tv In Depth CSPAN November 6, 2016 12:00pm-3:01pm EST
c make your watching tv on c-span2 and since the election is tuesday we thought we would do something different for this month's in-depth program. instead of focusing on one author we are now live with three offer-- authors and presidential historians and for the next three hours it's your opportunity to talk to kate albertson brouwer about presidents, first lady, elections and the white house. >> bill, every four years we are told this is the most important election in our lifetime. is that true? >> every time it's ever been held, yes. >> why is that true? >> it's a change with a new figure in the white house, a new figure of state and of course
the passion of the voters and so forth. >> when you talk about a symbol of state, how important is that? >> very important to. having the presidency is all from the kingship and it's a two-pronged thing, symbolic president and manager of the government and it has been from the start and some are good administrators and some are battle-- better symbols and i think it's the characteristic of the office. they have to be both, really. >> in your book, the leaders we deserve and if you didn't, you write that if great or near great presidents were shaped by numerous experiences with people from all walks of life the unsuccessful spent most of their adult lives in a single pursue politics. >> that's correct and if you look at some of my failures, james buchanan probably had more jobs than anyone.
he waited all of his life to be president and it was a goal from the time he was in the state legislator. he conspired behind his wife's back to run for president. she did not even know he was one of the candidates and joshua was stunned when he received it. we think of others. failure brings a lot more out than success they're greasing of lincoln lincoln's many failures, death of his mother and sister as a child, not a good relationship with his father. his father renting out other firms because he was a big burly guy and was not paid for his own later-- labor. he was determined to make something out of himself and we think of roosevelt and polio in the story is very well known. you might have been present without that, but he might not have had the empathy.
he was a very spoiled child. called the feather duster by his fellow state legislators. then, it truman's failure with business. these things tape-- help a great deal in testing a presidents character. ones with the inflated resid-- resumes don't always do well. george bush, the further we get away from him, there was a unique head of state, not very partisan. one could argue he threw away his presidency with that tax increase, going flat-- back on the pledge seen there might be called to head in the middle east he was willing to do that. he should've explained why he did that later on, but still he is the one with the endless resume that did very well. by the way, martin van buren did terrible luck as president. the magician, and the schemer, not much up to being a presidents and was much better
as head of the democratic committee. i say that i stand by it? host: abraham lincoln had no business being president, ditty? i mean, when you look at his past? guest: yes and no. if you look at government experience, we had-- we forget he was the leader of his party in the state legislature in illinois. we really forget that the years out of office he was probably the most prominent lawyer in his county, his state, his region. he was an attorney for the illinois central and a very famous defense attorney, so, i mean, in our time if we were to look at someone like david boyd who comes to mind, f lee bailey of our generation, he was in those rings work he wasn't getting his attention in those days,
but he understood politics and how to get clients and how to cash in. he certainly was born-- he did not die rich, but he did die middle-class. so, i would say if you are looking at government office, one term in congress, but looking about a symbol of his era and galvanized by the popular sovereignty and the dred scott decision, mobilized with a passion that he had not had before and that passion is what drove him to the presidency. by the way, before we go on people forget he-- we also douglas, but that was when the state legislature picked the senator and we all start by gerrymandering and get out the vote. democratic legislators
versus republican. his party did much better, but the democrats through the district picked the senator, but everyone knew that was a pirate to victory. as soon as he loses to douglas he gets the telegraph to come to cooper union and show his stuff to the establishment and you know the rest of the story. host: kate andersen brower who is the author of two books, the residents about the white house and first women. here's a quote by rachel jackson, andrew jackson's wife: i'd rather be a doorkeeper in the house of god then within that palace in washington. guest: i think it's very difficult for a lot of first ladies and martha washington, george washington's wife talked about being a state primitive-- prisoner and michelle obama has talked about feeling like a prisoner in the white house and i thought it was interesting when she set about some presidents not even telling their wives that they would run
and they win and they were surprised and you look back in history a ladybird johnson even though she was financially supportive of lbj he was very dismissive of her and when he was right for congress he did not even tell her the first time until far along in the process and i think another thing-- i think there is a sense among these women that they are kind of being dragged along into the white house and it's a sacrifice for them. i think with michelle obama you see that to give up a lucrative career giving up-- making more money than her husband. as the first lady you can't work and then you get criticized no matter what you do and i have talked to 31st ladies who talks about how frustrating it was and a matter what she did she knew there would be a largest segment of the population who would hate her and, so she said she did what she wanted which-- included sitting in capital means and being called a steel magnolia.
people forget about rosalynn carter how she was kind of a precursor to hillary clinton in many ways. i think the two of them have a lot of common. maybe, generationally if rosalynn carter had been born later she would have been more active and sought out a west wing office which would've been unthinkable in the 70s and obviously hillary clinton having a west wing office did not break so well for her at the time. democrats lost in the midterm election of 94 and she blames herself for a lot of that, so i think there is a definite prison like element for these women. host: here's a bit of video of michelle obama talking about living in the white house. i guess we don't have that video. i apologize for that. guest: rachel jackson, though, she was the first first lady they were cruel to an andrew jackson never forget john quincy
adams, but there was a scar, stephen mistry of their marriage. she was married to another man and they went down from nashville which is not much today, but was a long time then and claimed they were married, but there is no record of them being married and they went back to nashville and gossip was everywhere about it, so they married again and when he ran for president his best friend, judge overton, wrote a long essay about the situation. judge over sin had a lot of integrity and he told the story, but there was one might he said: and so they say they were married. so, there wasn't much defense nor would it have been surprising. host: build-- bill feel what's been your involvement with the white house? >> i wrote a history of the white house and
starting with the last two weeks of president nixon and ending with president reagan for the white house historical association which is a nonprofit support for the white house and they publish things and raise money and occasionally by some dance object like benjamin franklin's busters on paper the white house, so i wrote the book and the security was not was-- what it is today in the generosity of the chief -- as sirs-- ushers i got a really intimate look at the place. host: how did the white house come about, originally? guest: it was called for in the constitution in the residence act called for two buildings and george washington was so happy with the site that was selected on the potomac halfway through the country that he realized that they had to have a building. they had 10 years with the amendment, 10 years to move it there and he knew they had to bricks
and mortar, so he settled on the white house instead of the capital because that rattled on and on and controversy and it was so huge. he thought he could finish a house. first one he agreed on was five times the size of what was built and then he agreed finally on a country house designed by an irish american named james hoban. he washed every stone that went into it. he wanted it finished by 1800 picked that was the deadline, november 1, and it was. it was built in the cellars of the huge house that was dug. it was just a little house by comparison. seemed very huge and the scottish men who built the house, the stonemasons, they knew the stone very well, very porous stone like they had in scotland. to seal it they whitewash it, to fill in the holes and cracks and it became the white house. host: kate andersen brower, how big is it, humming floors and
rooms? guest: looks like it's only three floors on the outside, but there are two basement levels and there is a state floor and then to a second and third floor, which is the family's private living quarters that includes a solarium, which is this incredible room overlooking the washington monument and it's really a family room for a family and in fact, the obama's and architectural digest last week released photos, which was incredible because they are very guarded about those areas as you can imagine is feeling place they they can really relax. so, it has several different levels. six levels to the white house into hitting areas where there is a pastry kitchen for the head chef and it chief offer-- ushers office, so it's huge of the basement level, the basement kitchen is where the residence staff gathering have legendary together and in the 60s and 70s there was actually
kitchen with a chef and they all loved her. i thought that was incredible. it is sort of our version of "downton abbey" that was taking place at the white house and you don't ever think of that world and also, i mean, i was a white house reporter they never thought about the butler's who serve the first family or who actually runs the private side of the white house and i think that is fascinating, the relationship that the butler's developed with the family as kind of a lifeline because when you live in a white house you feel very isolated and they are so close that in fact laura bush and her daughter-- one of her daughters went to the funeral of james ramsey who is the butler who i interviewed who came up from texas to go to his funeral, so it's more than lip service. its real devotion. guest: if you read a servant at the white house memoirs, you better think that is not usual. those people don't write memoirs, the ones that
are really close and they know, they just don't do it. it's a good analogy to a country house, english country house not because anyone is trying to be shelley, but because it works. it's public and private, first private, but it is what makes it work. all those people with all those jobs. they are carpenters, a plumber, a painter in this work goes on constantly under the chief usher and it is the residence and it is like a country house long ago. host: kate andersen brower, how did you get access to so many of the long-term white house employees for your book: the residence? guest: i interviewed close to 60 former staffers and that's important zero that they are all former staffers and it was difficult to get them to talk. it took years and some would only say positive things. you know, they don't
want to reveal any secrets about the family that would make them look bad, even negative things were said in a positive way like for instance when i talked to one usher about what it was like during monica lewinsky. anyone's interested in what that was like and he told me a story that hillary clinton during the height of the scandal coming down from the second floor and asking to just go to the pool with some books. it was a sunny weekend in august, and the president had just publicly admitted his affair with monica lewinsky and she just wanted time alone by the pool and it was a small story, but i think it's a telling a story, that it was actually not for to do this for her pure chi did not want to see anyone and she didn't want any secret service staff to see her, so he described this gargantuan effort to give her three hours and an afternoon sitting outside by the pool and he said she looks like she had been crying and i think the staff felt
very protective of hillary clinton at the time. they felt she had been through so much and was very embarrassing long story short, it wasn't easy to get them to talk and they really do love the family they serve. there's a lot of allegiance there and they do not rights like you said although jb west wrote a wonderful memoir about his time there, but jackie kennedy was really mad he did that. it is not something that the first family likes. host: you also have a quote by skip allen, white house usher about the clintons. they were about the most paranoid people i'd ever seen in my life. guest: yeah, i mean, there are people-- guest: he was fired. guest: not skip, chris emery was fired. skip left on good terms, but there are some allegiances that form. of these are human beings and they do have opinions, i mean, they are not overtly political, but skip was
talking about how the clintons changed the phone system and they used to have an operator connect the phone line, but the clintons did not like to think people were eavesdropping, so they had to-- they wanted to make calls themselves and did not want calls transferred, which i think is understandable to want in the modern era, but to the ushers and i think bill would say this is the case that everything is about tradition and they don't like anything being upended at all, so that kind of speaks to the sense that the clintons were trying to do something differently and that did not sit well with some of the staff. caller: don't you think within tradition, the clintons were very traditional. she was with the rooms, working on the rooms. guest: i mean, i don't think of them as traditional at all. she had a west wing office. guest: that kind of thing, but the social side of the white house with the butler's and things, i always thought they wanted everything to be a stickler for the way it was.
guest: that a difficult relationship with the secret service. they all do, but the clintons-- host: why do you both agree with that statement? guest: we have a number of memoirs and secret service agents. host: you said they all do, all the presidents do? guest: you get close to people you i guess they see that no person is a hero to their valet. they see some of their faults and try not to listen to the faults that they hear, people's comments about others and they keep their jobs by not repeating it most of the time, but they all had likes and dislikes and i suspect some of the rumors we have heard particularly about the clintons and the transition, it was a rough transition not between the bushes and the clintons, but between the clintons and staff old and new. we had an early brouhaha around the time of travel gate story that one of the ushers us that he was moved out
for daring to show a former first lady barbara bush how to operate a word processor or e-mail. guest: with her memoirs she called for help and they clinton staffer found out and he was fired. host: he was treated disloyal. he thought he came with the traits-- drapes. someone asked a professional question and i answered it, but they thought differently. we have had these not very good stories coming out, but some presidents were-- some just drop their code of macgyver and after it. they are close enough, closest to the president guest: on a number level the secret service gets its orders from outside the treasury department and there are things they have to do professionally and sometimes it doesn't exactly melt with what the family who has had its own level of discipline-- independence, they don't want to conform to that,
but the secret service is not theoretically under the president. guest: interesting history to that. goes back to the first mrs. roosevelt. remember he came in after assassination and this was a outdoorsman, tough guy. he would go skinny been in the potomac and writing in rock creek park and no one was going to tell him what to do and his wife was terrified that he may be a target. this athlete running around washington and no one to protect him, so she went behind his back to the secretary of treasury and he managed to get the secret service to not be in command of the president, so if someone said mr. president i cannot stand down you have to talk to the secretary of the treasury and that would give him five minutes to calm down. host: in a larger context, alvin
felzenberg, how is the presidency changed over the last -- but the elections? guest: how many? host: fifty-eight times that whip on to the polls. this will be the 58th. guest: i often tell my students to think of the present as uninvited guest in your living room. that was not true in the early days, certainly was not true until the advent of radio where i'm not sure most americans when the government did less, unless you were a hero like andrew jackson who had a silhouette in every tavern in america, the second savior, battle of new orleans and things like that and lincoln being martyred. i'm sure his photograph was in every schoolhouse -- well, even when i was growing up lincoln and washington were in every school, but it wasn't until the job became more. coolidge was one of the first to be known on the radio. someone did a poll once in his voice was addressing-- and not all
guest: he did not do what fdr did turkey did not speak off-the-cuff. the guy gave a fireside chat while you were in your study, nice and comfortable. he did them on sunday nights. lets me just talk to you about banking and there was a famous story that was told by traveling salesman who was stuck in chicago, my apologies to the people of chicago for a weekend and it was very very hot and he walked several miles across chicago just to get his exercise. every window was open and every radiohead roosevelt voice, fireside chat. that was a transitional point. kennedy, then perfected the art of television. television was in its infancy. 1960 election was second or third on television, but really the first one where everyone had television.
