tv Tommy Thompson and Doug Moe Tommy CSPAN November 5, 2018 3:59am-5:21am EST
>> good afternoon folks, thanks for coming. governor thompson will be here momentarily. if you can believe it this isn't the first time i've had to wait for him. [laughter] but he did call from the car and he will be here shortly. i thought i might take this chance to thank you folks for coming out and one thing we probably weren't going to get to in our conversation is how the book came about and what it was like being the co-author. somebody said getting to people together to write a book is like getting three people together to make a baby. [laughter] it really wasn't like that for us.
[laughter] i think we work pretty well together. but governor thompson actually reach out to me seven years ago in 2011 and we met out at the esquire club on the north side and had a late breakfast and talked about collaboration, shook hands, never had more of a deal than that. and ended up i interviewed him about the first race for governor. we had to do a sample chapter for ew press, our publisher. and that went pretty well. and the process seemed happy. then he decided to run for the senate. we got sidetracked. and never really got really engaged until about three or four years ago, so it still took quite a while. i did 30 hours about
approximately of interviews with him. in various locations, usually out at his house. on the east side of madison. but also in the car sometimes. and then of course i transcribed the tapes. i always do that myself. it's horrible. [laughter] but it's really it's a way of the material sort of gets ingrained in you a little bit. and i found when i have had transcriptions done, even by really good transcribers, they miss some things and just the material is not as ingrained in you as it is when you do it yourself. i also supplemented with interviews because it is a first-person book. it's his autobiography. but i supplemented my interviews with him with a number of interviews with friends and family and associates of his.
in an effort to kind of check his version of events against the printed record and other people's recollections. that sort of thing. in the end if there was a discrepancy we pretty much usually went with the way he remembers it because it's his book. [laughter] but that was helpful. it's interesting that from my standpoint i was appreciative of the fact that he was always willing to have me as the co-author. in this business of as told to autobiographies for the longest time, and it still continues, the writer isn't credited, sometimes. that has changed a lot. but the goal for jean sayers, i remember a story about he won the grand slam for all four majors. and got a book contract and the writer named charlie price wrote the whole thing.
sarasin wrote a letter to his publisher at the book came out and he said thanks for sending my my book, i look forward to reading it. [laughter] with governor thompson i would write a chapter and we would go over it ã [applause] >> how are you? where am i right here? >> yet right there. >> i just told them how hard i worked and all the stuff i did. >> i told everybody that dog is the best writer anybody could ever have. he can put lipstick on an 800 pound sow and make it look good. that's what he did in this regard. i think him for it. i want to tell you that,
i apologize, doug knows this when i was governor and secretary i didn't get a chance to go into
many of my son and daughter's basketball and football games. because as always busy. today i went to portage to see my grandson playing in his last grad ãbgrade school football game. i'm late and i would apologize that i was doing grandfather duties.[applause] i hope you will understand. we might have violated if you traffic signals coming here. i got here. these are my relatives, did you know that? >> i did not know that. >> connor, you know connor? >> yes. >> is my cousin. >> i think to start i think folks, governor, would love to hear how is for elroy got into politics.
i know your father was connie borden used to have meetings on fridays at his store, right?
>> i know my catherine, betty, and tom know little thompson grocery store. about the size of this room. two families we were open seven days a week. it was very small but sort of the center of political action for elroy wisconsin. every friday night a couple sixpacks of beer and a lot of cheese and a lot of raw hamburger, which was my father's favorite. they would stick around and talk about my father was chairman of the county committee for building roads and bridges. and all the farmers and all the local pols would come in and find out where the roads were going to be built. so i got to witness my father was quite a negotiator, trying to figure out where the roads and bridges were and then we would go travel around and look at them sunday afternoon. that's how i got it. i really got excited about the give and take but more
importantly getting things done. that's what i always try to do when i was governor and secretary, not look at what was partisan or what was good for me politically, but how to get things done. that's what i think doug picked up when he was interviewing me many hours. he did a great job and thank you doug. >> your guidance counselor as i recall, in elroy, try to talk you out of going to ew medicine. >> william claire was the guidance counselor and played football at platteville and he tried to make sure that every graduate from elroy went to the university of platteville. i was no exception. so he asked me where i was going to go and i said i'm going to go to madison. he said it's too big for you, you're not smart enough, and you can't play football there. why are you going there? you're going to platteville. he said that's where you're supposed to go.
he was very good guidance counselor, a very good friend of myself as a teacher and of course to my parents. but he was very upset that i did not go to platteville. so when he wrote the history of elroy instead of saying that elroy had elected a governor, he said he never mentioned my name in the whole thing. all he mentions was my father, what a great politician my father was. at the county board. i always resented the fact that i didn't even make the cutting room floor. i was not even mentioned in the history of elroy. so that's my story of elroy. >> during school at ew medicine you worked in the capital. for the sergeant of arms. there was one story you told about that he would ask you to take care of the senators. >> when i was going to school i didn't have any money so i heard that they were hiring
people up at the capital. so my father said, go see louis ravel. is represents us from adams ã and marquette counties. i called up there to see if i could see louis and he wouldn't see me. that was a little strange but i found out later he wouldn't see me because he was afraid if he gave me a job i would run against him, which i did. [laughter] so when i couldn't get a job in the assembly and went over to the senate and jess miller was the state senate. he knew my father he didn't know me and he was on his deathbed but summary called him and said young tommy thompson is ãbwe have the money to hire clerks under the form foundation and he would like to know if you would hire him and he said sure. that's alan thompson's son. i never met the man, never got a chance to thank him.
