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tv   Summer Series Books by First Ladies  CSPAN  September 4, 2020 8:56am-1:17pm EDT

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>> booktv on c-span2 this labor day weekend watch top nonfiction books and authors. watch booktv this labor day weekend on c-span2 and be sure to watch the all virtual 120
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national book festival live saturday september 26 on booktv. >> and welcome to another summer evening with booktv is binge watch series. tonight we're focusing on books written by former first ladies. the first first lady to venture into publishing was nellie tapp who recalled her time in the white house in her 1914 memoir, recollections in four years. since then another for slaves have published memoirs. we will focus tonight on five women with serve in a position in the last few years. first up, rosalynn carter, she served as first lady from 1977-1981 and she's the author of five books. in 1984 for best-selling memoir, first lady from planes, was released. her subsequent books have
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focused on caregiving and mental health care. a subject chess champion throughout her life. from 2010, here is rosalynn carter talking about her book "within our reach." [applause] >> thank you very much. thank you. i'm really pleased to be a tonight and really pleased to see so many people in interested in my book. i've been on a book tour this week. i started on monday and i get the same two questions every time i thought i would tell you what they were. the first one is how did you get involved in mental health? and the second one is, why did you write the book? so i'm going to tell you what i got involved in mental health. i was campaigning for jimmy carter -- you can't hear me?
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i was campaigning -- [laughing] i was campaigning -- i'm telling you how i got involved with mental health issues. i was campaigning for jimmy when he ran for governor the first time and he lost the first time. we got in late. our leading democratic candidate dropped out, and this was 66, a long time ago. i'm pretty aged. [laughing] and so nobody would run against him. he was very popular so jimmy said we can't just let them have it so we got in. we didn't have long to campaign and i never had campaign but a cut in the car and drove from one town to the next. and passed out brochures and went on to the next town. a very disorganized campaign. but 1963, the community mental health act was passed and this was 66 and they were beginning to move people out of our
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central state hospital, big institution, , overcrowded, terrible conditions into the community that there was no community mental health centers yet. i had so many people ask me, what would your husband you with a loved one at central state sf he is elected governor? .. >> and i said, i hope-- and weary, you could tell how tired she was from working all night. and i hope when you get home you can get some sleep. she said i hope so, too, but we have a mentally ill daughter and we struggle to pay for her care and my husband stays with
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her at night while i work and i stay with her while he works. and that haunted me. what was she going to find when she got home. i worried all day whether or not a son or daughter, she didn't say which, was awake when she got home and i was thinking about whether or not she got any sleep or not. so that time, that same day i was riding around and i came to a town that jimmy was going to be in that night. i told you a disorganized campaign and i stayed in the back of the room, he didn't know i was there, it was a big rally. and i was in the back of the room and people coming up shaking his hand. i don't know about whether you stand in receiving lines and it's part of my life and talking to somebody like this and reached for the other-- and he had my hand, and i got
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in front of him, what are you doing here? and i said i'm look to go know what you're going to do for people with mental illness, and he said i'm going to put you in charge of it. he didn't put me anything in charge of it i didn't know anything about it. and when he was governor four years later, he was-- i think he was in office only about, not even a month before he established the governor's commission to improve service to mentally and emotionally handicapped and i worked on that for four years and we actually put community mental health centers in 123 communities, but they were not comprehensive. some of them-- most of them -- well, maybe not most of them, some of them were offices in the center of town where we could go to find out where to get help. but i was really proud of it
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when i left georgia. but and then when i campaigned for president, because it had in am i bio i was interested in the work on mental health issues, everywhere i went in the country -- i campaigned for a year, two states and and everywhere i went, the people had mental health, wanted me to see it. if it was good they wanted to show it off and there were few. and if it was bad they wanted me to help when jimmy was president so i developed this real, real responsibility because back then, people were still putting them in institutions and nobody wanted to talk about it. wouldn't even talk about mental illness. when he was governor, somebody heard me at that meeting that night and i always say that all the advocates in atlanta descended on me, all five of them.
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and that's what it was, five people. and then when jimmy was-- while he was governor and i would have a meeting, it was a long time before we could get many people to come and we never did get really a buildup of really big advocacy. but my five advocates were always there and for a good while, just a few government employees just because my husband was governor. nobody wanted to talk about the issue. so it's been a very long time since i got involved and the governor's commission, the president's commission and now have a really, really good program at the carter center in atlanta. we live in plains, georgia. about a two and a half hour drive south and at the carter center and we don't get home as much as i'd like to. anyway, that's how i got involved. and we got the october of 1980 passed.
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we worked hard, got it passed and in october of 1980, and -- [applaus [applause] >> in the 1980's, a new president was elected and my mental health -- the whole legislation was abandoned. now, we had even passed legislation and funded it and it was not perfect, but it would have made a considerable difference. and it was one of the biggest disappointments of my life. well, that's how i got started. the other question was, why did you write the book. well, when you heard how i got started in the situation then and moving out of the institutions nowhere to go, and now, i've worked all this time, i think help for mental illness goes in cycles. patrick kennedy, i heard him this morning, it goes in cycle
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without somebody in that's interested and maybe the next president doesn't care about it and nothing happens and you drift along. jimmy did great funding, and grit funding to research. and then it drifted a while and then when president bush, the first president bush came into office, he-- a decade and added to the research. today we have learned so much. we have from research, we have new treatments, new medications and we now know that people can recover and what the reason i wrote this book is because we spend 120 billion dollars a year on direct health care, this country does. that does not count supportive housing, supportive employment. and anything else, just direct mental healthcare, and millions
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are still suffering. and i am so distressed about it. i am angry about it because to know that people can recover and not have a system that works, it just hurts me. so i thought-- i wrote the book because i want people to know what i know so we can get over the stigma which holds back everything we try to do and go on to do what's good and right for people with mental illnesses. so my book focuses on four major themes, recovery today, as i just said, people -- distresses me so much, people can recover from mental illnesses. our mental health illness, we're going to have to shift away from controlling the mental health illness and so many people who will tell me about that and one young man was an artist, dreamed of being a great artist and he was a
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teenager and, well, i think he was a junior in college, and he developed-- went to the doctor and talked to the doctor and told him he wanted to-- thought he would be a great artist and hoped he could get well and the doctor said you'll never be through that. see, that's what happened in the past. this is it. and it's going to be for your life. so we're now having to shift from a negative part to people's strength and enforcing people's strength and saying you can recover and we can help you. and that's what our mental health system has to do and recovery is one. provenance is another. one in four adults in this country develops a mental illness every year. one in five children develop a mental illness every year. and mental illness does not discriminate. it happens to everybody.
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it happens to people on the street. it happens to poor. it happens to rich. it happens to home leless, employed, unemployed. it happens to ceo's. it happens to anybody. it can happen to anybody. so, it's everywhere. and recovered prevalent stigma. stigma is so distressing to me. it just, it holds back funding for programs. people don't feel like mental illnesses can be helped so they-- the politicians and the policy makers who like-- people like me who really try, have a hard time convincing our officials to really work for mental health issues. and i think that's going to-- i hope that's going to change since we got the parity bill
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and health care, the new health reform bill, health care bill, has mental health and substance use disorders in the basic health package. i'm real excited about that. that's pre-existing conditions, has great, great priority for training mental health officials. in 2003, in 2002, president bush had another meant health commission at that reported in 2002 and do you know that when i looked at the recommendation, they were the sim o same ones, almost the same i did, and it distresses you and looks back and sees what it is. and the report of that was mental health system in the united states is in shambles. there's no way to fix it. we need to start over and so
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with these two new bills now, and with the consumer network of program that is developing because consumers have originated and done the research on recovery. there was a woman named judy chamberlain who in 1978 wrote a book called own our own. that was a subtitle, but it was about consumers helping others. and then she started meeting with-- she had had a bad experience with the mental health system so she started getting together groups who were living with mental illness and talking about how they could help each other. and it just grew into a movement and one of my friends who is on my mental health task force was one of her early people who were drawn in. he started the first consumer program in the state government
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in alabama. my other friend, who is from georgia and has lived with bipolar and is in recovery was one of the others. and he started the first consumer program in the government in georgia. and he also then started working -- the consumer network, they started meeting and they started bringing in people that they knew were living with mental illness and talking to them and mental ill people need respect. they need housing. they need a job. and so the consumer network helps them with those things. and people recover. some recover aren't even taking medication anymore and some take medication and therapy, but they recover and live good lives in the community, raising their families, working, young
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people going to school who have been living-- even with the major illnesses, people can recover. and that in georgia, can you hear me in the back? now in georgia the one who started the consumer network in the government, the consumer program was able to get medicaid for the consumers peers, that were counseling their peers and there in georgia we have 500 peer, i guess 500 peer mental health specialists, certified mental health specialists and they go from communities and just meet people. a lot of people now call to come see them, but they go into communities and if this he--
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if they see somebody homeless suffering from mental illness, they fold them in. it's a wonderful program and now he's spreading it across the country. i think it's in 40 states, but i'm not sure, but there's one in maryland, i know, because somebody-- i had a book signing this morning and somebody from the consumer network had me sign a book to my consumer network friends. and so i know it's in maryland now, i don't know other places where it is, but, i mean, others, but it is growing and the reason i'm optimistic about the future is because with what we know about medication from research, medications and treatments and so forth, and from the consumers being able to help people recover, i don't think-- i think the movement's too strong now. i just don't think they can set us back. and particularly, since the government and the new health care bill and the new parity bill. and i have always that if
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insurance covered mental illnesses, it would be all right to have it. to have them. [laughter] >> it legitimized them and meant an awful lot to those with mental illness, the future. and the next thing is prevention. they're now learning more about prevention, about building resilience in children, and we have learned that mental illnesses sometimes develop-- mental illness is developmental and i think 50% of all mental illnesses are diagnosed in children by age 14. 75% by age 24. and we have also learned and for any parents here with babies, and we need parenting classes because when babies are growing, children are growing,
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they need deep attention. they need to-- people need to watch their babies to see how they-- they have a -- have a nurture, have the nurture with their parent develops. they need to watch the age at appropriate milestones, whether they crawl at the time or walk at the right time. and they need, even when they're starting to nursery school to see how they react with their peers. and we need to get this word out because now, we have-- we know that if you detect the illness earlier and intervene, the interventions that work that mitigate the problem from developing, sometimes that can
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prevent it from developing into a major mental illness, always mitigates it, not make it as bad. so, those are the things in my book and i'm really pleased that you all came out and i'm so excited that you're interested in mental health. and you can help because you can go to your policy makers and let them know how important this is. and you can go to a community mental health center and volunteer. they always need volunteers. the thing that people who are interested and care about those with mental illness can really contribute and i just, i'm just pleased to be here and i think i'm going to be signing books for you. [laughter] >> thank you very much. [applaus [applaus [applause] >> well, every saturday
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evening book tv is opening up the archives and binge watch with a well-known author. tonight is different, we're looking at books written by former first ladies. up next is former first lady barbara bush, from 1989 to 1993 and was the author of five books, including two memoirs and she was very well-known for her children's book about her dog millie. now, her two memoirs were published in 1994 and 2003. here is the late barbara bush discussing the second one, reflections, at the texas book festival in austin. >> and i loved writing my memoirs and the urge to write was still there. i met my good friend mary higgins clark once at a book thing and told her that and she suggested that i write a novel. she said it would be very, very easy. she recommended i do what she did, pick a plot, know the
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ending and then work back. mary told me that when her characters talked to her, she won't let them say something, and won't let her say something, she knows she's on the right track. it's as if they tell her, i wouldn't do that or i wouldn't say that. certainly sounded easy. so i set forth to write a mystery novel. i made up what i thought was a rather interesting plot that centered around two female roommates, a flight attendant and a secret service agent, who never stayed in town long enough to meet any attractive eligible men. they decided to get in touch with an escort bureau, you know, a dating service. all the men one woman dated ended up dead. now, like mary, i knew the killer and i worked my way back. i had one huge problem, my characters never said one word to me. [laughter] >> i spent hours waiting.