television in about a third of american homes and 52 and by the end of our eyes and our-- eisenhower's time it was universal. kennedy then became the president, primetime performer. elegance phrases, elegant sentences and wonderful press conferences. he would do it just before dinner was ready. my parents that-- [inaudible] host: we are going to hold it there because i think your microphone fell off and we want to get it on. brandon will come in and take care of that. while we do i wanted to show video from 1912. i think you guys will be able to figure this out. >> it's called the old way and the new and it
opens up with this very rich fact bureaucrats who comes into his office where one of his flunkies is dutifully dusting off portraits of theodore roosevelt and william howard passed, done together as example of the old way of doing things, so he has lots of money and he is dispensing favors and their is all sorts of bribes and political corruption, taking on their contrasted with the new way of doing things, represented by woodrow wilson who is the champion of the common man and the film actually ends with a plea of people to send 1 dollar to the democratic national committee on behalf of the woodrow wilson campaign because woodrow wilson is the common man. republicans are for the wealthiest 1%.
somehow those tropes have not changed in the last 100 years. host: bill seale, that is supposedly the first campaign ad ever, 1912, woodrow wilson. guest: i knew it, but-- guest: people would see it in the silent theaters. up with come the odd like they have poor rice or potatoes or something else and wilson was running against that awful establishment. he was going to represent the small guy again for the guy and take his money from the american people. here, you have a farmer sending a dollar. i guess it was a penny staff. guest: honest dollar. guest: excuse me? guest: honest dollar.
host: in the white house the history of an american idea, bill seale, you write the white house has become as much a part of america is the presidency itself. guest: you can't separate the two, really. truman is the one who really understood that, but it's such a symbolic combination. imagine the president living in a high-rise in colorado, which was proposed at one time or eisenhower even proposed a high-rise behind the white house to the south and he would live on the top two floors like all of the generals from world war ii had at the waldorf. the public went crazy and he said i never intended to do that. i do think it's really inseparable. guest: it's interesting, i mean, people do talk about donald trump if elected maybe not moving into the white house and we don't know if that would happen. guest: we have had that before. guest: i have actually wondered
this since adam, who has not lived-- was it grover cleveland? guest: hit a young bride, he was 20 years older than she was and she was quite a beauty. the press was very just sit with her and he did not want her at the white house. she went to formal occasions, but they had a house in town. guest: cleveland park now. guest: she had 34 pets, so it was the old man and the young girl and she had chickens and rabbits and dobermans. than she had her own pet. president truman, when the secret service and everyone said the house was not habitable and not safe, moved to blair house for most of his demonstration. guest: not by choice, though. that was renovation.
it was not as though he did not think it was good enough. guest: no, no, nothing like that. guest: it was falling apart. guest: i would be surprised if any president could go too far away with all of the staff. truman had no choice, to do what he did which was really heroic. it would not be the symbol if he had let people do what they want to do. guest: i have to say that was the election and the republicans had a button that said truman was screwy to build a porch for dewey. guest: built that porch and anger, you know. he wanted to extend down 17th street from the west wing. huge office complex with a theater where he could make addresses and others could as well. it went through and then it was stopped in congress and they took the funds away your key
was serious, so he asked no one, fine arts commission, no one and paid the money out of the household budget to put that porch on the back speech-- host: good afternoon welcome to book tv on c-span to pick this is our monthly end up program and usually we focus on one author and his or her body work. this work-- month we are talking about presidential and electoral history with three authors. bill seale is one of our guests and he is the author of several books about the white house including: temples of the bacher c. the white house, the history of an american idea. the presidents house and blair house, which just came out for is just coming out. he is a professor. he taught at columbia university in south carolina, university of houston, lamarr university and has spent quite a bit of time as a consultant on state capital restorations.
guest: the ticker interest. host: and alvin felzenberg is also with us. he is the author of the book: the leaders we deserved and if you didn't. he is a lecturer at the annenberg school of communication at the university of pennsylvania and top four george washington for quite a while and princeton and served as principal spokesman for the 911 commission. he is also with us as is kate andersen brower. her two books, the residence inside the private world of the white house and first women: the grace of power of america's modern first lady's. she spent four years with bloomberg news covering the white house and has worked at cbs and fox. we will be talking about a lot of the history of washington, presidents, first ladies, elections. if you would like to participate in our conversation here's the way for you to do it. 202-748-8200 if you live
in the eastern central time zones 748-8201 for those of you in mountain pacific time zone's. dial-in and we will get your calls as quickly as possible. you can also make comments on facebook. facebook.com. /book tv or you can send us an e-mail, book tv at t cell.org and finally you can send a tweet at book tv is our twitter handle, so there are lots of weight to communicate with our three guests. earlier on, we talked about michelle obama and her view of the white house. we have a little video we want to show you. >> white house has always been a place that had attention, the tension between being a public site and being someone's home and i think that tension plays out all the time in every administration. visibility that they
constantly face is part of the stress of being in the house and i think one of the challenges is to make peace with that, to recognize that to survive you have to realize that it's okay that part of my life is completely in the public , even when i come home at night and the other part is to find that space of protection. find those things that both allow you the privacy that you need, but also allow you to revel in the house you are in. >> i tell people that it feels like you're living in in this beautiful hotel and at the ground floor is the lobby and when you step out into it you will interact with a whole range of people, may be a group of tourists are staff members, special visitors and staff and you feel like greeting in them and then you get into the elevator and you go into your quiet, private, personal space and it feels very much like you are the only people living here.
host: kate andersen brower. guest: will come i think that it is very interesting to see the different first ladies over time deal with sort of negotiating life and that the white house and i think for someone like michelle obama she felt a lot of pressure as the first african-american first lady. when i interviewed obama , they talked about how she did it really necessarily look to the first ladies of the past because she was in such a unique position and she also felt rightfully so that there was an additional amount of scrutiny that she would have to deal with, so, which is a reality. i think it's interesting to see while women's world and society has evolved a bit i think the job of first lady really has been slower to change and americans are not very forgiving in terms of what i first
lady is allowed to do and also we will see if we do have a first gentleman if that changes anything, but every first lady at least from jackie kennedy to michelle obama has grappled again some of these constraint. you had jackie kennedy leaving the white house constantly to write her horses and also trying to deal with raising young children in the white house. i think the resident staffers who are interviewed their favorite family was the bushes, bush senior and barbara bush because they were very summative, very carried. they knew people's children's names. they will call and say it's a pm, what are you still doing here, go home to your family. that's very unusual, but i think part of that might be because they did not have children and they were privileged in that sense that they did not have the added burden of feeling-- michelle obama talked about herself at the dnc which he said how conflicted she felt
watching who-- her two daughters get into the secret service man and watching them go to school for the first time and she got what have we done and i think for women there is this definite added a level of pressure that these women feel. host: you say the hw bush family was the favorite. who have you found to be on the other side of that? guest: that's the question everyone wants to know. i think-- i do think that nancy reagan said-- reagan was a difficult first lady because she was such a perfectionist. i think some people really liked working for her and i interviewed a couple of white house cloris who described being relieved working for her because if she said i wants six dozen roses in a vase on the pedestal and you gave it to her she was thrilled, but very very specific. a chef told me if she asked for asparagus and you gave her green beans you better have a good excuse. i think she understood
the majesty of the white house. gorbachev came for the historic visit in the 1980s and she had the flower arrangements changed three times in one day in every room of the white house because she wanted to quote unquote knock his socks off and she-- guest: a word as of the four to first ladies. number one, i think history will be very kind to michelle obama. i think it's already kinder to her than the president. a lot of things about her we already know and i must say the press is not kind to her when they ran the first time. we have the awful new yorker cover of the two of them in half rose with the fist bump and that was supposed to be a parody of how the new yorker that. certain people conceived it was not helpful. that we have the stereotypes of the angry woman, which is long long gone. i have a list of winners of this campaign and she
is certainly one of them we will talk about the losers later. that speech at the convention, about how her daughters felt having their father legitimacy question. that was the most human speech i have heard a first lady get. the other tribute i would say is so much time has been paid on nancy reagan the perfectionist, nancy reagan on the china and all of that, jamie stewart said a very telling. he said if ronald reagan met nancy before he met jane wyman he would never have been president. she would have seen to it that he got all of the parts and he would have been harvey, spirit of st. louis. she wanted that presidents just-- was the president's protector and every well he and she was willing
to take the hit for him. took many hits and bad press and that was the price she was willing to pay. guest: she was called a t the behind her. people were brutal. guest: the idea of not only the first lady firing the president's chief of staff, but sitting with the transition team , that's never happened and she never had her own agenda. it was had why help ronnie. guest: don't you think most first ladies have been that way, but in the personal sense of anything for him? guest: yes. guest: mrs. roosevelt wanted her piece out of the middle, but she did that for other reasons, but most of them, it's the guy they live with, that they are married to and that's what he wants that he wants it for her also. guest: in terms of her firing the chief of staff she went to george hw bush and she wrote about this and she said we have
to get rid of him. he had hung up on her several times and ron reagan said you could maybe hang up on my mom wants, but not twice. she said george hw bush than vice president she said we have to get rid of him and she said if you are not man enough to i will and she did, so ron reagan, their son, talks about his mother in glowing terms, terms of she took a lot of heat because she wanted everyone to love him. i think she was very brave. she really didn't care. she wanted what was best for him, always. guest: that's why brought it up because i don't think she has gotten her do. apparently, there was a photograph in time magazine of reagan seated himself between reagan gorbachev. as if he is writing a script for both of them. guest: her management of the white house was not totally unlike the management of a film in hollywood. everything is worked out.
there are no questions. the costumes, three for each person in case copying all of that, you know. every little detail is worked at because it's money and i always thought she kind of followed that anyway. she was used to it and so was he. host: bill seale, you brought up eleanor roosevelt. what was a life like in the white house from 33 to 45? guest: roosevelt was handicapped and he occupied a little itty bitty room beside the library upstairs or get a stamp collection-- collection and toys , but people he wanted to see, they would have to come and spend the night. so, there was this big strain of the people that ran through the house more than ever before that were there all the time. it was full of people. was full of kids and animals and everything and mrs. roosevelt did not take eight interest
in the house and that's when the furnishing commission-- committee did the red room. the housekeeper asked and got permission to cut the new red curtains off 10 inches from the floor so the vacuum cleaner would fit underneath. it was run that way and people say two houses, but i don't think entirely so. the roosevelt had his own group and she kind of made a group for herself. would you agree with that case? guest: i do. i think it's interesting because she really nagged him, writing him constantly. guest: irritatingly. guest: he would see her coming and just because she really cared about civil rights and issues that we now think our progressive, but in the same way roselyn carter really nagged jimmy carter about issues and it got to the point where the end of the day she would at this folder of papers and she would want to talk to him as soon as he got off the elevator. it got really annoying for him and he said i deal with this all day.