but he hired me. so i was a clerk for alan busby, who was a senator from west dallas and last republican elected out of west dallas but i learned a lot from him. i also learned how to be bipartisan and make compromises. he taught me a few things. he said, tommy, two things i will tell you. always read the bills and know what's in them more than anybody else, which i always did when i was in the assembly and governor. in the second thing, he said by stock and don't sell it. just put them if you ever get any money by stock and put them in the top drawer. he said i've done that and i never sell and i've done very well. he was quite wealthy. then after about six months about a year i was working in harry live band or was this marshal of arms. they had some extra money in the senate was going a little bit longer during the days so sometimes they had night
sessions. so harry live band or asked john gable and another student and myself if we would take over the job of running the senate when he wasn't there from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and run errands and do things ministerial tasks for the senators. i jumped at the occasion because what we could do was we could work for four hours and study and get paid if the senate wasn't in session or if we didn't have anything to do. it was a fantastic job. but sometimes the senate was in session and this one night the senate was in session and when the senate or assembly goes on call and they have a call of the senate or call of the assembly, means that every senator and every assembly, unless excused, have got to come vote. there was a senator by the name of packing mcfarlane, in his younger days ãbpack he liked to have a few snorts.
that afternoon he started snorting a little early. he was over at the end of the park and we knew where he was. so john gabriel and i went over there to get him. pack he was in no mood to come back and vote. we said, well you have to. he said i'm not going. finally we convinced him ãbit was on the old park model and in the borrows. we got him on front street and crossing the street by the stop and go line, and pack he senator mcfarlane decided when he was going to step on the curb to go into capital they thought maybe he should go back and have another drink.so he decided to turn on john ndn he started downhill but he had so many snorts. you can see it coming but he wanted to hit us. he doubled up his fist and went like that and i ducked, he
swung at me. he went all the way around, fell down on his back and hit his head. i thought he was really hurt. but he had enough alcohol in him that it didn't faze him too much. finally we woke him up and got him up on his feet and took him in and he voted in then harry the banter asked us to take him to his office where he slept it off. today that would never happen. the press would've picked it up. ãbat that time it was just a way to get things done. it was funny but part of what the book is about and some of the stories. that's the way i go. >> he graduated in 1966 and
planning to join the j corps later that fall you kind got a free summer. >> i had three credits to go into law school. jake ^ does anybody remember professor jake voyager, great guy on water land rights. i had to pick up three credits and he took me under his wing and said he would give me an opportunity to write a story on water law and recurring in the ownership. and i got the best mark i got in law school because probably because he was helpful. but louis ravel, the guy couldn't give me the job. i announced i was going to run against him because i wasn't going to go into the air force j corps until january. so i decided my way of thinking was i didn't have a chance because this guy was in for 16 years. so i decided i was going to run
against him for the state assembly. so i did and announced. now louis ravel didn't think i was very serious because i was still in law school and i didn't move back home. so he went to alaska on a cruise. so i graduated from law school, got my three credits done and it was the first week in august and the first ãbsecond week in september when the primary was. so i had six weeks. i didn't have any money. i borrowed 500 books from the bank of elroy. bought a $100 car that had 225,000 miles. you can look through the floorboards and see the street. i ran on highway safety. [laughter] > father gave me $10 a day,
five dollars for gas and five dollars to eat. it was coney's i had adams, donor and marquette county. i went all over i would start out at 7:00 a.m., i was not married, living with my parents. i would go to all these small communities. i learned early on that the town drunk was in the bar at 8:00 a.m.. i could go into the bar ãbhe said go by that guy a beer and he will talk to you all day. [laughter] so you can't do that today but he was the town drunk and louis connor was a democrat but he didn't like louis ravel so he wanted to help me. so he said go and buy my beer it will do a lot of good. so i went and bought him a beer and i heard later he said, about 2:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. when the bar was full, you
should have been in here this morning. that young tommy thompson came in and bought the whole bar a beer! [laughter] so i then left the bar at 9:00 a.m.. i didn't have a drink of course. then i go and nobody ever not been any doors back then. adams marquette, my good friend sam gross was here who ran against me. he is a good friend. i went door to door and nobody else overdid this. i was scared to death. i was afraid of speaking. afraid of introducing myself but after a while you knocked on enough doors and people say, like you and they ask you questions and you had to answer and think on your feet.which helped me a great deal. i went around and then i go to the businesses. what a story that i tell other young politicians that want to
get elected. i went into this chevrolet dealer and i was talking to the owner. i waited for the owner so i went in to meet the owner it was mr. connor, another connor. ãbthis one was friday, dyck fry tag on the montel chevrolet and buick dealership. i sat in his office across from him and i said i introduced myself and said i was running, i said i didn't have much money but i got a lot of spirit, got a lot of good ideas and i'm for small businesses and i would like you to help me. he said i've been supporting louis ravel all these years he never has come in here the first guy who's come into asked for my vote. i think i'm gonna vote for you. i said, mr. freitag that's great. thank you very much. and i walked out. less than three minutes mr. fry tag comes out chasing me down he said i decided i'm not in a book for you.
