tv Alyssa Mastromonaco Discusses Who Thought This Was a Good Idea CSPAN April 15, 2017 11:00pm-11:56pm EDT
gentlemen. thank you all for coming out tonight. before a introduce next guest we have c-span filling and this clearly broadcast on booktv. we do ask that you silence your cell phones and -- [laughter] also, since it is being filmed, the q&a will need to be holding this microphone if you have a question. once that starts i will be around with the microphone. make sure before you speak that you have the microphone in your hand. i also want to mention we are having a fantastic event on sunday afternoon at 4 o'clock. kelly jensen will be here, she is the editor of a feminist essay collection called here we are. this is a collection for 12 enough. if you have a young feminist in your life, this is a fabulous collection.
so come out and meet kelly. she will be with one of our incredible young adults writers in the hudson valley. hope to see you again. tonight, we are absolutely thrilled to welcome alyssa mastromonaco . [applause] her new book is who thought this was a good idea? and other questions you should have answers to work in the white house. she is chief operating officer at price meeting in williamsburg previously she served as assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff for operations at the white house under president obama. early in her career she was director scheduling for senator john kerry in the presidential campaign in 2004. and alyssa is on the board of trustees for the john f. kennedy for the center of performing arts and contribute
in editor at marie claire. she will be sending both immediately after she speaks. we have them available for purchase at the front desk of the store. make sure to grab one before you go back. please join me in welcoming alyssa mastromonaco. [applause] >> it is clear i picked very early. anyway i thought i would read a little bit from the book and then we can do q&a if that works for everyone. my selection tonight is -- over the years my parents let me hold my own hand. i think they always just hope that my sister and i would turn out to be good people. they did not care about how successful or prominent or wealthy we would be. for example, dance classes, the extracurricular choice, or parental pressure, for countless young girls no matter your generational era. i could tap, ballet and jazz from his 12 years, when i left
for natural ability i made it for. i assumed if i was sweating i was succeeding. my sister, she was a really great dancer. as i got older i realized partially because i could see an example of someone who was so good unlike me, that i was investing a lot of time and hours each week and something i was not that good at. and not enjoying it all that much. it made me feel bad, i never had a solo. i never had a solo. [laughter] i was 16 years old when i finally told my mother i was going to quit. although that is something that people are now taught never to do. but she did not flip out. she did lose her mind or berate me about having extracurriculars on my college education or saying that i was dancing for song that should probably keep going.
she said if it is okay if you do it responsibly quitting something is not benefiting you whether it is dance classes that everyone is taking or a job that has nothing to do with anything you're interested in, it can change your life. after i finished dance and did not sit around eating our leaders and cruising the highways of --. i was first played in the band in school. i took french. i babysat for family demonstrate every saturday night and i also worked at --. back in the day. i would wrap flowers and wet paper towels in the newspapers to prepare them for the long trips back to the city with tourists every sunday. this wasn't some bushy barn. it was an actual barn. with power tools in a space heater. my best friend visited me every weekend and brought me super donuts or bagel. i left it there. i also had a job at the checker in iga. old school.