schedule a lunch with me and then they started having weekly luncheons -- launches. guest: carter never grabbed the spotlight; right? guest: no, not publicly, but she did get into trouble for sitting in on cabinet meetings. she wanted to so she would know what to do. guest: one-story would like to say-- two stories. fdr. he used to have his famous martini parties every afternoon at 4:00 p.m., 4:30 p.m. guest: that's early. guest: work i do stop and everyone had to watch him make his own martinis. he was proud of his recipe. i read some of the letters. eleanor would come within her back up at the bag down and tell him about her day and he did not want that. this is his one and a half hours we would have without any work and she always spoiled the party , so he would try to find other ways to do this. in the current "vanity
fair" come and there's an with president obama and she tells the story about when no ordinary time came out her book about the roosevelt's and all of these people that would not leave the white house. churchill would come for weeks on end. several other folks and she said that she and her husband and bill and hillary once spent an evening trying to figure out with the white house blueprints, how could you get all these people in here and they finally decided it wasn't mathematically possible. guest: the clintons did that, also. like you are saying, that clinton's embrace the history of the white house. they read memoirs about the butler's. so, late at night they would go up and rearrange furniture in the curators i was told
would get frustrated because when they were bored they would rearrange furniture and everything there is perfectly documented and they know where everything piece of furniture is, but the clintons-- i can imagine them poring over a blueprint and enjoying that. they have an appreciation. guest: they are both very interested in history. guest: i worked on the blue room and mrs. clinton came in at all hours and she actually participated. she solved problems that the committee didn't and it looks like the blue room now and of course she was raised in that business. her father was they say a draper. he was obviously very successful as the big decorators and all that. host: bill seale, has every family had an impact on the white house and what? guest: in one way or another, yes. they have and of course their stories, emotions of their stories are there and you always think about it and
paramount has always been the lincoln melodrama because it all happened there and he was brought home dead from the theater. it's a very compelling story. this family just went to pieces at a time when the nation was 20 pieces and repaired for a while. yeah, i don't think you can escape the stories. guest: i was going to do an architectural issue and i couldn't just do the building. it's how they live, what they do and the things they do get changed often by the next people because it's a stage and they know it and they wanted to look like they wanted to look. host: are abraham lincoln and john f. kennedy the only two who have lain in state? guest: no, they all have. the first was harrison. host: in the white house? guest: in 41.
he was only there 30 days. they did not know what to do, so they hired a very prominent department store owner-- they did, a department store, but he invented the funeral and he did patterning somewhat on george washington's ceremony. the body was never there. it was in washington, but they drape the house of black-and-white and everyone sort of followed that since. it's gotten simpler and simpler, but even for kennedy the big light fixtures in the east room had black on them. the mirrors used to be covered up and they were left 430 days in morning at the house and so all of them had been-- i think of one now. guest: i have seen the party of national geographic with the-- i saw the pictures of that. mckinley. i don't know if he was taken back to washington i don't know.
guest: it was in stay in the east room. host: what about james garfield who was shot washington? guest: his body was in the capital. it may have been briefly at the white house. i just remember, but another big show was at the i-uppercase-letter mean big thing. guest: to your point about kennedy and everyone thinks about the brett-- black crêpe and replicating what they did for lincoln, but there's a great oral history given by an upholsterer and he talks about how it was actually just black fabric that is on the bottom of most chairs and he had just happened to order yards and yards of this, so when jackie kennedy asked him if we have anything like this he thought i just happen to have these yards of very-- it's not quite as beautiful as you would think it is it's just this black fabric. we probably have some are here.
guest: did kennedy say she wants it like mrs. lincoln? guest: absolutely. had the library of congress historians working all night. guest: i interviewed him and he talked to how jackie kennedy had her wits about her when no one else did and, i mean, to the point where when all of these heads of state were coming that morning and the oval room and she said we need to move out all of the french paintings and get in the american-- get in some american paintings because i don't want charles de gaulle in the world leaders to see all of these european artists. of course, she loved european art, that she understood the importance of showcasing american art to the world. host: she was making calls from america-- air force one on the way back from dallas. guest: she must have been in complete shock and the amount for someone to, i mean, well
under 40-- i think she was 36. guest: thirty-four. guest: third youngest first leading history. incredible i think when you watch the video you have to think she is in complete shock by the whole thing, but the staff that i interviewed talked about how they felt they couldn't cry because she was so stoic. i talked to an engineer that worked at the time and he recalled standing there and she was coming in to see her husband's casket and she was so-- she was not crying in the staff were crying and they turned to face the law because they felt they were embarrassed that they were showing so much emotion when hear his wife was so brave. i'm interested to see that jackie movie coming out soon with natalie portman. host: when you see the movie the butler, how accurate is that? guest: it's loosely based on the life of eugene allen he was a butler at the white house and everyone i talked to said it was nothing like him, but i think
it's, you know, its amalgamation of several different people. i interviewed his son and he said my parents were good people. a movie about them would have been really boring. his mother was not an alcoholic, for instance. there was not this kind of drama and also eugene allen played by the rules that would not have gone to the chief usher and asked for a raise, was told. bill hamilton who was the head of the storeroom did ask for a raise in the late 60s and so it wasn't eugene allen who did it, but it's an interesting look at how mostly african american staff dealt with life the white house and how close they came to the first family. host: you know, african american staff at the white house was high society in washington. guest: yes. guest: they had their own debut, debutantes and they had a famous dance that ended with world war ii, i think, call the chandelier
ball. the silver, the chairs, everything was taken from the white house to one of the big hotels and it was a very classy event. they were kind of at that peak that washington had. guest: almost all the women in georgetown, wanted to say they were employed a white house butler, so i interviewed one of them that has since passed away and he formed an association white house butlers and he said i was mr. westray. i was introduced at these elaborate parties and the hostess would say white house server. host: kate andersen brower, was that his daughter that set you satisfy dollars to take yourself out to lunch? guest: yes, his daughter's at me $75 after my book came out just to thank me for bringing her father's work to light and i just thought that was so incredibly generous.
you don't really get that. is you know, when you write a book you don't expect what are your sources to send you a check, but that's the kind of people they are. i mean, i still keep in touch with a lot of them on facebook and they are friends and if you go to funerals. i went to cletus clark's funeral and it's a very moving thing, i mean, you see past staffers, current staffers, but i will tell you i was not -- at his funeral, which was very large, the current staff are not keen on talking to a reporter on talking about what it's like they're now. host: do you have a reputation now that your book is come out? guest: i think it's good, i mean, when i first started out they were very wary, but once the book came out and saw it was in kind of a totally airing dirty laundry, they have been easier to talk to. george, butler with the obama administration up until 2014, he would not talk to me for the first book and in fact, might have hung up on the. and went out to his house and interviewed him for my second book.
i think they're just weary and did not know what a reporter will do to their story. host: 202-748-8200 if you live in the eastern and central time zone and went to purchase state today. 202-748-8201 if you live in the mountain and pacific time zone. you can also contact us via social media. we will scroll through those different ways that you can contact us. also want to point out some of the things we had been showing you today all come from c-span.org. if you go to c-span.org, and you click on the series button you will see an american president series. you will see a first ladies series. you will see american history tv as well. white house documentary and also a blair house document tree. all of these things are available to watch as c-span.org and we have been using a lot of these resources as well and we will continue to use them throughout this
program. let's begin with a call from neville in the cleveland, ohio. hello. you are on with bill seale, al felzenberg in kate andersen brower. caller: i would like to say that i like to visit presidential museums and libraries. i have been to eight and also far. i would like to get the comments from the historians on how well the museums and libraries present presidents? host: neville, which once have you visited and which ones have been your favorite? caller: i have been to lbj. i have been to both bushes in texas. i have been to mr. carter's. i have been to truman's. i been to the one that gerald ford has in grand rapids and also to jimmy
carter's in atlanta, and bill clinton's in arkansas. i still have a few more to get to. host: thank you, neville. guest: extraordinary list. you have gotten through more than i have. my sense of this is, as time passes and the presidents become more part of history rather than former presidents we are able to reassess their time and they become less the official story of the president and his staff and shall we say protectors. the truman one has been redone many many times-- at least twice that i know of an very recently that johnson museum has tried very hard to actually stare into the vietnam war. i suspect this is not the high point of that exhibit when he was an ex-president. he probably did not want
to think much about the work. look at johnson's memoir , vantage point, heedless of thousand-- or quantitative president. he did not want to talk much about the war except how the work-- [inaudible] guest: they had a series of panels this/on the vietnam war and johnson's role in the. i would say the same thing about watergate. of the early nixon exhibits were very controversial how they present a watergate, how they redone watergate. i would say that about it, but i would say they are pretty accurate. i mean, the museum is managed-- well, the archives are managed by the archives. them easy them is managed by the presidential foundation. now, they vary a lot in accuracy and objectivity with time. as i say, when the presidents become part of history we have a
rethinking of it. often people will tell you it takes a few decades after a president has left office before we really begin to rank them accurately and newspapers command diaries come out and books about residents come out and we see back stores of the white house, but i think those libraries are good national treasures. they are wonderful for children and wonderful to teach about american history. they are able to see the presidents were, replicas and various things that have happened. i cannot stress the importance of them. host: bill seale, anthony tweets in, is there a time capsule in the foundation of the white house? caller: yes, in the entrance hall. it was originally put it in 1902 by president roosevelt and everyone witnessed it and people who weren't supposed to put things in put them in, whiskey bottle and stuff.
and 52, 50 years later when president truman rebuilt the white house on the inside they opened this and saw that everyone had put their cards anyone supposed to. so, a new time capsule is created and put in the floor at that time with old content and new ones. yes, it does have a tynecastle. host: let's hear from bill. caller: good morning. i wanted to comment on susan butler's book that came out about your half ago about the meeting with truman shortly after fdr died and truman less than particularly friendly way of dealing with him. he goes in the-- in the lecture she gave on c-span and it's just almost eye-opening. she comes close to saying if she doesn't
view, and truman gets elected. roosevelt dies shortly into his last term, and there's a cold war. wallace proposed -- opposed everything truman proposed. the berlin airlift, against greece and turkey and made excuses for stalin, the flower child in the kremlin. we had this famous photograph of the war ending with the sailor kissing the nurse in times squared and all the boys are coming home. the russians never left. they liberated stalin and stayed. liberated hungry and stayed. took a major part of the eastern front. you don't see too many russians in d-day because they were taking the biggest hit in the east. they thought they were entitled to these territories.
now truman thought that he could deal with stalin. his first comment was, stalin reminded million of party bosses in st. louis and kansas city. i can handle them. then he realized that keeping his word might be important, but not important in soviets. so i tack a much different view than shes to, but many people agree with her. >> host: just a month or so before his death, franklin roosevelt spoke in 1945 at his inaugural. >> i, franklin del delano roosevelt, swear i will faithfully execute ooffice of president of the united states and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the united states. >> so help you god. >> so help me god. [cheering] >> the president delivers a
brief inaugural address. >> we americans of today, together with our allies, are passing through a period of supreme test. it is a test of our courage, of our resolve, of our wisdom, of our essential democracy. if we meet that test -- black pass pass. citifully and honorably we can -- an historic importance which men and women and children will honor throughout all time. as i stand here today, having taken the solemn oath of office, in the presence of my fellow countrymen, in the presence of our god, i know that it is
america's purpose that we shall not fail. >> host: what are we seeing. >> guest: roosevelt was dying, basically, and he didn't go to the capitol. they had the first inaugural not at the white house. there was one swearing on the south porch and he was dead in, what, three months in april. that was in january. the swearing official public swearing in at the white house. >> guest: the only time. always at the capitol. >> host: when did they move it from march to january? >> guest: that was -- the roosevelt-hoover transition was a long one, not a very happy one, and hoover was frustrated because he cooperate get roosevelt to accept some of his ideas. roosevelt wanted to blame everything on hoover and start anew. so nothing was happening. roosevelt thought it was an experience no president-elect should go through again and moved it up to january 20th,
to shorten the time of the transition. >> host: you write about roslyn carter thinking that january was too long to remain in the white house. >> guest: yeah. nancy reagan actually was toying with the idea of asking them to move to blair house so she could come in and do reparts of the white house. each first lady brings in an interior decorator, and nancy reagan did an incredible job, bringing in ted grave torii do it in a lighter yellow into -- >> guest: the first one who finished the family quarters. didn't have a chair to hang your pants on in the bedroom, and mrs. reagan and ted graver, hollywood decorator, very famous, he had an eye for comfort. every bedroom did have a chair and a chest and a -- it was liveable for the first time ever.
