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tv   Book Discussion on a Mayors Life  CSPAN  November 10, 2013 1:00pm-1:56pm EST

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though the loss of life was massive, and as desperate as the conditions were not forced horace particularly, stories like his have remained largely unknown. i spent a few days with horace, but after -- and after the very first hour of meeting him that his story and the story of the other survivors needed to be told. ..
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>> by any means possible. especially for those civilians living in east prussia at the time. they knew exactly what awaited them when the soviets were approaching. they knew that the same acts of barbarism, the same a massacres would happen to them as had happened to the russians as the german army had advanced in its invasion of the soviet union if 1942. -- in 1942. however, they were under orders. they were not permitted to leave until the very end of january '45. the nazi government forbade anyone to leave, for to do so would have shown signs of defeatism and an acknowledgment that they were going to lose the war. >> you can watch this and other programs online at >> david dinkins is next on booktv. the former new york city mayor
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talk abouts about growing up in harlem and his eventual win to become the first african-american mayor of the city. this is about an hour. [applause] >> you know, frequently -- or at least not infrequently -- when i have a prepared text, i wander well off script. and i'm almost inclined to do that tonight as i look around the room and see so many friends. as a matter of fact, it is no exaggeration to say that were it not for many of you here tonight, i would never, ever
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have become the 106th mayor of this great city even, even with the mighty bill lynch, who ran my campaign. [applause] at the urging of my family, my bride is here somewhere -- there she is. [applause] 60 years this past august 30th. [applause] in tolerating me. but at her urging and the little fella, which we call our son who's 59 -- [laughter] call him daddy's little fella,
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and his sister that he calls the golden child, but they each urged me to think about putting my thoughts down in writing for posterity. and i finally got around to doing it. be can frankly, it is largely -- and frankly, it is largely because of lynn riqgio. he has been insistent from day one that i ought to write a book. although ether newburg who i don't think is in the house, but who hooked me up with peter nobler who is here somewhere finish there he is. peter the co-writer of this. [applause] esther once told me many years ago everybody doesn't have to write a book. [laughter]
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but we did. as others have said before me, being mayor of the city of new york is the greatest job in the world. i say if you like public service and you like people, being mayor of the city of new york is better than being mayor of any city anywhere in the world. it's better than being governor of any state, including new york state. the only job that's better is the one that obama has. [laughter] new york is the city that gives and gives and gives again. its wisdom is not so much its culture, but in the collective genius of its people. many of us arrived here as aspirants, seeking a better life, and quite a few achieved everything we ever dreamed of and more. after a childhood split between
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trenton, new jersey, and harlem during the great depression -- you see, my father and mother separated when i was about 6 or 7 -- my mother brought me here to new york. she and her mother, my grandmother, were domestics, cooking and cleaning for perhaps a dollar a day. keep if mind, i'm kind of old. i was born in 1927. but we were never, never hungry. never went to bed hungry, clothes were clean because my mother and grandmother scrubbed them, sewed up the holes. and i was poor, but i didn't know it as a child. and so i'm really quite fortunate. but time came when i went back to trenton because it was determined that my father could better care for us. he started with a one-chair
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barbershop, expanded into several. he used to rent chairs out. then went to school and learned to sell insurance be and real estate. and so these were my parents. they molded me into whatever i am. when my tower told me -- father told me he was going to remarry, i cried a week. because i always taught my mother and father would get back together, because they were always very civil to one another. we were frequently together on holidays, christmas and easter and such. but it developed that my stepmother was really like another mother. so i am a real lucky guy. as they say, god is good. now, you've not to understand, i'm 17 years old in 1945, going to turn 18 in july.