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nothing. and besides that, my conversations were deadly stiff, awkward and really boring. so i decided to leave the imagination for the real writers and to stick to what i knew. after all, life had not stopped after the white house. the last 10 years have been filled with travel and new experiences, making new friends, working on causes that we care strongly about and the usual ups and downs of a large, close family. and some very exciting moments. i'll bet you didn't know that outlaw biker magazine declared me first lady of the century. [laughte [laughter] >> this, of course, accompanied by a picture of my head superimposed on a curvaceous body draped over a harley davidson bike. biker babe of the century, i
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think was one headline. it was quite an honor and certainly worthy of another book and yes, there were two sons and one who went on-- who became governor and one went on to be president. so there really were some things i could write about. as for research, i didn't have to do any. and trying to remember what happened when and who said what to whom, i didn't have to worry about that either. i've been a devoted diary deeper for years so all i had to do was take my diary already on my computer, turn it into some kind of readable prose, take out an opinion or two maybe, not all, but some. some things are best left unpublished. now, i toiled away, usually in the early morning, sitting with my laptop in bed while george read the newspapers. while i wrote, he cursed. [laughter]
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>> now, somehow it all worked. now, already, people are asking me if there will yet again be another sequel? at age 78, i rather suspect not. but who knows? just as life didn't stop after the white house, it doesn't stop either as you approach 80 years of age and beyond. especially if you're married to george bush. after all, this is the man who swears he's parachuting one more time on his 80th birthday. he jumped on his 75th birthday and he loved it. and incidentally, he raised $10 million for md anderson houston's great cancer and research hospital. now, on the 13th of june, this is the night-- the day after the gala to celebrate his 80th, he will make his last jump and friends around the country are raising $30 million to be shared by md
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anderson, the points of light foundation, and the george bush presidential library foundation. this will not only be his last jump, but this, he swears, will be the last time we ever ask anyone for money. [laughter] >> i can clap for that. larry king has announced he is going to jump with george and i think so far he's lined up our texas university grandchild, jeb, jr., he's going to jump with him. anyway, i have one -- i have to share one little story that happened this past september. during a trip to russia george and i were invited to spend a day with president putin at his dacha along the black sea, sort of the russian equivalent of camp david. when we arrived my george was wearing a suit and tie while putin met us in more informal
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clothes at the airport. now, we were very, very flattered that he came to the airport to meet us and while we were driving back to the guest house, some 20 minutes away, he suggested that he would drop us off at the guest house, we would freshen up and then he and mrs. putin would walk to meet us and we would walk to meet them. so george-- they were going to have a press conference right after that. so george rushed in, changed into very casual clothes. he wanted to be like putin. would you be sweat pants and a polo shirt. that's all he had. as we walked up the hill to meet the putins and they were walking down it soon became obvious that president putin also changed his clothes. [laughter] >> into a suit and tie. anyway, i found myself writing in my diary that night, this should go in the next book. i do know that writing this book reminded me of a couple of
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things i've always known. one is that you really shouldn't take yourself or life too seriously. i'd like to read a very short passage from the book to prove my point. a regret, not my only regret, but one regret is that i did not keep all the pictures i have gotten from the barbara bush look-alikes. i get at least four letters a year by ladies told they look exactly like me. i'm so common looking. when i went to speak at the toledo junior league in october, they had two look-alikes, they can be 5 feet 2 inches tall to 6 feet 2 inches tall. they can weigh 120. i'd like that. to 220. they can be 55 to 95 years of age.
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and they all have one thing in common, white hair. now, i have finally learned to say, i wish i did look as pretty as you. and in most cases, it's true. now, as you can imagine, the mail also brings all sorts of funny surprises. one year shortly after giving the commencement address at texas a & m university i received a letter from a lady who thought i might be amused by something that happened after my talk. she had taken her granddaughter with her to the graduation and when she returned the little girl to her mother, the child ran into the house yelling, mom, you'll never guess what i did. i heard the mother of the president of the united states. i heard george washington's mother! . [laughter] >> now, i might have been more
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amused if i didn't sort of look like george washington. [laughter] >> now, another letter that truly thrilled me and amused my family came from a dear little girl who said something like, dear mrs. bush, great news, i've named my heifer after you. [laughter] >> this nice child fairly often sent me updates on barbara bush, the heifer. barbara competed in the houston live stock show one year and came in eighth. i was sorry for my little friend, but i was slightly relieved as i'm not sure i could have stood the headlines, barbara bush wins stock show. which brings me to the next thing that i was reminded of while writing this book. you cannot survive life without a sense of humor, otherwise
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you'll never recover from all the ups and downs and disappointments and wrong turns. and one of the reasons that i married george bush was that he made me laugh. this was written after the death of our beloved dog millie. you know the one who wrote the best selling book about life in the white house and donated all the proceeds to literacy. millie's book made over a million dollars for my foundation. george use today s-- used to say you work all your life and finally obtain the highest job in our country and maybe the world, and your dog makes more money than you do. [laughter] >> we were very sad when millie died, but thankfully some of the reaction to millie's death made us smile. i wrote in my book, the outpouring of letters, faxes, flowers and telephone calls about millie was unbelievable.
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people wrote things, i love her and i will always remember her. or i'm having a mass said for her, accompanied by a mass card. at our first congregational church in kennebunkport they prayed for her after her death and one lady wrote she knew the pain we were suffering, i lost my husband last year. [laughter] >> that made george nervous. the barbara bush foundation got a $500 contribution in memory of millie. that was sweet. people wrote letters about their dog's death and sent pictures of their dogs or cats, either living or dead. millie would not have liked the latter one bit. my good friend mildred kerr after whom millie was named had
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reporters call to interview herment and george's staff, was interviewed. and they knew that millie had written a book and given proceeds to charity, but they wanted to know the personal side of millie, what she had done lately. millie was a dog. [laughter] >> well, thank god for a sense of humor. however, the most important thing i was reminded of is that i am the luckiest woman in the world. i have a husband whom i adore, children that bring us great joy. friends that mean a tremendous amount to us and we live in the great state of texas, which is part of the freest nation in history, in the history of the world. [applaus [applause] >> doesn't get much better
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than that. now that i've attended this wonderful festival, life truly is perfect. which brings me to one of my favorite topics, literacy, which, yes, after all of these years is still near and dear to my heart. i still believe if more people could read, write, and comprehend, we could solve so many of our problems. i think we've made great progress, but there's still much more work to be done. just this summer, i read something that made me very, very sad. in a recent survey, only 50% of adults said they had read a book since they finished school. and only half of those people buy more than two books a year. they certainly wouldn't fit in with this crowd, would this he? that's very scary, i think, and it's also very sad. i can't imagine life without books and reading. i feel like benjamin franklin, who when asked what condition
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of man deserves the most pity, replied, a lonesome man on a rainy day who does not know how to read. now, i'm sure there's an event-- not sure there's an event anywhere that's working harder to fix this problem than the texas book festival. founded in 1995 by then texas first lady laura bush. laura's mother is here, incidentally, and i'm so glad to see her right there. [applaus [applause] >> i must say, that's-- jenna welch is a great example for all mothers, fathers, caretakers, grandparents. she read to laura every single day and that is why, one of the many reasons that we have this great gentle, quiet, strong first lady.
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as many of you know, the proceeds go to public libraries across texas. in just seven years you have raised more than $1 million, 43 thousands, 1 million. why didn't they write that out for me? they know i'm not good at that. [laughter], for 474 libraries. i'm told a typical grant issed 2,500 for books and reading programs. and in many cases that doubles the budget for the book purchases for these libraries and that's a terrific gift. the great news now is that laura bush moved to washington, when she moved there, she took this great idea with her and in september, with the help in conjunction with the library of congress they held their third
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national book festival on the mall, which has attracted thousands of people each year. and just this year, i'm sure if i didn't read about it, but i know it happened and i wish i had read about it, 75,000 people came out on the mall to celebrate the book thanks to our texas laura bush. so that's a great, wonderful thing. [applaus [applause] >> accidently, this is free and it's open to the public. now, laura and i joined forces on another literacy project when the barbara bush foundation established women's literacy for texas, laura is still the chair. since the beginning eight years ago, given away nearly $2
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million to 80 texas family literacy programs. you know, i can't help, but think, thanks to these and other efforts, that your efforts and the efforts of all the wonderful literacy volunteers across our state, that some day, people everywhere in texas will be able to count books as their treasured friends and companions and i want to great you all for what you're doing and i am thrilled. i finally got the bid although i had to write another book to get it. but thank you very, very much. god bless you. god bless texas and that's it. [applaus
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[applause]. [inaudible conversations] >> there's some time left for questions, if anyone has any, but remember, i'm so old that i don't hear if i don't like the question. [laughte [laughter] >> any questions? you're pointing at someone? if so, yell. if you've got a question you'll have to stand up and yell. >> mrs. bush-- [inaudible] >> are you kidding? the question is as you heard am i going to jump with him? no, i'm going there and catch him. [laughte [laughte [laughter] >> mrs. bush. >> yes, ma'am. >> i don't have a question, but i did want to tell you i did read your first book and i
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loved it and i, too, love-- i'm a teacher and my high school students love when i wear one red and one blue. >> thank you. any other? >> mrs. bush. >> yes. >> do you give yourself advi advice-- your son advice? >> do i still give my son advice. george bush claims he doesn't, but i feel free to. i feel free to because neither one of them take it. [laughte [laughter]. i have to tell you that all our children are very, very nice and it's making me very nervous because they're calling and see how we feel and that kind of thing and one day marvin called and he said, mom, i talked to george and he said you took a
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long walk and i thought he would say good girl, mom. and protective. and i don't give them much advice. >> mrs. bush. >> yes, ma'am. (inaudibl (inaudible). [applause] >> that's very nice and thank you. i'll thank you for jenna, too. >> mrs. bush. >> yes, ma'am. >> (inaudible). >> mrs. bush. >> yes. >> wonder if you could tell us an anecdote about your grandchildren. [laughter] >> you really have to read my
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book, but let's see. i tried not to give names in the book, but we did have one time george and i were sitting on the deck of our house in kennebunkport and we had this little boat called the maine coaster, it's a little rubber boat. the children are allowed to use. and george just loves it when he sees the girls and boys go rushing out in the boat. well, one day, one of the grandsons who had a house guest was racing around the point, and we're sitting on the deck having lunch and george said, it was dan jenkins' wife june, who is the sports writer and he said dan, that's the biggest treat in my life to see those children use the maine coaster, it's so wonderful and the boat, way, way out stopped and george hopefully said, oh, gosh, i may have to rescue them because
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he's dying to go out in his boat, i guess. but in any case he got his binoculars out and the little grandson got up, went to the back of the tiny boat, urinated over the side and. [laughter] >> the boat took off again. and i don't think the little kid ever knew, but we had him under our binoculars. [laughte [laughter] >> but, yes, ma'am. >> what was the last book you read? >> the last book i read was sent to me, it was called "i am madam x" which was about a young woman john singer sergeant painted. i saw the painting in boston. by the time i got through the book, i didn't think it was so beautiful. i really didn't. i just didn't-- i thought the arm looked weird
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and anyway. but i enjoyed the book. i'm looking for a good book. i read for -- i read to relax. i worry about my children all the time, particularly our mutual children because i worry about the world. and i don't think any president ever had a worse time to be president, lincoln had a brother fighting against brother, ways a terrible time. but there's something about an unknown enemy, which is what we're going through now, and i think that's very, very hard. so we worry much more than i think we should. so i read, i try to read novels. i try to-- or something that will just make me not remember or think about the problems. >> favorite author?
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>> lots of them, trulyfully lots of them. jane austen. i'm listening to a book on tape about jane austen. i love maeve benchley. i love david balducchi. i love james patterson, one sort of like a letter to-- you get my age, you don't remember the names, but i love his books. there's just a lot. there's some i love to automatically read, mary higgins clark, i have to read the minute they come out. i'm a danger in a bookstore. yes? >> mrs. bush-- >> have you ever played golf? >> read my book. [laughter] >> yes. >> i love your humor and i love
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your white hair. >> i wonder why. thank you. yes, i have played golf and george bush left me this morning at college station where he is rushing down to go see the golf, and if luck will have it, i may make a little tour up there myself. yes? [inaudible] >> what about children's books? what's my favorite children's book? well, it depends upon the age of course, but when i go to schools i usually read to sort of young children. i love a back called "amazing grace." the trouble is when you go to read to children, if it's a book you love, they've read it 400 times. and so you have to try to find a book that's new and that has some kind of message in it. i love "make way for ducklings"
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and since that book is 60 years old and it has a very good message, i think. it tells you that policemen are there to make life easier and they're compassionate and caring and i like that. and i think that children should be taught to respect people who are in public service, who are firemen, policemen, senators, congressmen. i believe that serving is a noble occupation. so, i like "make way for ducklings", it's so old maybe they haven't read it. >> [inaudible] >> oh, harry potter. let me tell you about harry potter. i used to go to schools and i would speak to fifth graders and i would say how many of you like to read not how many know how, do you like to read? all the girls raised their hands and few boys. after harry potter came in our
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life, i would ask how many of you have read a book lately. every hand went up. every boy and they would yell out, i've read it five times or their father and mother would tell me i was at the store at 2 a.m. this morning when they could buy it or something. i myself tried to read harry potter. i read the first one, i'm not-- i didn't like alice in wonderland, i'm ashamed to tell you i'm not that kind of reader, but am i grateful to miss rowlings or whatever her name is because she has opened reading to not only girls, but boys. but i really didn't like it myself. but-- >> [inaudible] >> what was the question about my son? >> [inaudible] >> yes, that's very easy because i can recommend books that he can read. he's into more things that --
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his father is now into, oh, let's see, john mecham's book about roosevelt and interesting to george w. there's just a lot of great books that have come out about statesmen lately. not just john adams, but there are just a lot of them and george reads those. >> yes. >> mrs. bush. [inaudible] >> that's nice. [applause] >> in answer to that, people always said, you're not going to live in texas, are you? i said of course we are, that's our home. we chose texas and we love texas. so that's very nice. we're very -- we loved midland very much when we lived there, too. very much.
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[applause] >> from midland? >> what are your children's favorite books? >> you know, i'm 78, almost 79. [laughter] >> and it depended upon what age, i guess, and you know, when you have four boys and a husband who is running for office, and i'm just not as good a memory as i should be on that. i spent most of my life, i think they read, truthfully, sports illustrated, books about athletes. then god willingly finally got a girl. [laughter] >> yes, sir. got him right here, right here. and then you next. you. sir. >> in your opinion what's your favorite book that you wrote? >> my favorite book that i wrote? well, i only had four choices, so-- well, of course, my favorite book is "reflections".