>> host: i apologize. what i meant was they lost the election and here she was stuck in the house. >> guest: when i talked to her -- still her biggest regret is they lost, that was 235 -- 35 years ago. there is again and again, specially one-term presidents, the feeling of the wives, bitterness. betty ford was quote as saying whatever follows you they didn't deserve to be there, and it's because these women campaign very hard for their herses and getting to the potential of the presidential library, the commitment the first ladies make is huge. lady bird johnson visited every presidential library, wanted to make it perfect, the johnson library, and i interviewed her assistant whoa talk about how bittersweet it was for lady bird because she would be sitting at her office in the library and mary her deceased husband's voice in the fake setup of his office, coming in over the loudspeakers, and how much she
enjoyed it but how bitter it was, and nance reagan on the anniversary of ronald reagan's death could be found sitting at the reagan library by his grave, by herself, with only kryzewski -- secret service agent, no one eggs0. nancy reagan did an incredible job. it's one of the best. and it's because of her. also had margaret thatcher. hugely important people coming to speak. speak was very involved in fundraising for the library and i just think the commitment. jackie kennedy is another great example of someone would went with ted kennedy to solicit money, and the reagans helped. the real point of bipartisanship how people came together because jfk was of course -- he was killed, obviously so he couldn't -- she was in awe unique position of having to get support for the library, and she reached out across the aisle to nancy reagan. >> guest: laura bush is active
with the george w. bush down at smu in dallas as well. well, both first ladies, lady bird johnson and nancy reagan participated in c-span's american president series. here's a little bit from lady bird johnson's interview. >> when the president said he was going to quit in 1968, did you agree with him? >> in '68? oh, goodness, yes. we had been talking about this for -- well, ever since -- we ran and '64 and won. >> in end, wife why did he quit? >> money opinion he knew he wouldn't have in case he one he didn't have four more years. nowdays, he -- they were wearing
thin and costing too much and pulling up your spirit right out of your boots and going on, and if he lived he would not be able to do the sort of job that he wanted to do. >> guest: well, sadly he died not shortly after he left the white house, and he said his family was cursed to -- the men in his family did not live past a certain age. speaks to the point of protection i was talking about, too, that the first ladies feel this need to protect their husbands and so lady bird was very relieved he wasn't running again. and vietnam, they could hear the protesters in lafayette park. something that i hear lucy johnson and she talks about just the strain of living in the white house at that time, being so immense. what she is saying there is something that a lot of these women would feel in their heart of hearts.
pat nixon did not want president nixon to run again after the 1960 defeat and he went into private practice. she -- the happiest years of their life is when they were living in new york city. so, he wanted to get back into it. there's other great letter that jackie kennedy wrote to pat nixon, they lived a few blocks away from each other in new york city, and jackie kennedy writes and says, the dream -- your dreams are finally being fulfilled, but essentially what she is saying is be careful what you wish for because she had been in the white house. she knew this is something that would be very difficult for their family. >> guest: and richard nixon's memoir, he published a letter from jackie, basically saying, you were sent, you were sparring partners all the way from the time -- same class. you finish off and it's a direct tie, and here you have too start all over again. i know exactly what you're going through. quite a letter. i want to say one thing about lady bird.
her major contribution in history starting the environment al movement. she made a very risky decision to make these tapes public. she knew they existed. i don't know what role c-span had in these but you were the first to air them so i want to give you a plug here. lyndon, all this thoughts and all this virtues and all his bad language, liker listening in -- like you're listening in, and she thought, blemishes and all that the man she knew would rise above that and probably be given a fair view by history now. thought it was very courageous decision on her part. >> guest: the first lairdy to campaign ablown in 1964 and was an emissary to to south. a lot of southerners were not happy with the civil rights act and she went down with the lady bird express train, and there were people chanting, black bird go home, and things like that,
at her, and she sat on the back of the train bravely. they even had secret service macsure there were no bombs on the railways. a vary serious thing so she was very gutsy and her letters are fascinating and she was probable lie the linchpin for the former first ladies. she kept in touch with everybody. she would call roslyn carter during the height of the iran hostage crisis and check in she was very engaged, and she never -- >> guest: she came to all the openings of the libraries. she came to everything. >> host: you mentioned the phone calls, the lbj phone calls. we want to play one for you. >> general, i want to visit with you in the next day or so on a problem out in the southeast asia, and i just wondered if -- what your schedule was and how that would affect it.
i'd like to go in with you and get your advice. i don't know whether you have anything you need to do back this way or not, but if you did, in new york or gettysburg or something, could i have a jet pick you up there anytime it suits you and you could come back here, and then while you're here, i would call you and invite you to come down and counsel with mement i'm a little concerned about the -- believing the appearance we have an emergency or something. >> i see. well, i can do something. >> have you got anybody in new york you need to talk to at all? >> well, i've always got a -- up there, mr. president. >> why don't you go back there, whenever you think, tomorrow, or the next day, met me have my plane pick you up there.
i'll send my jet star out there either tonight or the morning, and you go visit him and then you can come on down here and spend a day with me at the white house, and let me say for the public that i understood that you were going to be in new york, and i wanted to advise with you on the general problems and i asked you to come down and visit with me, so it doesn't look too dramatic that we got a real emergency. it's not that deep, but it's deep enough that i want to talk to you. >> guest: what did i do? >> host: get you could comment. >> guest: i love the tapes. i love the tapes. his language is funny and local but he make this point so quickly. doesn't drag anything around. makes what he is sag -- be hard to write it -- >> guest: two marvelous segments with lady bird.
one is after johnson has this first press conference he calls her to critique him and she is the only one he would take that kind of dregsing -- dressing down from. he looks like a stage from -- the other one, great deal of empathy and also a sense of her management strengths. and in 1964 one on johnson's aides was arrested on morals charge. he wad been. >> what's a morals charge should arrested in the ymca -- >> guest: a great story about lady bird being an incredible p. and -- person and he is not a standup guy. >> he doesn't want the runs to make an issue of it, like most of our current presidents. a problem to be managed. she said, it's more than a problem be to managed. they've been with us a decade, and walter has six children, and he's got a wife. more than that, we have a lot of servants working for us.
we have a lot of domestics and people working now. they're watching to see how you're treating their colleagues. that's what she is telling him. we cannot let that happen, lyndon. he says, now, now, now, just get hem out of the public and deal with him later. the later was after the election because he was afraid goldwater would make an issue. that's her, empathy, manage: she learned how to turn him. what is go for you is no tot think how the servants are going to treat you. >> host: let's hear from phillip in florida. >> caller: good afternoon. thank you for c-span2 and thank you for in depth. i try to watch it when it's on please go ahead. >> caller: more of statement than a question, but i wanted to your guests to talk about it. during world war ii, fdr is commander in chief, we're fighting a two-front war, millions of soldiers all around the world, and right when he
passed away, he was in warm springs, georgia, and there was one phone line to the cottage that he was staying at, and i found that very interesting and i think it says a lot about how our government worked or at least how it worked with fdr, that something like that could happen. that he was leaving the war to the people who knew how to fight the war, and he had the overall objectives, but he was hands off in that way. and i was interested in -- >> host: all right, thank you very much. who wants to tackle that one. >> guest: first thing i would say for those watching this and haven'ted visited warm springs, i urge you to do so. it's very humble cottage he designed him. you can see his stamp collection. you can see his martini mixers
and you can see some of the portraits taken of him the day he died, when he collapsed. you may or may not find out that lucy mercy was with him and the first concern of the secret service was getting her out of the house before eleanor -- another problem to be managed. roosevelt, along with lincoln, was probably our greetest commander in chief and some ways roosevelt had better luck with generals. he worked very hard to find the right generals but he did. he suggested -- once he found ike he let million haaser -- let him master d-day, and loved george marshall. he knew how much marshall wanted to lead the war. >> guest: but marshall would not until after his death admit or say he was a great man. he didn't. he wouldn't say it. and he ordered his staff to treat bernard brook with very
special care. he says he's only the only way i can get to the president. >> host: what was the white house like during world war ii as a war center? >> guest: let just imagine an old house adapted. it had to begin with, the outside of the war -- outset of the war it was a stone house, but the interior is plaster with wooden lath in those days and some steel. it was a fire trap. and they tried to move the president out of it and he wouldn't hear of it. and so civil defense suggested that they paint the house black and put kind camouflage on the roof and cover the skylights and he said, no. so he consented to have wet sand buckets in every room, and of course he took great pleasure during the war of dumping them and having them dry. but he it was full of people, as always, and the -- down in basement -- the ground floor, as
it's called, was the map room, which he -- it was inspired by churchill to create that, and he created a very utilitarian room, and he went -- was wheelchaired down there and when churchill was in town-he was often down there, too. they'd come in at 2:00 in the morning, drinking brandy, and all in the men would worked there remembered in the recollections are very comfortable -- colorful and that area was -- in the east wing was built -- he also wanted to build a museum to the white house. so he had the plans, which he considered himself quite an architect, and he had all that and the minute the war started are pal harbor he got in the money to do it. because they were building a bomb shelter under it. and he didn't really want that, about they did. and so the east wing was built
for that purpose but it was finished -- the walls weren't finished and had burlap, like a sack over the walls and staff moved in it immediately. >> host: you write about maps being covered and had to be cleaned. >> guest: they would cover up the maps, such top secret information in there so when they were cleaning the room wouldn't see. this is the same room where bill clinton was the first president to testify before a grand jury. that's what i find so fascinating about the white house, is these layers -- laura bush used the writing desk that as jackie kennedy's and went out to riverdale, maryland, facility to find this writing desk and bring it back and to just think of each family, the green room is where the lincoln's son was laying after he died. and so i think you just -- it's incredible to think about the -- just what happened there in the last relatively short period of time.
227 years. >> guest: who was laid out. >> guest: lincoln's son. >> guest: the green room -- >> guest: the map room? but to think another of that macabre scene. >> host: where did the maps from world war ii end up. >> guest: the roosevelt library -- there are some there now. >> there are mams there. i thought hillary clinton was responsible sponsor that. >> guest: they come on the market now and then. they had a little boats stuck on the maps to where his sons were. and he always wanted to see that. and churchill went in there, would go in there and say, here's hitler, where is the bastard. >> host: kim, you're in iowa, thank you for holding on. >> caller: yes. i have a comment and a question
about my comment. david rockefeller is one of the most prominent members of the world's wealthiest family a vice president since dwight eisenhower. he wrote in memoirs part of a second secret cab cabal. the sid -- >> host: what's your question? >> caller: well are talks about the super national sovereignty of the world bank which is surely josh all right. we appreciate your comment. we'll move on to tom in cal spell, mt.. tom, good afternoon. >> caller: hi. i'm just curious. there has been a book written about the clinton white house and the problems that the staff and the soldiers and they had with the clintons. is it a true book. >> host: kate anderson brouwer, referring to the secret service
oath who came out with a book this year, gary. >> guest: yeah. >> host: there's been a couple of books, jed clean has had a couple out. -- ed clean has had a couple out. >> guest: departments on who you talk about. when i interviewed the head caught uhousekeep if at the white house she has only glowing things to say about hillary clinton and how kind she was to female staff. then i interviewed the head engineer at the time who describes having to disman tell send shands heres on inauguration day and hillary clinton being annoyed that this wasn't done quickly enough. it really depends on who you talk. to there is -- there is would a great feeling among the women on staff of sympathy for her. especially what happen when they were going through monica lewinski. a very public and humiliating thing. it's not a black and white kind of issue. some people -- it is incredible to me, though, looking at this
election, the amount of people dish the vitriol and people really do hate her but the people who know her and have worked with her, largely do say nye things about her and there are moments with her where she is incredibly compassionate. for my book about the first ladies i talked with her aides as first lady and they described her visiting these very sick children in romania, and every one in her staff was just crying. it was just a terrible scene, and she was stoic throughout, and at the end she got into the car and had sunglasses on and her aide said i don't know how you keep it together and she said to her aide, imagine i if i started crying in front hoff the kids. there lives are so difficult to see the first lady feeling sorry for them would make their lives worse, and so i think there is a sense of -- she has a sort oven -- veneer of being this
power hungry person throughout was side of her that people don't de. >> host: in your book the residence christine limerick, the head house keeper. she left. >> guest: because she got into a fight with nance reagan, and nancy reagan was very upset about these -- nancy has porcelain boxes and chris told me the first ladies like to collect things because they don't have to dust around them, and mrs. reagan had these wonderful, beautiful, expensive items and some were broken and she was understandably very broken, and one was broken by a secret service agent by accident, and another by a maid dusting, and she was called up to basically take a verbal lashing about this and chris toll me that she was very close to talking back and that is what caused her to leave because you cannot talk back to the first lady. in fact the chief usher at the time came up and said i'll take over from heave.