[laughter] here i'm 23, no money, i got the biggest cooler in the world chemist mr. fry taken with the best businessperson in montello there to support me, now he tells me he's not. i said what i do? why are you not supporting me? he said you're not very smart. i said why did you say that? he said because i'm one individual. but i have 45 employees. auto mechanics back in the back room. i've got people working in the office. i've got people selling cars. you did it stop and ask for their vote from any one of the 45. are you going to win? i'm only one boat, there's 45. you got to go back and you got to make sure that you talk to everybody. so it was a lesson learned. several lessons you learn, first go to the bar really early and by the town drunks
here. second, go and make sure you always go hide and shake hands with everybody in the business. which i started from that day forward and i've always done it. i will tell you a story, i was in washington with george hw bush. staying overnight with him and he took me to one of his private clubs. to fill in the rest of the story. we went down to eat and he was absolutely great. he was president. he was taking a young governor under his arm. he liked me before george w. bush got elected governor i was his favorite governor. [laughter] but i went in and we had lunch and i was going to go to the alfalfa club, which is a club that they had put up a dummy running for president on the alfalfa ticket and some other ticket and george bush had always ãbit's a fun
organization. he took me behind into the kitchen. here's the president of the united states taking me by the hand going into the kitchen and he shook hands with everybody and their, everybody that was serving. everybody knew him because he had done that so often. he said to me, tommy, it reaffirmed what happened to me at the chevrolet dealership back in montello. president bush says, tommy, never ever forget where you come from. that's why i've never forgotten about elroy, i never forgot about my basic lessons in politics and that's what doug was so good to capture. can i tell them about how i built elroy in the center? >> we will get there. [laughter] >> am i talking too much? [laughter] >> i was going to ask about
salic and the assembly. okay. you get elected to the assembly, the republicans are in the majority, but you all know ãbthe leadership all want your vote, need your vote to elect them speaker.>> the republicans had gotten defeated by gaylor nelson. and then in 96 the republicans came back with awarded knowles as governor. i was running and when i ran in the primary everybody down here in madison was supporting louis ravel. because he was incumbent. nobody would support me. i didn't have any money. louis had plenty of money because first off they've never expected me to win and nobody else did either. including people in elroy. my father was the only one, he sometimes i question whether he voted for me. [laughter] but the truth of the
matter was, i didn't have everybody supporting me. everybody supported louis ravel. why when the primary everybody wanted to come up and say, who is tommy thompson? they came to elroy to meet me. i got my first donation, back then you could take some cash. i got $50 in cash and a bunch of stamps. i don't know? i wrote it down. somebody down here in madison everybody was trying to find out who tommy thompson was because the republicans thought i would win. i did win but then the republicans won control of the assembly. so the number one position in the assembly of course is the speaker. and there were four candidates running for speaker, paul alfonsi, maybe a name some of you remember. harold clements, who later became secretary of treasury. harold freilich, and curtis
mckay. eventually curtis mckay dropped out and went with freilich. harold clements was there and paul alfonsi dropped out and went with harold clements. there was 50 ãb51 republicans. so 26 is going to win. so harold freilich comes to elroy to meet me. he didn't support me. he comes in and i still remember i was in the front room in my mother's house and harold fraley knocked at 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon. he came in and he sat down and he said, you know i'm on the floor speak a speaker i said yeah everybody's called me. he said i need your vote. i said that's good, so today. he says i'm no conservative. i said i'm a conservative too. he said will you support me? i said i tell you what i will do, if you put me on joint finance ãbthere is a
freshman, they wouldn't put any freshman on joint finance but i knew i was young and nobody would pay me attention. i was on joint finance they had to. so i have been around the capital a long enough that i was playing politics. so i told freilich, if you want me at my boat, put me on joint finance committee. he said, can't do that. no freshman gets on joint finance. that's what you have to do if you want my vote. nothing happens. about a week later he calls up and says i'm considering putting on joint payments. i said, when you make up your mind, call back. [laughter] week later he calls back and says, i decided to put you on finance. he says you are my 13th boat. i even remember that. i was his 13th boat. three days before before the
vote it was 26 ã25. both sides thought they had one. fraley calls me three days before the vote and said john shabbat doesn't trust you and doesn't think it about for me. i said are you going to put me on finance? he said yes. then i'm voting for you. the day of the election everybody was saying freilich one, everybody said harold clements was going to win. it was 26 ã25, harold freilich one by one vote. so he called me up and he said, do i have to put you on finance?i said absolutely. so he did. that's how i got on joint finance as a freshman. it was interesting times. the. >> we jump ahead a bit and john shabbat gets a federal judgeship and you become
assistant ãbyou become minority leader of the assembly in the early 80s. >> right. >> tony earl was elected in 82. you are thinking about running for governor but staked your run on increasing number of republican assembly seats in 84. can you talk about that and how it took you around the state? >> i decided, i wanted to run for governor and i knew nobody knew where elroy wisconsin was. nobody knew who tommy thompson was, how can you run for governor with the first name like tommy? it doesn't give you any great deal of confidence. somebody with a name like tommy. anyway, i knew i had to get around the state to get people to know me. i also knew that the election in 64 ãb484, was going to be
a crucial one. the republicans in the assembly only had 40 seats. i went to the convention, the republican convention, people were asking are you going to run for governor against tony earl in 86? i said only if i can increase considerably the number of seats in the assembly. i still remember tom loveless and tony earl saying they like me but they said tommy comey made a terrible mistake. it had the press that tommy thompson is putting his stake running for governor by increasing the number of seats in the assembly. so i went around and i had three beautiful charming women with me. one was bobby benson from portage, who was representing the republican party. she always wore these flamboyant hats. remember when you go to the kentucky derby all the big hats? she had a hat for every occasion. like this. she went around and she would fly up and hobby be was the
caucus chairman, i appointed her caucus secretary. and it diane hardwick was my administrative assistant. barbie would fly in and it diane and ãi would sleep as they would plot up things. we would recruit candidates and raise money for the assembly. nobody thought, everybody wanted to give money to the senate because they didn't think we had a chance in the assembly. all i went around and butch johnson was a big log are up in hayward. he called me and said, if you bring that woman appear to hayward with that big hat, i'm going to disown you and what i can give you any money. [laughter] she had big high heels and a big hat.
