for johnson first said kennedy bullet the -- once bobby
kennedy put that on the people knew they could not take the vote. c-span: got selection of lbj vice president running mate for jfk jfk there's a huge amount of your book that is back and forth. not a huge amount. the back and forth of bobby ken city's involvement. did he really try to stop his brother from putting lbj on the substantial? >> guest: well, let's say he tried to get what there's no question about. he tried desperately to get lyndon johnson to withdrawal or not to accept the offer of the vice presidency. kennedy has won in the scene the night before with 806 votes on the ballot. the next morning at 8:00, kennedy goes -- now it's in the built more hotel in los angeles. the two suites for the duocandidates in the back corner of the hotel. johnson on the seventh floor and
7334. kennedy two floors up. they were suites. c-span: i have to stop you. did you go to the suites? >> guest: yes. c-span: how long? >> guest: it's been renovated. it's not -- it wasn't productive. you couldn't tell what they had been like before. c-span: okay. go ahead. i'm sorry. [laughter] >> guest: but so there's a back stairs, in the chapter of my book is called the back stair. so in the morning jack kennedy comes down the back stairs because they don't want the reporters to see them him or robert, and offers lyndon johnson -- he has a conversation with lyndon johnson, whenever there are only two people in a room, you really can't say as historian you know what happened because one gives one version
and one gives the other. we know what happened after the meeting. johnson calls in his three closest advisers. and he says, jack kennedy was down here and he offered me the vice presidency. that's what johnson says. kennedy goes back up disasters where there's a group of northern bosses who know they can count votes that kennedy has to have texas and the southern states. kennedy walk toss the room and said he hasn't said he'll accept it. it looks like he's going. there's a picture in the book at the moment and lawrence a tough old politician reaches out the hand at jack ken city, the young great handsome irish politician and they shake hands.
because lawrence knows this the key to the election. what happens the rest of that day? i say, no one can know. everybody has different versions. but we dough do know that bobby ken i can came down the back stairs at least three times and each time try to get lyndon johnson to withdrawal. c-span: which version do you trust the most whether they met three times and what happened in the meetings? >> guest: well, what happened in the meetings in two of the meetings we do know because there are other people involved. light first time that bobby kennedy comes down, he meets with john and sam. sam gave a description of what happened a couple of weeks later. we have that. and john talked to me. i took him over it.
and kennedy comes down. he's upsate, ray says in his statement, his hair was hanging off down. excuse me, his hair was hanging down all over his face. he basically says we're going have a floor fight the labor and liberals won't stand for johnson. they will put up the candidate. we would like him to consider instead being the chairman of the democratic national convention. he repolice with a single world. we know what happened with that. connelly and ray burn say the same thing. the second time robert kennedy comes down, he apparently -- [inaudible] okay. the second time he comes down, with a is happened is that john -- and each of these meetings. he wants to meet with lyndon johnson and i ladybird is saying
they ought to not meet together. there's too much antagonism there. the second time bobby kennedy comes down he says i have to get ray burn. johnson said of connelly he made him the campaign manager because he was the only man tough enough to handle bobby kennedy. connelly knows as tough as he he, someone a lot tougher and it's sam ray burn. sam is old, we know he had has cancer at the time. he's blind but he's sam ray burn. the unsmiling grim figure who has ruled the house of representatives for a quarter of a century. c-span: and he's from texas. tell us why they are so personally close. >> guest: almost a father son thing. ray burn loved johnson like a son. and he would spend perhaps most
sundays in washington the johnson's home, and he loved the two johnson girls, and all during the senator ray burn is the rock, the support, the guy nobody can go around. he's for lyndon johnson, and he says to the speech writer talk to bobby kennedy. keep him occupied. i have to find ray burn. he walks in the room and he's a smart brilliant little man but a little timid and walks back out and said bobby kennedy was glaring at me. that was a glare he said. i walked outside and said i'll deal with him from out here. i won't stay in there. connelly comes back with sam ray burn and bobby kennedy says basically he wants lynn don johnson to withdrawal from the ticket. ray burn says to bobby kennedy,
are you -- offering a blind man so tough are you authorized to speak for your brother? and bobby kennedy says no, and ray burn says, then come back and speak to the speaker of the house of representatives when you are. that's the second bob i can kennedy leads and there's a third time he tries to come down to get johnson to withdrawal from the ticket and this time he meets with johnson alone c-span: what do you think after the research you have done. did jack kennedy send his brother down getting off the ticket or not? >> guest: i i don't know. i don't know. robert kennedy says he was sitting there. of course not. i was close to my brother what do you think the did? go down and secretly try to get the vice president off the ticket?
however, all of the thing knows that all that day jack kennedy did everything he could to get johnson to accept the nomination. at one point he goes down, jack kennedy goes down the same back stairs to see ray burn alone, and ray burn i don't remember this -- but ray burn said in the description of this says basically that jack kennedy i asked you two things. will you keep lyndon johnson occupied and happy as vice president? and something else. and kennedy says will you make him a real part of your administration? kennedy says i tell you that. ray burn says then he said basically johnson will go on. i agree that johnson can go on the ticket. he will not go on the ticket if ray burn doesn't appear it. >> what can he call lyndon john
johnson behind his back? -- [inaudible] gran why? >> guest: they are mock the fact he has the southern accent, mocking the fact that he's a big clumsy southern. he's corny. but beyond that, you say why can they treat him with a meanness and a crowlty? when thigh get down to it for three years? i try to explain, you know, that in the book. among other things they were afraid of him. they had watched lyndon janson when he was majority leader in washington, they had seen the incredible drive and he is leaving after the senate working until midnight or whatever the time is he's walking out of his
night building. one light burning in the capitol and that's johnson's office and he said no one outworking lyndon. they are afraid if they let him off a tight leash he will build up the own power in washington. c-span: if i count including the index and the notes in your four books,32,067 pages. . >> guest: is that right? c-span: you were going have four books and that was it. what happened? >> guest: -- you have a fifth one coming. >> guest: yes. i divided what i thought was -- well, you know, what happened? it's a good question the last half of this book is the assassination and what happens in the 47 days after that. i'm writing and i'm watching
lyndon johnson take all the reigns of power, so dramatic to see what he does. i'm saying all of my books i told you this on previous programs. i don't regard this as just a biography. each book to exam the kind of political power in america. i'm saying this is a kind of political power. seeing what a president can do in a moment of time of great crisis. great crisis how we -- what cousin he do to get legislation moving to take command in washington? that's a way of congressmanning power in a time of crisis. i said i want to do this in full i suppose it takes 300 pages so i couldn't -- that's why i -- as i said let's exam this. c-span: if your -- in your book, lyndon johnson, i think safe to say does lie to the public.