you heard enough. because mrs. reagan was so upset. had boxes pack up in storage for a long time until she felt comfortable taking them back out again. so it's very personal and she came back when barbara bush was there. >> guest: you can see how-miles-an-hour reagan would have felt. you're in a place with 60 people there all day or more, certainly staff of 30. and there you are, and they can come in and out of your quarters, go in your bedroom, trisha nixon put a string or thread over her door, just to know if people had gone in there. and you don't have any real control over it and you kind of pull in, i think. following up on what you say, there are too darn many eyes in the white house itch really do. the kennedys tried to get a letter where people signed and said they would not -- >> guest: that looked bad. >> guest: i understand it and i'm sure if you're at buckingham palace, you --
>> guest: that's true. >> guest: it's that kind of intrusion on the house that is considered a home. an office but first and always a home. and when people go to visit there, go to dinner, they're going to the home of the president and his wife, and they -- little under the wine glasses and people go away and never forget it. was tuesday white house and -- put always these things and all these memoir being written that are ugly, may have not be true. maybe. but -- >> guest: they don't have to sign nondisclosure agreements, and i do agree -- as a reporter i like it because it's so interesting and gives you a human element to these people who are so iconic and you have no concept what betty ford -- maybe betty ford you do because
she was outspoken -- but what nancy reagan was like and it's a little insight too into their hull humanity. >> host: clear in maining good afternoon. you're on booktv. >> caller: good afternoon, everyone. i would like to know if -- what first lady enjoyed being first lady, who loved living in the white house, and was loathe to leave? >> host: let's take that even further and go around the table very quickly and end with al felzenberg telling us which president enjoyed being president. >> guest: a great question. one of the easer answers because i think it's in modern history undoubtedly barbara bush. i think she loved every minute of it. when i talked to her she said she would go back if she didn't have to have the responsibility. she loved the food, she always -- the white house chef told me she was always so compliment ricer didn't want anything changed. thought nance ya reagan had done a great job with the decorating
and the one who just enjoyed it. going out for her daily swim at the white house pool and visit the florist and the resident staffers told me she was the most relaxed first lady. she was truly -- she has a very biting sense of humor, famously, but she was just fun and she joked around with people and she loved every mint of -- every minute of it. >> host: bill. >> guest: general grant's wife because she begged him to run again and he wouldn't do it. and he wouldn't tell her -- cigar smoke everywhere, she would get in private car to go to new york after the nation racing of his citior, the on the sofa and went. the second one was maimy eisenhower. she was -- a character,
everybody in the white house adored her. she knew everybody's birthday, and had probe presents for. >> guest: gave away the maimi eisenhower dolls. >> guest: they lived in fewer houses than the bushes. but places, for 36 or 37, and they've got their first house up in gettysburg and they loved it. and if at any time they could leave, they've did, and he liked to fly the plane. she went in the car because she wouldn't trust him in a plane but they loved living in. she loved living there. peopling liked her. she is little and would stand on a box in the blue room and shake hands. it wasp endless and people loved her. >> guest: she loved entertaining. she loved children. but that -- some people think not that he didn't have talent. he had great talent but as a young officer's bride the
eisenhower's place is where you wanted to get. always interesting people. she was magnificent hostess. >> guest: one thing. she was not so kind to jackie kennedy. >> did not like her and -- >> guest: should would call her the college girl and that transition was very hard. >> guest: the called kennedy that young man. young whippersnapper. >> guest: right. >> guest: i loved the little story when eisenhowers went to white house and he had a lot -- he was the first had had huge numbers of people. but always in the dining room, state dining room, and he worked at the tables where they did funny things to get more people squashed in there and mostly businessmen and lunches or breakfasts, maybe dinners but he undertook to tell the chef what he want at his party, and she took the menu to him and said you run the office, i run the house. and he never interfered with her menus anymore.
>> guest: on the jackie tape came out a couple years ago, you could hear jackie complaining to the -- shoe didn't this would. >> host: jackie just had a c-section for john kennedy, jr. and the asked for a wheelchair and west writes about this is in memoir. a great story where this wheelchair was woes supposed to be available for her for the white house tour of the election and before the inauguration, and mysteriously never showed up. so she had to walk through all the rooms of the residence with mrs. eisenhower and pain darkened her face me and was in so much pain after the c-section. and then later on west said after jackie was first lady he said why didn't -- what was wrong? see she said i never got my wheel care i as to afraid of mrs. eisenhower to ask. she was 31. mamie, a huge -- mamie was the pink -- whole thing.
>> host: go to c-span.org, our first lady soars, the first lady series visited the get gettysburg home of the eisenhowers and you can see mamie pink is still prevalent rather there and she had a little button for ontario when she warranted to call the people who were sending dinner to clear the plates. she just kind of pushed down on the button and houston they came. let's hear from reba in mississippi. >> caller: thank you for taking my call. and i think you have a dream job, and if you ever want to retire i'd like your job. >> host: amen. i agree. >> caller: my question is, for the panel, is if they feel comfortable, if they're able to address the possible of having the first man in lieu of the first lady in the white house and what that might be like when her talking about menus and -- and if you want to address his
history as well. that's any question. >> guest: well, i did an -- i've talked and spoken with people about this and i have written an op-ed about it in "the new york times" this summer, it's still likely to happen but seemed likely to happen at this point to have the first first gentleman which is historic, and more than 220 years we have never had a man in this position. i was channel surfing and saw this movie, kiss fort my president, from the 1960s and its a historical. polly bergan was the first woman president and fred mcmeasure riff is the manned and it ends with the first woman president getting pregnant and decides to quit because she wanted to take care of her family. gives you insight into how far we have come to now this seems very likely to happen, and i think that hillary clinton will have to hire a very experienced social secretary because bill clinton will not be picking out
the dinner menu, he probably won't eave an east wing office so hillary clinton has talked to herself about having a hand in this, which i think is unfair, that anyone would expect her to as president. president has really gotten involved in that side of the white house. the first lady and some social secretary who do this tolling so they'll hire someone who is close to them, maybe patricia marshall. so one who can be the first lady, really, while bill clinton is an emissary around the world. he could go out of washington. hillary talk about putting him in charge of the economy, so he can't have a cabinet position abuse of antinepotism. >> guest: he can be part of what andrew jackson called the kitchen cabinet. would put him in charge of -- dead great things when the run are yous ran the congress. neither he nor they said so at
the time but he did. might want to read a couple of things. a big reader. might want to read what ms. thatcher had to say about dennis. how dennis came to deal with that role. denis ran an oil company behalf she was in politic. learned how to take two steps behind her, and long suffering prince phillip, as played that part brilliantly and it's been written about elsewhere. one thing comes to mind. the one thing we can say about the -- these purloined white house e-mail whether they're true or not. chelsea comes out quite good. she comes out as somebody who understands what her mother's best might be. a nancy reagan kind of roll. the protecter. blew the whistle on many things. she would be also very good adviser behind the scenes. not a social secretary as much
but most first ladies take on causes. we don't know what bill clinton's cause would be. he certainly done a great deal with his foundation and as president women don't know what that is but she would be a very good one to manage it for him and direct it. you asked me who enjoyed being president more than anyone. with awe all the trials and tribulations would have to say bill clinton. he has read books about every one of his predecessors many times. he has an extraordinary political memorabilia collection. he probably gave more farewell addresses than anybody in history. it took him forever to get to that convention. that nominated al gore. stopped everywhere and gave a speech and completely dwarfed george bush. they showed clinton giving a speech leaving washington and
arriving in new york and going to chappaqua, town none of us could pronounce. he loved every minute of it. even when he has have his problems. that it line, not to the left, -- got to go in bible. he enjoyed it. >> host: we have each of our guests -- we'll come book after the break, we asked each of our guests to recommend some books on presidential history, and we want to show those to you now.
>> as the nation elect as new president on tuesday will america have its first foreign born first lady since louisa adam 0 a former president as first gentleman. learn more about the influence of america's presidential spouses from c-span's first ladies, now available in paperback, a other look into the penal lives and impact of every first lady in american history. it's a companion to c-span's
biography series, and features interview with the nation's leading first ladies, each chapter offers brief biographies of 45 presidential spouses and archival photos from their lives. first ladies in paperback. is now available at your favorite book seller and also as an ebook. >> presidential candidates hillary clinton and donald trump have written several books. many of which outline their world view and political philosophy. democratic candidate hillary clinton has written five books, in her most recent title, hard choices, she remembers her 2008 presidential campaign, and her time as secretary of state in the obama administration. in 2014, book tv spoke with sect clinton about the book and you can fine the interview on our web site in 2003, living history is secretary christian to's
account of her time as first lady. she released a children's book about letters written to her family pets. and also authored a coffee table book about life as first lady. and in her first book, it takes a village, she argued society shares the responsibility with parents for raising children. republican presidential candidate donald trump has also written many books. his first several titles, released in 1980s and '90s are accounts of his business transactions and real estate companies. in the early 2000's he released several financial self-help books and two most recent books, time to get tough and crippled america, he talk politics and outlines his vision for american prosperity. several of these books have been discussed 0en booktv and you can fine them on our web site, booktv.org. >> election night on c-span. watch the results and be part of
a national conversation about the outcome. be on len indication at the hillary clinton and donald trump election night headquarters, and watch victory and concession speeches in key senate house and governor races starting live at 8:00 p.m. eastern and throughout the following 24 hours. watch live on c-span, on demand at chaotic.org, or listen to our live coverage using the free chance -- c-span radio app.
>> host: one of the poock recommended, 1912, will son, roosevelt, taft and deb,s, the elect that change the country. how so. >> guest: well, an amazing election. ended the republican reign of so long which has judd been interrupted by cleveland, twice. >> host: twice. >> guest: and it was a catastrophic event. it was. and then of course debs, was the
socialist party, and it was an election that seemed like it was going to end everything. and wilson came in, sort of a surprise, from new jersey, and that why i recommended the book. it's a good account of all that. >> host: and you both picked the pie presidential courage. ." >> guest: yes, couple of examples of presidents who thought problems could be managed. one was kennedy. and finally, civil rights became more and more of an issue for him. something to be managed. we want be to sure the rights are protected but we are not going to come out in favor of integration. we have southern governors to worry about and then finally the bill connor turning the house on -- the hoses on teenagers in alabama and he say german shed herded with the teeth into a young man's abdomen. and he says this is not help
neglect united states, and he says about other presidencies where they were promoted -- motivated to act. >> host: kate andersen brouwer, how frank are presidential and first lady memoirs? >> guest: surprisingly fairly frank. think that my turn by nancy reagan is very honest. she talks about -- there's no love lost there between nancy reagan and barbara bush. they don't have an incredibly close relationship. she talks about betty ford and during the convention, there being some awkwardness when there are two competing first ladies when reagan was trying to -- during the primary. very -- i think a lot of people don't note that. betty ford was there upstaging a signature first lady that was hugely upseing to nancy reagan and bretty ford's memoir where she talk busy hurt addition to pain kell iers and alcohol.
that's a really honest memoir. and the jackie kennedy arthur -- and lady bird john otherwise, the white house diary i love. she sequestered herself every day and most every day took very detailed notes of what happened that day and you can read them in this diary. she talks about robert kennedy's assassination and what it was like at the white house at that time, and it's just incredibly honest and sort of moving. >> guest: sometimes naive. >> guest: yes. maybe a little do. >> guest: but you read the book. >> guest: lady bird johnson? >> guest: ey. >> guest: it's really long. it is huge. but i read the most interesting parts -- real is incredible she had the -- she would put outside of her doctor, mrs. j at work. she was committed to keeping this diary. >> host: and are lives
production of in depth continues with the the presidential historians and authors, 202-748-8200. east in central time zones. 74ing 8201 for those in the mountain and pacific time zones. you've can't get through on the phone lines try twitter, facebook and e-mail and we scroll through the addresses. let's a hear from raphael in hollywood, florida. you're on book tv. >> host: we have to move on after all that. i'm sorry you. got to turn down the volume on your tv when you get another. otherwise we get the feedback. >> host: bethy, camp camden, med. >> caller: hello, at the prep school that john kennedy attended the headmaster made this quote: as not what the country can do for you but you can do for your country, and do
you know which prep school he attended. >> guest: i believe he went to -- >> host: was that an original quote by jfk in his inaugural? >> guest: well, several iterations of it. you can find something in in oliver wendell holmes. the aspeechs are written -- they book taught peach and she would i say third is add at flavor to it and that's what came out. whether it was consciously or not, don't know. would refer our caller to that chris matthews book on jfk. he spoke about the headmaster and that particular speech. one thing about the way kennedy's mind work. a lot of you know the great speech at the berlin wall, but he says that there are those who say -- starts i that communism is the way over the future. let them come to berlin.