[laughter] a grocery store in the center of town. anyone who has worked at kmart or walmart or the local grocery store may not believe in and say this but i really liked it. sure, some days he deftly want to hang with your friends instead but i was really good at bagging groceries. and it meant that i could afford tickets to see fish or gone straight line or the grateful dead. activate crystals. they were very cool then. [laughter] and dresses. i also learned a lot about people. what they bought, he used coupons, who did not. to help you pack into just stood there and waited. [laughter] who wants to scan every item and questioned the price. our store was one of only a few that accepted for stamps in the area which gave me more perspective than almost anything on site experience growing up. is the moment we see woman with a kid or an older person trying stamps covered.hat the food -
the humiliation they can endure while holding up the line or having to put things back.it forever formed my opinion on how we should help those in need humanely and respectfully. maybe that is obviously but unfortunately there are a lot of people who disagree. years later, we were having a discussion about food stamps in the white house. my job was never a policy focus. as scheduled and coordinated in plans. dealing with times and days as well as personalities. but i often sat in on policy meetings! understand our priorities and be able to use my judgment as my team decided. i have 100 different choices per day how best to use the president's time. this discussion was a follow-up to a conversation obama had had with someone else. often he gathered senior staff to talk over issues as a group after meeting with the particular person. because of the economic recession, there were 11 people in food stamps at the beginning of his presidency. he dropped over his term but we
didn't have me as it were talking at that moment. we would dealing with things as they are happening you are not prepared for something to come out of the blue. this meeting was at the result room. i was sitting at the wall. sitting is surprisingly limited in the west wing. chairs are huge and not that many fit around the conference tables. many of which are historical or have some other kind of significance. so invitations to meetings are kind of exclusive. everyone in the room needs to have a good reason for being there. from the beginning of my career i swim in my own lane and did not comment on things. -- they were talking with limits on what food stamps, and do not and i could tell, none of them ever new person who had
ever needed food stamps. i raise my hand. something i think i only did what i wanted to talk. and told them what it was like to see people humiliated in line trying to buy genetic cereal, scan soup or milk. to watch them realize what they could not get. to watch them realize how ridiculous it was that "sports central" current do something like sunny delight, which is actually much cheaper than oranges but was in a decent amount of vitamins was not. but that there was nothing that they can do. i could feel myself different and hot. i think you start losing your argument when you physically reveal how worked up you are. especially in a place like the white house. where theoretically, what you say should be based on facts and figures and evidence. if your face is red are you showing too much emotion? on a number that my point across. it was not a conversation intended to resolve or change anything at the moment but the clip president made it clear he was on my side.
[applause] that's what i was going to read because i figure, mayview does have questions. we should descriptive questions. but i can read more if you do not have questions. do you want me to read more? okay, here we go. high mountain. hi kate. the best part about the jobs in high school, all which i gained some satisfaction from and remember fondly even if at the time i was thinking i would rather be watching 90210 was at the time it important way to rationalize when my career seemed doomed or my life seemed off course. if i'm never good anything else, i am good at this. you might think that sounds depressing but it has given me a lot of comfort over the years. there is no greater feeling of independence then being able to provide for yourself. knowing that you really have a
job and you will probably have dropped it! start your life, you can leave and be okay. when it came time to apply to college at one of the moments where i needed to remember that at the end of the day, at least i was really good at bagging groceries. [laughter] that if i did not get into harvard or even tries to apply, i would end up where i was supposed to end up. the time period was 1992 to 1994. there was no email, no internet.we drove to barnes and noble and bought the us news college book. we spent hours taking pages and talking about where we wanted to go. i underlined addresses and in the summer before my senior year i rode away to request applications. as a family we picked some schools to visit. georgetown, berkeley, stanford, uc santa cruz. i did not end up applying to all of them but the places i did apply to, the university of vermont, university of wisconsin, cornell, brown, georgetown, suny albany and i did my best.