>> guest: about what? c-span: a number of things including his, i mean, you go on the relationship with the blind trust and things like that. how often from what you have seen in this book, did lyndon johnson lieet to public about anything when he became president? >> guest: oh. these 47 days and seven weeks is a period unlike any other in lyndon johnson's life. i mean, he has all of these forces within lying is a big part of the entire career up to here. but it's like he rises to something -- [inaudible] and i don't think it's really part although there are hints what he does to stop the texas from looking in to his fortune. but it's a minor part behalf he
does. because he knows he has to be a president. he has to be -- the country needs continuity. they are young, the president has been struck down, and although, you know, most of these conspiracy theories are disproven a couple of days, that's not the headlines. as air force one is flying back to washington. here red are the headlines. you know, suspect arrested. suspect charged. suspect visited soviet embassy in mexico city. suspect has ties to castro anticastro groups. we have just come through the year before the cuban missile crisis. nuclear war, the country would be very easy for the country to become very -- it's worried there's -- let me strike that. the country was worried there was a great anxiety in the country.
johnson knows he has to step off that plane and be a president. he is. he rises to it. and for the next zen weeks, he he is a president. there are no rages. the rage is a big part of lyndon johnson, the bullying of support. there's none of that. someone says it's like an alarm clock told him to yell at somebody for every twenty minutes. it can didn't go off for seven weeks. c-span: i wanted to take a moment out here a couple of minute and run an audio tape of 77 one your sources. i want to ask you to tell us how important george was to the book. >> guest: george was a really important to this book. c-span: who was he? >> guest: lyndon johnson's prep secretary for basically
from 1950 to 1965. in the senate, he was the choice closest and johnson relied him on strategy. he was a brilliant man and johnson relied on him to help him work out the strait gi in the senate. c-span: this is about a couple of minutes and it's lyndon b. johnson on the phone with george so we can get a sense what their relationship was. >> guest: okay. ..
in walt disney is in i don't want to do this in a hurry. i don't know enough about those three doesn't want to give up that nice primary time. you know, it's 7:00 o'clock here. spies in texas. it's 45, just 4:45 p.m. there. and then at 345 in california. and i just don't believe you're going to get much audience. that is my opinion and that's just part of the reason we are fighting out. the there's a lot in there that i want to ask you about, including his reference. they had only one television network stations. >> why only one television station. >> guest: well, the fcc only allowed one channel there. you know, the airplane pilots to
say you can always tell when you only have one television. >> you do talk about the money managers and i will come back to that in a little bit. but what did you hear not? >> well, first of all, i knew the press secretary was always like this. he was never going to in agree with lyndon johnson. he said no, i'm explaining it to you. so it is part of the reason.
so i think that johnson, this is a micro manager. he wanted to go on in california, and he is probably right about this. he wanted at 7:00 o'clock instead of 6:45 p.m. but he manages every detail of everything that there is to manage. it is the tone of his voice. there are a lot of other conversations were the tones are a lot harsher and have other demands. c-span: did you have to ask more about this? you hear an even harsher tone and some instances. going back to the jessye callan thing, you have a whole section where you talk about his relationship to the media and
his threats. we heard a lot about during the nixon administration. >> i don't think we've known this about johnson. it is the reason that i do go into this. in december of 1963, he has been in new york for a month. and you see this congress. he has the civil rights bills started and he defeats congress on another thing and he says i want the murdered en masse. he flies off to texas. he is down for a two-week vacation during which she seeks a war upon congress. but he also has a number of conversations about worrying that the press is getting too close that he has accumulated a fortune during his life.
would you like me to talk about that? c-span: yes. >> guest: he comes out and says there is a report of margaret miner from the dallas harold and says, what do i do about it? johnson telephoned the managing editor of the newspaper. the newspaper in dallas. and says the exact quotes that were in the book. he says, you don't want to be investigating me. because you know someone might investigate you. i don't know if he actually uses the word tax return, but it is pretty obvious that there are a lot of things that he can investigate. licenses, you know, there's a sentence in there. i care or call.
but there is a sentence in a in regards to this. they didn't go into it, thanks to the fcc. they like to limit how much time a radio or television station devotes and he's basically saying that i've helped you before, i might not help you again, and someone could look into these things. the managing editor her on the phone don't worry, we will stop margaret. and johnson said something like next week isn't good enough. call me back tomorrow morning. tomorrow morning he calls back and says, she will be stopped. c-span: was she stopped? >> guest: yes, she was.
c-span: how long did she stay with the president? >> guest: she stayed a while. she was the first woman to washington bureau washington newspaper. she became a great close friend of mine. c-span: we hear politicians say that everything is in a blind trust. you suggest that it was a very blind. >> guest: well, i don't think that the people involved say that wasn't very much so. in fact, there was a law firm and one of the trustees part
would tell me that it seemed like almost every night johnson was being told what to do. >> absolutely. there was a special telephone line. he just picked it up at the white house. there was a special telephone line. this book, we go into the next book into what was actually happening. but what is happening is that life magazine had found out about this. at the very moment, they have been investigating and they
started investigating bobby baker and they soon found that it was leaving the lyndon johnson. the morning that jack kennedy is assassinated, at the same time, there is a meeting in the offices of life magazine to divide up the areas. they are about to investigate. they have started an error about to do so. c-span: so this book covers what time frame? >> guest: it ends with exactly the state of the union address starting on january 8. because in that frame of time, in this period of time, he takes kennedy's programs, he makes
them have a feeling of continuity, but he does something more. he says to a friend that i have to continue this program, but if i want to run for reelection and i want to do what i want to do with the presidency, i have to make a program of my own. they create the war on poverty. and in the state of the union address, he says too many americans live on the outskirts of hope and he lays out the basic outline. that is the ending point. >> so back to the relationship, what impact of that relationship c-span: what impact of that relationship. >> guest: that is going to play out in 1967.