the first line. when he was a graduate -- senior, the year he graduated harvard, 1940, there was a book by -- a best seller of the time, a short book, called, wave of the future, and the question was, are we going the way of the bolshevik's the way of the fascists. he used it. so 27 years later he kept it in his mind. not at all unusual he would have in his mind something that the haven'tmaster might have told him over and over again, given that in thele -- kennedy grew up, the same one that george h.w. bush grew up in service was the reason that raison d'être and, simpson gave a speech with such a patriotic speech about
saving america and how this young generation has to do it, that he delayed going to college. he just left there and the youngest bomber pilot in hoyt because of the headmastest. so i think that fits, ma'am. >> host: jim in hastings, florida. hi, jim. >> caller: how are you doing? thank you. i would like to know why eleanor roosevelt and hillary rodham clinton never divorced their husbands after the scandals or any of the other first ladies? >> guest: bill seale. >> guest: you can ask both of them. toy nope. i think it's -- i think they would be throwing everything away and darkening the name and if they could smooth people over -- professional at smooth over problemmed that's why they did it. >> guest: why not ask the same of jackie kennedy? she knew about jfk's
philandering but group up with an alcoholic philandering father from a wealthy family and this is the life she had been born into and i think there was a deal that is made. there's an understanding. these are not dumb women. >> guest: or lady bird. >> guest: it's being because when i was researching my book i fun out that eleanor roosevelt's great granddaughter lived in my neighborhood, and so i interviewed her, and she remembered in her mother who was eleanor roosevelt's granddaughter and they talked about sitting there at -- and eleanor roosevelt holding court at the table and her relationship with her grandchildren, it was very old-fashioned, you know. she was loving but to a point. and when she spoke everyone listened. you can't imagine throwing a tantrum in front of eleanor roosevelt, but talked about hillary clinton and i said, hillary famously worship eleanor roosevelt and what did they'd think eleanor roosevelt would think of hillary clinton and they think she would find it a little offputting because this
is something that she was not allowed to be this outspoken. i think a very -- you can't divorce these women from the times in which they live and that plays to the divorce question, too. >> guest: a lady was a lady. >> guest: it wasn't terribly ladylike to go to cabinet meetings or speak up in this kind of way so it would have been ash these women were from wealthy families and had something to do with it, seen and not heard. bess true. said first layedy should be seen and not heard and make sure her hatt hat fits right. >> guest: one other comment about the kennedyed. joe kennedy once commented had had three sons that became politicians, but if she was born a little later, eunice could was the best politician, the biggest glad-hander and we remember her for the special olympics and many other things and she prodded her brewer to move in the area of enemy retardation when she was president. another example in her day, you
were told you go to a school and learn how to be a hostess for an ambassador or president. she came close. >> guest: it's sad. there's a lot of incredible minds that were passed over because of their gender. >> guest: but they achieved a lot. >> guest: and their lives were happy, more or less. >> guest: ey. think it must have been incredibly hurtful. jackie kennedy was giving a friend of hers a tour of the white house and was speaking in french to this french friend of her and she looked and was in evelyn lincoln's office and she opinioned at this young 20-something woman working there and said this is the woman whos supposedly sleeping with my husband. she did know what was going on and i think that has to be incredibly painful and i don't now how happy you could be but she had a lot of great upsides to her life, obviously, as well. >> host: al felzenberg, the election of 1788.
>> guest: that was the -- >> host: george washington's first. >> guest: 1788 was not very controversial. there's a greet slogan in the english language, let george do it. this where is it came from. everybody knew the president was going to be. >> host: anyone one against him. >> guest: no. everybody knew. i wrote e won't quote our current candidate and say the fix was in but you have to start somewhere, and washington, through his silence on the constitutional convention, everybody was sitting there trying to read his body language, and everybody knew he was going to execute article 2. i have an idea they left as much blank as possible because they knew george would fill it and and set the precedent, and the rest of it. it was not a suspenseful election, took forever to get the voting and the ballots in, and the electoral college, everything was clunk, clunk,
do now and say we want john adams, but it was understood with the southern present the yankee would be the vice president and the 13 colonies would be held together, but i don't know anyone else. host: dick is in troy alabama, please go ahead, dick. caller: thank you, c-span. i feel like i just won the lottery. i have finally gotten through to you. three such wise people to answer this question. this election that we are in the middle of now , the tail end of come i guess, it is the dirtiest, filthiest, most obnoxious period in american history, i think. host: lets go around the table and put this 2016 into perspective. al felzenberg. guest: i hope not but i'm very
eager to see how mr. trump or mrs. clinton hand eight-- handles morning, certainly tuesday night. of the idea that the regime is being questioned, the idea the system is being rigged, the idea that there will be paid back if one of the two candidates win, in the case of mrs. clinton, payback with the fbi and what will happen there and in the case of mr. trump, is to lock her up we keep hearing about. i hope not. on looking forward to seeing what happens the day after. there are really so many ways you can pull a social fabric, if i can use that phrase without having nothing left. it has taken a great deal of pounding in recent times, vietnam and watergate were appetizers compared to this. we have had impeachment, that tie into thousand, with the recounts. we have had stalemate,
we have had criminalization politics as people call it. we really have to come together. it has to stop. i give mixes clinton credit for saying that she was to be president of all the people, even those that did not vote for her. you asked about the head of state, we'd used to hear that all the time. we heard that from johnson who was a partisan figure, but he was talking about all the people and a fair and just society and those that did not vote for him. i worry about its. we can come back later when we talk about other filthy campaigns, but certainly in the top five of the filthy campaigns. we can talk about that don't uplift, that don't talk about ideas and we feel like we need a shower after it, but i will defer to my friends.
guest: i don't think it's the dirtiest campaign if you take television away, which you can do. i think television has teased both sides, both emotional attitudes and pushed it and i'm scared to death of what they will do when whichever candidate is elected. i think trump has spoken to the people, also. but, the television has just-- we have got it and it's here, but it's awful, really, what it does. present company excepted making a story, making a show. you know, in a play, people don't have to believe it, they accept it in a play, but in a film people believed it and that's what i think is the worst part about television is this sort of showbiz television we now have of this channel is considered in this the other when this that. so, that has made it the
worst probably, but there were bad bad once before, real bad. guest: i understand the argument, absolutely of having worked in tv and i think there is a lot to be said with the checks and balances of the media and donald trump, obviously, has vocally criticize the "new york times" and "washington post", but these are very hard-working reporters. i don't believe they are out to get anyone. i think the institutions are very important. i believe freedom of the press is one of the most important parts of the constitution and so when people trash the media as this kind of bohemia's it always-- i think it's very important that the media , i mean, there are the pinocchio as the "washington post" says in these are the number of trumps-- number of times it trump has lied and number that clinton has lied and everyone has opinion all the this country, but there are undeniable facts. host: what is the dirty campaign of the past? guest: oh, boy. when we had adams and
jefferson were jefferson was going to sell new england churchgoing ladies into prostitution adams was going to have a king and jefferson on the head of a serpent from the book of genesis and the garden of eden. we had jackson, we talked about before. john quincy adams was accused by jackson's for picturing young girls. we heard about jackson being accused of being a bigamist. i thought you were going to ask me about growth and cleveland's in the case of cleveland and before he had married his young bride he was accused of assigning a child of a woman that he was not married to. you is a bachelor and the cartoon was: mama, where's my paw, down at white house.
then there were two other things, james blaine was speaker of the house taking bribes from the scandal. they said there weren't any e-mails. no checks, no receipts. and here are the receipts and hear what they gave you. they were corporations. they want stupid. they wrote down how much would cost and so the democrats talked about blame. in reference to the railroad and he was being bribed. then, we had the romanism and rebellion, so cleveland one. we had-- [inaudible] >> we know new york was full of irish catholics at the time and they did not like that the south
had been readmitted to the union. host: 2016 is nothing new? >> it's nothing new, but it's much more vicious. i mean, the sense that well, that's politics. guest: i think there is something new. undeniably, this is a woman. she does look presidential. what is that mean? there are things here that are undeniably towards her gender. we know both of them well. i don't know if we have added election like this where there is a businessman who has had no experience in politics and then a woman who has had secret service protection for 30 years or something like that you're coming they are are both such iconic figures and i think it has change-- the fact that she is a woman is a huge part of this and undeniable part of the. guest: another thing that is new is that candidates get to talk
about the torches and passing to new generations of americans, after barack obama we are going back a generation. guest: that's true. guest: they are both hitting 70 or past 70 and what is obama, 50, 52, 53? guest: yes. guest: this is a new thing for us. host: patch is calling in from new jersey. good afternoon, pat. caller: hello. we have been talking a lot about the first lady's and their with presidents. i'm wondering about the two early in the 19th century after the 12th amendment and probably up until fdr. is there any kind of history of how presidents are related to their vice presidents did they disappear after the election next thank you. guest: well, the vice presidency was called standby equipment in our time. it was probably less than that. guest: warm buckets of spit.
guest: warm bucket of spit. only time i can think of that i may normally in the first six presidencies or so the torch would be passed on to the secretary of state. the vice president was kind of forgotten. may be aaron burge set that up by making himself ineligible. jackson ran into a problem with his running mate john c calhoun. john c calhoun believe that a state could declare an act of congress-- unconstitutional and he was a great champion of notification, states rights in a most extreme way. jackson found a way to change the vice president, but jackson being jackson and what super candidate was a lady named peggy eaton. jackson was sensitive about domestic issues and mrs. eaton had a similar situation as jackson had had and was
not quite clear what her matrimonial situation was and mrs. calhoun and the rest of washington society snubbed peggy eaton peered jackson made a big thing about being seen in public with mrs. on a wooden doors arm sitting to his right at state dinners. [inaudible] guest: there wasn't much. the vice president was overlooked. we learned at our peril how bad it could be, because in the middle of the civil war in 1864, pressure was on lincoln-- remember lincoln said he had to have kentucky. we had four border states that had slavery in the state of the union and johnson-- lincoln said why don't i run with the northern democrat who is not necessarily anti- slavery, that prounion and his name is andrew johnson. not thinking lincoln
would to seize and of course lincoln to ceases johnson comes up with a easy reconstruction policy, where within a matter of months you see former confederate generals sitting in the united states senate again. set the stage for the reconstruction not followed in the aftermath of that. so, that was a decision of tremendous consequence and most people think a very bad decision lincoln made, but other than that it was not very visible. guest: speak of vice presidents we want to show a little video here. >> i told him i thought the country would be in good hands. i told him it was important to keep henry kissinger and he agreed. he said he thought we had a fine cabinet. then, as we were leaving , i said i mean to tell you something. i said i remember so well the last-- one of
the last conversations i had with president eisenhower. as a matter fact, the last conversation i had with him before i was inaugurated. he called on the phone, he said he wanted to wish me well and then he went on to say and his voice broke a bit when he said it, he said he know, i have only one regret on this great day , this is the last time i could ever call you dick, mr. presidents i said jerry, this is the last time i will call you jerry, mr. presidents. brought a tear, also, to his eye and i think to mine, also. we shook hands. host: he's recounting 1974 conversation he had with jerry ford. guest: yes, the white house, east room was the big ceremony where they had that big ceremony and poor mrs. nixon went down and stood at the door and said you did not tell me the press would be here. it was very upsetting through the whole thing
and it was a very sad time at the white house. i was there. i was not in the crowd at the east room, but i had just started this book. host: where were you? guest: ground-floor of people were watching on television and it was a crowd, a mob on lafayette square on pennsylvania avenue of some queen was giving out her picture and he was like a hanging circuit was like a hanging, 18th century england, everyone went jerky sort of made a route-- rambling emotional speech and they went to the diplomatic reception room through the court and to the helicopter. it was very tense. it could have been kind of scary thinking of the hundreds of people, maybe thousands of people on the street looking in. guest: i think mrs. nixon was very mistreated by the staff. guest: i think so, also, at that time anyway. guest: absolutely.