so we went up there and she was with me. she charmed the whole thing. it was all loggers and she was the hit. we raised a lot of money and we got some good candidates. i went around all around the state. getting my name out there. recruiting candidates. raising money for the candidates. so all these republican candidates that one in 84 we picked up eight seats. that it was the biggest story ã ãsherman dreyfus said that was the biggest story that wasn't written was the fact that tommy thompson and his team engineered eight seats. we did it take over but we came so close to getting control of the assembly. he said it was a tremendous accomplishments. that set me in a tremendous position because the republicans in the house really loved me. because i raise money for them and organize. these assembly individuals, 48 of them now, were my field
force. they were the individuals that campaigned for me when i ran for governor in 86. raise the money. brought me into their organizations and everything. that's how i was able to build a statewide organization, much to the chagrin of the candidates who ran against me. much more organized and one thing about me, nobody has ever given me every thought that i was going to win. everyone of my elections everybody thought i was going to lose. including those individuals that didn't think i could take over control of the assembly. all i ever wanted to do was win and become speaker. i never wanted to become governor, i wanted to be speaker of the assembly. when i knew i could become speaker of the assembly, could never get enough republicans elected the assembly that's when i decided to run for governor. >> 86, going down to the wire against tony earl, very good story i think.henry meyer told you that he thought the kenosha mayor ã >> this is a funny story.
>>. [laughter] >> john bilotti is his name. >> john bilotti had won the election of mayor by one vote. henry meyer was ãhow many of you remember henry meyer, the mayor of milwaukee? wonderful guy. almost a socialist. democrat. and was proud of his democratic heritage in the past but he couldn't stand tony earl. and because tony was going to put a prison in milwaukee. anybody remember that? tony wouldn't back off of that. so henry meyer called me up and said come over see me i'm going to support you. can you imagine henry meyer, who's never supported a republican in his life, called me up out of nowhere to come over to have me come over so he could support me. i talked to him for a while and he said i won't build a prison in milwaukee, he said good i will support you. he said i think i can get the
kenosha mayor to support you. so he called up the mayor and said this young tommy thompson wants to come over and have lunch with you and be a friend to me and meet with him. he's a good guy. i'm supporting him. so i went to kenosha. kenosha at that time kenosha, superior, and milwaukee are the most democratic communities in the state. and kenosha is old-time democratic union bosses and supporters. they never elected a republican. so i went down there and mayor henry meyer, who had just won his mayor. didn't want to be seen with me. so he says, come into the parking lot. here's this guy, and mayor, comes out of his office with a hat over like this.over his head. [laughter] he comes over, knocks on the window. i got my driver john trees, he said are you thompson? he said i'm the driver.
[laughter] he said, mayor and tommy thompson. he said i can't shake your hand somebody might see me. he said i'm going to go back in that side door but him to leave it open. come on in the side door. i said you want me to go in. no i can't be seen with you. wait five minutes and don't talk to anybody. so he went in, i said what the hell is going on here? what meyer set me up for? we went in i said are we going out for lunch he said no i ordered sandwiches.so i went in the door but of course being tommy thompson i shook hands with everybody i could see. i went up and down the thing. i walked up the steps and shaking hands with everybody and he came out and said don't
shake hands. he came in and he said did anybody see you? i said i don't know. [laughter] long story short i went in there we had a sandwich and i said, what can you do for me? he said well, i can support you but i can't do it publicly. can you put on a fundraiser? no i can't do that. can you go down the streets? no i can't do that. what can you do? he said i can talk to some republicans. i said okay. i don't know if ãbimmediately after i got elected i got a call from john bilotti saying, you know i supported you tommy, because i didn't have a job. and i gave him one. i don't think he ever once did anything for me but it was funny. can you imagine the mayor of kenosha coming down like this. nobody would see him because he didn't want to be seen with a republican. it's a sign of the times. >> we have to skip some things. i do want to get were running a
little low on time.a couple washington stories.i think important to talk about your day on 9/11. you were coming in, in the car when the first tower was hit? >> i'm not going to get to talk about it? >> yes. right on the heels of 9/11. >> 9/11 changes. in this country we average 36,000 americans die every year from the flu. last year was 70,000. so i decided one of my causes, located welfare and economic development when i was governor, was to come up with a ubiquitous vaccine for the flu.