but the seeds of it all there are times when bobby kennedy has a participation in the administration and he humiliates them time after time. c-span: how is that? >> guest: every time johnson would use a client, he wanted to get written permission from the pentagon. every time he wanted to give a speech. every word had to be cleared. they are both on the president's commission of equal opportunity employment and two consecutive meetings, johnson is chair. when i wrote this, you can
hardly believe that you are writing this. johnson was once the most powerful man in is chairing the meeting and bobby kennedy walks in and starts demanding answers to questions. humiliating him. humiliating johnson. when johnson tried to reply, bobby kennedy walks over to someone else and start chatting with him. he thought that bobby kennedy was having a chat, and then he simply walked out of the room. and then he says to a civil rights leader, one who is also an official in kennedy's administration, i have to make a trip to catch a plane. and he tells the president to cut it short. and he says that i knew both of these men.
and i did not want to sacrifice this. i knew how he would be if he's angry. and robert kennedy said i told him and johnson looks at him and continued talking. you can talk about robert kennedy and lyndon johnson in this book. and you can hardly believe it. you keep looking down at your notes to see if it's exaggerating or not. c-span: you talk about robert kennedy. why did lbj do the same thing? >> guest: well -- c-span: he became the vice president and he wouldn't even let him use a jet plane. >> guest: well, you certainly know your stuff.
[laughter] he certainly did that to him. i have to say that i haven't finished my research online. i just don't think i've examined enough. c-span: well, as long as you're there. and i know you hate this question. this book took 10 years? >> guest: yes, although that's not really right. i thought this was going to be one book. but a large part of this in doing the research as i have done most of the research on the next volume as well. c-span: had have you started writing the next volume? >> guest: yes, i have started. c-span: do you think that this will be the final blow?
>> guest: at that at first it would be three volumes. and then i thought it was going to be four volumes. i said yes, and the next one will be the final volume. c-span: what is the update on your memoir that he say to you are currently writing. >> guest: i can do that -- i don't know how to say it -- i don't have to do any research. it's my own life. it's not a memoir about how i grew up. it's more about what it was like to carve out the truth about robert moses and lyndon johnson and how they gain political power. i think that there is a lot of interesting stuff i think it was
very difficult for me to do the research on these two books and that is an interesting way of putting it. i try to get around that ban map what way have you changed in the way that you approach this whole subject since you began this back in 1977? >> guest: what ways have i changed the. c-span: we talked about your routine. all of those things. during your research, seven days a week writing, and then taking time off. has anything changed in this in the way of gathering information >> guest: no, i always try to fight for everyone involved. now, a lot of people are dead. but i did get some before they passed. i would like to be able to still talk to them.
you know, i used to be able to call george and we had gotten so friendly. you don't want to stop and have to shoot somebody into the question. i said george, when johnson was meeting with george wallace, where was he? and i go back and sometimes i answer the phone. and they aren't there anymore. but i don't think much has changed overall. c-span: george johnson is gone. you write about him, didn't you deliver a eulogy at his funeral. >> guest: yes, i did. he was amazing for the help that he gave me.
we both lived in central park and i had formal interviews with him. over and over again, i would call and ask him about something that happened in the kennedy administration. he would say generally because he was a very thoughtful man. every word was consistent. he would say, come by after work. so i would go by and we would sit there in this wonderful apartment that looked out on central park. he was blind, but he didn't like to say so, but he was effectively blind. he would sit on one couch, i would sit on the other. and we would sit in the late afternoon. and i remember that i thought,
boy, i hope nothing happens to him. because he knows stuff that nobody else knew. i think his relation to jack kennedy was so very special. even ted sorensen said that he was so brilliant. not just with words, but analyzing things. it was like a lesson. he told me a lot of things that no one else could have told me and explained a lot of things that no one else could have explained. c-span: were part of this book was the hardest to research and write? >> guest: well, probably the hardest to write and research was the presidency. it was so poignant. see this powerful man, a very
humble man, day after day. it was actually painful for me to learn about it. i mean, he couldn't go over to the white house on the rare occasion and watch how the kennedys lower-level people treated him. it was so horrible. sometimes when they were describing this to me, you felt that this was a terrible thing to happen to any human being. somebody said it was like a great bull put out to pasture late in life. c-span: was there a time at the end of 1968 where he was able to vent? >> guest: oh, yes.