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[laughter] . thank you for asking. i think millie's book certainly was, was great because it told people about the white house. now, you. >> [inaudible] >> well, i do. i do have a speech writer. and she takes it sort of from my material because every day we go out and something unbelievable happens to me. truthfully, i manage to trip over the funniest things, but i do have a speech writer. she says she make a great team. she writes and i erase. [laughter] >> up there. >> can you tell us about the night that of the election in
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your household, what kind of went on with your son elected president? >> yes, and then was unelected? well, i could hardly tell this crowd because you were probably on either side, you were suffering, but it was just a -- i'm sure other people have written about this, but it was a very moving night. the -- you know, we were at dinner and barely gotten there when florida was called on the gore side. which was really wrong because they hadn't closed their polls. and that sort of set the tide wave across because we had to win florida, so, we went back to the governor's mansion and it moved me a lot because our two oldest sons were really,
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they were very affectionate, emotional, anywas -- jenna was there, laura, george, my george, and two men sat and looked at precinct by precinct as it came in and it became clear that florida was going to be jeb's or they-- or george's. and it turned out to be george's. you know, i don't know if any of you noticed this, but in the democrat primary in 2002, well, guess what precincts had troubles with chads again? the ones the democrats ran. same ones that had a problem with george and gore. so since i'm outspoken and frank and what was the other word? tart. i feel perfectly free to say
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that there's no question in my mind that george won florida. and then -- [applaus [applause] >> i don't think i put this in my book, but in my heart when the democrat national committee chairman, you can all throw stuff at me if you want to, announced in 2002 that he had one goal, that was to beat jeb bush, i think jeb won by 14%. i'm going to say goodbye. [applause] >> i'm not supposed to be political. just want you to know what i think. yes. >> [inaudible] writing books that your children are getting in school today. >> what? >> how do you feel about the rewriting of books that are being used in our schools today like for history. >> i don't like that if they're
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revisionist, i'm worried very much about the internet because i can put something on internet and act like it's the truth and people will then go in there as research. for instance, there was a big article about me recently in the news week because they had bought the rights to do that from my book publisher and i spent a lovely day with a really nice girl. and about the fourth page of my book, i think there's-- my mother's name. she has my mother, her mother, mildred pierce. my mother's name was pauline robinson pierce. mildred pierce was joan crawford, you remember, in the movie. that's sloppy and i'm worried about sloppy and i'm worried about things on internet that aren't true. i mean, we all go to internet to try to find the truth. well, now i'm feeling a little shabby about that because i don't think they're necessarily
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true and i think we've got to be very careful that our editors really do do the research. i mean, mildred pierce. didn't she use close hangers on her children, wire ones or something? that was joan crawford. i'm going to say goodbye, i'm going to go home and see my husband. and thank you very, very much. i really appreciate your having me. [applause] . [inaudible conversations] >> that concludes this morning's session. thank you, mrs. bush. thank you, everyone. this is the texas book festival. go enjoy. thank you. [applaus
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[applause] >> and you're watching book tv on c-span2 and we're spending the evening with former first ladies who are also authors. up next is hillary clinton. she was first lady from 1993 to 2001. she's the author of eight books, several of them best sellers. not only did she write as first lady. she wrote when she was senator from new york, secretary of state and as a presidential candidate. well, here she is when she was first lady in 1996 on c-span's book notes program, talking about her best selling book "it takes a village." > >> hillary rodham clinton, author of "it takes a village", what did your mother teach you. >> my mother as i wrote in the book she was born to a
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15-year-old mother and 17-year-old father and their marriage didn't last and she was sent to live with her grandparents and that was a very harsh atmosphere. somehow, through her own personal will and strength and because of others along the way, teachers and relatives and when she was 14 she went to work in another woman's house taking care of that woman's children and that woman served as an example of a mother, she summed it all up and she was loving, attentive, involved, caring, gave us a great start in our lives. >> what about your dad? >> my dad had a different kind of upbringing, came from an immigrant family. both of his parent had come to this country as young children and they were very intent upon working hard. his father went to work when he was 11 in the mills in scranton and his mother was a strong-willed woman. one of the things i've learned in the last several years is
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that his mother, my formidable grandmother who died when i was quite young, insisted and using her maiden name as well. hannah jones rodham. i was surprised to learn that back at the turn of the century, she was someone who stood up for herself and made her views known and my father had a great upbringing. he went to school at penn state where he played football. and i think for him, having a family and being committed to taking care of them, coming out of the world war ii depression generation was what he thought he should do and he did it well. >> were you important in park ridge, illinois. >> i was born in chicago. >> how long did you live in park ridge? >> we moved there when i was four. my parents moved to arkansas to be with us after my father had his first stroke and lived there 47 years. >> what did both do for a living? >> my mother was a homemaker
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and my father had a small business that printed and sold draperies. he was usually the only paid employee, but he sometimes had day labor that he hired. he became very close to one man who became kind of a continuing employee, but my mother would help out, my brothers and i would help out. >> you had two brothers. >> yes. two younger brothers hugh and tony? >> that's right. >> how much younger than you. >> hugh was four years younger and tony was seven years younger. >> how did you get along with them? >> i think they would say when i wasn't bossing them around, intolerable big sister, we got along pretty well. >> did your parents treat them differently than they did you. >> i think that as i say in the book my father was harder on them. my father had two brothers, he was a real man's man, a real athlete and a guy who didn't talk a lot and wasn't into, you know, reading books very much, unlike my mother, and so i
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think he was much harder on my brothers because he really didn't know what to do with me. both my parents with encouraging of me telling me i could do whatever i want. never any distinctions made between boys and girls, if my father was throwing pass patterns around the trees, i'd run as the boys did. he was demanding for my brothers. how did you raise chelsea different than you were raised? >> well, actually i struggled to raise her in the same way, despite the difference in circumstances. you know, we had a very middle class, normal upbringing, my brothers and i. we were lucky to live in a great suburb with great schools. we could come and go because it was a safe neighborhood. so, it's not only the differences that all of us face today that make me sad because my child's life is not as free and independent as i was able to be. certainly, my husk a governor
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and now president makes it quite different, so i have to struggle all the time to make her life as normal and my definition of normal, i fall back on my upbringing. >> there's a part in the book where you say that, i think, correct me if i'm wrong that chelsea want today ride her bicycle and you broke down in tears for what reason? >> well, she was about nine and she and her little friend had been riding around the grounds of the governor's mansion and they came in and want today ride their bikes to the library about 10 blocks away and i got tears in my eyes because nearly every day in the summertime i'd ride my bike to the library, to the pool, to play with my friend and my mother would say be home in time for dinner. >> we're going to break away from our book tv programming momentarily to fill our 40-plus year commitment to live congressional coverage here, we'll run as soon as today's senate pro forma is complete. no votes for today. live to the floor of the u.s.
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senate here on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington,d.c., september 4, 2020. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable deb fischer, a senator from the state of nebraska, to perform the duties of the chair. signed chuck grassley, president pro tempore. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate previous order, the senate
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that wraps up the senate pro forma session. lawmakers are due back religious it work on september 8. now we were returned to our booktv programming. we join it in progress. >> i had great conversation with jackie kennedy onassis about raising children in the public eye. i talk to other people. i read a lot of the press coverage of children who were in the white house and that led both bill and me to make decisions about how we would refer, how we talk about her in public. really i think i'm very grateful it was so positive we received with the press just give her as much space and privacy as we could. >> why do you think they do? >> i think there are a lot of people who are around age raising children in the press. i believe they know what they go through because if you are a journalist on television or whose well-known because of what you write, that gives you a
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taste of how your children can be drawn into your own career and certainly it's much more dramatic where we live, but i think they had a certain sympathy and empathy with that. >> you also tell a story in the book about how you and the president when he was governor warned her about the awful things that were going to be said about both of you or at least him at the time. >> at the time it was just him. [laughing] >> and she got upset. had she been upset lately? >> i think we worked at the so long certainly she gets a little frustrated and concerned as would be natural. but starting when she was about six as i tell in the book i realized that even though her dad had been a politics since she was born she had been oblivious to. she couldn't read. she didn't follow the news but now she was reading and in school, that was going to be different. bill and i talked about and with
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that we should try to prepare her. children deserve to have as much information as they are ready to receive at age they are. at dinner we told her that her daddy was going to be running for reelection as governor and that the election people said mean things about each other and we didn't want her to be surprised and the sometimes told stories about each other. she was very upset at first but we have continued to work with her. we are always talking with her and asking if she has any questions. it's never easy and it's always painful. it's hard on not only my daughter what are my mother, another people who care about us and we do our best to reassure them and let them know unfortunately this is part of the process. >> site also you like to believe one meal together a day. how often do you get that done? >> everyday we are in town. it's usually dinner. we sat around and we talk about just what families talk about,
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what's going on and how school was and what we might go if we can get a few days off are what is happening with friends. we try so hard to do that and it's been something we've tried all through life and will keep up as long as we can. >> you have a chapter on watching television. >> right. >> why? >> i just don't think there's any doubt that when think about the difference in the way i was raised or bill was raised in the way life was back in the '50s with a lot of people have great nostalgia for today, the single biggest difference is the role of television in our lives. it's not only the content which does disturb me. it's also the process of television watching, , the amout of hours so many children spend, what it takes away from doing, and the instant gratification that it provides. i say in the book that when you
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have a two or three-year-old-year-old, all of a sudden being able to control a remote control device and never having to work and play the way we did for the kind of frustrating experiences you go through when you are a young child just sit there and passively be entertained, it changes the way children learn. >> a a quote from your own book, not quote -- 80% of americans responded to a 1993 times poll said they believe tv is harmful to society. do you think that's true? >> i think it's true and i think most people believe it's true, but people feel helpless in the face of it. i tried in the book to give some suggestions about what parents can do, what communities can do so we take back authority in our own homes as against the television and the popular culture it represents. >> why do think it is harmful? >> we have sufficient evidence now and there's been a number of studies, they haven't gotten as much publicity as i would like,
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they summarize a lot of what we know about the effects of television and we know television has desensitize children to violence. now clearly if you come from an unstructured family with a lot of problems to start with you are going to be more affected than someone who comes from a more stable environment but all children are affected and is not just boys weathers been an increase in aggressive acting out his will. kind of manipulation of children that is done even in their own television shows, particularly on commercial television has had an impact. if you compare watching public broadcasting and educational programs that appeared with children watch only commercial broadcasting, the children who watch educational programming are better prepared for academic challenges. there are many ways we know television has an impact on kid
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kids. >> i restrict the amount and kind of television chelsea watch as a child and now we checked out from time to time on her tv. how do you do that? >> we don't have the same kind of control we used to have and she was smaller but from a a vy early age we were careful about what she watched and equally concerned about how much she watched. we didn't matter plot down in front of the television set. we tried to keep her active doing other things. now i kind of crews to her room to see she's watching tv know what a chicken of what she's watching but mostly it is i talking with her now, what does she think about certain programs, how do she evaluate them. in the book i talk about how important is parents to be active viewers with the children who are going to watch television. bill and chelsea and and i wath television together but we try to talk about what television is, how it's very implausible in some respects. it is drama. you don't solve human problems in 27 minutes plus commercials. you try to give children the
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capacity to separate what they see on television what we hope they will see in real life. >> why do you think people in the business, have done this,, why do you think they sell this? >> in the book i talk about how we would drive by an accident on the road all watch. we know we shouldn't. we are rubbernecking. we had people tell us move on, don't block traffic. it's as though we have a thoroughfare of access. it is something we are compelled to look at. that's human nature. i don't fault people to make money for doing what will draw viewers. it's time for all of us to say as viewers a exercise more self-control and responsibility, at least as it affects children but also programmers that, let's be honest and admit we have affected how children think of themselves, how they view society. that should not be debatable
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anymore. maybe then programmers can make some more responsible decisions. the president is having a meeting with the major programmers to talk about what can be done on a voluntary basis. the v-chip was passed in the telecommunications bill. we're beginning to move in the right direction to research responsibility. >> it a strange committee hope and begin telling your kids stories about the same kind of characters and events using the same words and pictures you would throw him out. >> i believe that. i think we let television get away with so much more than we permit real people in person to get away with. think about the language, think about the exploits sexuality, cn think about the constant violence. i don't think there's any doubt we wouldn't would put up with n person. we would walk away from or it o suddenly out of our house. >> where is this picture on the back of the book taken? >> the back of the white house. >> what the kids?
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>> they are from our school nearby and this is the day we had big bird and sesame street characters as well as other public broadcasting characters. because for the study i talked about in the book that was then at the university of kansas looking at the effects the public broadcasting compared to commercial broadcasting, and kids are all there and we had a great time. sox was the main attraction after big bird. >> when did you first how much writing book for? i have thought about it for a long time but i took it seriously when the publisher came to see me who is publisher and president of the trade division at simon & schuster and rebecca, the editor. they had published my mother lost book which was a marvelous book. becky had been editor. they showed up and said have you thought about writing a book? i said i have thought about it but it's not anything i've taken
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seriously. we began to talk a year ago january. >> how did you go about it? >> it was something a thumbs going to be a lot easier than it turned out to be. the original plan was for me to sit down and talk and have the conversations transcribed and then to have some research done and some help sort of editing the transcriptions and basically for that to be the book. i found out that did not work for me. i am just some has to sit down and think hard about what i want to say and it takes me many drafts. i i had to do in longhand becaue my computer skills were not up to the task that i'd undertaken. it took about a year to do. >> there are 18 chapters, and at the beginning of each chapter you have a quote. all the way from lady bird johnson, let's see, booker t. washington. some of them are still alive and
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with us and here today. how did you go about choosing these quotes? >> i started with a collection of quotes i've had for a long time and i went through those but i found i had to expand. one of my favorite times sitting reading quote books what you did for hours on end looking for exactly the right quote to fit the meaning i wanted to give it. >> what is your favorite one? >> that are lots that are my favorites probably if i can read so i don't miss quoted, at the beginning of no family is an island. snowflakes aware of natures most fragile things but just look at what they can do when they stick together. i just love that quote. the book came out in january when we were in the midst of our great blizzard of 96 so seemed particularly app. >> how about the size of the book and what you want to cover? i get a sense as i read it that you would go alternatively between children and politics.