i want essays which no improvement. maybe i should have cabro do that. i wrote the essays which no improvement and study for the sats and did pretty well. especially in --. my mom helped reflect checks for application fees and disclaimers, beware my mom's checks. if you've not seen saint elmo's fire you may not fully understand my mindset at the time but i really wanted to go to georgetown. the movie takes place a year after group of friends to graduate from the and try to find their way in the world. for some reason, even though i hadn't really thought much about getting into politics at the time, i wanted to be alex. amazing. [laughter] he was a very self-important 22-year-old working on a congressional campaign and cheating on his live-in girlfriend.allie sheedy. it was too good for him. the characters were very weird role models. he drank a lot, a couple did a lot of coke and they spent too much money. but they were attractive and
funny and ultimately --. accredited all of this that they went to georgetown. i thought if i got in, i would be able to access some of the brat pack energy. i was top 10 in my class and by that i mean number 11. i had a lot of confidence. who wouldn't want me? i had gotten all of might rejection the same day in april. after returning from georgetown where i bought a car stick up because i was so convinced there's going to get and we got home only to realize the cash and forgot to put the sticker in the back. when my dad got the mail and open my very thin letter from georgetown and all of the others, we realized it was a sign. sensing this only work in retrospect. i ended up choosing between the university of vermont and the
university of wisconsin. coming from such a small town and worried i would be to fish out of water in madison. so i happily and probably send it to be a catamount in the freshman class of 1994. when i sent the forms to register for housing, a meal plan at all the stuff that makes you plug in your life is about to start, i never set foot on campus. [laughter] kind of funny when you think about it. sometimes i do leave and then look for better or worse. sometimes it works out great, other times maybe things could have gone better. if i had a sense of myself in high school, i lost it in college. this is the first time i realized that money mattered and how you spend it mattered more. and since my family put value on getting most of our car, i had the ford station wagon because it lasted forever. i had no idea who i was. i grew up in a 10 we did not know who had money and he did not. the wealthiest families are
probably the veterinarians and they drove bit of suburbans and wagon years. hi brett, hey,! high mountain. i do not really remember anyone wearing makeup. save a little cover up for acting. i wore -- think about it, when his hair was shorter and the layers were more similar to the rachel. [laughter] it was not all bad. i was good friends with my roommate amy and l4 had a lot of joni mitchell and listening sessions.the mid-90s bug out can describe any number of situations. when you encountered someone weird, when he smoked bad part, when you have experience your first bout of insomnia because the guy intro psych didn't say next and you can figure out why. in retrospect this is very fun. my classes help me branch output image in french and became very good at japanese we just signed up for on a whim.
one semester i took a course in world sociology which focused on poverty in the northeast kingdom of vermont and i later used when i learned to make small talk with oprah while at an obama events in iowa. it was very good, she was super nice. still, around the beginning of sophomore year began to realize my french major was maybe not taking me in the direction wanted to go. vermont is very political. people say what they think. they disagree without being disagreeable and have discussions without fighting. state and local officials were always on campus. governor howard dean seem to register us to go. i got to jump on a reviled republican -- i found myself gravitate. it was newt gingrich just fyi. a contract with america, it was a terrible time. i found myself gravitate into the political stuff whether on or off campus for that winter decided to apply for a summer
internship with bernie sanders. bernie, the revelation. when spring break whirled around and found out that the budget for the french department was being cut in it might not be offered as a major any longer. i thought this was a sign so i reapplied to the university of wisconsin madison to transfer in my junior year and i was accepted.a few weeks later i also got the bernie sanders internship. working for major congressional office. bernie sanders, john kerry, barack obama. just saying. [laughter] the internship did not pay when is able to stay with friends in burlington in an apartment on south street behind a liquor store. i slept on a futon in more than once with odysseus better at question my sleep. yes. so gross! but it did not matter. nothing had ever been more exciting. it was an election year so
bernie was in the office a lot and he met with constituents more than any politician i've known since. i was kept very busy which i left. i answered phones and took down notes from voters. i faxed press clips, i filed. an identical people in all parts of vermont trying to raise money. i wasn't super successful but i did a great job at reminding people to go register to vote and telling them about the bernie events he would be doing around the state. from time to time i got to drive bernie around. he looks the same way he looks now. super disheveled, his tight little list, he would usually read the newspaper.even though we always had the windows down, never conditioning. sometimes he asked about my family and where was from and explain to me what was going on in the world. i once tried to impress him by telling him about the time my friends and i climbed on newt gingrich's car. bernie was unmoved.his attitude was basically low what else would you have been doing? [laughter] before i met bernie had always thought politics was