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i'm still in high school, and in those days everybody went to war. no, there was not vietnam, you didn't give a thought to going to canada. everybody was going to war. and i'm young and little, and i figured the best way to increase my chances of survival was to be well trained. and to be well trained meant to me to be a pa lean. now -- marine. now, i'd never heard of the army rangers or the navy seals, they may not even have had them then, i don't know. but i knew about the marine corps. so i set out to join the marine corps. i talk about it in the book. and it's a long story, but eventually i got into the marine corps. and i found then a real taste of jim crow as we traveled south
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and i stepped up to window to purchase a ticket, a bus ticket, and the clerk said round the back, boy. and then i knew. these are the days of white and colored water fountains and such. and i might add that in those days black soldiers, tuskegee airmen -- i'm sure you all know about the tuskegee airmen and people like rosco brown, who i call the fighter pilot -- they and black marines were treated less well than german and italian prisoners of war in the south. this, mind you, while the war was still going on. and immediately after it ended. so i learned about jim crow firsthand.
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well, then my stepmother sort of insisted that i go to college. i had the g.i. bill, it made sense to go, but i didn't want to go to college. i had $2 or $300, more money than i ever had at one time if life, and i wanted to party. [laughter] so, but she was insistent. i said, well, it's august. school starts in september, i can't possibly get in. she said, i'll get you in. he had a classmate, carroll miller, and's in charge -- he was in charge of veterans affairs. and i had pretty good grades in high school, so i got into howard university. [applause] it is said that if you say it fast, it sounds like harvard. [laughter] but it's a fine school. it really is a fine school. and so i went off to howard, and
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i -- it took a year and a half before i began to get serious, because for that length of time, my motto was don't let your education interfere with your recreation. [laughter] but then i discovered that you had to have a concentration in some area. you had to have a major. never occurred to me. i was just going to college. [laughter] and so i had more mathematics courses than anything else, and so i became a mathematics major, did sufficiently well that i graduated with honors and won a fellow hardship to rutgers university. fellowship to rutgers university. [applause] now, it is said that the mathematician has reached the highest rung on the ladder of human thought. let me hasten to say i am not a mathematician. [laughter] but i had the good forcheck up
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of having -- fortune of having e wonderful teachers. hell, that held you go home and study like mad. and so i really owe it to him. incidentally, in 1990 i was mayor, and i was a speaker at a convocation at berkeley. and i'm being introduced to all these professors and to him, and i didn't listen carefully, and he says dinkins, dinkins, i had a student named dip kins. i said, dr. blackwell! i graduated in 1950, this is 40 years later. and so -- but any rate, i'd had
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an interesting life. i had all kinds of jobs. i dug ditches, worked many factories, waited tables, washed cars and dishes, and all kinds of jobs. at howard i met my bride. as she came walking down what we call the senior walk a mere freshman, and i said, hey, freshman -- [laughter] and that was it. i was her first date at howard, and haven't looked back. [applause] there came a time when i worked at night full time in my father-in-law's liquor store. so you didn't finish work until midnight, get home quite late. i'd come in, and my bride would
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say, well, this is the first or second notice, and this one called twice, and what shall i tell them about these bills? i said, honey, i'm tired, i've got to get up early in the morning. we were living in harlem. got to carry these heavy books on the subway to brooklyn, i really don't want to hear it. she said, i've got to tell them something. you tell them i put all the bills at the first of the month, and i put them in a hat. [laughter] then i draw out three, and i pay them. if they keep annoying you, they won't get in the hat. [laughter] so there came a time when i was, although i'd been admitted to the bar and was practicing law, i certainly wasn't making enough money so i could give up my night job. so i worked two jobs. i went downtown, shirt and tie in the morning, and then in the evening i went up to the liquor store. and then when the time arrived
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that i could give up the second job, i joined the political club. the carver democratic club was the famous j. raymond jones known as the fox. and early on i met charlie rangel and percy sutton and basil patterson. these guys were my friends, and -- save perry who has gone to his reward mow -- but charlie and basil and i, we are still very close, and i consider myself very fortunate. i have a lot of friends, but i've got a handful in particular with whom i am very close. a couple of 'em are here tonight. skip hartman. i love to tell the story of how in 1996 i was with -- i was in south carolina, ask it was determined that i needed a
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bypass. and skip wouldn't let anybody come near me without saying are you board certified? are you -- [laughter] where did you go to school? he really did. he was terrific. and then there's peter johnson jr. who i see in the back and his how manymy and his bride are here down front. peter, there's a seat down here next to them. peter is the senior partner now of leahy and johnson, and i'm privileged to be one of its special counsels. and he was nice enough to put an ad in the law journal today about the book and about this event tonight. that's why so many of you are here. [laughter] so along with percy and charlie and basil, we got some things accomplished. some might say that the little
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village of harlem produced two borough presidents, a chairman of the house ways and means and a mayor. not bad. [applause] now, none of this came easily, but ultimately the progressive can coalition that we cobbled together tore down the edifices of city politics that had ruled for be years. new york city elections would hereafter be decided by the people. my first elective office was as state assembly in 966. 1966. ray jones one day said, he smoked big cigars. boy, you want to run for the assembly? i guess. so i did.