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>> it's filled with a lot of my views about how children and political decisions intersect because i do think all of us in whatever role we are in have a responsibility to children. i don't just mean -- politics, how we organize ourselves and neighborhoods and communities and churches and businesses and schools. but the book size was suggested by the publisher and i really like it because it's sort of a handy size to carry around. i learned a lot about publishing. for example, a number of pages in the book meant that if i added one more page would've had to add i think 16 more pages because of the way books are put together. so the size really was perfect for what i wanted to convey. >> what did you get in that you wanted it? >> my hardest part was cutting back. i had so many more examples that are wanted in a more stories i had in. my editor was wonderful and helping me get down to a
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manageable size. it could've been hundreds of four pages long if i had my way. >> wino index? >> partly because it was a is a textbook. it was really meant more as kind of meditation if you will about my work for the last 25 years about children. and also i was running very late. late. the index would admit it would've been held up even longer and since i was months over the deadline that i originally set that was something we just enough time for. >> it's been written many times criticism of not giving credit to the person that helped you on it, if the was one person. in the back you say there are so numerous that it will not even attempt to acknowledge the individual or fear i i might le someone out. what do you think of the criticism, and that some one human being deserves credit for having done a lot of work on this? >> many human beings do. that was my problem. i had so much help both directly on hand, i had friends who read every word with great care and critique it.
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i started making a list, i had 60 names and i was nowhere near done at a just to my hands up and said i can't do this because i was afraid i would leave somebody out. it wasn't only the direct help, it was the indirect health and so many people in the book who talked on the telephone who i've yet to meet. others who have influenced me for more than 20 years. i thought it was the fairest way to basically thank everybody who is helping. >> what do you think of the criticism of the one person that is supposedly what paid by simon & schuster to spend time with you and didn't get credit? >> i thanked her for what she did for me. she worked for me for a number of months. she did not work the entire project and i was grateful for the assistance she gave me. >> in the book on page 148 you have a rhyme, using use as i sn the street as quite as could be a great big agreement came up and tied his horse to me. right. >> anyone with this couple of paragraphs, a couple of sentences. i thought often of that rhyme
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during our first year in the white house. my father died, our dear friend tilled told himself. my mother-in-law lost about against breast cancer and the husband ally were attacked daily from all directions by people trying to score political points. back to this rhyme. as i standing in the street as quite as could be a big agreement came up and tied his horse to me. where did you get that? >> that was in one of chelsea nursery rhyme books. we tried to reach to her every night and she had this wonderful book nonsense rhymes and that was the prominent one, on the cover. we must have read that at least 100,000 times. it serves as a we explain to a child and then later to myself how things happen in life and you can't always predict what's going to happen. what should've been the most wonderful year of our lives with my husband being inaugurated as president had a lot of personal grief and sorrow attached to it. that's the way life is. it's not predictable. >> what was the impact of your father's death?
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>> it was rather dramatic and significant on me personally. i think that we were certainly exhausted from the 92 campaign come didn't take any time off. we went right into the president's preparation for the transition and then right into the inaugural. all of a sudden my father was struck by a fatal stroke and we were with him in the hospital for two weeks or so before he died. i think that just was so much. when a look back on it now and i think of the entire time, both the paid back 92 during the campaign which was so intense and in the first year 93, there was just a lot that happened. starting that you off with the wonder of the inauguration within just a few months later my father's death was very difficult. >> what did you do that the impact on someone like chelsea? did you deal with that directly?
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>> sure. she came with me for the first week. we took her out of school. my brothers were there most of the time as well. certainly my mother was there every hour. she was a part of that and i thought that was important for her to be with us as a family and to be with her grandfather who never regained consciousness adequately enough to really recognize in the of us. after the first day or two we didn't think he knew we were there but we were there together. >> you say and i think its the 16th chapter my father destructed both big biz and the government. that sounds like some of the populace running for president today. >> i think that was a very common strain in american life. certainly that's the way my father felt in the way he talked about both government and business, that the need to be restraint on both which is what i believe. i think you can't let either government or business have too much control or authority or the
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left unchecked. i think there's a constant struggle in american history between those forces. >> did your mother and father think alike politically? >> no, i don't believe so. my father was raised a republican, very strongly so. my mother was always more democratic leaning. my father was very concerned, i think more of the fact that my husband was a democrat than he was from the south or a southern baptist or anything else about him. but my father also changes use as he got older and begin to moderate them somewhat esoteric according to a husband wholeheartedly. >> do you remember when you first got, the first political think annualized? >> my father was so interested. he would talk about politics, talk about what was going on. we follow the news and read the
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newspaper. we had them discussions. it goes way, way back. probably the first thing i did actively on a national level was when i was a goldwater girl in 1964 1964 and my father was a staunch republican. he supported barry goldwater, admired his beliefs and so i participated in the very first time at that level. >> what was next? >> probably actually let me take that back to the first was the presidential election in 1960 between nixon and kennedy. my father was a staunch nixon supporter. my mother didn't ever say that she had voted for president kennedy but i have a sneaking suspicion she met with that but she tell my father that. during the early 1960s we were constantly talking about politics in my family. what was next is probably going to college and become involved in politics. i started off as he can republican. i was president of the wellesley college young republicans, and
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then i began to read more and study more and decided that it had to spend some time thinking about my own political beliefs so i withdrew as president of the young republicans at that time. >> as you're involved in -- with the remote you said i just don't belong? >> no. it was more of an evolution. it probably started back in high school, i had an excellent government teacher and with mock debates and and i was as a setf goldwater girl but my government teacher made me represent president johnson and made one of my friends was a staunch democrat one of the few in my big high school speak on behalf of barry goldwater. that meant i had to go and study all these positions and learn things from a different point of view, not just what my father had said what my community believed. and that open up to looking at things from a a different poinf view. i've always had this mixture of
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politics. people try to pigeonhole me as the to everybody in public lifd say we know, she's a fill in the blank. but it's always more complicated than that. my fathers emphasis on individual responsibility, what i get as a lot of the conservative believe that i was raised with, that i think have been abandoned by many who call themselves republicans are still very much a part of how i view politics. >> use in the you met martin luther king once. how would we? >> fourteen or 15. >> what do you remember about that? >> it was my youth minister who in our methodist youth meetings have been talking about civil rights and the challenges that are presented to the christian. he took a group of us down to chicago with her dr. king speak and then we went to every else was gone and we had a chance to shake his hand. i remember being very impressed. i remember the presence and the
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dignity that he had, and i remember particularly how he was taking his religion and trying to make it in the political process which i thought was very interesting. we have seen a lot of that in the last 30 years. >> do you remember another political figure, your first national figure? >> i met very goldwater. that was the first national figure ever met. >> what do you remember about that? >> he was such an energetic person. we were out at some sake made and those of us who are goldwater girls had a chance to shake his hand. i enjoyed meeting him. >> do you have a model of how you treat of the people based on something you either learn what you said i will never be like that or i am going to be like that when i'm in in a positione you in? >> i i think i've drawn from a t of different people. i didn't like it in the last 20 years to meet many people in public life both here and around the world. and i admire people who tried to
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be the same in public and in private company try to be respectful of people, who listen to people, who don't discount others because of their points of view. that's pretty much the model i've tried to follow. >> i don't know whether you can do this not but in the book you mention you knew sam walton. you on the walmart board ledger also on the children's defense board. what are the different atmospheres walk into those two different situations? >> picking those two, , they wee much more like that other situations i have been in. let me see if i can describe that. >> what use did you do this? >> children's defense fund board i was on for 20 years. i went to work for them right out of law school. i worked for her during the summers in law school. then when he moved to arkansas i went on the board and stayed on the board until i moved into the
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white house. there was an atmosphere of debate and concern and intense -- >> how big was the board? >> twelve, 15, 18 people. if it was an of real give-and-take. people cared about the issues greatly. marian was a strong leader, is a strong leader and wanted to know what other people think, with sit and listen to her stunner walked into a walmart board meeting, same ones that i want to hear from all the outside directors what's going on, what you think is happening. tammy what you think. he went around and ask each one of us what we saw happening in the world. he also was a strong, charismatic leader but he was always asking questions. he always wanted to know how to do things better. in in a funny way i see similarities between them. they both have built extraordinary institutions that in their own ways are unique and
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debate lasting contributions to our country. superficial glance might say what would this conservative entrepreneur sam walton have in common with this passionate child advocate mary yzerman? yet i saw these people estimate as examples of what you can do if you were such a mind to it. >> you say something in about corporations and ceos. you point out in 1974 the ceo of a large corporation to commit 35 times what an average factory worker. in 1993 they made almost 150 times average family workers wage. does that bother you? >> it bothers me a lot. i think that leaders in in the country, and that's not just political leaders because i believe on a day-to-day basis business leaders have much more of an effect on how people live their lives and the government does. have to be more willing to identify with people who are working, have to be more
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respectful of the struggles people who are trying to make a living in today's economy face. i just don't think it's right that in the last 20 years corporate executives have profited personally so much when the average worker in america, both in factory work and in service industries and white-collar work have seen the wages and benefits basically stagnant. i don't think that's good for the economy. put aside all of the ethical, moral, social reason why i don't think it is good. i don't think it's good for the economy. henry ford paid his workers the unheard-of wage of five dollars an hour because he knew it was smart business. if you don't pay people and reflect their contribution to your profitability and what they received, they will not be able to continue to buy the goods and services. we've reached the point in a country where more business leaders need to understand what was good for henry ford at the beginning of the century is good for them and we have to share
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our productivity increases, our ability to compete in a global economy more fairly and that -- notches with those at the top but everybody. >> how long were you on that walmart board? >> five or six years. >> there's a call here. this is from alan that you put in your book. unfettered free market has been the most radically disrupted force in american life in the last generation. >> i believe that. that's why put in the book. if you look at the argument we've had in our political life in the last several years it's been a false debate. we have pitted the government against everything else. i don't believe the government has had as big an impact as commercial television, as a lot of the decisions made in the marketplace about how we're going to compensate people, about downsizing corporations and making workers more insecure. i just believe there's got to be a healthy tension among all of
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our institutions in society and that the market is the driving force behind our prosperity, our freedom and so many respects that make our lives our own but it cannot be permitted just to run roughshod over people's lives as well. >> when you're sitting on that board did you have to do with this kind of thing? >> one of the things sam on bleeding was profit sharing. part of the reason i appreciated his business philosophy is that the workers at walmart were able to share in the profits, and executives when i was on the board were very careful to keep their perks down, the kind of offices they had, the way they live in the way they treated their fellow associates at every level in business. i thought that was a good example. >> a bunch of underlying ideas, i'll read this, there are a few voices arguing for more government.
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our skepticism toward government emphasis that places a person responsible for all citizens. a consumer paper about dismantling of the government. i could go on with this but how far should the government go in raising kids? >> it shouldn't. it can. there's no way, can raise kids. they government can do things that help support parents who are raising kids and government can also be the safety net for the poor and vulnerable children who for whatever combination of reasons are not being adequately care for by their own parents. congress sets the minimum wage. it should be raised. it's not high enough. it cannot support a family on what is currently paid under minimum wage. the government has a responsibility to ensure that older people and younger people in particular if the healthcare they need. that's why we should not be thinking about dismantling medicare and medicaid but looking at ways to making it more efficient and effective. so there are many examples of where what government does has a
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big impact. it's not just on the poor and the vulnerable. government also determines what kind of atmosphere my child is going to live in. i mean that literally. is the water going to be clean? is the air going to be fit to brief? we have made tremendous progress in the last 20 years. we can ask when and fish in rivers and lakes that before were so polluted they were on fire. the government is the only institution capable of reining in unruly businesses that put profits ahead of people's health and that's the kind of thing government has a role in. >> based on your experience and if you are no longer first lady i could make a choice of what you wanted to do, in the society that you'd like to try, what is it? >> i'd like to do full-time what it did for 25 years part-time which is to be a voice for children and do it in a way that tries to bring people together, to build a consensus.
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if you scrape away the far ends of the political debate you find most people clustered around the middle worrying about their children's future competitor how to make their schools more effective, trying to think about how to control television and these are the things we discussed. i believe there is an opportunity for people to get beyond partisan arguments and ideology to say what works for kids. the divorce debate, for a long, i've been advocating that divorce should be more difficult when you have children. that's not a conservative or a liberal or republican or democratic issue. we now know divorce hurts kids. what can we do as adults either to slow it down for if it is going to occur to make its impact as limited as possible on the well-being of children? at the kind of discussion i would like to have a role in helping bring about in our country. >> how do you change the divorce law? how do you slow that down?