about theater and showmanship and nothing really happened or that fixed. but instead of focusing on the large-scale changes many people expect from politicians, he showed me how to see the people's problems he can immediately impact and solve. the people who work for him also seemed genuinely dedicated to helping his constituents. which is not necessarily true event of other senators. many offices of staff that move from one center to another to get up the ladder with the ultimate goal of becoming a legislative director or chief of staff. of course, some politicians staff members want to run for office themselves. but a lot of times ambition in washington is just about being powerful. and you can be powerful without a seat in congress. bernie was so committed to issues and to do vermont that. [inaudible conversations] left for madison a case might major to political science. one day at the end of my internship two important things
happened. first i got a call from a 608 area code for bernie. that is madison wisconsin. bernie was running late so i told the man on the line, and he might have to wait a few minutes. in the meantime, ask questions. i always try to learn about the people coming into the office. especially people meeting with her talking to bernie. i wanted to know what made them important enough to warrant time and attention.i researched everything it could. when i got and on the phone he had to wait i saw my chance. i knew the end was a very important labor attorney. he had unionized and the players association and was a progressive layer. as i was transferred to madison. and he replied that i should come see him when i arrived on campus. i worked for him for the two years i lived there. and as a side note, he passed away about three weeks ago and he ran for governor several times and was a great human being. i am glad that i actually wrote about him in here because he
was wonderful. the other important thing that happened that day was that bernie's team invited me to be an intern in their d.c. office the following summer. i don't know if anyone the office will under ever understand what that meant to me. i felt like wonder woman. i was ready to strike out. i packed up and went back for week or two and drove out to madison. i saved up my money that you're from working for ed garvey. from babysitting for a family asset madison a couple times a week and onto my 21st birthday for my summer in dc. at the end with a friend from rhinebeck who was going to law school i drove to the metropark and took the train to capitol south. at exactly 5 outfits to rotate each week. inmates mounted mayonnaise sandwiches impact pretzels for a snack every day. i wanted to bernie's office ready to jam but this was a way to provide. these interns were kind of competitive. and i would rather hang or bang in a drum circle or day than
ever have to compete. i had a minor crisis f confidence. then i remembered the 9100 times more about vermont than any of these guys. i was very busy every day walking briskly and professionally over the halls of congress. getting signatures on bills and amendments. running anything and everything. [laughter] i'm sorry. running anything and everything to other offices in helping to draft letters to constituents. if legally blunted, by then, i went to fancy myself a virgin of elwood meets norma rae, the union organizer. in my internship ended and i was basically out of money, i was convinced only back the following summer after graduation to start my career as a humble and timid government employee. i did not get to interact with bernie that much but it didn't really matter. working for him and give me a clear picture of who i was and what i wanted to do. [applause] yay! okay. now time for questions.
i can, before we do questions i can tell you a story about how the title came to be. which is, do you guys know? you are shaking your head. okay so, president obama does not like to be called. ever. he is from hawaii despite what donald trump says. but he is from hawaii. it was the very end of the 2008 election and we were in pennsylvania. so was john mccain. it was supposed to snow. john mccain canceled all of his events and we were out in chicago and i went into see -- said we had to keep our events, john mccain is canceling we have to do this. but i was the one who's going to tell the man who hates the cold that he was going to keep on going. and so i did. andy emailed reggie love who is this personal aide and robert gibbs he might remember became white house press secretary. and marvin nicholson who was the trip director. in this in high because were
going to pennsylvania and they wrote back and said, boss wants to know who thought this was a good idea? [laughter] and that was not the first time it happened for the last time by any stretch. but i said no, it's fine it will be great! in my deputy danielle, it was like my work soulmate, she and i got to the office early and we were working on tv. and it was not just snowing, it was sleet, sideways. and hitting him in the face. so daniel said oh my gosh, it is terrible, think the worst scenario. and we watch him and he gets, actually didn't interview yesterday and they played me back that actual event. and i am like i was so right, it was an awesome event. [laughter] but at the end of the event he was drenched and just full of sleet and he goes to walk offstage and put his hand out and reggie love put the phone in his hand and my
phone rang 10 seconds later. [laughter] and i picked it up and i put my head on the desk. and as it is him. and she said pick it up. i said hello? you awesome, you are amazing! john mccain canceled his events you are the best! he says where are you? i said i'm at my desk. he said must be nice and he hung up. and that was up. but many months later, and my friend daniel from the white house is in the back will know, damien winter who took the photo actually won the pulitzer prize for that photo. and so when it came out that day, amazingly, we were in texas and be with kenny thompson who was with me, who was there that day in pennsylvania. andy pulled the photo of what will it look, new one that. and he said yes i did. i won the pulitzer. so that is where the title of the book came from. because you always have to know who thought it was a good idea.