i had invited scientists in from all over and they were coming on 9/11. several of them were going to have a daylong seminar of the best scientists and virologists that we come up with to be able to come up with the vaccine. i was given a speech in the morning and the first thing i heard coming in was, the first at 8:46 am the first plane hit the tower. then 16 minutes later the second one. by this time i was in the ãbi was in my office and i called him, i knew something was really bad because it was beautiful out. the sun was out and everything was like this. i called in my lawyers and i said, the president was in florida, the vice president was down in some bunker. because everybody thought we were going to be under attack. so i knew i had to be in charge. i knew there was a lot of people that would be injured and somebody had to take care
of them. so i called in my lawyers and it's never been done before, i don't even know if i have the authority to do it, i called my lawyers and and i said, i want to declare a national health emergency. so, he said i don't know if we can do it. i said don't tell me i can't do it, figure out how to do it and figure out how to get back here. this is 9:16 am i said you have 45 minutes. at 10:00 a.m. i declared a health emergency. we were the last ones to get a plane. remember all the planes were grounded. i got a plane in the air, there are eight medical depots around america that are top-secret that you can get tons of medical supplies. the closest one to new york we sent the plane up there, filled up the plane with medical supplies and fluid to new york. we had it thereby 5:00 p.m. in the afternoon. the only one outside the air
force back on the plane up in the air to fly and get medical supplies to new york. we had kits, medicines, masks, gloves, everything like this. we got it up there to be unloaded. at 11:30 a.m. cheney bright idea was that all the secretaries except for colin powell and don rumsfeld, had to go out to a cloistered site in west virginia, there is called camp whether down 175 feet, got a huge city down there. 175 feet and they didn't know what was happening and wanted to make sure there would be one secretary alive. and i wouldn't go. they are helicopters down going and i wouldn't go. i had all these things to do. so i was ordered to go by the vice president to get on the plane. i said i'm not going. he said you are going to be arrested. the plane was supposed to be up
there 12 pm, came out at 12:20 pm and they had federal security guys out there to arrest me.my chief of staff bob wood and my deputy secretary thought it would be great for me to get out of there so he could be in charge so he was pushing ãbit would not look good on this terrible day to have you arrested. my own security came in and said tommy you can do it. i said to my one guy, my really good friend mike galindo, i said mike if i have to go you get the car out there, you find the back door to camp whether and i'm going to walk in and walk out and you get me back here right away. he said okay mr. secretary. so always secretaries are mad at me because they been waiting since 12 pm. i get out on the helicopter at 12:50 pm, we got there about 1:45 pm. the driver said we check-in, grant dormitories everything down there.
every one of the departments has got places for office and so on. they gave me a billet and a blanket and cleaning stuff, shaving and all this. i took it in and through it on my bed and i said, i'm tired. i'm nervous. can i take a walk? i said where's the back door. it's a mile and and a half i walked, i got out there. that's how big this place is. a mile and and a half and i walked out there and here's michael and otto there. i said go as fast as you can. we were doing 100 miles an hour coming off the mountains of west virginia going into madison. i got there at 4:30 p.m. back in the office. much to the green of the deputy secretary and i took over and a lot of the employees wanted to see me. i said ãbthey said are you going to open tomorrow. i said i'm going to be here and i'd love to have you come. the next morning at 5:00 a.m. i was out in front of the
humphrey building shaking hands with any ãbyou got to imagine everybody was really afraid because the plane coming from that was going to hit the capital that went into the things in pennsylvania would've gone right by the humphrey building. all they were rightly so ãbi said i'm going to be here. if you are not afraid, come on in. they said i'm afraid that i'm coming in. i stood there and shook hands with every one of my employees. welcoming them and i made it up to new york the first secretary to go there two days before bush got up there i was up there walking down the streets of new york. i'm going out to see the hospital, meeting individuals that were injured. and those individuals ãbone of the worst things i've ever done in my life as i went down to the morgue that afternoon after 9/11. you can imagine the poor people were trying to find their loved ones, bringing in hairbrushes and i went in there to thank the good doctors, some that had worked for me. they were having fragments of bodies, trying to get dna.
it was utterly impossible to believe that that took place. >> one more washington story and then maybe we can open up for a few audience questions and we also have to see status and open up to questions around the country. if you would, great story, you are on point for medicare part d. but it was a brutal fight on the house floor and there was a story you told at the end where you are like one vote short and trent franks republican from arizona, for i am not he wants to talk to who? >> the president of the united states. i needed his boat and we needed his vote to have the 217 votes to carry part d. part d as you all know who was my idea and my department came up with it even though george bush gets the credit for it, it was really
tommy thompson. when you get to part d, remember, thank me.we put it together and we were having a tough time getting it passed. and speakerácalled me over and he said, trent ãthe 4:00 a.m. president bush to his credit was wonderful. he came in from england, he had just been over in london. i think to see the queen if i remember correctly. he had just landed the night before. as tired as you can imagine. so i have this individual congressman, two from arizona. they wanted to weigh in on who the president was going to appoint as federal judge. in arizona. i called over one of the presidents individuals and i said, you got to call the president. so i can talk to him and he's got to reassure these two
congressman that he is going to appoint a conservative. the judge in arizona. but they won't vote for part d. he said you want me to call the president at 4:00 a.m.? i said yes. so the president gets on, not happy. well imagine. they woke him up. i said mr. president we have a situation, we have two individuals, they may vote for part d and we needed in order to pass it. if they get some reassurance from you that you will appoint a conservative, he said put them on. they got on the phone and he said, yes sure what you want? he talked for probably 15 minutes. afterwards, i wasn't on the phone so i don't exactly know what was said.but after it was all over he said, trent franks and the other congressman, said they would
vote for it. so we called the floor. this is after we kept the role open, the longest i think it had ever been opened. from about 1:30 a.m. to about 4:30 a.m., they voted and at 4:30 a.m. it passed. by that time there was two other individuals. we ended up with 219 boats. we only needed to 17. so it passed and that was the beginning of part d. which has turned out to be one of the most popular programs in medicare today. everybody loves it and it's worked out very well. very effective program. and then the president called me at 9:00 a.m., i didn't go to bed that night. i worked ãbi went right to the floor of the capital to my office. the president said good job tommy but if you ever call me at 4:00 a.m. i'm firing you.