she was called plastic pat in the press for being kind of wooden, but i spoke to reporters that traveled with her and they said she was incredibly sweet and funny and had a great sense of humor, but she was not allowed to show it to your coming president nixon and his staff wanted control of everything to the point of they wanted to make sure that the butlers weren't standing outside of the state dining room during toast at state dinners and did not want them listening in and for the butlers at the white house it was one of the great treats of being there was to listen to these toasts and halderman put a stop to that. it was a very difficult place to live and work and she was one of the very tragic first ladies with the way she left. guest: i agree. guest: i interviewed her chief of staff who has sadly passed away, connie stewart, and she said that if the nixons had won in 1960 would have been perfect, but when pat nixon came in and 68 the world was changing and people wanted a woman who was a little bit more of a feminine i
mean pat nixon had trained eisenhower's knee and was more of a 1950s housewife, so it didn't not work so well for her at the time. i mean, she really wanted to win and 60. and speaking of elections, the idea that she thought that the kennedys stole the election, john kennedy's father, of course, rumors of that exists and she also demanded a recount privately. i mean, pat nixon was very upset and there's a great photograph of her with tears in her eyes when nixon is congratulating kennedy on his victory. i think that nixon is one of the really overlooked first ladies. guest: parenthetically, if i may add, this has nothing to do with politics, but the way they are moved out of the house is interesting. nixon let them know the day before it became very quiet that he was going to resign and they immediately the moving crew came in and started at the west end and they go room by room in the
family uses everything until finally when they go out they will never go in there again and their things and closer removed and carefully packed and sent to california. finally, they are in the yellow room, believe it was, before they went downstairs and this was all like a clock the way they-- the obama's may remember because they were like here and they may send some things away, but that is usually the way it happens. it's all organized. host: when you were there on that day, did you witness the happening? did you see the cruise going through? guest: no, i knew about it since i've researched it, but and another thing that happened that night was a someone went the west and with the sitting room is with a huge window and looked down and saw the filing cabinets being taken out of the west wing and blew the whistle. that's when all of the filing cabinets were sent to the national archives. guest: wow. guest: under guard.
host: kate andersen brower, you tell the story how they walk out to the helicopter and richard nixon is still present and they walk back in and gerald ford's pictures are up. guest: barbara bush describes how quick the transition is and we will see in a matter of months where the resident staff are the ones to move the family in and out for security reasons and they do it all and there is a lot of organization beforehand in the bushes, in particular, with the obama transition were very good about that, making sure their things route. about, the resident staff does this all in a matter of six hours. everyone is working at the siri-- swearing in ceremony, but this swirl of activity at the white house is incredible and they are there with the interior decorator of the new president and first lady and by the time the family moves in the toothbrushes are in and everything is perfect. guest: close in the closet. guest: like a five-star hotel that's what nancy reagan called it. it couldn't get better than the service at the white house. host: for our first lady series here at c-span, we interviewed
several of the past first ladies including barbara bush who sat down with her in her living room in houston, texas. here's a bit of that interview. >> i remember hearing that one of the first ladies said it was so costly being the wife of the president. it's not costly at all. you don't pay your telephone bill. you don't-- you do pay, i guess, you pay for your food. we had guests all the time and it would say, so-and-so, one egg, 18 cents, i mean, you never could live as cheaply as you look at the white house, so it costs, i mean, 90 some people taking care of you. you did pay, i think, for your dry cleaning. we had someone we took that lived with us, still doing our ironing and washing. she lived there. and we did take care of those things, but, i
mean, it was great to entertain at white house. host: kate andersen brower. guest: it's funny because i asked her that same question and she said the same thing. [laughter] guest: i was quoting back to her what rosalynn carter tommy, which was we got a bill for $600 and i remember thinking this is insane in the 70s that was quite a bit of money. they do pay for their own breakfast in their own meals. i think people are surprised to hear that and i did ask barbara bush about the clintons and i asked her because for the residence my book about the staff and i asked her, i understand the staff was very attached to you. do you think it was easier for your family than the clintons who did not grow up with great wealth and she said hillary clinton was the wife of a governor and lived in the governor's mansion. she was used to having staff, so there is a bit of defensiveness about that. guest: rosalynn carter.
guest: know, hillary was married to governor clinton. i mean, she was the wife of a governor, i mean, she was from a middle-class family, but the idea that, i mean, by thesis was that the bushes were so beloved because they knew had to deal with being surrounded by step because they were both from patrician families. barbara bush does not like that story line. although, will say that nearly everyone i interviewed said that barbara bush was their favorite first lady. host: ira, cambridge, new york am a good afternoon to hello. thank you for taking my call. i have two questions. the first two are about the johnson library and i think it was professor brouwer who talked about labor johnson's taking daily notes of all of the activities in the white house.
i was at the johnson library and fascinated to see the re- creation of her office, supposedly the office that lady bird used. it had a orange formica desk with a steel legs, which we don't think of as something that would be in the white house. you think of historical furniture and the second part of the first question for bill seale. the lyndon johnson my very and how he was so quick to get to the point while he was twisting someone's arm and i must say i thought that his political skills for and are estimated or under discussed while he was
president and afterwards. host: thank you. let's hear from kate andersen brower and bill seale. guest: lady bird did do that recorded in the blue sitting room on the second floor of the white house and so i suppose they did bring and then their furniture and mean brett-- ford brought in a couple chair for herself and the president to watch tv in the reagans satin watched "who's the boss", so it's not as though they are all in these traditional chairs, so it is possible that she would sit in a room and half a sort of what would have been modern at the time. if that answers the question, i think. guest: i think lyndon johnson was recognized as a great maneuver an arm twister, but he was put into different context at the white house. it didn't work. he was expected with a different kind of leadership. guest: the treatment, i think, was something that everyone knows where he's looming over
some poor congressman. so, at the time if people do not realize that, but certainly since he has been lionized i mean as this incredible leader of the senate. i don't know if robert caro is responsible for that. guest: it's been brought together. guest: the term johnson treatment comes from that wonderful book called: lyndon johnson the exercise of power. coteach with these tapes sometimes and i tell them their biology teacher will tell you it's impossible to hear a human being sweats. you are now going to hear it. [laughter] guest: lyndon johnson is talking to hubert humphrey and humphrey's still in the senate and johnson is auditioning humphrey to be vice president and humphrey says he can't get the education bill passed because the congresswoman made edith green would not let it move and lyndon said, when i was
in the house, when i was in the senate, no one ever thought edith green have that kind of power, but huber, if that is true maybe i should run with her you could hear humphrey sweat. so, lyndon johnson could do the impossible and make a human being audibly sweat. guest: lyndon johnson verbally abused humphrey and he was abused by kennedy. guest: johnson had been unhappy presidency and rather than be generous to the person who succeeded him he treated humphrey very shallow. host: what makes for a successful president? guest: i would think the first thing would be character. character is the one thing you have when you come in and the one thing you have when you move out. it's tested in many many ways. it helps to have a sense of vision. is at the right sense of vision for the country? third, competence and that's where many of
them fail now your cow do you tell whether someone will be competent who has had the president before. we try to think, maybe there's another job with anticipation, maybe governor is the closest thing you can be without having a foreign-policy. some of our generals have done particularly well, particularly eisenhower in washington. the, is that missing ingredient, but i would say character. many of our scandals are rooted in character. if not the president himself in the kind of atmosphere that he allowed to grow up without him. it affects your choice of advertisements, how well do you take criticism. or do you want yes-men around you. are you willing, like kerry chairman to try to get people who knew more than you knew reagan and nixon's case of henry kissinger. we are now learning in many ways that nixon really was the driving engine foreign-policy,
but he let kissinger take some credit for it. nixon before even met kissinger had an article in foreign affairs about after vietnam recognizing and bringing it in front the wilderness. in that sense nixes had ambition went to be a foreign-policy president sadly, other things got in the way, which gets back to what i said in the beginning. same thing with bill clinton. a lot of his problems are rooted in character, not innate challenging and serving on confidence. in terms of the issues and running the white house and the rest of that bill clinton was one of the test managers we ever had. he got welfare reform through. every republican congress having vetoed it twice to balance the budget, think that's the last time it happened several times in a row. passed nafta, something george bush couldn't do. needed a republican vote
to pass it. so, i mean, in that regard, clinton's competence as governor came out and in present came out, so that's what i was sick of those three things. host: fourteen presents have served as vice presidents, 16 in the u.s. senate of the last six presidents for have been governors. carolyn in a georgia, hello, carolyn. caller: hello. just wanted to make a comment. i think the most influential person living-- women living in the white house now, i don't even know her name. it's michelle's mother. guest: marion. caller: she's the president's mother-in-law. she's grandmother those two girls. she's michelle's mother and she is very influential. has a book been written about her? host: kate andersen brower, you write about marilyn. guest: i do. she had just joined a running club in chicago
and has been a lifelong chicago and and had to give up everything to come here. to help raise the two young girls and she has been a rock. you are absolutely correct. president obama has joked about the only person that can go out to a cvs and not be mobbed any they are envious of that freedom that she has, but i talked to george haney who was a butler for the obama's and he was one of six butlers who worked on the second floor the white house and i interviewed him and his wife and he said he felt so bad for marion because she was very lonely. she was in a suite on the third floor with a living room in a bedroom. he felt so bad for her that he asked his wife to take her out to a suburban mall for lunch and they would go shopping. so, they did that. he would not tell me which mall they went to because it would be a security issue, but she wants to get out a little bit she does not want to feel completely imprisoned and she's really one that really can in that family.
he brought that back, the title back and staff began to increase . he had a staff beneath him. that's what it is. he goes to congress and gets the budget for the household and everything else and he runs everything. >> john adams shows up at the white house, what was it like for him? >> well, it was pretty star, there were talks about abigael wasn't a lot of times. he spent a lot of time away but he didn't like living in washington. abigael, the few times she was
here said it gave her and dried close, so it was stark there. >> if you could pick up microphone. somebody will come in. >> he had to walk up to get into and that was unfinished. washington was the swamp and she degreeded coming to the white house. we don't think of it and bill talked about that in his book when the white house was being built. there were houses of ill repute for the workers. it was a very rough place when the adams moved in. >> people said things about the food she had. general washington was rich, we are not. he had every pot in the kitchen. she had -- they had farm helpers
come in with them, i don't know how many of them. one of them married in the white house. girls and boys, young from farms in new england came in to help them. then they had two adults that weighed but didn't suit congress at all. it wasn't good enough and adams would stand in the dining room by the portrait and black velvet suit and had one made too. smelly-old thing. he would stand in front and people hooted about it. she got mad because there was washington's birthday but no adams' birthday. >> were there slaves living in the white house? >> oh, yes, all the people from the house had them, they all
came. frankly, everybody, yeah. >> that reminds me your point of abigael adams wasn't rich like the washingtons. run the house and don't believe what you read in the press. we don't have nearly as much as money as they say. probably not true. the first lady goes to the usher and say i want to keep the costs down. it's just -- the male costs were getting exorbitant. and it was crazy that the first lady would ask for leftovers. she doesn't want -- i don't think that they want cuisine every night.