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>> i talk about making it harder, longer for people with children to divorce, , required mandatory counseling and education so parents if they can't get back together and work out their own differences perhaps and understand more clearly why using children as pawns in debates over property is terrible for kids, and coming to some understanding about how they can together help raise their children even after a divorce. >> you talk about both the french and the germans as having some things that are better than what we do. >> and other cultures as well. >> how about the germans? >> i am a fan of a lot of the social policies that you find in europe and that no they are going through are rethinking of how to afford some of the policies in my conversation with people like chancellor merkel or president chirac, they are not talking about cutting back on their support for families to
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the extent that their target doing some of the things that would free up some dollars for the economy. that's because they see raising children as a social obligation, not just parental obligation even the parents have the primary responsibility. so the kind of policies they have for particularly young mothers taking care of babies, healthcare policies that is a private-public make sure something i think is worth looking at. the visiting nurses program in england where people come into the home to try to make sure the parents know what they're doing and for everybody from princess di down to a single teenage mother, there's just more of a recognition that the entire society has a stake in making sure parents do as good a job as they can. >> did you know we talked about wellesley and also like yield loss goal. e.g. travel much before? >> i didn't. i travel a little bit before
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bill was president but i never had the opportunity to travel as much. for me this has been a real eye-opening experience. i have seen things in cultures as far away as indonesia and chile but i think that would be useful for here own country. i know americans often believe we don't have much to learn from other cultures but i would like to see that change that we need to do a value with what other countries have that and look at the results. with such a high level of divorce, a high level of violence within the home and outside the home. clearly there are some pics we could be doing better and maybe some lessons we can learn. >> you say the 21st century as a siege of biology. >> i believe that. >> what do you mean? >> just as 20th century open-space and the molecule to us as a center physics we now know a lot more about biology and i'm particularly concern we apply the lessons we learn to raising children. i have a whole chapter about the lessons that biology, particular
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molecular biology teaching is. i would like to see an end to the nature nurture debate. we clearly come equipped with her own genetic background but how that is played just as an orchestra depends on what happens would come into this role. if we try to take the lessons we now have a allergy and apply them in parenting, in education, we could do a lot better job in how we treat children and how we help train children for the very beginning of their lives. >> do you ever get tired of doing that? >> talking about this? no. i get sometimes a little frustrated because i see it's such a disconnect between what science and research now knows about raising children what we do on our own homes as well as in our public debates and in business policy. >> do you ever get tired when someone comes in and says to you, mrs. clinton driven through interviews to do today on this book. do you say i can't talk this
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anymore? >> no, but i do lose my voice sometimes some time to time but i don't get tired about that. >> in the book you name a lot of people and a lot of companies and all. one person is daniel goldman, emotional intelligence book. do you ever worry you are endorsing something that might come back and hit you in the face? >> i tried very hard and the young woman who was my researcher worked very hard to make sure nothing would come back and bite me. i tried to learn as much as i could. i read his book. i thought it was a brilliant book that would make a a great contribution to what we knew. i was concerned it would make this that would not the bestseller list which is one of the reason i talk about because i wanted people to read. i'm sure that i wish you can criticize anything but i tried to use examples that have really stood up to scrutiny. >> what do you find when out in public gets the most response? when you speak, one of the
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techniques can what do people respond to? >> several things. a lot of people who are on the front lines taking care of kids, teachers, pediatricians and nurses, social workers and others are pleased that i'm talking about issues they talk about and giving them some validation of the work to try to do every day. for a lot of people particularly peer to share my concern that we are not as as a society doing t we should do for children. they are very open to talking about what works in homes. they want to know about the research that demonstrates clearly talking to your baby really pays off. that's something a lot of people don't know. reading to your baby is one of the best investment you can make. i get different responses to been upon the audience is i speak it. >> has your mom read this? >> yes. her favorite chapter is a chapter about religion. she really liked that one. >> why? >> i think because as a quarter,
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i asked her what she thought of this essence of religious teaching and she said a sense of it. she believes if more people both because of the way they were raised and because of the messages our society since out had some sense of themselves as good and some value towards themselves as well as respecting other people we would solve a lot of problems. there wouldn't be a is as policy for covert policy. it would come from within. >> what about all the stories -- i remember we talked about hillary clinton spends $54,000 of taxpayer money to fly somewhere to do her book. what is your answer? >> i regret it. i wish it didn't happen. the secret service made a very strong recommendation that for security reasons i had to fly on a military plane. which is what i usually fly on for other functions.
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mrs. bush had to when she was flying around on many occasions. i wish our society was not like that. i would love to go and get on an airplane and talk to people find find out what's going on. occasionally i can get a train ride because they take over the whole car of the train that i'm on. i would wish we didn't have to worry about security so much. >> we were not subjected to a daily diet of second-guessing and cynicism about the motives and actions of every leader in institution. you're talking about the past. >> yes again. talking about going up in the 1950s and early 1960s. he could look at president eisenhower and he so proud he was a president. there were some little scandals that would come and go, people taking coke from the refrigerator or whatever but it wasn't a steady diet of second-guessing. you could hear from the president. he could make a statement and we could judge for ourselves much of what you don't c-span.
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we did not two seconds of the president and 20 minutes of an analysis by other people. as many political scientists are now pointing out come particularly thomas patterson and his book, out of order, what we've done to ourselves by the way we cover leaders has been a great disservice to democracy. i'm all for absolute freedom of the press, people getting in there and rooting around to find what they think is important. i just think sometime we are out of balance about what really is important. it's difficult to expect people to cherish a democracy where they are the primary decision-makers when date in and day out there told it doesn't work, they are told the people they vote for other see on television have ex-wife and see problems. we are only human and by any standard, -- x, y and z. you go back and look to the generation or even the millennia, it's honest and hard-working and straight
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forward and, of course, as my father was, you have to be skeptical. you have to ask questions. if you do it for the exclusion of engaging in what the people who are running for office and holding of sad had to say and f you're constantly denigrating people, i don't think it's good for the long-term prospects of our democracy. >> people say we partially became cynical after vietnam and then after watergate, and you are right in the middle of the. >> i was and it there was good reason for being cynical. but i also think you can keep fighting the last war. everything is not the vietnam war. everything is not watergate. maybe it just takes a while for people to catch up with what currently is going on but many changes were made because of those two experiences in our nation's history. >> i can ask you this because it's public. how old were you when you are on the watergate committee? >> i was probably 26 and 27.
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>> and just graduated from yale law school. >> right. i was kind of a grunt. i was along with four other yale graduates recommended for the job, and we were 18, 20 hours a day. >> who did you work for? >> with all work for john doerr and then the other senior attorneys who on the steps for what do you remember about that? >> i remember how respectful and careful the investigation was. john doerr make it absolutely clear that nobody could have any preconceived notions, that no one was to draw any conclusions, that no one was to talk to the press. he got very upset with me one day because i went as the junior lawyer on a matter to a hearing, and at the edit it some reporter came up and asked me a question which i did answer with a very fact i was asked upsetting because he just thought we
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needed to be as removed from the political give-and-take and the press, to as possible. that's how it was done. i'm very regretful that others since then have not followed that kind of thoughtful nonpartisan above the fray sort of approach. >> so you think it's a different atmosphere today. >> i think it's very different today. >> in what way? >> i think the stakes have been raised on the partisanship. there's so many people who shoot before they aim. they don't get the facts. they are quick to make outrageous statements and judgments about other people. the press feels they have such a vested interest in trying to stay ahead of whatever it is that's going on so they get out there that nobody can say they were behind the curve even though a week or two later it proves out not to be very important at all. so both nature of press coverage plus the increasing
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mean-spiritedness of the partisanship. i understand why it has occurred. it's been a mutual relationship. it's not one side or the others fault. i wouldn't say that. the decibel level has been raised on both sides did i just don't think it's good. i don't think it's good for the country that people scream at each other and accused each other of things. >> any effort a result of people who were republicans back in wanted to get back, not personally involved, but they wanted to get their pound of flesh from the other side? >> some people have been quoted saying that is part of it which again is unfortunate. it's not the way a great nation should conduct its affairs. >> back to m on monday issue, our passion for food. >> yes. >> a national obsession and so food, our guilt over. why did you write about this?
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>> because in much of my advocacy work in the past i focus on hungry children and the need to keep programs like wic which supplements the formula for infants, and of the like that. but our biggest problem with our children out even though we still have hungry children, the much bigger problem is obesity among children and that the accommodation of eating too much and exercising too little. again, the television as part of the reason for and the fear of parents and letting children got to play is part of the reason. the fact they don't have physical education in school every day. many states any longer. i thought i would write about that because i know from my own experience and from it own battles with food the way that i was raised, we ate an enormous amount of food. huge slabs of meat, great big helpings of potatoes in bread. but we are more active as
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children we were out there point all the time, on our bikes, playing softball in the street. so kids today don't have those opportunities. >> what do the three of you today about exercise? we don't see the president running anymore. >> he doesn't run as often but he has been working out on weights and as the weather gets better he will get back to running again. chelsea is very good. she takes ballet every day. she's very active physically. i come and go. i have so much, i'm really quite good and other much why not. i blame a lot of it on things like the weather here is either too hot or too cold so i expect i would get better now this spring. >> what are your techniques when you travel? how do you prevent any weight just eating bad food? >> try to stay away from it which is very difficult to part of my problem and i suppose it is for many people today is that when you travel a lot and you work long hours you just get exhausted. food is both fuel and comfort.
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if it is around i made ray will eat it like i to keep away from. >> it's not in the book although you have alluded to the discussion by of healthcare. i had some people over the weekend visiting saying mrs. clinton has been tremendous a a successful and the healthcare issue without succeeding with getting a law passed because you seen these stories and her this and you think it is true? >> it's true to some extent. what we're trying to do in healthcare in part was not understood because neither unfettered competition nor government takeover of healthcare. it was as the president described it, a third way, a different approach, managed competition. we do have some positive results because of the competition. we have seen costs go down for many employers who do provide health insurance for their employees. we've seen some necessary, hard decisions be made about services that could or should be offered but there's a dark side to that. we now have more people without
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insurance, it's up to 43 million working people. that doesn't get people on medicare or medicaid. you at the people on medicaid and we for 3 million in addition who are at risk because they are uninsured. we have also seen the results of competition without any regulation. many of the managed competition, hmo, insurance compass are making very tough decisions that i don't think you're in the long run interest of entire healthcare system. it's a good news/bad news story. yes, the focus has led to some good results. i believe unchecked competition in healthcare is and will lead to further bad results that will affect all of us. >> if you were sitting in my chair question would you ask you that haven't been asked? anyone you want someone to ask? >> one thing i would ask is what do i hope happens because of this book? i go to because i really wanted
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to get these ideas out and to get them shared. it's been well received. i'm grateful people been buying it, but i would like it to be part of a broader conversation about what we do for kids and i would like it to be something that people talk about. not the book necessarily but the ideas that are part of this conversation. about what people can do it own homes and their own neighborhoods and churches and everywhere else. i really wish the message of this book would be it's not just parents who have responsibility for children. it's all of us, and my daughter's life would be affected by countless people she will never meet who make decisions about our economy, about the safety of our food, all kinds of things that will determine how she lives in the future. when did she go to college? >> brian -- we haven't -- this is a very sore subject. people have asked me have the last couple of months been harr you? the horse was going to college. my husband and i went to college
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i went to face of the fact she will be going anywhere so that's not very pleasant. >> has she made the choice? >> no. that is something she has to start doing. >> does she have any idea what she wants to be? >> for a long time she thought she wanted a doctor, a pediatrician which i would of course love. maybe a pediatrician with a subspecialty gerontology. >> take care of her mother and father. >> exactly right. >> here's what the book looks like. it's called "it takes a village" and its authors hillary bottom clinton. thank you for joining us. >> thank you, brian.