[laughter] anyway, questions? >>. [inaudible question] how involved are you now in the political arena? >> i work at a private company. i'm not as political as it probably would be otherwise. but i march, i tweet, don't tell the people i work for. and i try to support women owned businesses and people who support the aclu and planned parenthood at any turn. almost entirely. [applause] for the presell of the book that went to the women's march. and next week will do, this medical writer learn, she is amazing. we are going to do a day next week with it will all go to planned parenthood.you cannot work every day but it's happening right now is garbage. so we have to keep doing stuff. i am political.
>> what is your take away from the experience being in the obama white house? would have learned? >> what have i learned? what i have learned is that you can be successful without being abusive. that you can, actually being 18 with all rows in the same direction is the best way to be. and that i am better with a group that i am alone. >> thank you. >> if we were sitting in a conference table waiting for president obama to come in and run a meeting about some policy issue, what was his style of running a meeting? what would it be in terms of how he would orchestrate the meeting? >> i would say that he would,
there were times he would come in and he would sit down and normally in the white house he would get the paper the night before. so he would read and know what the meeting is about. and he would come down and he had a very, he loved to say, he left to go around the table and asked everybody what they thought. even if it wasn't their specific area of expertise. because i think that he believed as much as anybody who's ever probably set in the oval office that the income expert is not the only person who has a cut in economics. and so even the example with the food stamps. when i told the story about my experience, he did not, he turned around he said that trenton is as much as every month she was actually there. so i would say he was very open and, is that right? he is open. yeah, he is very open.
very open-minded. he is caring. >> i have more of a career advice question. i am primarily in finance. vesicle i was doing schedule. i was wondering if you have any advice into that? had a hard question. i do not there is an answer. >> is not the heart of the question. i would think that's really what you want to do, what makes you want to do that? >> i just like the fact that it is slightly more political than finances. but also you have to be super anal-retentive. >> you do. i was not super normal. asked my mom and pop. i was super annoying for a couple of years. i would say, get into it sort of in a slow way and see if
it's really what you want to do. if this is a lot. it is 24/7. not just for someone who runs for president before anyone because you are always feeling like someone else's life and if you are okay with someone else's life being your life then you will be okay. but if that noise and it will be a problem. >> i want -- i didn't have the schedule really just became me. >> well then, you are good. you need the microphone i think. right there. >> i feel like i'm at a press conference. >> me too! it's hot in here. >> i have a two-part question. do you miss it? >> i do. i wish almost that i gone for a year and then i can go back. because you get all your energy
back into your fine but i miss having a mission every day. >> how does it feel being sandwiched between two of the most unpopular presidents so far in american history? >> i mean owner to say like i know for most people george bush is pretty unpopular. but, i will say that when you look at what is happening right now in the transfer of power that the bush folks are so generous and so helpful that it is very hard for me to think anything bad about them at this point. they do. i mean insight who wouldn't give to have mitt romney in office right now? [laughter] i mean - >> i just want to make a comment. i've had a really nice life and i very rarely read a memoir or biography and this made me jealous. >> that is awesome! thank you, i appreciate that. even the part with the pope?
did you read that part? >> yes, i did. >> i read early on i have not read the book now but you were going to continue working on the barack obama library. >> yes. >> i am. it is slow in the early stages. he is in french polynesia right now doing, i can't say. but yes, all of us, myself and danielle in the back. we are all part of the foundation committee. it should be good. >> i work with young college students want to drop out of college and market every day. i was running give advice for
me to tell them to stay in college and get the degree and then fight the fight. but i'm wondering with someone on the health with people with college educations, how do you see your college education having that you and the path that you took? >> i was in for the kids is very hard. a couple of weeks ago on march 8 they had the strike. if they with that woman. and so, for a lot of us, i want to district but i could not because i had to work that day and i could not just balance. and so i was say that there are a lot of different ways to protest and support without just going out and marching every day. you can support women-owned businesses. you can volunteer a couple hours a week in your city council. or like the local campaign or anything. there are a lot of ways to show your support and protest without dropping out of school. because at the end of the day, who knows like that is probably not a good idea.