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and my opponent was franz lither in who came from the riverside independent democrats. very fine organization. they had congressman william fitsryan, a real progressive liberal, ask i come from carver democratic club up on the hill. and so to sort of clean me up, dr. kenneth clark -- who happened to have been a client -- became the chairman of my citizens committee. you know ken clark? brown v. the board of education? that a ken clark. so we won. we prevailed. and i served one year, and then i got reapportioned out of my seat. [laughter] but by then i was hopelessly hooked on public service. there was really nothing i wanted to do but that.
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and, so i was, the next year i was delegate to the constitutional convention, and then in 1977 percy said he was going to run for ma mayor. you know, this is -- black folks didn't run if for mayor. [laughter] so it took me about 30 seconds to say, well, what about borough president? percy was then borough president. he said, you ought to run for that. and so i did. i ran three times before i succeeded. people used to say to me what do you do, and i'd say i run for borough president. [laughter] i would have been perfectly happy to remain borough president for life when the late bill lynch. , who was my chief of staff, came to me with some other politically-active new yorkers
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and convinced me that i had a chance to defeat ed koch in a primary. now, you must remember that ed koch became mayor when he defeated mario cuomo in a runoff. and percy out sutton led us in support of ed koch, who had been a very liberal, rollive member of the city -- progressive member of the city council and the congress and really his first term as hay your, i thought. few he moved more to the right as time went on, and people became dissatisfied with him. but in fairness to ed, i should mention -- [inaudible] not even laguardia. so i said, well, you have got to understand, bill, i've run three
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times before i won, and now i'm borough president of manhattan. great job. being borough president ain't bad. i saw ruth messenger here a minute ago, she will attest. and helen marshall, the queen of queens, borough president as well. so, but bill -- and i don't want this to sound like i was drafted, because i was not. but i was persuaded i ought to try. and so i did. and i have to tell you, when we decided to go -- and i had a lot of good support from labor and a lot of other sources to can which one would look for support when you seek that high office -- i still was doubtful. but then they said to me, well, dave, you know, you need a
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campaign manager who's done it before. well, frankly, that translated into you need somebody white. because no black person had ever run a campaign more mayor of the city of new york. i said, no, i need bill lynch. [applause] because he -- he believes in me. there are many hired guns out here equally good, and they really are. they have varying philosophies, of course. but i needed somebody who really believed in me x that was bill. so we ran, we had three opponents, the incumbent, ed koch, dick ravage who had done a wonderful job with the mta, its capital program, and j. gold b, harrison j. golden who i say is one of the most articulate people i've ever encountered in
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municipal government. so we figured, or the pundits figured that i could never prevail because even were i to finish at the top, i wouldn't get more than 50%, and my opponents would gang up on me, and i would lose. well, we got 51. [applause] and then i'm facing rudy giuliani in the general election. keep in mind, rudy is not yet america's mayor. 9/11 has not yet occurred. you figure with the democratic enrollment over republicans at least 5 to 1, and if i get 51%,
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but granted, a different electorate in a primary, that we would certainly win. well, 1.9 million votes cast, and we won by a around gin of about 50,000 votes -- a margin of 50,000 votes, but we won. [applause] now, this was no small feat considering that no african-american before me had become mayor of a major american city with a majority white population. i have learned throughout my life that history has a way of simplifying things or even getting them wrong. people remember new york city in the early '90s as being riddled with crime. some seem to think that it exploded during our time in office. you'd get the impression that on december 31, 1989, when ed koch was still mayor, that there was
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no crime. just the next day, january the 1, 990, --1990, when we took office. [laughter] lord knows, an expert and i think he will attest that what i say is accurate. so we went about trying to figure out what to do about this crime. we determined, we determined on examining the police department as had not billion done in a -- had not been done in a quarter century, reached the conclusion that we needed, obviously, more police officers. came up with an idea of about how many we needed. but if you need more police officers, then obviously -- or maybe not so obviously to some -- you need more assistant district attorneys. you need more legal aid people. you need more parole and probation and all those things related to law enforcement.