although we are going to see that, you know, bobby kennedy says to bobby baker at the democratic convention when johnson had insulted him and he calls him an umbrella man. and you know, robert kennedy loves his father and he is so devoted to him. and bobby baker thinks this is all just normal politics and he invites them over to come over and have breakfast with him and his wife. and it takes a minute before bobby kennedy got up and said, don't worry, you will get yours when the time comes. and in the two years of johnson's vice presidency, doubtless this time. when johnson becomes president, he starts to act the same way towards robert kennedy. >> of all the subject matter besides the vice presidency,
again, the civil rights, the tax cuts, which of those was the most difficult to get your hands on? >> well, the tax cut probably. to understand. it's like a lesson in politics. you know, you want to just see what he does in this point of crisis and how he almost immediately comes then and you say, wow. if you are interested in political power, i mean, he has a legislative gift that is beyond the gift. the talent beyond how. to see johnson common and grasp the situation and know what to do about it, it is hard to
figure out what he does. but when you do figure it out, it is thrilling. c-span: how did he figured out? the number -- this was 1960? >> guest: 1963. it was $100 billion. kennedy's one was rolling out in the hundred billion dollars. the kennedy people seem to feel that he really doesn't need $100 billion. that if they come in at 101.5, 102, that would be okay. but harry byrd is not releasing the kennedy tax cut bill or the budget. he is the chairman of the senate
finance committee, and he rules the finance committee absolutely. kennedy introduced the budget and tax-cut the tax cut bill back in january of 1963. bills are not going out, they are not being released from the signing. and harry byrd has sort of link them together. many of these people seem to feel that if they only allow -- if they only get $100 billion, that will be okay. they keep talking about going around harry byrd. when i was at jack kennedy's funeral, johnson summons to the office and kennedy's economic
advisers -- they start to talk about going around lyndon johnson and who basically says you can't go around and do that. and lyndon johnson says, one on? all of a sudden two of these people write memos and all of a sudden, the problem disappeared. he had harry byrd whether he wanted or not. and they realized that he wanted
that he was going to die young. he didn't have that much time. >> host: c-span: how often were you in the same room? >> guest: the only time i was in his presence was 1964. as a substitute reporter for the regular political reporter. so i covered three days of this campaign. he went to new england, but he wants actually shook my hand, but i was never close at hand. i just followed him around. c-span: can you run to the first instance, the first moment with a flash to me that you wanted to study the power of lyndon johnson? >> guest: well, not the moment, i don't believe my book, i never think of them as
biographies. i never had the slightest interest, brian and writing a book to write the life of the great man. images that exploit how political power in the second half of the 20th century. so with robert moses, i try to do with a power broker. to try to do a urban political power, how power works not just in new york, but all cities in america. then i wanted to do national power and i knew i wanted to johnson because he understood national power better than anyone else in the second half of the 20 century. >> host: moses is 74, first of adequacy to? >> guest: correct. c-span: what was the title? >> guest: path to power. c-span: does enable these books? >> guest: sure. c-span: after 82 was 90. in that title came from what?
>> guest: sometimes the titles of my books, like to come right out of the book. as i'm writing none, my first publisher didn't want the power broker as a title. buckley didn't come to a showdown. but each title is the path to power. the whole thing is called the years of lyndon johnson. first volume is the path to power, that means that they sent, then master of the senate and now the passage of power. c-span: 2002 was the master of the senate and the spoke on 2012, which he mean by the passage of power? >> guest: i'm glad you asked that. the title ii this book came at the very end when i decided not to go want to make this a book. i said this is a book.
what form of political power, what am i examining here? the passage of power, the passage from one president to another. because it's a passage at a time of great crisis, we learn a lot about the use of power in the passage of power. c-span: ivory do that in the last sentence of the last book. i'm going to read the last sentence of each of your four books up until now and tell us what you were thinking. 882 -- an 82, the path to power, before the paint had faded on the billboards, proclaiming his loyalty to franklin d., lyndon b. had turned against him. >> guest: that sums up the lyndon johnson and fat. of his life. he's been roosevelts protége, he
ran every time his campaign slogan for one race was roosevelt, roosevelt, roosevelts. 100% for roosevelt. as soon as roosevelt tyson realizes he wants to move on to the senate, he better not be a new dealer. he still has to be not so much of a new dealer. sums up the book. c-span: in 1990, less intense. in 1955, with the barents power broken and the democrats back in majority, and a johnson was the most powerful majority leader in history. >> guest: is that the second volume? means of ascent? .insert a summing up what is to come. the last challenge of "means of ascent", he's in the sole means of a cent. he is just trying to get to the
senate. and then i want to say seven years later he's going to be the most powerful majority leader in history. c-span: in 2002, master of the senate, this is the last sentence. those years have been happy, 12 years in the senate. and now they were over. the senate had been lyndon johnson's home, now he had left it. >> guest: to me, that is very poignant the case lady bird johnson said this 12 years in the senate were the happiest years of our life. he watched lyndon johnson in the senate and say this is a place that man was born to be, roaming around the aisles, holding people come to exerting power getting things doneunderstanding that the majority leader's desk, towering over the senate, direct people. he gestured into more men came
running out, meet another gesturing a man came running across the aisle, running the world, power enveloped him. but he doesn't want to be senate majority leader. he wants only one thing to be present. so it's going to leave the senate and become vice president and be humiliated for three more years -- the next three years. it was his home and now he had left it. c-span: this line right now, the 2012 volume, the end of the book is if he hadn't checked the sources within him, had conquered himself for a while, he wasn't going to be able to do it for long, but he hadn't done it long enough. >> guest: discotheques last sentence. but he had done it long enough. because you say in this book, not you, i say in this book, you
know, you had a lyndon johnson who before these 47 days after the assassination, he was a certain type of man. bowling in, ruthless, conniving. he has to rise above that to make the country now it has a person. he has to curb his temper. he had a secretary named marie famer. her name is now marie kyoto. who gave me a brilliant insight, where she said very physical movements changed. on the plane, going back from washington is like he always shambled. suddenly he's working discipline like the president and that doesn't change. that's the way he acts. he has to be humble with the
kennedy people to ask them to stay on, people he knows aspires to him. so he humbled himself. he says, i need you more than jack kennedy ever needed you. he says to one of them, you know, jack kennedy understood things about history that i don't. but you understand them. you have to stay with me. you have to help me. see changes in that way. he walks with dignity. if you watch them walk up the aisle to give the we shall continue speech. it's like his very physical movements he put a discipline on. he's not going to be what to do that very long when we see as soon as the next book opens, but as this book says, he had done it long enough. c-span: give us background on marie famer and how late you interviewed her and how valuable