[laughter] that's the story. >> we have a microphone over here folks. i don't know how easy it is logistically but we ask that you come over and ask your questions. >> thank you. thank you doug and governor thompson. we will take a couple questions from those here just line up at the microphone. then we will keep it the conversation going with questions from the c-span book tv viewers. we will also take a couple questions. >> good to see you, thanks for coming back to town. you write very movingly in the beginning of the book how you really wanted to be secretary of transportation. health and human services. so you could bring high-speed rail to the country the same way a republican president eisenhower ã >> are trying to set me up to get me in trouble. >> yes. [laughter] >> you know i love you but you have a tendency of always trying to get me into a political difficulty. >> to write about the importance of high-speed rail. >> i believe in high-speed
trains. [applause] elroy at the turn-of-the-century was a railroad city. the chicago northwestern came up and turned around in elroy and then down to minneapolis. growing up at age 12 i used to jump on a train coming into town when it slowed down and wrote to the other end of town and jumped off. so i love trance. it's funny i never broke a bone. >> my question is, would wisconsin and the midwest be better off if wisconsin had the high-speed rails system that governor walker canceled? >> yes. don't put me in a position of pitting myself against governor walker because i support him but people can differ as to whether or not they believe in it but i believe in high-speed trains. i've always believed in that. i think high-speed trains is something that would solve a lot of problems. you go up and down the
interstate. we have to keep building it. the bypass around madison, you have to keep ãbit's so crowded. sooner or later we have to find ways to move people. i think high-speed trains has got a lot of opportunities. >> thank you. [applause] >> if you ever find that an opponent is telling missed truths about you how do you usually handle that? >> if one of your opponents is untruthful during a debate or during a campaign, how do you handle that? >> you just say that that's not true. and you are full of beans. whatever you want to say. sometimes it's not quite as ãb i've got to tell you.
i to this day everyone of my democrat opponents that ran against me is my friend. tony earl is still my friend i love the guy. he's wonderful. he's a great individual. tom loftus and i are the best of friends. in fact, if he was here he would probably stand up and say that's absolutely true. even though we fought on the floor, the nice thing about back when i was in the state legislature you could disagree, you didn't have to be disagreeable. tom loftus i think the world of him. and chuck whilehuck and i never along when he was in the state senate but since we got out of it chuck is a friend of mine. i think he's an outstanding young person. ed garvey and i had troubles. throughout our whole life. but i felt really sad when ed garvey left. he had a lot to offer.
his point of use were not mine, but i always consider them very honest individuals. i guess i've been lucky. i've had opponents that i respect and admire and all of them today i still would say our great individuals. not as good as me but. [laughter] >> thank you. >> that's not true. they were very good. and quite reputable. >> thank you. >> one more. >> governor, you said that one of the things you regret is building so many prisons. >> yes. >> are there too many people locked up for too long? >> that's true. >> how do we change that? >> follow my lead in the next several months. i'm pushing through a new what's called a second chance initiative. at the time that i was
governor, you got to put yourself back then. there were a lot of judges who were not sentencing people to the right sentences. the proration of parole system if you knew the right person and right thing you got out sooner. it was not a very ãbif it didn't think it was a very good system.that's why we got truth in sentencing. to make it so there was no scam or race whatsoever. i thought at that time if you remember there was a prisoner that got out real early and a young girl was out trick-or-treating and ãbi don't know if you remember that. and was killed and it was a very heinous crime. so the people ãbone got out in milwaukee and at the tenure of the times, jerry, people really thought we had to get tougher. i bought into that.
since then i have evolved into believing now that we can do a much better job. here's what i want to do. and i'm passionate about it. first of all i want to introduce my daughters kelly thompson, [applause] kelly is the head of the public defender. the joke was around the thompson family is kelly ãbi was putting them away and she was keeping them out. [laughter] interesting conversation. but kelly is dedicated. i really gotten around to her point of view because what i want to do is i want to take an assessment.i want your help on this. i want an assessment of the prisoners. some prisoners should not get out. there's some bad people out there. but there are some good people that because of the circumstance, the way they were
brought up, and i was no angel in high school or college. i look at some of you and that you probably agree with me that you probably did a few things that were not always according to the law. but what i want to do is make an assessment. find out those individuals to do it and i want to turn the prison in racing into a vocational school. i've talked to the head of the college blackhawk university. constance college and vocational school. i want them to set up a vocational program and i want to get fox con and wmc to sponsor prisoners. ... alcohol and drug problems. i want to put them through an
intensive course as long as the university -- and then i want employers to sponsor them. they become interns. they go to school in the morning come back to prison in the afternoon. if they complete everything without it breaking any rules or regulations, they get out of jail free card to go to work for that one. the company takes responsibility for them. you will see individuals moving into the workforce educated and not be dependent upon alcohol and drugs and become meaningful members of society. we would not have the rate of recidivism. we can make things happen. we can make individual prisoners meaningful members of society. i need your help. [applause] that is my new cause. that in pancreatic cancer.