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so we said, well, how will we get this done? well, we said what we've got to do is get some money from albany, that is get permission from albany to tax ourselves. because you cannot tax -- other than real estate rates, you can't do it without permission from albany. so we went to albany and judge marlon -- i don't know whether he's here tonight, but judge marlon was my tenty mayor for -- deputy mayor for public safety, criminal justice. he had been presiding justice of the appellate division, second department. a very distinguished, knowledgeable, likable man. so he went forth to albany in pursuit of getting this legislation. and one white republican state
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senator said to him, my constituency is concerned with auto theft and graffiti. we said, but people are dying in the streets. well, we were able to surmount even that, and we got the legislation. and as some will attest -- and i mentioned it in the book -- from its peak, crime decreased more dramatically and more rapidly both in terms of actual numbers and percentages than at any time if the modern history of new york city. [applause] on our watch. [applause] the program was called safe streets, safe city. and it worked. it didn't work because i was
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taller, smarter, faster than anybody else, it worked because i had the good fortune of being surrounded by an awful lot of very bright, young women and men who were determined that things could be better. i have to tell you, i used to remind our people that i would do almost anything they recommended. but i would say to them, you must keep in mind that the lincoln rule abstains. they said, what's the lincoln rule? well, abe lincoln would convene his cabinet and put a question, and they'd go around and each person would vote in the cabinet, say nay, nay, nay, nay, nay, and then he would say, the ayes have it. [laughter] so that's what we used to do. but i, 90% -- 95% of the time i
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followed the suggestions of my people. i will never forget when they, it took them a week, but they persuaded me that needle exchange made sense. [applause] today everybody knows that to be the case. it was not so obvious to me way back then. seeing helen marshall makes me think of queens. which reminds me of the u.s. open played here just recently. [applause] there was the fear that the u.s. open would leave new york city. they might well have gone to the meadowlands, to atlanta. a lot of ore places. -- other places. so it was important that we keep it not only for the jobs, but for the revenue that it helped produce. so we worked hard on that.
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we were successful again. this was something that required going to albany because if you're going to alienate parkland, you need permission of state. and so we're in flushing meadows having already moved from forest hills a few years before, and so we worked hard at that. we were successful. ..
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when they were insisting on having this flyover penal provision, i said you're killing me. politically i'm dead. i can't do that. he said it's a deal-breaker, i said okay. what we got in exchange for it is all the missouri paid by the city, be the usda to the city, is a percentage of gros, -- gross, not net. how everyone have you read about a dispute between the yankees and the city about how much money is due? we didn't have that problem because we were dealing with gross. so we were successful, and today in two weeks, the u.s. open generates more revenue into the economy of the city than the yankees, mets, and knicks and rangers combined. [applause]
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that number is north of $700 million each year. [applause] >> my friend, mike bloomberg, who ought to know something about good deals, he will tell you -- this is almost a precise quote -- he says the only good athletic sports stadium deal, not just in new york but in the country. so, in fact, each year i'm just delighted. i spent a lot of time at the open, day and night. you make these sacrifices when you -- [laughter] >> we also during our time created fashion week, restaurant week, broadway on broadway, which some of you will remember. we have continued for decades now and attract attention and tremendous revenue in the city of an annual basis.