it was steve. >> guest: it was very valuable. i think i had three interviews with her. she came to work from lyndon johnson in 1962 when i believed she was 19 years old. she was a secretary who was very close to johnson. by that i mean they trusted her a lot. they trusted her discretion. she was immensely helpful to me because she was a good observer. you know, to me i don't care how handsome you are. all he cares can you tell me what he looked like? i'm constantly asking johnson people, what would i see? she was in right after. she was in dallas. she's on the plane. she actually types the oath, which has given her sometimes
think she's had enough to really make you cry. she describes the famous quote a little here, i don't have the book. johnson has telephoned robert kennedy to ask him, should he be sworn in dallas and to get the oath. kennedy is apparently on a patch telephone line with nicholas katzenbach, the deputy attorney. c-span: describer robert kennedy was when he first learned about his brother being shot. >> guest: robert kennedy is sitting by their swimming pool at hickory hill, his estate. and he's talking to robert bork and poor, the great district attorney of new york later, who was then the united states attorney and one of his deputies. and suddenly they see a number of things happened
simultaneously. they see it work at hickory hills of the white house and is being repainted and they see one of the workmen suddenly stopped. he is holding a transistor radio to easier and he comes running down toward the swimming pool were kennedy and morgan paul are spinning. at that very moment before the man with a radio arrives, the telephone rings and it's jay edgar hoover to tell robert kennedy that his brother has been shot, perhaps fatally. hoover did my kennedy and robert kennedy did like him. robert kennedy was later to say he didn't show any emotion at all. he just delivered the news. so they see on the other side of the pool b.c. robert kennedy slapped his hand to his face in shock and horror. c-span: the question was about the oath. what happened with lyndon
johnson talked to robert kennedy right after he was shot? >> guest: well, he calls him from the plane. he calls them from the plane to ask him basically two things. should i take the oath of office in texas or wait until i get back to washington to take it? but he's not really asked. he knows he wants to take it in texas. he wants robert kennedy to agree that's the best course. and he wants the wording of the oath. deputy attorney general said to me, i was really appalled that he would call robert kennedy. whatever number of minutes i have in the book, 26 minutes after he left his brother instead, who's now his brother's successor on the phone asking for the formal details of how he'll take office. so marie famer is on the plane and takes the oath and she says,
katzenbach on the phone, so i say to marie famer, how is his voice? she said like steel, controlled. bobby was and when it began. he should have been doing. she says some rain, i was sorry to be doing that, but it had to be done. she was a great admirer of lyndon johnson and she said he always taught you that if there's a job to be done, you can do it. so then that great picture, the iconic picture of lyndon johnson taking the oath of office, jackie kennedy is right beside him. if you look in the last background, you can see the top of a woman's head. that is marie famer. what she is doing is amazing to me. she is reading the words of the oath to make sure the lyndon johnson is taking a correctly.
she said when they taught you when there's a job to be done, you did it. so she was a great help to me. a lot of these johnson people were amazing hopes to me. c-span: you know, in that same picture off to lyndon johnson's left his jack burks. former congressman from texas, head of the judiciary committee, still alive. did you talk to him? how hopeful was he in explaining the situation? >> guest: i can't really -- it has been years since i talk to in. i knew he was hopeful. i cardmember exactly. posts are what about homer thornberry? >> guest: and never talk to homer. c-span: i want to run an audio tape. whited lady bird let those tapes go way, way ahead of the planned supposed to be 50 years after lyndon johnson's death? >> guest: don't know. c-span: how useful habit ntu?
>> guest: to me they are quite amazing. i mean, when we see -- but we want to find out how johnson has been in congress to his will, just to take one thing in this book and you learn so much because what he's saying to people. everyone says johnson was talking all the time. when johnson needed information, he's not talking. practically his first call, the night he gets back -- the senator from florida. more important, i lyndon johnson could really count. he was a pragmatic senator. i believe it's the very same night, to ask about the situation is that the bill in a civil rights bill. he just hear from lyndon johnson for quite some time, but then he starts to talk to bring senators
around, representatives around and you say wow, this is a genius at banning people to his will. c-span: here's the tape your bobby kennedy is on the tape. >> can we have fbi people they are and keep eyes and ears open and proceed to him and follow him? >> it's difficult for the preceding and following. i suppose we can. i have no dealings with the fbi anymore, but i think -- >> did he teach you to report the other day? >> i understand he cental reports to you about me and about the department of justice. >> not any that i've seen. what are you talking about? >> the planning and plotting things. >> no, no, he hasn't sent me a report that i remember.
i just told him the other day at the have the full report can be sure to send me a copy of it. then i called them back later and said send an extra copy for me here and he said yes. that's the only conversation we had. but he hasn't sent me the report on you or the department anytime. and i get a letter every three or four days that summarized the recent order taken on yugoslavia in routine things people are talking. as far as i know they haven't involved here. >> well, i had understood that he had a report about me. >> no, no.
no, that's an error. he never said that are indicated or gave any indication of it. >> in any case, going back to base, they're going to have the state patrol thayer and maybe the fbi. i thought about having marshals all along that road, but i think that causes all kinds of problems. bbv fbi could talk to the governor's office [inaudible conversations] and have a liaison see if they could make any sense of data car that would follow martin luther king out of greenwood back to mississippi. >> if you have somebody or you if you want to. >> you could be dealing with someone working over you? i hate to ask you to be dealing with someone working the
department of justice. but why don't i call them and see. >> i never had the slightest indication he didn't want to cooperate with you or rick marshall. he's never indicated anything like it to me. >> at the very difficult situation for everybody here now whether a snack or burke or me or anybody that has to do with them. but will get through. c-span: i don't want to sound incredulous, but how could that have been? how the attorney general not tell the fbi director what to do? >> guest: jay edgar hoover hated robert kennedy. it's interesting, people don't give enough force to the key
role, the character personality plays in politics and power. this telephone call to my mind, and your question, hoover hated robert kennedy. robert kennedy insisted there be a telephone on hoover's desk of robert kennedy could call at any time soon as president kennedy died, the telephone is removed from his desk. hoover was very close to lyndon johnson. i found my reaction to johnson's seat never seen a report on you. eremite stamp rubber kennedy, something robert kennedy said in this book. he says something about lindane as he lies all the time. he lies even when he doesn't have to lie. of course he was getting reports on robert kennedy from the fbi director and hoover was very close to johnson.
so here we have two bad, a conversation about civil rights. if outwardly quite civil. i'm sure robert kennedy wasn't believing what lyndon johnson told him i get the two of them on this occasion are working together because they both want the civil rights marchers solved. they are too mad who want to cause a civil rights advanced in the united states. c-span: you have a phrase issue quote quite often in the book and i want to ask you where it came from. it is power is for power grows. power is for power grows. .com from? >> guest: wenden johnson says it. when people say to him, don't take the vice presidency. right now you are a powerful majority leader. don't take the vice presidency. he won't have any power.