>> did you ever find that the people that you work with did not have college degrees? >> actually - >> please tell me. >> david -- did not have a college degree. i think he left a couple of months before he was supposed to graduate. but he went back and got his diploma. there are a couple people that were like that. i got sucked up my assistant at the time at harvard. and he left the campaign. like he left and came back in volunteered and worked on the campaign then went back and got his degree. but i think if you do that you have to be really committed to go back because otherwise you just passed away three years. >> yes. wait, you need mx -- you need a microphone. >> i recall hearing you say you were in wisconsin. which was known as a very
liberal state. >> yes. >> leading education. and it has totally changed now. do you have any observations or insight onto what happened with -- all of the above. can you, what can you tell us about that? >> i do not know entirely. i think that some of it probably has to do with the same phenomenon that you know wisconsin went very donald trump which was unexpected. there were a lot of people, i think that we cannot discount with the burning revolution i think it shows that there are a lot of people feel that their voices are not being heard and who are single issue voters around economics. and so i think that was a real issue for wisconsin. i know like the gm plant went out of business. and so i think that it affected them. they were very different now than i was when i was there.
>> i have a question. hi alyssa. thank you for being here. >> thanks. >> i imagine a president is very caught up in the business of the white house and the government. how do they stay in contact with constituency? how do they remain in touch with the people they aren't trying to serve and keep that momentum and interest and support? >> i do not know how president trump does it. but president obama every night at 10 letters from like real people. and the woman, is such a great story because is this woman fiona who was in charge in the white house of pulling those 10 letters every day. and when she was getting ready, she did this for several years. and when she was getting ready to leave cbs did a really good profile of her and how hard it
was to pick between the letters. but every single night she got 10 letters and he took them in his folders and personal responses to each one. what you would not know that he would give us, he would pull out - someone wrote saying he needed a refrigerator. and he would write them response and he would put a sticky note on it say alyssa, figure out how to get them a refrigerator. and we found out that you can do a lot with the salvation army. and without anything a prince from anybody in the administration recall the salvation army and we were able to get them a refrigerator. so these are the things that he did when he went home every night. and be honest. and we look at the notes and did you get a letter from last night? and was a yes, i doubt letter. it would have to try to figure out how to solve this problem. and he would follow up with you.no one ever knew that a lot of the things we did were from him because it came from other organizations.
but that is what he would do every day.10 letters. [inaudible conversations] yes, we are. >> i just have a follow on to that. write to your senators and congresspeople.and they will respond. mine did. >> is true, they will. especially if you call. there voicemail. they are literally required to listen to on the voicemail so it is a good thing. do they keep a log? they do. they should. they are supposed to keep a log. >> over here. i hate to ask this question really but i am just wondering what it was like in the white house after the elections. because i have wondered also if obama had any kinds of words of wisdom. you know i mean, is just so devastated for all of us in ways that are beyond belief. >> sure. >> but at some point presumably
he would somehow perhaps enter the public arena more. but maybe you have some reflection. >> i left the white house by the time the election happened. but none of us thought that this was going to happen. only super honest with everybody. i was, i told of the kids you have to go vote. and i was very worried the people who supported bernie did might think they didn't have to get out and vote for hillary. and everyone was like alyssa what you think is going to happen? nsa trump is not going to break 37 percent. so wrong! but, when president obama came out that next day, after the secretary clinton gave probably one of the best speeches of her campaign. and he said look, this is it. this is how he's going to do it, this is the president and i