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most notably, during our term, racial tensions eased despite the realities of economic downturn, which gripped our city and our nation. although we had precious few dollars to spend on social programs, perhaps the folks in need gave us a pass because they knew we would indeed be for them when the economy changed. nevertheless, with a huge budget shortfall, we spent $47 million to keep each branch library open six days a week, and somewhere here is harvey robbins -- yeah. harvey robin kept saying to me, mayor, we we -- we can do it, and we did it. you'll find three and a half people who will remember that. to me, public libraries are an
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essential components of a democratic society. and i would have none of that talk about cutting back on those services. of course, crown heights is covered in the book. as much as was painful to write about it, we did. and while i wish the incident had never happened, i don't blame anybody else because it happened on my watch. the buck stops here. however in the book in some detail, i have rejected the pervasive myth that the police were instructed to allow the black population to riot in our streets. just think about this. why would anybody want this to happen? and so not withstanding my, i think, solid record of support for the jewish committee and the state of israel, there were those who nonetheless so accused me. that was painful. and we write about it. to be real clear, there was no
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order given, no unstated code, no tacit understanding, and no one who told the police not to do their jobs. i say that the police department of the city of new york is the best in the world at riot situations. why they don't -- they didn't do it that time i don't know. i wish i had insisted sooner that they do better. i ought to tell you it was ray kelly who was then the deputy commissioner, deputy police commissioner. he was -- his function on -- during that period was not a line function out there but he did come out and say -- ask the lee patrick brown, the police commissioner, wanted his help, and dr. brown said, yes, and it was ray kell kelly -- ray kelly who helped restore order.
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he is the only man to have served two separate administrations as police commissioner. he, as you know, is police commissioner now. i never called him commissioner, from the day i swore him in, until present, i call him colonel. because he is a colonel in the marine corps. i was a private first class. one day i greeted him and i said, colonel, and i turned to his wife veronica, and i said, mrs. colonel, and she said, mr. mayor, i have a title of my own and i outrank you. i said what's that? petty officer first class united states coast guard reserve. she has since been promoted to chief. so if you encounter veronica kelly, just call her chief, and she will know that you have been talking to me. [laughter]
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>> but i suppose more important than anything else is that in crown heights, we lost gavin cato and yankel rosenbaum. a divinity student from australia who was attacked in the first few hours. frequently i will read of riots in crown heights culminating in the death of yankel rosenbaum. didn't happen that way. he was attacked early on. i suppose the -- if i had to pick a single event during our time in office, it would have to be receiving nelson mandela. [applause] >> just a few days ago they
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unveiled a statue of nell son -- nelson mandela in washington before the south african embassy. a site at which a few of us -- more than a few of us were arrested back in the days of apartheid. but nelson mandela stayed with us in gracey mansion, which is where the mayor lives, unless you got $80 billion like mike. and so joy said, i don't think you -- i said i don't think you'll fit in that bed. joy said, yes, he will. i said, i don't think so honey. and later i realized why i had doubts. i introduced him to bill clinton and al gore, and we had photographs, and i realized the photograph that bill clinton is
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slightly taller than nelson mandela. but in my mind, he was ten feet tall. so, each year, i send the same message, happy birthday -- his birthday is july 18th and mine is july as well, and i say, happen birthday. when you're 109 i'll be 100 and we'll meet and toast one another. [applause] >> in the book i tell a story of how one of bill lynch's dreams was that we're going to have nelson mandela speak at yankee stadium. but we had trouble getting yankee stadium. george steinbrenner said it wasn't available, and i don't know whether he thought we would tear up the place or what. but billy joel saved the day and
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gave us -- donated to us -- one of the concert days for which he had paid and contracted, and so it was terrific. the place was packed. and there came a time when i draped a jacket, a yankee jacket, around his shoulders, and placed the yankee cap on his head, and he said, you know who i am, i am a yankee. and the place erupted. so, you put that together with ticker tape parade and all the other things, it was a great moment for me. incidentally, steinbrenner heard about this because this went around the world, and he decided we didn't have to pay anything. so, some suggest it may be that