johnson says power is for power goes, meaning i can make power in any situation. his whole life, nothing in his life previously makes that seem because that is exactly what he had done all his life. he was a junior congressman. he got himself a position of real power. he took the job as whip in the senate. nothing he wanted he made for power. took the majority leader chopped in how much power. and that he could do the same thing with the vice presidency. c-span: entity? >> guest: now, but he tried right at the beginning into fascinating lives. he tries to remain as the chairman, de facto, chairman of
the democratic caucus, although he's an executive branch. c-span: in the senate? >> guest: yes, i'm sorry, in the senate. he thinks they will do it because all the senators nobody's done for them. because as soon as the election is over, it's like the realization comes to him that i know power now. so there's got to try and make some. so i write on two fronts. one was on capitol hill, where he tries to remain as the power in the senate. you know, if he had done not, kenny o'donnell, one of kennedy's aides, has appointed secretary says he wanted to be vice president and majority leader. if you succeeded, he would have been an all of a sudden, think what you would have had. you would have a president who
had his own independent source of power. the senate could be independent of kennedy. then at virtually -- c-span:.sales? >> guest: well, at the same time, he submits this letter to kennedy, which generally asks for supervision of various government agencies, something no vice president has ever had before. he asks for an office next to the president of the white house. he asks for is on staff with an executive wing and he thinks he's going to get these things. he's absolutely confident he will win on both fronts. the senate is an example of his overreaching, where he is so desperate your pity is not doing the smart thing. like the old lyndon johnson would've realized the senate would never give power to summon up the executive branch, puzo
granted. he sighed, this great leader of men, lyndon johnson. this man who thought he could read any man had read one and wrong and the one man was john kennedy. he doesn't realize how tough he is that he was going to take the presidential nomination. he gives a memo to kennedy and kennedy handles it and being very cool about it and johnston vail says. powers for power curves. c-span: let me ask you something that is not in the book. but it was the day you wrote some pain for this book? >> guest: not that long ago. i'm known for not giving up my galleys. c-span: overall company before you you to to galleys, what did you this book? >> guest: that was some time
ago. c-span: a couple years ago? >> guest: no, i have to think about it. the notes took me four months at least. c-span: buffer on that, would you do the notes? >> guest: that is in agony for me because every statement in my book that needs a source has a shoulders, so there are a lot of notes to do. sa mining, html publishers says be sure you do the nose. we don't want to go through this agony at the end. when i come to tucson, there there slags bases i completely forget about everything else and among the things i forget about are the notes. and i think they took four
months or something. c-span: what is going to ask you an amateur he appeared in the early books to read about lyndon johnson's mistress, alice glass goes way back in house of representatives. he read about jihad in douglas and his relationship another mistresses he had over the years. and recently we've had this book about jack kennedy's, one of his mistresses, mimi beardsley offered. you should look into that at all? >> guest: now. c-span: the reason i'm asking is what aspect is power play in this relationship that these very bad with families, they present themselves as being together and behind the scenes, there's all kinds of stuff going on. c-span: i can only speak about it with regard to lyndon johnson. johnson was always sleeping with
people that 99% of this. it has no greater significance in the size. about alice glass, the one you mention, to some extent helen douglas, but alice glass i had to write at length about. i don't think the johnson people, does it not have never forgiven me, but she couldn't write an honest book about lyndon johnson without making her a rather major figure because he was close for more than 20 years of sex part is sent as i can tell. perhaps through four years, he always was driving down to virginia to her greater state.
she played quite a roll. she was a small-town girl from texas who had become the mistress of a very powerful man, publisher of oil man and he brought her apparently they toured england, she saw this man should. she liked it, so he built a replica in the virginia country. the small-town girl from virginia became as great hostess, center liberal circle, our system would who's really, when johnson comes to washington, at the age of 29, he is this gangly fellow and his arms are too long. so alice glass taught him to wear french cuts so his wrist would not stick out. she taught him for some reason, which i always account this maritime come into the end of
his life this is important to him. and there are times where he takes her advice above all other advice, like when he's in the pacific during 1842, or only about one telephone call that you're the senior senator from texas has died. he can run for the senate seat or vatican for his house seat. franklin roosevelt has income if you need any advice on anything, because roosevelt really likes him, he says you can call the white house coming meaning basically you can call me. johnson has one call to make to decide whether to run for the senate or house of representatives. he doesn't call the white house. because alice glass. had we know that? event of the johnson library her telegram back to him and says everyone else thinks you should run for the senate. i think he should run for the
house. he runs for the house. there's another point to decipher a speeding that the great financial support, really would have changed his career. herman brown brown and root who financed london's rice, but here they had really clashed over some things. she calls them both, has them both as guests, involves the housing project. she looks at them, everyone said the most beautiful woman and says, give her meds for housing. all of a sudden that compromises. so you couldn't write the life of lyndon johnson without getting real space to alice glass. c-span: i suspect we'll hear about the vietnam years? used to going to vietnam?