>> i will be glad to help. >> you are on my team and always have been. thank you very much. >> a couple more questions in the room. make your way up to the microphone. a few questions from our national audience on book tv. you will be able to hear the questions here in the room. keep the conversation going. silence your cell phones. that would help with the reception. >> 748-8200. east and central zones. if you live in the mountaineer pacific time zone, have a question for the longest-serving governor of wisconsin or one of the longest-serving journalists in wisconsin, paul. how many of you over the years have read doug in the times in the journal? how many of you have voted at 1.4 tommy thompson.
[laughter] not half? how did you win. >> democrats i'm trying to convert. [laughter] >> let's take some calls. we will take questions from the audience. the book is called tommy my journey of a lifetime. james is calling in from seattle. james, go ahead. >> let's go back to the reagan administration. a tax bill in 1986. a top tax rate. another republican president, he had texas. after of these tax cuts, a meeting recession. not having any money. crime such as newt gingrich and these guys.
you are all about treatment. what are you going to do to get these black people that still can't get jobs and things. recently, it was ruled that the three strikes, i still know people that are locked up for this. we don't know these things. why is it when democrats -- >> insert. governor thompson if you could address. >> absolutely. individuals that are incarcerated. i am trying to find ways. they have to go through an assessment. get past alcohol and drug treatment. being reintegrated into our society and having a beautiful
job. the thing we do right now as we have individuals get out of jail , still have alcohol and drug problems, little training and looking for a job. i want to take care of the situation. sort of a smooth assimilation back into society. helping a lot of individuals, both black black and white, as well as latinos and a few of us irish people. >> how is the opioid crisis affected wisconsin? >> i think it is as bad here as any place. i have not written about it directly. you know, it is one of the biggest issues our state faces. >> we have another james calling. this one from east greenwich rhode island. we are listening. you are on book tv.
>> i do not mean to be her on such an important topic like opioids. i came in a little bit late with the kenosha story which was fabulous. the book sounds great. what about your time in geneva? >> absolutely. the global fund to me as one of my biggest accomplishments. it's going to probably pay bigger dividends worldwide than anything else i've ever done. first of all, he called : -- colin powell saying he would like to talk to some people about aids, tuberculosis and malaria. he called me and i said absolutely. came down in met with us and then we went over and we talked
to president george w. bush. it was on a sunday afternoon. we convince the president to put some money into the global fund. i think it was a hundred million dollars. the global fund started with that conversation we raised $100 million from the united states to raise the global fund. we raised $5 billion. now it is up to $8 billion. it is probably the best international fund to help people, give people hope to reduce hiv,, tuberculosis and malaria. i am absolutely overjoyed with the success it's had. i am very happy and appreciative of the small part i was able to play and setting it up and getting it started. i have been to africa several times as chairman. it is amazing the countries in
africa that absolutely are so impressed and love the united states because of the global fund. the viruses, medication to them, i can tell you a beautiful story, but it would take too long of having one of my daughters, tommy, go, go with me to africa and meeting a woman with nine children. she cried and said, you know the nice thing about what the united states has done and what you individuals are doing on the global fund is that metro viral virus medication. i will live long enough to see my children graduate from school and not become part of the 20 some million orphanages around africa. that was just so moving and so poignant of what the america has been able to accomplish. it was a great story. >> armando. scottsdale arizona.
good morning. you are on book tv. >> thank you so much. i had the pleasure working for you for your administration. i just wanted to call and say hello. i also wanted to ask you, wisconsin products have already been known around globally. you did an incredible job of promoting wisconsin. also around the globe. what is your take going on right now with the terrace and some of the things coming out of washington that is putting some really serious economic impact. not only to our neighbors and our allies, but also to folks here at home. if i could have your comments on that. again, rate to see you and talk to you. >> thank you. thank you for your hard work for me in the state of wisconsin and
promoting our great products. everybody knows i am a cheerleader for wisconsin. i love wisconsin and i love everything about it. any chance i get to talk about wisconsin and its products, it's a good day for me. thank you for your help and thank you for remembering that. as far as tariffs, i don't like like them. i have to come back to what i do right now. one of the things that i do right now and that's being a farmer. i raise corn and soybeans. 800 acres of them. i've got a lot of corn and a lot of soybeans. i can assure you that tears are not helping the farmers in wisconsin or across america. i am hoping that the president is able to get china to come to the negotiating table and if they're able to reach an agreement, tariffs don't help anybody. fair trade would help everybody. i am hoping that the president
is going to be successful. tariffs are not helping the economy of wisconsin, especially farmers. >> i should ask you this without governor thompson present. >> can i first they one thing. the opioid that you asked me. i did a profile of my police chief year so ago. one thing he told me was he had not gone a shift, a eight hour period without getting a call. i just, i wanted to bring that up. that was him here in madison. governor thompson's legacy. i think we have hit on a few of the things this afternoon. i think promoting wisconsin, being a big tent, one thing we did not talk about was the fact he brought a democrat into his
cabinet. passionate about his own ideas. i am a little bias. i think it is a great legacy. >> i hope that i said that right. go ahead. >> hello. >> we are listening. please go ahead. >> talking about putting people in prison. to educate them. i think that that is a great thing. spend their time and go right back out and nothing to look forward to. i think it is a great thing to rehabilitate them. you said earlier that you had evolved. >> yes. >> how did you evolve? >> i evolved into believing that
there is a better way. inset adjusts blacking people up. individuals will go thou. without giving them the training , it is a no-win situation for them. the rate of recidivism is going to continue to rise. i want to break the rate of recidivism by giving individual prisoners and opportunity to get training and to get rehabilitated as far as drugs and alcohol. have a ticket into a job. instead of having to get kicked out of prison and saying go find a job, i want that to be sort of a matriculation from being in prison right into the workforce. i think if we are able to do that unable to keep giving good jobs, i think we can break or reduce considerably the rate of recidivism and that is what i want to do. >> a question right here in
madison from this gentleman. >> my name is joel. you spoke just a little bit about the global fund and the proud work you have done. i think everyone in the room appreciated your story about africa and how much it impacted peoples below the u.s. and stuff i do not want to put you on the spot in terms of criticizing someone i know you support. at the same time, obviously, we have a president that seems a little bit challenged in regards to appreciating that outreach efforts of the united states in the united states. what advice would you give him about, you know, those efforts efforts. what can be done to bring him around to a better recognition about the impact of how things that the u.s. does. >> i support the president.