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madeba knew what he was doing and gave me a little wink when he did that. perhaps he did. but the -- as expected, the second election between rudy and me was pretty rough. to used koch's language, it was nasty. ed koch did a book, jewellual -- rudy giuliani, nasty man. that was the title of the book. so i believe then, as i do now, that racial characterizations made by rudy played a big role, particularly as false allegations that we were soft on crime, because the facts show otherwise, and yet it remains that i lost the election by something like 44,000 votes, and were it not for the staten
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islanded secession vote which was on the ballot, things might have been different. you may recall they had on the ballot a question of whether or not staten island could secede from the rest of the city. now, i'm no legal scholar but i have to tell you that if i give you a mortgage on my house, i can't then go and sell the roof to somebody else. the whole house backs the debt. and the debt of the city of new york, all of the city of new york, stands behind the city's debt. i said marrow cuomo -- mario cuomo is a scholar. he was considered for a seat on the supreme court. i said he won't sign it. but it wouldn't get to him because mel miller, the speaker
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of the senate, will turn it down. well, it passed the assembly and the governor signed commit thereby it was on the ballot. and so that caused a huge turnout in staten island, and i don't know. that might have made the difference. but none of this should be construed as my being bitter or distraught by this loss. i've long been at peace with the choice made be the voters. on election night in 1993, when we had lost and it was my job to come down and concede, people were very unhappy but some of my folks, like ron grlt, and george daniels, the distinguished federal jurist, they were there,
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and peter johnson, and they said, no, dave, we must be statesmen-like. i said, okay. so, among the things i said was that, in this country we don't have coups and revolutions, we have elections. mayors come and mayors go but the city must endure. man, i was a statesman. [applause] >> the next morning, i looked at my bride and i said, you know what? we have less than 60 days -- this is november. election is in november, right? so i said we got less than than0 days to get out of gracie mansion, find a place to live, a means to pay the rent, and simultaneously transition a government in a professional, responsible way. now, all of my people, they had the same problems i had.
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they had mortgages and tuitions and whatnot, but god bless them to a person, they were terrific. we hasn't rudy well-done, professional transition papers. and because i have the good fortune of having so many friends, a lot of opportunities opened up. peter johnson said you'll be special counsel to lady johnson. i said, you got me. and percy sutton called and said, do you want to do a radio show? and on and on. vernon jordan called me and said ron perlman will call and ask to meet with you. i didn't know ron perlman. the guy that owns rev lon. and i said, okay. he said, he'll make you a deal. i said all right, he said, take it. so i became a consult tan on the
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board of revlon. i was there six or seven years, an office right next to andy stein who had been my opponent for so long. so i'm a very fortunate fellow. it's no exaggeration when i say, winter not for so many good friends -- not just the people who gave me money or voted for me but a whole lot of folks, many of them here tonight, and you don't know what effort it takes to resist calling the names of each one of you. so arnie you will understand if i don't call your name. i got to tell you, it's a certainty, but clearly not all voters -- some but clearly not all voters prefer to vote for one of their own color or religion or ethnic background, what have you. it's not necessarily a bad thing. it's just the way it is. i'm not wise enough to know if
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it's a learned behavior or just plain human nature, but it was a certainty i became he 106th 106th mayor of the city of new york because a whole lot of white people voted for me. therefore, it is wrong to say that i won the first election because black folks voted for me, as it is to say i lost the second election because white folks voted for giuliani. i'm not backing off my statement that rudy ran a racist campaign, because he did. what i'm saying is that racism was not the only reason i lost the second election. americans -- and i submit especially new yorkers -- are too smart for that, and by the way, hasn't president barack obama dismeled -- dill spelled this myth once and for all. for some people, racism is a way of life.