>> guest: yeah. c-span: june to plan time? >> guest: let me get through this book to her. c-span: we've talked a lot about lyndon johnson at two 50/50 years. what to go back and show you a montage of many different appearances, including a documentary at the lyndon johnson library. >> i was a reporter and news than what i've realized was not that i wanted to do biographies. i never conceived of the writing books of those lives of famous men. i had no interest at all. what i wanted to do was explain how political power because i was a reporter and i was covering politics. and i felt that i wasn't really explaining what had gone into the newspaper business to explain for 44 years whenever you pay the total on any breach or tunnel within the boundaries of the city of new york, you are paying directly to robert moses because the bridge authority and
other authorities collected those tolls had the absolute power. he's got to go to a mayor, governor of the state legislator. does his money to spend as they wanted. but in this room really exercised some of the raw use of power. the magenta thompson was surety later, he ran the senate. there's no one else in the senate, in this century has run it entered the last two years he appropriated this. he came to a senate where the only thing that mattered was seniority. you when he was supposed to speak on the floor your first year or two in his first years who became the assistant leader of his party in four years as the leader of his power in six years he was the majority leader and then he set out to make the senate passed the first civil rights bill since reconstruction and did it. first time i came here, i was
looking for the papers and i came around the corner like this. this is what i saw a. it's the only moment in my life, maybe not the only moment, but a moment in my life were totally quitting. i was really overwhelmed. what you're looking at here are the papers of lyndon baines johnson, 36 president of the united states. >> this is the reading room? >> yes, close to the public. you have to be an accredited researcher to use it. when you want to do research in those boxes that we saw down there, he said in the sermon put in a request form for the fox or boxes you want, and archivists goes down and brings them up to you and your desk. if you accumulate a whole part
of boxes you're using. sometimes you can actually go down if you call for one in the first row of boxes, you can see the whole of the box, which is the box up on your desk. but that is what happens. the boxes are brought up when you want to read them, to this room. >> it is especially an honor for me because for many years i've been watching ted kennedy in the senate. in my last book, i wanted to read about the senate and its history and its power and in order to get a feeling for the institution itself, its customs, i would sit week after week in the senate gallery in this committee room, trying to observe how it worked. it was while he was doing that but i came slowly anonymous by accident to the realization of
how much edward kennedy has meant to the senate and to america. >> if he's not giving them anything, he he writes none. sometimes he raised no out. i asked john connolly what does that mean and he says that meant this guy was never getting anything from lyndon johnson. he says he didn't cross lyndon johnson. c-span: what was that no output are talking about? >> guest: that was head of the democratic national campaign committee, deciding how much money to give congressional candidates. c-span: you say in your book power always reveals. what does that reveal? >> guest: well, what you wanted to do all along. the cliché is what i acton's statement, all power corrupts absolute power corrupts
absolutely. i don't think that is always true. i think what is always true is that power reveals because when you have enough power to do whatever you want to do, then people see what you wanted to do. it's particularly true in the case of lyndon johnson, but it's also true, power doesn't always corrupts. power can cleanse. in the case of sam rayburn, who had to keep quiet as a representative and tell he became first a powerful committee chairman. then you see him moving the senate, the house of representatives to populist legislation. you see in my first book the power broker, al smith, his great governor who to be 50 years old, the most ruthless henchmen in albany.
any significance to power, as soon as he was governor, he goes to the bosses insist that we have to pass social welfare or legislation, so power can cleanse. c-span: talking about four books in early 267 pages, what time in all these years since 1977 she been writing about lyndon johnson were either not based? >> guest: there have been a number of times. c-span: and why? >> guest: is very -- you get really angry when you follow some of johnson's methods. you know, some of the things he did. and the first volume, when he learned about lyndon johnson, lyndon johnson in college, you say this is really incredible, the things that he did. to get campus power.
elections, blackmailing a woman student, do you do get at him. it's disgusting. in the second volume, when you see each one of my books is supposed to be an aspect of political power. the second is about a stolen election. you know, a stolen election is parted -- when you see them stealing this election and you see that negative campaigning he uses, you get angry at him for. the third volume is the angriest because as you know there is a section of leland olds, a liberal duty of their other federal power commission. johnson becomes senator and he's been putting their by the oil and natural gas financed by the people. his job is to destroy leland
olds. anyone who watches in my book, why didn't such detail, destroy this man's reputation to the rest of his life is just ruined. it's horrible and the johnson comes over in the series in which johnson is chairing and destroying things you don't take this personally coming to you? it's only politics, you know. get very angry. c-span: when were you the most angry at another person that you are trying to get information out of? >> guest: a greater%? bright code there had to be a time when bob carroll had a temper this process. >> guest: bob caro as anyone will tell you has gotten a lot tougher. i have to really think a moment. some of them wouldn't talk. all with the exception of
lawyers and baker came around and were hopeful at the end. i guess the answer to that is jack valenti. valenti was always attacking me. ready not just reviews, but pieces. valenti is a great framemaker. at one point is this phrase can this young man who came to texas to the pool in a tennis racket to teach us politics. i thought his attacks are really unfair. i was sort of happy that he came around at the end. c-span: let's go back to lyndon johnson in this book and different circumstances he found himself and his vice president and how was he treated by john kennedy. we could start with the bay of pigs and then go to the cuban missile crisis. >> guest: that's a very good question. the bay of pigs, u.s. touted the kennedy administration treat
lyndon johnson wherein all the books before, so many books before, not all, he is portrayed, you know, he admires linda johnson. they made sure lyndon johnson didn't even know about the bay of pigs. that whole weekend he is sent by kennedy to introduce the german chancellor about texas. yes to introduce into the legislature. he takes them to a country fair. he's not even in washington during the bay of pigs. whether he actually knew about it i think probably he never knew the recipient invasion. one thing after another that the kennedy administration does they don't tell about. when kennedy introduces a civil rights bill in 1963, for a while they won't bring him into the picture at all. and finally, ted sorenson is
told to call johnson and get his advice on the civil rights bill and johnson has to say the first sentence, i don't know within the bill. the only thing i know about is what i've read in "the new york times." this is the greatest legislator, the greatest parliamentarian but certainly america and the 20th century, without anyone being close. this is a man who could get inkster congress to know what else could get through congress and they haven't even consulted and on the bill or told him the senate. the cuban missile crisis is a more involved story. at the end of it, i mean, ted sorensen would tell me, and it's in the book, how frightened by the end of the cuban missile crisis, they were really frightened of what might happen
if there is a similar crisis when lyndon johnson was president. that's how they felt that he acted. i remember sorensen sitting there and one of these conversations i had with him, he's telling about something johnson said. and he sent a chill went through the room. so they are in the cuban missile crisis, we see both the kennedy brothers, in the most moving way, fighting to keep this from escalating into were. just to read the tapes on the cuban missile crisis there are moments that are. president kennedy has been holding off box, holding them
outcome if we give them one more day. but they have all agreed that if you ever shot down american reconnaissance plane, immediately we would attack inside me and one day, in messenger comes in and do his job code, the cia for a good american reconnaissance plane has been shot down. from all around the table, people, everyone said we have to attack now. let's attack. jack kennedy system being blake gentlemen, let's take a break and go for dinner and we can talk about it later. during the dinner committee goes down the hall with his brother, robert and ted sorensen to find another way of approaching khrushchev. so it's one of the great romantic moments.