i think overall he has accomplished some great things. i applaud him for that. i do not like his tweeting. i told him i think he should stop tweeting. it is not presidential. he seems to feel that that is one way he can get his message out. that, in and of itself is helpful. i think if he was more, if he would not have been so willing to pick a fight and much more for getting this minister release from turkey. the president has had many successes. you have to give him credit for that. if he can act more presidential, you know, and at the same time i
think his approval rating would be much higher than it is today. less on the tweeting. be more presidential. don't be such a bully. keep accomplishing great things. i think you would go down as a very good president. >> it could be a great boom to wisconsin. whether or not great for people that develop the package, still to be debatable. fox con is much more of a success in milwaukee than it is in hurley, elroy and superior. they will not see the impact. anytime you have somebody that will spend billions of dollars in your state and with high-paying jobs, yet the the
say that's not bad. that's good. overall, in the long run, it will be good for wisconsin. what i have negotiated that? i will defer on that right now. i do not think so. >> i apologize. we have a caller from texas. this is jim. hi, jim. >> yes, governor. your progressive agenda makes you sound more like a democrat than a republican. i have a question for you. >> a lot of republicans think i've denied the democrat party their membership fees for a long time. [laughter] >> i need to assess question. do you believe they can provide everybody wanting a job with the job?
>> yeah. i certainly do. if they want to work, there are plenty of jobs out there. there is no question about it. i believe very much in my republican philosophy. i also believe that once you get elected, you are elected to all the people. i also believe that democrats have some good ideas, as well well as republicans. those individuals in power, should do what they can to mesh them together and do what is good for the people. i think that that is what i did. i also have something that probably force me into the situation. probably more so than i probably would've volunteered if i had all of the stars or all the power to do so. the democrats control all process of government when i became governor. i could sit and do nothing. the head of the majority and
steve and other democrats secretary of corrections. what i did was i tried to find the best ideas possible from democrats as well as republicans and bring them together and give credit. as president reagan once said, it's amazing how much you can get done if you don't care who gets the credit. if more politicians would believe that and go along with that, you would get a lot more done. even though i am a republican, i think, i think there are a lot of democrats out there with good ideas and we should bring them forth. not as many as republicans, but overall we need to come together more as individuals are statesmen and try to do what is right for the state and the country. >> barbara in atlanta. we have 30 seconds go ahead.
>> thank you. i wonder what you think we should be doing for medicare today. try to make it sustainable for the seniors coming on down the pike in record numbers. >> if i knew that answer, i would be president of the united states today instead of just being an individual friend of doug. medicare is a very complex thing i think we did a great job in part d. what we need to do is something that i've asked people to do for a long time. i wish there was the power to do it. the best thinking democrats in the best thinking republicans to sit down and take a look at medicare and leave your party agendas at the doorstep and go in and say what can we
accomplish together. if we don't do that, we will end up -- if they come up with an idea just like obama came up with obamacare, there was no republicans that supported it. as it is republicans got the power, they tried to dismantle it. all of the great achievements, it's always been done on the bipartisan basis. medicaid, social security, workers compensation. all done on a bipartisan basis. that is why, in order to achieve what you want and what i want is to make medicare solve it for years to come for everybody. we have to sit down and we have to come together on a bipartisan basis. what that solution is, i can't can't tell you at this time, but i know it's there. >> how are you?
>> good. >> i was watching my grandson play football today. >> i heard you say that when you walked in. >> what would you say your experience? what do you think the role of state and federal governments are in addressing these crises? >> there is no easy answer. i studied this a lot. almost 60% of people to get strung out on opioids are individuals that first get the taste of opioids from their doctor. there've been too much prescriptions by doctors. i got my knee replaced and i got fiftysomething oxycodone. i did not take them. we have to look at how we dispense it. make sure the person taking care of it don't have pain.
have to put money into treatment money into finding better medicines. there are still many things out there that we have to do as a society. we are not doing enough. >> you are not accomplish the solution we need. opioids is a terrible problem. it is not a minority problem. it is not a rich problem. it's not a poor problem. it's an everyday problem. we have to start looking at cures. we have to find ways we have better prescriptions. methodology that we have right now. all of this goes a long way.