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not just true in america but all countries which have large groups of diverse populations. no should we ignore the reality that americans' ongoing struggle for civil and human rights is being tested even as we speak today. rights once fought for and won after a long struggle. such as the right to vote without fear and intimidation. the right to a high quality and equal public education. the right to a fair chance at the american dream. or today being a bridge by zealots who are determined not just to slow or stop progress, but to repeal and reverse matters of human dignity. in my view, these zealots will lose because they always do. and america will win because we always do. ours is not a perfect democracy. but it's as close as any nation has ever come to perfection. although memoirs are by definition written for
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posterity, my hope is that many young americans will read this book. i say that because it's clear as a bell to me, and to millions of concerned citizens, that our government is not working as well as it could and should. i say this not with a sense of pessimism but with the wisdom of having lived through the good, the bad, and the great in recent american history. we will do better. do so, we'll have to encourage more young people to become part of the process. people like the bright young students i teach at columbia university. along the way we must remind them that our system is only as good as its leaders. they could be the difference if only they would be willing to serve. sitting on their duffs, as far too many do, is not going to cut it anymore. nor is merely joining the chattering class.
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we need more young people to run for office, and we need more of them in leadership positions. look, if a skippy kid from trent to be -- i wasn't always this fat. if a skinny kid from trenton could one day become mayor of the greatest city in the world, all things are good and possible. let me at this point, as i conclude, offer my profound thanks to the many great people who served in our administration, many of whom remain in public affairs. also to acknowledge my friend, the late bill lynch, without whom someone else would be writing this book. bill was the best friend a man could ever have. and a true genius in every sense. i'd also like to thank my friend lynn riggio. [applause] >> and insightful adviser and a
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man who founded barnes & noble, where we sit and stand today, he was especially helpful to me in writing this book. last but by no means least, my thanks to peter noble. he worked long and hard on the formidable research aspects of putting this book together and did a terrific job in coaching a first-time author like me. thank you all for being here. [applause] >> great job.
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>> in a moment or two, the mayor will sign books for those who would like them signed. our tradition here is we typically ask the attendees to pose a few questions to us, but owing to the time, we'll just take a couple. first question, what advice would you give to president obama in dealing with congress? [laughter] >> i don't know how many baseball players -- fans here, i see one. i'd tell him to take two and hit to right. i offer him no advice except to stick to his guns, to be true to what he knows to be right, and
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hope it will work out in the end. i don't have any special knowledge or experience that i can offer him beyond that. >> another question: what advice would you give to a young person entering politics and public policy as a career, especially a person of color? >> well, i see one sitting right here. there's a friend of mine named jamaal nelson. he is what we call a posse scholar. he won a fellowship -- went to vanderbilt and won a fellowship to harvard divinity school and he had an interest in government and public policy, and i suggested to him that he ought to start at the bottom, and he is an ordained minister in
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harlem, and a democratic district leader, and one day, one day he may sit in city hall. [applause] >> the best question of all: what advice would you have for improving one are -- one's tennis game and can this be applied to life? >> well, i have a lot of people here tonight with whom i've played tennis over the years. ronald t. gault has carried me -- he is over yonder. he has carried me on many a time, and when i was clearly the least of the four people on the court, ron stayed with me
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anyhow. skip hartman would come out and try to teach me how to hit aforehand or backhand. seriously, you learn something about a person by their behavior on a tennis court. you truly do. isn't that right, bobby? >> okay. thank you very much, mr. mayor. and we're ready for the signing. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> ladies and gentlemen, please, one more round of applause for mayor denkins. >> if you would like to get a book signed today, please re --


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