president kennedy did some things, which are quite remarkable as president. legislative record is a one of them, but you really see when you read these tapes are listened to the states on the cuban missile crisis, you are saying we are on the verge of nuclear war and these two brothers, i mean, there's one point were a russian ship breaks the blockade. it goes through the blockade and is heading towards cuba. again, we said we would attack. robert kennedy says something like that we wait one more day? and president kennedy system can make -- president kennedy says something like yes we can wait one more day. a nyro, it's a peace out more day. c-span: you talk about how important a source he was for
you. what did ted sorensen think, in a word or two, about lyndon johnson? >> guest: and a word or two? 's c-span: we had another audiotape you may have heard, arthur sausage are interviewing not ladybird, but mrs. kennedy, jacqueline onassis kennedy, that this tape would've been made in march to june in 1864, talking about ted sorensen. she's there to suggest irritated at an earlier time did ted sorenson keeps funny people to think he wrote the speeches and profiles. it's hard to hear, so listen closely. >> i know one thing about the legislative breakfast about ted sorensen. larry couldn't stand his and. there were obviously the irish
would be jealous they said 7010 scolari would have prepared an agenda before breakfast and as they were about to start, he would has to see it and take it may just change one or two sentences and then pass it all around that way. and you'll see that heavy hand in more places. you know, so many things. [inaudible] >> yet. i told you that the profiles encouraging, everyone. and it's just sneaky. >> is a little better than the white house come as any? >> yes. some said he let himself and finally gives up one other person, which is jack. he also had such a crush on jack. i remember when he first started to speak lakehead, to call him
jack and he blushed. i think he wanted to be easy. dinner is a gross i.q. and man, because he knew it wasn't quite that way in the beginning and almost went into a resentment. he was very mixed at. he had a big inferiority complex, you can see the things working back and forth. but they never saw him very much in the white house. >> i guess you concluded she didn't like him. >> i guess that's what i'd have to conclude from this, but i think it's very unfair because one of the things that struck me about ted sorensen was how important it was to him for me to understand that he did write profiles and courage.
c-span: didn't he admit a couple years ago he wrote it? >> guest: no, he has a very -- i don't believe that's correct. i think his phrase for something like, who is the author of the book? the man who writes it with demand whose name is on it and takes responsibility for it? he meant to subsecond person, the man who takes responsibility for it, who is the real author of the book. i would agree with him on that reticular. but in talking to me, it was always very important to him that i understand that it was shack -- president kennedy who was the author. that's all i can really say about it.
c-span: reading your book there's a lot of nasty comments from everybody and if you listen to these tapes of jacqueline kennedy, there's a lot of nasty comments about people. she never said anything negative about her husband, but meanwhile, her husband again, reports the redhead women be moved around the country. again, what is the average american is supposed to take what we learned he peeled the cover of the onion back and it's not very attractive? >> guest: well, you know, as they say for myself and lyndon johnson, most of the sex had no meaning outside it. likewise with my first subject, robert. c-span: my question is sent to the sex so much of the trust of the leaders you report on and just a nasty attitude behind the
scenes about individuals. >> guest: well, you mean the mr. singh? 's c-span: no. >> guest: is a very tough business. staff of robert kennedy and jack kennedy hated lyndon johnson, looks down on the texas people. the texas people say to me, you could feel, another secretary said to me, and they made you feel every minute they were trained and you weren't. they snipe at each other. they made the kennedy people call linda johnson. in fact, it's not just the called amber says. they called lady bird de soto pork stuff, mean, horrible, and lyndon johnson would be invited out to one of the many dinner parties the robert kennedy had at hickory hill.
he would put them at the losers table. he knew he was at the losers table. another incident was it's hard to believe. two of the kennedy people, mid-level, the people are having a conversation at a cocktail party and they notice it or persons, the way you do a cocktail party and you want to get into a conversation. this lyndon johnson's honda civic on him. after a while come he turns around and walks away. one says to the other, we just insulted the vice president of the united states and the other one a sickly says, i can't repeat it. you'd have to bleep it out. they didn't care. he was a laughingstock to them. but behind him being a laughingstock was their fear of them, that if they lead him off this tight leash what he might do. c-span: we don't have but a minute or two left.
what has been the best use, in your opinion, just a personal thing appear for books so far, but either educators for any aspect, any number of people in the country. hispanic there's only one thing the best use for me and that's to teach kids about political power. you know, i started doing this because i felt in a democracy, power really comes from us, from the readers if you will. the vote. they have the power. so the more they understand how the political process really works, the better therefore democracy would have to be. so my books try to explain political power and the best thing for me it happens, i must say, and no pin number of times in new york is your writing assembly nec kids reading paperbacks of the four volumes in the power broker. nothing makes me feel better.
my wife sometimes as if you win an award, don't they make you happy with? well, they do. of course they do. but what makes you happiest to see a kid reading a book on the subway. c-span: in the past is always dedicated your boat to china. he do it again, but this tennis chase, carla. just go chases my son, carla is my daughter-in-law. and jesse. c-span: how old are your grandkids? >> guest: 23, 22 and 20. c-span: do they follow what you do? today with the books? >> guest: essay that question to ask. i would say possibly one of them has read every word several times. he's going into politics. it's a campaign consultant and he's read every word and i think
the others have read some of them. c-span: the title of the book is "the years of lyndon johnson: the passage of power," the fourth book of a five book series. this one is passage of power in the thank you very much. >> guest: at thank you very much. >> free dvd copy of this program, call 1-877-662-7726. for free transcripts or to give comments about this program, visit a site q&a q&a programs are available at c-span podcasts.