>> the president was paid 20,000 a year and they had to save every penny. jefferson did and went home and cosigning a note for a cousin who never paid. that was all out of their pocket, servants and everyone but they learn today place people in other federal offices like a clerk or somebody who was a butler at the white house. >> didn't the slaves cut down on the costs as well in the white house? >> i do talk a little bit about that. that would make sense. and the staffers don't get paid exorbitants amount of money. it's kind of a unique position. you're not a government staffer who essentially is a professor with tenure that's hard to fire. you -- you can be fired for any reason like the fellow we mentioned that talked to bush about memoir. that's not a case you can argue
if the first lady wants you gone. i think it's a particularly challenging job. i interviewed head pastry chef but he would never leave this position. of course, it's great when you leave and you can trade off of that for the rest of your life. >> some do. >> they should. >> they used to be paid if it was official entertainment and the state department made the list, it was a wonderful document where lincoln was going in and goes to secretary of state and they draw him a picture, a table with 60 people and he talked about rank and the diplomats were particular about that. they weren't embassadors yet. they were still ministers, 1893 but in our time the party pays for things. they will have evens on the
south lawn for 2,000 people and the political party would pay for it. they did a lot of that at the end of the carter administration, but numbers and now east wing is involved in state dinners which is always just the secretary of state. so lincoln was so upset about, she didn't get to make the guest list. >> david, san josé, california, please go ahead with question or comment. >> my question does deal with marry lincoln. i do feel with lincoln and the civil war and on top of mrs. lincoln, my question is did mrs. lincoln actually have some sort of mental breakdown between the period when the -- of the inauguration march fourth, 1861 to the time when the first troops arrived, i guess from baltimore to protect the white house because it was unguarded for a period of time. i know lincoln was very
concerned about that, confederates can come across the river and take them by force. thank you. >> a few things about mrs. lincoln, like mrs. reagan, she's had a very bad press, don't accuse mrs. reagan of being insane and having mental problems. she's had a better relationship with ronald than nancy -- nancy had a better relationship with ron, jr. than robert todd, no doubt about that. let's remember a few things. we talked about bill clinton, bill and hillary, buy one, get one free. that she was very important part of campaign. mary todd was married, was a cousin of lincoln roommate in legislature, he said, you ought to come home and meet my cousin. well, one of the most socially prominent southern bells in
kentucky society, the father was a big donor of henry clay, she brought some of the speeches. she wrote letters to the editor that lincoln signed an lincoln's name. she had 3 by 5 boxes of people wholingon had done favors with who were going to help the next campaign. she was indispensable and that's part of the story that's left out of the biography. she was a difficult woman. she had a difficult childhood. mother died young and father married three times and siblings from each married. three of her half brothers fought for the confederate.
she loses another son, willy, you see this very clearly in the spielberg movie. she begins to show emotion distress. she dealt with some of the stress on going shopping sprees and after talk about transition, i don't think the johnsons thought she was going to leave. she ordered fabrics, dresses, the whole thing when she wasn't home she had some sent back and he would ask donors to help pay bills because she was getting to be difficult. mother, if you don't cut this out we are going to send elizabeth to the hospital, a mental institution in those days and she was so with it that she would snap out of it because she thought it was serious. there was a big love affair.
domestic disruption, but he always remembered the woman he married and but for mary todd would not have had a career, he would have had a career but not that far. her son after the assassination does have her committed and it's a great debate about that whether women could handle property and women handle an estate and commit her so she can become guardian. all very complicated. maybe roberts had a bad press. let's say she was tightly emotionally upset. a couple of years ago they asked historians to rank first ladies. [laughter] >> she came in last. she came in last primarily because roberts defenders
written biographies of her. she spent a lot of time with the soldiers. with two children dead and one surviving, she wouldn't let him serve and perhaps lincoln, roberts is going to serve and insisted on serving, lincoln said i can't have a third child die, give him a desk job and you see robert lincoln there. it's very complicated marriage. >> you know, another thing, al, that i thought about with her, she wanted to be a queen. she wanted to be wonderful but she followed harriet lane who was a gal and had lots of fun, a friend of queen victoria and they use today say it was the
most -- most splendid white house he ever saw, queen victoria, the young queen in england, the dplam our girl, the spanish girl, the british hair. mrs. clinton was middle age late -- >> harry lane was the niece -- >> the house was just haunted by the fact that she was there. >> she was very young. were is it fair to make the comparison of lady byrd jackson following jacqueline kennedy, older woman? >> i think that might have been incredibly difficult and when i talk to johnson social secretary she described moving into the white house after the assassination, the first time -- well, not the first time, the most recent time whether you
moved in and this is terrible feeling and lady byrd johnson incident someone from a different generation, obviously. she obviously wanted to apparently get her nose done. she always thought her nose was too big. i should have done it earlier because all of a sudden she's the wife of the president and jackie kennedy thought her hips were too wide. this is an example that women are always the harshest critic. but, yeah, it was very difficult and, you know, lady byrd johnson was the pitch hitter for jackie, meet with the girl scout troop or one of the things that first ladies have to do they would call in lady byrd johnson. saint byrd, jackie's staff would call her saint byrd because she came in whenever she was needed and i think of lady byrd did
incredible job as first lady. do i think the lady byrd special is incredible and you see her in all the way, i don't know if you saw that but on hbo, the tv version of it, they had given a prominent role, the broadway role was criticized by not giving her enough attention and she was very integral in the civil rights act and she would talk about driving with their cook from texas to dc and not being able to stay at the same hotel with their african-american cook and she would argue with the people, you know, late at night and they would pull into a hotel and the person would say, we are not going to let you stay here with her and lady byrd johnson would found a place where they could stay together. what a great example of someone who had a moral backbone. >> we have spent a lot of the -- almost three hours now talking about first ladies and in 2013,
2014 a series on all the first ladies, if you go to c-span.org, you can click on series and you can watch the entire series online. but there's also a companion book and it just came out in paperback. there it is. first ladies and you can get that in your favorite bookstore or your online retailer. little bit more about our guests, let's see the books that they've written. kate anderson brower, the residents and first women came out recently. keys to a successful presidency, leaders we deand a few -- deserve and a few we didn't. >> this is a political biography of william buckley, jr. who knew many, many presidents who was a confidant of least three that i could think of.
conservative movement and television on the highest of civility for three years and newspaper columnist for about 40 years. right until the time he died. almost every conservative we can think of right now beginning with george will and a whole group of people that came after that. an intimate friend of ronald reagan and talk about the buckley we didn't see, behind the scenes political adviser, mentor and like nancy reagan, defender and enabler in most cases. i got the title because two things, in bill's early days, he was used to telling presidents and kings what to do over the age of six when he wrote a letter to king george the fifth
in england. isn't it time that they pay us back for the great war all the way to george w. bush what area and odyssey was a book that he wrote, about a book of letters that he received over the years, the former communist and journalist who had exposed the espionage. they called it audity of a friend. >> brand new book out a man and his presidents bill, temples of democracy. >> it's about state capitol. >> the white house and history of an american idea. [laughter] >> and the president's house and the last two that i mentioned were beautiful, very beautiful books here. we want to make sure that we get to see this. this is a beautiful coffee table book and this is a -- this is put out by the white house. are you still associate -- d --
>> what's the most common question you get there? >> at the association? when is the next issue coming out. >> let's hear it from randy in pennsylvania, randy, thanks for waiting. >> good afternoon, gentlemen. i often wonder how can we pride ourselves and to say one person one vote when we have an electoral college that with negate the votes completely if they want. i rest my cases on 1824, 1876, 1888 and the supreme court in 2000, thank you. >> well, i will start by defending our system. one thing the framers were terrified on was the men in a horseback, dictator and bribing
the masses, if you want the way césar put on circuses. they had checks and balances and entrust mankind, they wanted and informed jefferson used to say that a nation that expects to be ignorant and free and expects what never was and will be, that was fine until andrew jackson came along. the system is rigged. the elitist all speak french. that can't go on. the idea was that one man one vote at least in his mind, one white man one vote, women didn't count and slaves didn't count. the idea is to flood the electorate and that was to inflate the turnout, that was the birthday of the political machine. we didn't have too many fraud cases so jackson came along. to victory comes the spoil. jefferson even talked about jackson as an american napoleón.
they put all the checks that we will have the electoral college and i will start my class on this by saying where is the electoral college, how do you get in and what is this thing. this is a design today check the possibility of a dictator or a demagogue squeaking in. they found jefferson -- the vote of these callers we listened to who follow history and follow politics and that their vote can be cast, negated by somebody who doesn't know anything. it's perfectly willing to take a chance but any way he wants and in certain cases be paid to vote and they thought that there would be a way to check that. that's a system we live in. maybe one of our candidates can also say that the system is rigged because congress can
override a presidential veto or congress has to pass the presidential budget or a court can negate an act of congress. they wanted that. were i wonder what they would think of citizens united which a lot of people blame for money is everything right now. i think the founders would be appalled. >> i would agree with that. >> no one can rise to this level of national prominence without a huge pocketbook. >> although even without citizens united, first six presidents, i take your point. they would have been appalled by it. >> january is in wilmington, north carolina, hi. >> i guess my question is for everyone. they talk about the president's legacy and he does that for a legacy or he doesn't do or we have obamacare which is falling apart legacy, when is the
history of a president accurate, when does it stop being political and the truth either -- either legacy poor to begin with or gets better or good at the beginning and it gets worse, when does it actually become a reality? >> well, al has really answered that, i think. i think it just takes time. the sweet package later on that they promote in the libraries an as time goes by they reevaluate and people understand or don't understand what it is. history will always tell. >> president george w. bush talks about how there's still books written about tboarnl washington. so we will see. maybe 500 years from now our great, great grand children will have a sense of what obama's legacy will come. >> the legacy will come. history is a story without an end. we always rethink thingsment when john kennedy was writing
andrew johnson was seen as a great president. seen as a great president or near great president because he stood up to congress, he stopped america -- johnson impeached the argument went that we would have a parliamentary system because parliament can run the government and not the white house setting up the program and he wrote that. we say johnson set relations a hundred years, we changed our mind. >> and with the first ladies. jackie kennedy was spending too much money and when first lady, everybody loved her. she was stuck to stick to her knitting by one of the staffers. now people idolized her. it was a mix bag.
she is not beloved because of what it is now. >> do we have time for a quick story? okay. roosevelt being a politician was not interested in civil rights, not in a public way. he may have intended some of his programs to help left african americans but he never talked about it very much. but his wife certainly did. we know the story about marian anderson, she couldn't sing at the event and the secretary of the interior and eleanor memorial. one of the southern segregationists committee chairman goes to roosevelt and protest. i don't like what you're doing to these people. you're supposed to be for these people and democrat is a blah, blah. i'm with you all the way. not bringing down segregation. well, every time your wife is sitting in the gallery. you tell me what is going on. i don't know about you but i
can't tell my business. this is how he started viewing her in the corner unless she was needed and sexism and other things that she's venturing out of her place. but that's how presidents have used their wives sometimes. maybe he's very happy what she was doing. >> maybe he wanted her to. >> don't blame me. i can't control the woman. betty ford, when ford was going for election, you have to do something about betty. she's doing all the interviews. you know where her office is right down the hall, you can go tell her herself. he knew he couldn't keep her quiet. that wasn't their dynamic. >> let's hear from -- is it ernst in virginia. high, ernst. >> hi, sir, i'm voting for trump but my question is how did we let the president of the united
states use air force to campaign for clinton? >> my understanding -- go ahead. >> the democratic party pays for it. >> the democratic party and pays the taxpayer. >> the president only uses that on a business -- for business purposes. he doesn't send it out to california to bring back. certain passengers pay for their own way, the press pays and for their food and all of that. it's pretty tightly managed. it's like the white house. >> it's very expensive. the press pays equivalent to first-class tickets. you have to have a lot of money to be a wire service now because you have to pay. >> one more point about that, which i think is a good question, the secret service, if they can keep the president where they're prepared to take care of him, that's where they like.
after that attempt on president regan's life they curtailed everything. he didn't go out anymore to places. and i think that's just still very much it because they -- they have the facilities to protect them. that's why the bush the first while they were president because they want the governor to move secret service. they would stay in a hotel in houston that had secret service above and all around and stayed that way. >> does the secret service have a final say on a lot of things? >> i think they do. you have to listen to them. seeing last night what happened with donald trump at a rally where he was suddenly moved on stage, this is very serious, the reagan assassination attempts was a turning point for the secret service. that's why when there's friction between the first family and the secret service it is pretty serious and i think it has to do
with the fact that the first family often feels like their privacy, they can't be alone in the residence and the carters had the secret service station move further down the hall in the elevator so they didn't see them and fell them all of the time. that's something that everyone can relate to. >> when theodore roosevelt was president, they were so interesting and they had never been a close family before. it was the white house that brought them together. but the letters and threats that came in were so horrible, a little by -- the little boy when to alexandria to school and they got where they were absolutely terrified. they used to go on a buggy and letters threatened to cut off his ears at that point withdrew the letters from the family.
>> now, but to the ansi spent to live in austin, texas, with day two of the 21st annual book festival. during the day you will hear from stanford university professor jeff chang on race relations and former obama administration official derek should lay on foreign-policy, but pursed up, to others talk about conservation. tony award-winning actress jane alexander talks about her book, "wild things, wildplaces" and miriam horn, her book is called "rancher, farmer fisherman". now, for a complete schedule of today's events, you can visit our website at book tv.org. you can also follow us on twitter at book tv, instagram at book_tv and facebook
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