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>> [inaudible conversations] >> now on saturday evenings at the summit booktv is opening up our archives and where binge watching a well-known author. our focus tonight is a little bit different. we are focusing on former first lady who are also authors. up next is laura bush. she was first lady from 2001-2009. she's a former librarian, during her time in the white house she advocated for literacy and she cofounded the national book festival, which is observing its 20th anniversary this fall. now from 201010, she discusses her memoir, "spoken from the heart." >> good evening, everyone. i am richard kurin, the undersecretary for history, art,
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and culture for the smithsonian institution. it's my pleasure to welcome all of you and it really is all of you, nice crowd here tonight. for this program this evening with the former first lady of the united states, laura bush, on the occasion of the publication of her memoir, laura bush, "spoken from the heart" which the "new york times" called a deeply felt, keenly observed account, adding mrs. bush conjures her hometown with enormous detail, lyricism and feeling. tonight, mrs. bush will be interviewed by cokie roberts and were all delighted to welcome her back to the smithsonian associates event. copies of mrs. bush is book, which she has already signed are available in the lobby. because of her schedule there will not be any personalization of the books after the program. and before you i would like to
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remind all of you to have your cell phones or electronic devices silenced, and i better do that with mine, too. [laughing] additionally, , no photos are allowed during the program from cell phone cameras or any other camera. we appreciate your cooperation on both of these items. as i mentioned were pleased to have cokie roberts are in conversation with mrs. bush. cokie is a senior news analyst for npr news where she was congressional correspondent for more than ten years. additionally, she is a a politl commentator for abc news, a winner of countless awards for more than 40 years in broadcasting. she's been inducted into broadcasting and cable hall of fame, and the american women in radio and television cited her as one of the 50 greatest women and broadcast history. cokie is the author of several books including we are our mothers daughters, and account
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of women's roles and relationships throughout american history, and certainly an appropriate topic tonight program. and and i can say how proud i ao have worked some with her mom who is here today with us. lindsay was of course a member of congress, distinguished member of congress and member of the smithsonian board of regents and a stalwart promoter and support of america's cultural heritage both in new orleans and louisiana, indeed across the nation. welcome. [applause] >> it's a distinct honor and privilege to introduce mrs. laura bush. since her eight years as first lady of the united states, mrs. bush has continued her active involvement in key issues including education, healthcare and human rights. she recently hosted a global conference on the needs of
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african women of the newly opened george w. bush institute in dallas where she directs our global and women's initiative project. mrs. bush early career as a teacher and librarian, and a particularly parsed to that because my own wife is a teacher, her early career as a teacher and librarian has helped shape her lifelong interest in literacy and education. during her tenure in the white house she focused on early childhood development and is an enthusiastic proponent of teacher recruitment programs such as teach for america, the new teacher project, and troops to teachers. and as first lady this is bush helped launch the very popular library of congress first national book festival in 2001, which continues every year and attracts hundreds of thousands of people to the mall every september. in 2006 she took her passion global hosting leaders from nearly 40 nations for a special to address the worldwide literacy crisis where nearly 3/4
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of 1 billion adults cannot read. she is currently unesco on her ambassador for you and literacy decade and 2005 she made historic trip to afghanistan visiting the newly opened women's teacher training institute in cobble that she helped to establish. as first lady she made three trips to afghanistan, i'd africa where she championed aids treatment and malaria medication also visited a tie, whether she's been advocate for women's rights and human right around the globe. among her many other accomplishments mrs. bush has been an active participant in campaigns to raise awareness for breast cancer and heart disease, both in the united states and again around the world. i have known mrs. bush as a great friend to the smithsonian. she showed up right a smithsonian collections in the white house. she hosted events at the american art museum using it as a venue to greet foreign leaders and thank the arts community. she dedicated or port with
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president bush to the national portrait gallery took friends on low-key trips to the national museum of american history and the national design museum in new york. she hosted that u.s. national design awards at the white house and quite memorable for me was that she graciously loaned the white house copy of the gettysburg address, which usually reside in the lincoln bedroom, in the white house, she loaned it to the smithsonian for the opening of the american history museum so millions of americans could have access to that wonderful document. and now she serves on the board for the national museum of arts in american history and culture scheduled to open on the mall in 2015. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome ms. cokie roberts and ms. laura bush. [applause]
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>> will thank you all. thanks so much. thanks, everybody. thank you all. thanks a lot. thank you, thank you very much, and i did would love to visit all those smithsonian museums and institutions. they were our neighborhood museums, and they are so wonderful come such a huge asset to the united states. so i am thrilled to be here at the invitation of the smithsonian institution. i'm very happy to be in washington and to see so many friends. thank you all very, very much for coming out tonight. i know that there are a lot of people who work in the administration, i think there are volunteers here who have volunteered to open all those
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letters and help us answer those letters. thank you all for everything you did for us, for the years that we lived here. thank you so much for coming out to welcome me tonight. i am thrilled to be back and thrilled to see all of you. you may not know how to actually had lived in washington twice before george and i moved in the white house. george and i lived in washington in 1987 and 88 when george was working on his dad's campaign. .. we ended up in washington, she got a job at the old garfinkel's apartment store and i decided to try my luck at
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getting a job on capitol hill. i said i had an interview with congressman george mayon from my home district and he had represented midland for as long as the district had been a district. he had been there almost 35 years, the congressman invited me for an interview, looked over his resume and asked if i could type or take shorthand. i said no. i had taken a quick course of typing in summer school in high school but hadn't paid a lot of attention. he then asked me if i thought my father would consider sending me to secretarial school. i thought about what my father had just spent to send me to s m you and said no again and he
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gently suggested that without being able to type or take shorthand i wasn't qualified for a position in his office. had i been a typist however, in the summer of 1969, i might have become a congressional staffer in washington. instead i returned to texas and public school teaching and was very happy. had i stayed in washington i might never have met george w. bush. so in retrospect i'm grateful that i was turned down by capitol hill. [applause] >> i would like to take a few minutes about how george and i met in midland, texas and how we both, without realizing it, began our journey to washington
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dc. for at least a year my friend jan donnelly's husband joey o'neill had been telling me he wanted to introduce me to one of his friend, dan went to lehigh school in houston at the château they john. after spending a few years in san francisco jan and joe had come home to live in midland, joey was working in his dad's oil business at his childhood friend george bush was working as an oriole land man scouring counties courthouse records for land that might be laced for drilling wells. joey talked to george every time i stopped by to visit jan. i was in no rush. i had a vague memory of george from seventh grade almost 20 years before. i knew his dad had run for senate and lost in 1970 when i
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first moved to houston and i assumed george would be very interested in politics while i was not. it was late july, one of those high heat days when the sun would, as well a catheter road, left behind it spent and exhausted world. i put on a blue sun dress, drove the car around the corner and walked up to the door of jan and joey's townhouse. even the roof was on cedar-shaped ground. the cicadas were laying their vibrating wings with the study were of air-conditioners to keep the baking hothouses cool. joey was at the grill. it was not some elaborate party. it was just before. jay and joey, george and me. sitting out back eating hamburgers. we laughed and talked until it was nearly midnight. the next day the phone rang. it was george saying let's go
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play miniature golf. so we did with dan and joey as our chaperone. the miniature golf course is one of the prettiest places in midland. it was built among a double forest of old elm trees which had grown tall and graceful even in the west texas ground. we played golf under the stars and laughed again. then i went back to austin, george started visiting on the weekends, or he would drive but he came every weekend except for the end of august when he left for maine to see his family. barbara bush loves to tell the story that george spent exactly one day in kennebunkport that summer. when he called my apartment, she says that some guy answered and raced for the plane and flew right back down.
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i returned to the library at dawson elementary and worked all through september. by the end of the month george had asked me to marry him. we had been dating only 6 or 7 weeks but our childhoods overlapped so completely and our worlds were so intertwined it was as if we had known each other our whole lives. i loved how he made me laugh and his steadfastness. i knew in my heart that he was the one. i looked at him and said yes. that sunday night when george arrived in midland, he headed to him a new to speak to my parents. a week later, early on sunday morning george and i drove to houston to meet his parents, he introduced me with the news that we were getting married. after lunch at the bushes's home his dad pulled out his pocket calendar and looked over each weekend that fall.
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in a few minutes we picked a wedding date, november 5th, 1977, one day after my birthday and one day before the anniversary of that awful accident only three weeks away. there was no time to order printed wedding invitations. my mother wrote all our invitations by hand. more nervous than either the bride or groom were jan and joey o'neill. joey and jan had dated for years before they got married, neither of them dreamed their invitation to dinner would lead us to the altar in three months. perhaps it wouldn't have if joey had introduced us when we were growing up in midland or when george and i lived on the opposite sides of the château in houston or any other moment prior to that night but at that particular moment on that warm
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summer night both of us were hoping to find someone. we were not looking for someone to date but someone with whom to share a life for the rest of our lives. we both wanted children. we were ready to build an enduring future. those were the fact of our lives when we went to dinner that night, it was the right timing for both of us. of course, not everyone in midland agreed. as i was packing to leave austin reagan and billy were selling a house was a week before the wedding the mother of a friend of line from midland came to see reagan and billy's house, she was thinking of buying it for her daughter, she didn't recognize reagan but reagan recognized her and said we are going to be in midland next weekend, we're going to laura and george's wedding and without a second hesitation this woman said to reagan yes, can you imagine the most eligible bachelor in midland
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marrying the old maid of midland? reagan was speechless but i thought it was funny. after all i am four months less two days younger than george. the movers loaded up my few things after the lax box was stowed my cat dewey and i began that drive but i never quite imagined making, back to live in midland. i came upon a few scattered trees lining the edge of the road. now on the verge of november the frost had already settled on the land and their leaves had fallen and blown away. trunks and branches to dark and empty against the sky. suddenly from one tree a great mass of wings birds lifted up, feathers pulsing, air swirling as they rose.
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i watched in silence as they beat their migratory way south, then glanced back at the unremarkable tree that extended its branches interest and refuge. the site was like a beautiful wedding gift on the long ride toward home. we were married on saturday morning at the first methodist church in midland, the church i had gone to where i was baptized as a baby, where i learned to sing in the choir and where my mother went every sunday. methodist weddings are brief and hours with especially so. there were no bridesmaids, as they walked down the aisle, the eligible bachelors, the rehearsal dinner held the night before in the windowless basement ballrooms of the hilton hotel. bill and george bush hosted it.
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when dinner was served my mother blanched, a post ceremony luncheon. my mother and the caterer had settled on chicken and rice. mother never thought to compare menus. the next morning mother call the caterer at the crack of dawn to see if something could be changed, pasta instead of rice, anything, but the meal was in motion so our guests a chicken and rice all over again. the morning after my 30 first birthday i stepped into the chapel on my father's on, george was waiting for me at the altar. the night before when george stood up to give his toast he wept. george and his father are deeply sentimental men.
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in years to come two others, the television would frequently obscure the desk of a caring, how much and how deeply their own hearts open. george herbert walker bush didn't even try to give a toast. bar spoke for the family. that morning the stained-glass windows sparkled with light casting pretty patterns over the wooden chapel.'s. it was 31 steps into the rest of my life. [applause] >> all right. thank you all. thank you all very much and
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thanks to cokie. >> as you know i should reveal to everybody else i am an enormous laura bush fan. [applause] >> host: i have written about you and admired your work but this book is a delightful book. one of the nice things, being charming and enlightening, a couple things i wanted to talk to you about anyway. you are a for a show's reader and as i was reading your descriptions of texas and your childhood where you are there, the open plains of midland was there somebody whose style you
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had in mind? >> not a specific writer whose style i had in mind but i wanted to be a literary memoir. i do love to read. i love to read every kind of book but especially literature. i did want this to be that way. there was not a specific style but i wanted to paint the pictures i saw for instance windows birds lifted off the tree outside saint angelo. >> host: things like your sentence structure, short sentences and all that. >> guest: i do like really plain, straight writing. the kind that strike and spare and that effective growing up someplace so plain and fair, the landscape itself was. >> host: in addition to talking about meeting your husband you
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talk about reagan and miller and reagan is offer your book, a good friend. it struck me the whole time these girlfriends from your childhood have remained your really close friends, how was that for your success? >> guest: george and me, very big support in politics. reagan was in the second with george and i met her in the fourth, this is in the book, married 7 times. only three different men. but because of that reagan moved from school to school, she moved into another house, reagan would live somewhere, she went to school the first
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couple years and transferred to james billy which is where i was. i am fortunate and george is too to have a long history of friendship with all the friends we had in midland, jan and joey introduced us in the national park every year. we see those same friends and took them to the oval office and they say i can't believe i am here. [laughter] >> a long history of friendship like that, they've known us their whole life, they know everything about it, long before politics, there was great emotional support.
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>> reagan's mother was wanda, married three times and her philosophy was all of life is one big date. when you are married you have to date the man you are married to but before and after him you are free to do what you want. you talk about knowing everything about you, a horrible accident and you have written about it in the book. >> guest: i had to write about it, the largest tragedy by far and in the lives of douglas's family and mike was a friend of all of us, he had dated reagan.
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one of my best friends, we talked every night, a terrible tragedy. just by some very odd chance of coincidence he happened to be on the other road and i didn't know obviously that i had hit his car, i was thrown from the car and this girl with me in the car was able to get out, they walked to the side and i could walk and i had a broken ankle but i didn't know it for a few days. a man got out of the car and went to the person lying on the ground, my friend judy said
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that is the person's father, that couldn't be his father, that is richard douglas. when we got taken to the hospital we were in a room, separating judy and i and we had minor injuries. we could hear from miss douglas crying on the other side of the curtain and when i got home, already figured that out. a huge tragedy. a life lesson i learned early that things happen, you cause things to happen that if you could take it back there is
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nothing you can do about it and it is a fact and you have to accept it with whatever grace you can accept it with. >> host: you hadn't talked about it before now. >> guest: i was asked in the 2000 race that came out in the newspapers i was asked about it several times. i just reread an article oprah did in her own magazine, at the white house, she asked about it. i was never asked about it. i never talked about it. i would get letters from family members, a young person involved in a car accident where there was a death and i would get letters from teachers, aunts and uncles and they would ask me to write to them, to the young person so i did and would always suggest
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they get some kind of counseling and find some sort of help but i didn't do that and no one ever suggested at the time, and no one really talks about it. reagan and i talked about it. just swallowed and didn't talk about it. >> host: the whole town new. >> guest: of course. >> host: did that help, you didn't have to talk about it. >> guest: i didn't know he was ever going to run for office but wanted him to know that for sure in case that whatever in some way affect his political -- >> guest: an important thing about you. >> suppose his daughter had married someone they just met? >> i would think that was really reckless.
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but i will say my parents were thrilled, they were glad we found somebody and they were hoping for grandchildren. i was 31 the night we got married, happy - we had the same background, we grown up in the same town just blocks from each other but i went to the same apartment complex without ever running into each other. it really was like we had known each other our whole lives and we knew all the same people. there weren't any surprises. there wasn't something in our background. >> host: the minute you got home from getting married he was running for congress.
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>> guest: that was really fun. he was running for congress, the congressman i interviewed with. >> guest: he's doing really well. he had taught us all where to sit on the subway. >> guest: he was retiring in 1978. george thought what the heck, why not try to run with it. it was only held by congressman man for as long as the district had been a district so that is what he did and we traveled up and down the panhandle of texas, a big district that included a big town, two oil towns and the restless world
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arming, all the way up. >> host: i do remember you telling me a story once, he asked about a speech and you always -- actually decided to give a little critique and then what happened? >> guest: when george was running for congress george's mother gave me some advice and that don't criticize george'ses. she criticized her george's speech, he had come come home weeks later saying it was the best speech he ever gave. i really took it to heart, and one time we were driving into
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our driveway after a campaign event and george said tell me the truth, how was my speech? i said wasn't very good. he drove into the garage wall. [laughter] >> host: didn't take criticism well. before we jump full-blown into the political life i want to go to your childhood a little bit, you write about it so interestingly. your father coming home from the war with tiny pictures of concentration camps, why? why does he do that? >> guest: the 100 fourth company timberwolves have liberated nor house, one of the concentration camps, he came home with eight little photographs. they would have been in world war ii as a body they found and i think there were 5000 dead
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when they liberated nor house and in the story, american troops went in and put their faces in their hands and wept when they found this. my dad never talked about it. we have these photographs and every once in a while look at them but he didn't talk about it. my mother told me one story he did tell her and that was that he was impressed, and army nurse, he remembered an army nurse standing with a shovel and handing it to one of the germans that was still there, and instead dig, stood himself up and said i am an officer and took the shovel and hit him across the bottom and he did. what he was digging were graves. big trenches. to bury all those.