think that there aren't many democrats who didn't think hillary was going to win. i mean it is insane. it is insane that donald trump one. it is insane. he is very much the president, he very much believed that the transition of power and the continuity of government, he encouraged all of us to get in the program. >> hi, i have a question. >> hi. class of 94. >> indians. we do think we would be in the country know if john kerry had won the election? >> i don't know, that is a good question. what do you think? i think that it was not the right time for john kerry. and in the same way i think that, while i am not excited president trump has won i think it is galvanized something that may have been dormant in people. and that people are more aware
of being precipitously and how much it matters. so if john kerry had one, this is my guess. my guess is it might have been a one term thing. the feeling in the country was just so fluid. and so i think that we would probably, i don't know who would be present now. but i don't know that it would have made that big of a difference. that was an awesome answer. >> this is just a scheduling. that was a great story about obama. were there any other special things you have to keep in mind when scheduling him? >> let's see, i am looking to make shyness anything terrible. he is not a morning person. i think that is fair to say. he likes to have dinner with
his family. he does not like to be rushed. and i mean that in that, in any day in the white house, he can have a meeting on troop withdrawal from iraq. a meeting on the financial crisis and the thing that you start to realize is that someone who is as intellectually curious as he is, you cannot go from one to the other to the other without sort of taking a pause and let him absorb what has happened. the one thing we learned is he needed time to think. not a ton of time which is not from one to the other. >> i know and that he and peel were in the white house and he appreciated. i am just wondering about the translator.
you don't has unnecessarily get specific but he was no drama obama but did he get angry? >> no and that is why it was such a caricature of who he was. because the extent of him getting mad was literally like raising an eyebrow.so he was not someone who would sit there and, let the things that trump has it out loud. like you will pay, you will do this. i mean potus obama would be like that is disappointing. [laughter] i mean i can't remember a time he yells. even when healthcare.gov was a real disaster. he said this is a real problem. and he knew it wasn't like he was being soft he just knew that if it got him to the point that he had to say that that you are like up the creek. anyone else?
>> how much do you think these voting rights at rollback had to do with the election? in states like wisconsin and pennsylvania? >> i would say generally my feeling on the election is that democrats were too complacent. they thought it was in the bag. with nothing that donald trump would possibly. in the states of wisconsin, and assistance with all of the love for secretary clinton in my heart. and so haven't gone to wisconsin, having gone there i know that i cannot remember an election on the way back to probably al gore at least with a democrat didn't show up in medicine and get people excited. i think that there might have been a part of a focus on the kill instead of the wind.
and i think that the win, we would have ended up in a different place had they gone. >> d think that when comey came out 10 days before with the whole thing and also the -- she might have leaked it out? i thought that really had an impact. >> so, i will say that when fbi director was leaving and removed the fund is replacement that i was one of the people who interviewed the replacements for fbi director and i can say that there was no one more impressive than jim call me. and when everyone things i
would have to say he didn't he had to do. and we don't know why. but i assume the best of intentions on his part. i did not know that it is really what drove people at the polls. adult. i really think there was something even a little bit more. fundamental. >> as big news has been developing, it did not - >> awful. >> is started slow i think during obama's administration. how perceptive was he in the administration of this development? >> well, newman called it big news beth m. they were like no really, answer the question. are you muslim? which there is nothing wrong if you had been. were you born in the us? and he was. and so i think that nino tess it was sort of, we were exasperated.
but out do not think we saw this as what it would become. it is good that facebook is addressing this along with other like twitter and google i guess. but no. i can tell you, we were never like this is fake news. we were just bingo it is fox perhaps. it did not sing a movement. it just seemed that something that we could sort of like silo off. >> i have a frivolous question. >> yes? >> what was the most fun day you had at the white house? >> i don't know if you're ready for this. [laughter] >> we all need to laugh. >> my most fun day was when we went to london for the queen's jubilee which was the celebration of the queen's 60th year. on the throne. and i am obsessed with the royals.