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later, many years later, nato meeting, i was seated by a holocaust survivor and i told him my dad's company liberated nor did house, he had been in a concentration camp. my dad never talked about it. he thought like i thought it was too terrible to tell, you just couldn't admit to your own children, turned onto those pictures, we always kept those pictures. >> host: what was your reaction when you heard about holocaust deniers? >> guest: it is so unbelievable, terrible to hear about. crazy is what it is. we went to the day of
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remembrance at the capital, george was president and mother happened to be there, came home with me after the easter break and we were sitting together, if you haven't been, it is very meaningful, the soldiers march in with the flags of all the american companies that liberated concentration camps, we see those flags start coming in and thinking what did daddy's company flag look like and came by the timberwolves. mother and i burst into tears, the flag of daddy go by. >> host: did you always know you had those letters? >> guest: i never read them.
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when i went to midland, i go to midland because my mother lives there. there was a homebuilder, and and when i had barbara and jenna years after living in midland, i had not read them, i always knew they were his love letters, they were newly married and shift overseas. i always felt she didn't want me to read them, there was something private and personal but then i read some of them and they were private as personal and i felt like a voyeur reading them.
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and interesting to think of them, young people in love and separated by the war. >> host: your mother lost three other babies which was a tragedy in her life. you were very frightened. >> guest: mother lost three babies, the second baby, that is my first memory, looking through the glass at the nursery, the weston clinic in midland. i don't remember seeing a baby. that is where the little baby was and i was aware this was a big disappointment of their life, they didn't get to keep those 3 other babies and have a family of four children instead of an only child.
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i was sad too about it. that was my wish on a star to have a brother or sister. >> host: this wonderful picture of you when you get the book, what happens next. >> guest: the photo with the cake. barbara and jenna did that and remove the cakes and licked the coffee table and they never had sugar. until their first birthday. >> host: you had to go to dallas. >> guest: i struggle to get pregnant and finally when i did i was so thrilled when i had a sonogram and found out there were two babies.
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i was hoping my children would have a sister or brother, it was great. it was a high risk pregnancy. it was a twin pregnancy. close to this, i got preeclampsia toxemia and was sent to dallas, where there was an intensive care nursery. they would need an intensive care nurse which they didn't. 412 which is big but it was worry the whole time. >> host: george bush lost that race for congress, then you got involved in the 1980 campaign
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and suddenly, celebrity by association, i love that term, suddenly you were somebody. >> guest: thank you very much. cars drive by really slowly and somebody's friends, driving by, my son's house and then when he ran for president you moved up here as you said earlier. >> guest: we moved here to work on mister bush's campaign, the price of oil had fallen so much at the end, midland was a boom and bust town, the oil
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business, everybody in high cotton, and went down through a bust and there was one shortly, to work on the campaign. it was the first time in ten years george and i had been married that i was with his mother a lot. every other time i visit was in may, and when she was highly stressed. >> host: the aspirin instructions. >> guest: when things get tense, grab the aspirin and do what it says on the bottle, to take two and keep away from children.
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[laughter] >> guest: when we lived here that year, running for president, they were gone all during the week but they made a rule to be home on sunday to gather, we had their family tradition and i got to know bar for the first time and she got to know me and she had five children. i expected her to welcome me with open arms like mother welcomed george,
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as first lady and worked at the book festival.
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and you were very involved in the literature, you have those readings at the white house and early childhood education, things you learned a great deal about, started to concentrate on as first lady. at the capital on september 11th, 2001, ready to testify before the senate education committee. >> and entered into -- didn't have the tv, looking at, and so the secret service agent leaned over to me and a plane has just flown into the world trade
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center. and didn't deal with that and when we got there at the capital we assumed there were weird accidents, terrible accident the plane had flown into the trade center. on the way to the capital we get the message we get the second plane, we knew that it was a terrorist attack but he was waiting for me and i got out, we got to his office and he starts to show me mementos including a letter that jack had written to. the shares or something. but the whole time he kept up
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this small talk and i wondered if that was a defense mechanism for himself because he had so many shocks in his life. what had happened or if he thought we were just trying to keep everything in this sort of pleasant small talk way. senator greg joined us. he'd been at the ranch that summer but he was the one in the al gore debate. so we -- he joined us and sort
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of look at each other as we look at senator kennedy's shoulder to look at the television. it was at the office. he felt sick. i am sure he thought he was sick too. just couldn't imagine it was a blessing senator kennedy had the smalltalk because it gave us a way to try to process it and we spoke to the press and said we were postponing the briefing in defiance of the terrorists we weren't going to cancel the briefing but just postpone and as we finished saying we were postponing, lawrence mcclellan asked me about that.
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that went to the idea that i said then they are safe and turn off the television and don't let them walk over and over but it gave me an impression of what we did in the days to follow. how you needed to take care of each other in a time like this. ibly9 that also that you to your concern over the women of afghanistan. there were times -- to continue to work on the issue. talk to us about it. ibly8 i will work on it.
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i think what happened was the women were so shocked at the conflict between the lives of women in afghanistan and our lives. we couldn't believe it, girls from being in school. immediately i heard from whitman. they were unbelievable stories, the president of the university would lie in bed at night and think what would i do? others would say can you give afghan women a briefing? they could be educated and she did and the number -- looked at
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the first graduating class of afghan women at that university and her husband's university four years later and that is how many different ways they thought they could be involved. so one day they would enjoy the freedom wielded. ibly8 ibly9 you advocated that and write to the debate, they moved on for the weekly radio address and used it to defend the women of afghanistan, women's rights are human rights and you told the story after that that someone understood. at one point lady bird johnson was with you. >> guest: i knew that, lady
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bird johnson really did. speaking of lady bird johnson i always admired her so much because she was a texas first lady. i also was interested in partly because my mother was a naturalist but lady bird -- thank her for the daffodils that bloom now still in washington and for all the blue bonnets on the side of the road that week because they are blooming now. toward the end, linda rob, her daughter, said her mother would make one more trip to washington. she knew it would probably be
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the last trip to washington and she wanted to bring her to the white house and it thrilled her to come. then had a stroke. she still had that wonderful twinkle in her eye, very expressive. it would -- you would see a painting, she put her hands together. president johnson's portrait, she put her arms out. it was very sweet. she is wearing a yellow gown and when we redid the room we adjusted the paint color in the room to be the yellow, color of the ground. i was at texas when lyndon johnson died, at the adversity of texas and graduate school and lady bird, linda and lucy, his body lay in state at the
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lbj library. to shake their hands, never imagining them, that i would ever meet them again. >> host: i want to ask one last thing, you did this work for afghan women, you became a passionate advocate for freedom in burma writing for op-eds and going to the white house briefing room, grabbing the microphone there, first time that ever happened and calling for the overthrow of the regime of burma. not exactly sitting and pouring tea. [applause] >> host: i know you are
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gracious in this answer always about why people didn't understand how forceful you have been as the first lady and why they put you in a sweet little wife category. >> guest: that happens to everyone. >> instead of being a leader in the environmental movement, one of the founders of the us environmental movement which she was, i thought of her as a lovely little lady, and these stereotypes start. they are so much more complex and interesting than those views of them and certainly,
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barbara bush, barbara is a strong-willed, very fascinating woman. and i wonder if it is because a press bias. >> there is part of it, no doubt about that. i think that part of it for sure. >> >> these are lightly written. - what are your project now
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that the book is completed. >> george and i are building the bush library museum, and instituted smu instead of the programming for the institute. it is a policy institute, we are no longer into politics but we still want to work on policy and it is focused on four areas we spent the most time on which our human freedoms. and compassion. i hosted the afghan women's console there, the minister women's affairs came from afghanistan, we did videoconferencing into afghanistan. and the afghan ambassador to the united states with several afghan scholars.
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a new woman director, about gary and came, this us afghan women's council was focused on literacy, i hope the united states will stand with afghanistan. if we don't i'm surprised they go back to what they were. it is important for the women. i met with this group of afghan parliamentarians, members of parliament before george and i left the white house. this is our only chance and if we can't make it now we won't be able to. we will do what we can to support the people of afghanistan. >> host: lisa from texas. did you ever cook when you were in the white house?
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>> guest: no. [applause] >> guest: i haven't cooked for 15 years. we had a chef at the governor's mansion and a chef at the white house. i never have been a very good cook. i love to read cookbooks and i am interested in food and love to eat. but i'm not a very good cook. >> guest: if you could have taken one nonpersonal item from the white house back to texas what would you have wanted it to be. >> guest: there are so many beautiful things. the white house has really magnificent art collection. i don't know which one i would pick. >> host: you have several african-american -- >> guest: the most expensive acquisition the white house ever made.
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not the most expensive item there but that would be considered priceless as well as the painting of benjamin franklin in the green room. a beautiful painting, one of jacob lawrence's builders series, men of all race building to gather. his belief that if we all work together we can build our country. since my father was a builder it had a special personal memory to me. there is something very tangible about being a builder. you have something tangible. when i would drive around with my dad he would say i built that house, something very satisfying. >> host: as a military spouse i wonder how you and your husband found time to visit our troops and our wounded warriors. now that you are no longer personally doing these duties
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are you and your husband still involved with the support the troops movement? god bless you and semper fi, thank you. >> guest: that is so sweet, thank you. [applause] >> guest: we did visit the wounded warriors, walter reed at brooke army medical center. in san antonio, whenever we could and we met with families of the fallen at all different times. members in the 2004 campaign and we would go to big events and big campaign rallies, we would go backstage or in other rooms and meet with families of the fallen from that part of the country and that is very difficult to share or to see
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with these families and what i always saw was how families of people who died, september 11th, those families we met with after the terrorist attacks and families of the fallen after that. how they wanted you to know about their loved one they had lost and what they wanted to do was tell a story. one sister of someone who died in iraq had written the story that she read to george and me about her brother and there was something so moving about every one of those visits and how precious our country is, that we are so fortunate to have men and women who volunteered to serve. [] [applause]
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>> host: what advice did you give your daughters? >> guest: i am still giving that advice. look for somebody just like daddy. .. a nonprofit called global health corps. if you're interested you can look on the web at issues placing recent college graduates, recent smart college graduates in health clinics for the poor. right now she has fellows on the ground in rwanda, tanzania and
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in the united states in boston and newark. sort of the idea behind teach for america but this is to recruit smart young college graduates to work and work in h clinics. they are doing things like setting up the supply chain. one of her fellows in tanzania did work for the gap any rent the supply chain for the gap, the ordering and supply chains. now pretends to be his setting up their supply chain for antiretrovirals, for the drug ordering. so people in the clinics that go on a rvs can keep up with their medications. i'm very proud of both of them and they are doing great. >> there's also questioned about how your in-laws are doing. >> they are doing very well. in fact, at this very moment they are in dallas in my backyard with george hosting a party. george assistant, david, met barbara bush is assistant last summer in maine, and they are
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getting married saturday night. [applause] so tonight we're all hosting the welcome to texas barbecue for the out-of-town guests from bethesda. a lot of maryland friends i think either in the backyard right now. they are doing well enough to be up to fly from houston, go to this party, fly back home, fly back on saturday night for the wedding and then fly all the way up to maine for the summer. >> that's great. this is a good last question, and i would love for you to read just the end of your book because it's so beautiful. the question is what do you enjoy doing now that you could not, did not do in the white house? it's probably a long list but also you write it so beautifully. >> okay. just this last one? >> just the last -- talk of to
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the last paragraph. >> okay. we have lived through four seasons now on a ranch land, a spring bloom of wildflower carpets and flowering prickly pear, the baking heat of summer when the air shimmers and even the cicada winds slow to accommodate the stifling air. a fall of crisp mornings in brilliant colors, and a winter when it that we could hear the howls of the coyotes and the rush of the biting prairie winds. four four seasons can hardly enh time to reflect on eight years, let alone a lifetime. when i was born there was a shop on one of the main streets. today our news is disseminated via blogs. but each morning when i watched the sunlit itself over our eastern hill, cutting to the tree line and illuminating the gentle prairie grasses and the two young shade trees that are white house staff gave to us, i am reminded of the jury to be
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found in the days that is coming. george will soon open his presidential library at southern methodist university in dallas. the george w. bush institute is already functioning, and as a part of that i am pursuing many of the causes that were especially dear to me in the white house there i am eager to advocate for women's rights and women's health through a special women's initiative. i have been working on new ways to help the women of afghanistan and the middle east and to promote education and literacy with the millions to whom alphabets are a mystery. and basic addition of a complex puzzle. and through the institute we will help to promote basic human freedom for these women and their families. but as much as i treasure my public life, i also treasure the quiet of my private one. sometime during that first spring and summer back in texas i began to feel the buoyancy of
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my own newfound freedom. after nearly eight years of hypervigilance, watching for the next danger or tragedy that might be coming, i can't at last exhale. i can simply be. when i raise my eyes to the sky, its to see the drift of the clouds, the brightness of the blue, or the moon, and ever shifting arrangement of the stars. look up, laura i can still hear my mother say, with a hint of awe and wonder. and they do -- and ideal. [applause] >> terrific. >> thank you so much. >> thank you all. thanks so much. thank you, everybody. >> you are watching booktv on c-span2 and tonight we're looking at books written by former first ladies. up next is michelle obama.