i mean, we through party for the queen at windsor house. that is the us ambassador's residence in london. it was full of colin firth and david beckham and people you client - i know! david beckham. i will get there. she was not there because she was pregnant. she had just had harper. so he was alone. [laughter] we were really excited to turnup that the queen was going to do a receiving line with all of us. and so was actually talking to john favreau the other day that was on the trip. he is a very famous podcast. and so john, we were on there? well john you go first on your hands and the queen will like you. and so john went first and he liked muttered something. then we all went to the receiving line and the queen
was like in the most fantastic sequined gown. it was so elegant and she sparkled and she had sarah on. i was beside myself. and i was like your highness. i was a goofy and lame. but then i had done the seating for the table. and so i was selling with nigella lawson and colin firth was behind me and david beckham was like over here. and i am sorry, i had a very bad cold that day and had some champagne and british cold meds which are not regulated like they are here. and i definitely thought.i mean i just, and fun you even the guys said david beckham think you're hot. he is looking at you. but i think the best part was, what does most fun, not the most flattering. so i would separate those two. but colin is a start when my favorite movies love actually. and so his wife, his wife was like what is your favorite movie?
and i thought she meant of collins. like where he starred. and i said i love the movie love actually. and she was like really? and i went on to do a impersonation of british people. and i said we love uncle jamie! we hate uncle jamie! everyone was appropriately horrified but that was definitely my most fun day. we have time for about one or two more questions. >> hi alyssa. >> hi bethany! how are you? >> good. so i wanted to ask you, what are two or three of the most influential reasons that you think you've accomplished what you have because obviously you've accomplished a lot.>> two or three reasons. one, i think that i came from a
community that was quite -- where we went to heisel we all basically thought we were the same at it wasn't really a hierarchy i think. and we all worked really hard and it did not matter. everyone had an afterschool job and will did her own stuff. so that was one. because i never expected anyone to do anything for me. that is one. two, i think i was very lucky with the people i work for. i think only work for people they deeply believed in. so there wasn't any sort of moral compromise. and if i really just wanted power. i just really wanted to impact change. and whether it was bernie or john kerry or barack obama, amulets must be honest. when i worked for barack obama hits on the wonka speech at a convention and that was it. pam, i never thought he would be president or run for president.
and so i think that like one, just being well-rounded and number two, just following your moral compass and not working for people working for people i believed in. i only have two. yes. >> i was just wondering, during your time in the white house. what was either the biggest or most or first most emotionally impactful moment that use of the president undergo. we felt something fundamentally very serious happened to him and how he viewed his role as a leader and - >> i don't know if you want this answer. i would say it was newtown. and i'm not going to go, it's like a super downer way to end this whole thing. it's okay, but i would say that the one thing that you do not realize in the white house is that, that morning i think and
don't quote - me but - we remember we got a report that there might be a shooting in the mall in connecticut. we heard that there might be a shooting with like, like nothing totally crazy. a shooting in a high school. then the third report was horrifying. and you have a bunch of people who are trying to do their - likely cannot stop and sit down say this is terrible. in john brennan that went to be cia director but at the time was assistant to the president for counterintelligence and homeland security. and me and the president were in the room explaining what we heard from the governor of connecticut's office. and we are all just doing our work but obama and john brennan and i, you just work through the tears. that was probably the worst, most impactful followed by the gun legislation not passing a few months later.
yes, sorry. maybe we should do one more question so it's like - not such a bummer. >>. [inaudible question] >> the queen was awesome. >>. [inaudible question] >> a good michelle story? let's think. the first lady. the first lady michelle obama, she very much believe that when we would go to a foreign country that we were not having, we would have a statement. it was work. and so we were in tanzania and i was at a table in the tourism minister and interior minister ron on the side of me. for some reason people weren't really talking that much but there was this very lively band playing. she looked at me and she was just like - and i knew it was my time to get up and leave the conga line to get everyone up.
and i did! and valerie got up and everyone got up and we did this conga line. and at the end of the night she was and why were the oys on their blackberries? and i knew i was in good shape and they were maybe in trouble. but that was, that was a good michelle memory. >> thank you so much alyssa. [applause] >> thank you all for joining us here. alyssa will be signing books. you can purchase them at the front desk. and the stunning lentil start here and go this way. >> thank you all. [inaudible conversations]