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she was first lady from 2009-117 and her memoir "becoming" remains on bestseller lists today. according to the books publisher, random house, "becoming" sold 10 million copies worldwide during its first six months of sale. the book was released in november of 2018 but it was in june of that year that she previewed the book in a talk with carla hayden, the librarian of congress. this is from the american library association meeting in new orleans. >> and now the person you all came to see. [cheers and applause] michelle lebon robinson obama --
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michelle lavaughn robinson obam obama. [cheers and applause] she is a lawyer, she is an author and she is the wife of the 44th president of united states, barack obama. [applause] throughout her initiatives as first lady she has become a role model with women and for girls. and an advocate or healthy families, servicemembers and their families, higher education and international adolescent girls education. her much-anticipated memoir, "becoming", would be published in the u.s. and canada on november 13, 2018, my crown, a division of penguin random house. and it will be released simultaneously in 24 languages.
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[applause] considered one of the most popular first ladies -- [cheers and applause] mrs. obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her from her childhood on the southside of chicago, through her years as an executive balancing the demand of motherhood and work, to her time spent as the world's most famous -- at the world's most famous address. warm, wise, and revelatory, "becoming" is a deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance, who has steadily defied expectations and whose story inspires us to do the same. we are also fortunate to have librarian of congress carla
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hayden, hosting the conversation with mrs. obama today. as we know, carla was nominated to this position of librarian of congress by president barack obama in february 2016, and her nomination was confirmed by the u.s. senate in july 2016. she was sworn in as the 14th librarian of congress in september 2016. librarian of congress, carla hayden, and first lady mrs. obama come together now for an in-depth conversation around her forthcoming memoir, "becoming," and experiences that impact of her life, her family, and her country. michelle obama. [cheers and applause]
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>> thank you so much. >> there's a lot of librarians here. a lot of librarians here. [laughing] you guys are looking good. hi, carla. >> high. >> how are you? >> host: i'm telling you, there have been many thrills but to be the librarian who is sitting here with you is one of the most, i'm getting a little -- i am the interviewer. so i have -- tricky you just have to remember our days back -- i've known carla since i was a baby, baby professional. you shouldn't be nervous. >> host: and what a professional you were though,
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the chicago public library, i can back up it. >> at the library was part of your portfolio. it made such a difference to have somebody that understood libraries, that red read and everything in government like that. >> guest: that was her. [applause] that wasn't shade. not at all. she was just making a point, that's all. >> host: because i was coming in from an academic teaching librarian and things, and so -- >> guest: we go way back. >> host: back. and what a a mention is you lie to read. it's been a big part of your family, reading. >> guest: oh, absolutely. we are readers, the obama's. we started reading to the girls when they were babies, infants. because as a little kid i loved
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to read aloud. i was one of those kids who would set up the stuffed animals and the parties and being to them and show them the pictures, and then go back. i love the act of reading aloud. so when i had kids ages became like my real babies i could redo. so i read to them all the time, all the time. i knew every word of every dr. seuss anything still my heart. and as the girls grew up we continued to incorporate books as a form of family activities. so as they got older we start to reading more complex books together. so barack and malia read all of the harry potter books aloud from front to cover, from the front to the back, and then she could see the movie after they read it. so that was there father daughter ritual.
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i stayed out of that because you know you want the father to have a thing that. i don't know anything about harry potter because i i wasn't even going to get involved in the. so that's a thing. so when sasha got older i read "life of pi" with her and then we saw the movie. we were big comic family readers so we loved calvin and hobbes. [applause] we were a big calvin and hobbes family. so yeah, reading, it was a part of the way we put our kids to sleep at night. i felt that music, reading culture was an important part of their development from very early on. we are big, big readers. >> host: one of the images i know that when you were in the white house and it would be holiday time, you would be going and that would be going to the bookstore and giving books as
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gifts tractor that's all barack does. that's the only place he knew how to go as president. he could call and get to the bookstore. i think those were the two things he felt comfortable doing -- golf -- but that was an annual ritual of the and the girls to go to one of the bookstores for the holidays. and in chicago the 57th 57th st bookstore, you know that bookstore, that was our neighborhood store that we'd like to go to. so yes, bookstores and libraries of course were a big part of her life, a big part of my life very early on, too. i remember my first experience with going to the library. i was four and was like the first official time i got an id if you know, you felt like big-time person getting something with your name on it here and i remember going in to
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the library in our neighborhood was three blocks from our house, and my mom was a housewife at the time, that's where she would take us. that was sort of my first major big girl thing i could do was get my library card and stand by counter high watching them put me into the official files. i felt really important. i did know what to do with my library card as i i didn't have their wallet or a purse, but i felt really special just to have. we would go to the library. it was a kennedy space as all of you all of the library us like for all of you, you see it is a major part of any community, and that was the place for our family to go to get those early books, dick and jane books, barb are the elephant. yougov into the children's corner with a colorful type -- you go off to one day i would gradually going upstairs with the books were darker and the jackets were marooned or blue.
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that was with a serious oaks were up stairs. >> host: did you ever get to go? >> guest: yeah, , i get up there one day. i graduated within the library became work, research papers, the dewey decimal system. it became a little -- only here at the library -- [laughing] we get a shot up for the dewey decimal system. i love you all. i do. [laughing] >> host: so you continued. you went to school. graduate school, all of that and then your life that even busier. how did you find time to read just for pleasure? you know we all want to know did you get a chance to read anything for pleasure? >> guest: yeah, there were moments of escape. today, however, i'm spending most of my time selfishly focused on my book. so that's what i'm reading at home. it's almost ready.
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it's coming. i've been immersed in that process, so this year it's been a little tougher for me because i'm trying to stay in my voice. but when they do have time i had one of my, my chief of staff, melissa who, by the way, she's more excited to be at and she was to meet with springsteen. [laughing] melissa is my book recommender. she loves you all, and i'm a loser here in this convention center tonight. she might lead me to she's been with me from the very beginning of the campaign but she is my book guru. i usually read what melissa tells me i should read. she will pass on, , though some books in my bag on a long trip. what have i been reading lately? i have a very eclectic sort of reading multiple this. i read commonwealth. i love a good story that takes the outside of myself. i love everything that cheney
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smith has done. i actually accidentally reread that. i read it maybe two years ago and then i was like, it was on my shelf and i thought, have i read this? i started reading and i was thinking i must have used key or something because i know it's going to happen on the next page. this is how my life is that these past decades i would forget what i've read, but i read it and i realize i the third chapter at a read it already, but i finished it a cousins just that good. >> host: did you put it down? >> guest: no. i love her storytelling and characters. just finished reading exit west which was very good, very powerful. the nightingale i read just the other day. shout out for the nightingale.
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so, i mean, i love stories. i love to escape for a moment. i needed that escaped over the past ten years. i needed to get out of my own story and get into somebody else's story for a minute. >> host: were you able to do that? >> guest: yes. >> host: get lost in the book. >> guest: i couldn't read in the white house at times there was just too much going on, and we were running so fast that whenever i got a chance to sit down and pick up a book i would get maybe a sentence and i would fall asleep. literally sitting down, i don't know if i was napping or passed out, i couldn't tell the difference. i would wake up and be an hour and i thought when i was asleep that's how the white house years felt. usually on a longer trip i could get into a book but it was a hectic eight years. >> host: you said pick up a book.
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that implies the physical book. what about e-book? >> guest: i'm not an e-reader. i like to have a book in my hand. [applause] even in my writing process i like to hold it. i can't really edit things on the computer well. i feel like i have to write down my thoughts. i can jot down things on an iphone, but that's hard. i have to feel it. i have to still be able to touch it. i'm old, sorry. [laughing] we still have a lot of books in our house. my husband who as you know is an avid reader and still loves books around. everywhere we have gone boxes and boxes of books that i can't get rid of. he will not allow me to do it. we are still household, we have books on shelves, lots of books on shelves.
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>> host: you know as a librarian i did some research, and i understand that there's a library, you actually worked in a library bindery? >> guest: yes, i worked in a book bindery one summer, bob goldman book bindery. i did. it was the summer right before i went to college. had a friend's mother who worked there and was my first real job before that i did the neighborhood jobs, babysitting. i had a family next to us they paid me to do everything for them. babysit, trained a dog, tutor piano. the smiths, i loved them. they got me through high school. but then i graduated to a job downtime, the bindery was downtown and a friend's mother worked there. my job entailed doing one thing a thousand times every day all day over and over again. so i got to put the little metal thing in a hole and then pass
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the cardboard over to the guy that would slam it down. so my job was to take the metal thing, put it in the hole and pass it. and i was good, good at doing that, for the first day even. [laughing] i thought, you know, i was aiming at finishing it. i thought there would be in into it, like thousands of them and i would prove to the bindery people that have so fast i could complete it and i would be done. i just realized it's never over. they just kept coming, the little pieces of cardboard and the little things and that went on for weeks and weeks and weeks doing the same thing. i just thought my god, i'm ready for college. i can do this. but it taught me great respect for the men and women who do that work every day, that thankless work that makes it possible for us to have books and folders. i learned work ethic at the bindery. the dozens of people in the
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plant who came there and they did the same job every day for years and years and years. it reminded me of my father, those blue color workers who didn't look for passion in their jobs. they didn't have the luxury like we did to think about doing the things that we loved. they had to do things that put food on the table. that was my first experience shoulder to shoulder with men and women who were making a living for the families. >> host: you mentioned your father so many times about his work ethic and what it took for him to go to work and provide you things. you saw it first hand. >> guest: my father, fraser robinson, man, every value i have in the air for my mother and father and watching them day today. as most people know my father was a blue-collar worker, work
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the same job his entire life to worked at the water filtration plant and my father had ms and contracted it at the prime of his life so i never knew him to get to walk without the assistance of a cane. my father got up every day was a shift job. some days he was on days some cases on nights, some days he was on evenings so his schedule changed and i remember him putting on his white t-shirt and his blue button that uniform and dating his crutches and making his way up the back door to the car to go to his job without complaint, without regret because he was proud that he had a job that allowed him to invest in his children, me and my brother. with that blue-collar salary put two of us through college, and princeton at that, and he made sure that -- [applause]
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and those were, we went to those schools long before they had financial assistance that put you completely through. we were still paying, my parents had to pay a portion of our tuition and he made sure our tuition was paid on time. we never were going to be late and not be able to register for classes. so who i am today is so much of, it's because my parents and that hard work ethic and the values of your word is your bond, you do what you say you're going to do, you know, trust is important, honor, honesty. i saw my father behave in that way every single day with everyone regardless of race or station in life. so that's who i think about when i write my book and how i carry myself in the world. i do what i think marian and fraser would expect me to do.
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i hope to be that person for them. [applause] >> host: my mom is out here. >> guest: is your mom here? hey, mom. >> host: sorry. and so whenever anything happens, she says, mrs. robinson. she's modeled after your mom and how your mom handled all of that. your mom was right there with you. >> guest: grandma, you know, we couldn't have made it to the white house without her. just having her -- she'd been helping me long before coming to the white house because barack was always, he was a state senator and then u.s. senate, and those are jobs that had him away from home, usually most of the week. and i still had a full-time job.
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i was at any point in time i was a professional with a big job of my own and we had two little kids. we could afford help, and we had a couple great babysitters but that time i lost the one great babysitter and that crushed me like nothing else, i mean, when she said she had to leave because she couldn't, i thought i was losing an arm. barack was trying to console me, and i'm like dude, just get out of here, you are of no help to me. i need her, not you. you do nothing for me. [laughing] but i remember that pain and i thought how can i go to work everyday and not know that my kids are good, that there was somebody who loves them? which is not to get on a soapbox which is what affordable childcare is so important
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because so many -- [applause] having access to that kind of security for all of the families out there who don't have a choice, they have to go to work, i know that pain of what it feels like when you don't know your kids are good. and good, not just being safe but they are in a place where somebody loves them and is going to instill values in them and is going to read to them and take them to the library and is not just going to plop them in front of the tv. so i was about to quit working and i thought i just can't do it, i can't keep up the balance. and who stepped in but my mom who was not yet retired but she would come over at the crack of dawn to allow me to go to the gym. she would start getting the kids ready for school. she would wake them up, fix breakfast. i would come back, grabbed them, take them to school. she would go to work. she would get off, come and pick them up, get them home, start dinner. by that time i would get home.
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we had our routine down, and there's just something about having your mom in that place where you know she will kill someone for her grandchildren. [laughing] so she was a grandmother at the pickup line. she was going to be the first one at the pickup line because she didn't want her little grandbabies walking around wondering where their ride was so she would get there an hour before pickup to be the first car so that she would see her babies, to bring them here, bring them here. you can't pay for that. so we brought that energy with us to the white house and we needed it, that kind of no-nonsense solid tell it like it is, unimpressed with everything kind of personality that is marian robinson, you know, she did not want anybody doing her laundry at the white house. she could do her laundry just fine. she was notorious -- we had
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housekeepers and butlers and everything, at the white house and she was like don't touch my underwear. i've got it. [laughing] too old for that. >> host: my mom's role model >> guest: and she taught the girls to do their laundry so they have laundry duty with grandma [applause] >> host: she really helped keep them grounded. >> guest: she kept the whole white house grounded. [laughing] and everybody used to go up to her room, the butler's, the staff can they would be in the chit chatting with her shooting the breeze, getting some wisdom, telling their story. she just had a whole little counseling session up there in her suite of rooms. she kept us humble and focused on what was important, and she was my sounding board. anytime anything crazy happened over the course of the day, the
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first thing i would do, her suite of rooms were on the third floor above us and i would go and sit on her couch. she would have on msnbc or something and she would be trying not to talk about what was on the news until i cannot let her know i was ready to talk about it. she would do what she always did, sit there and just listen and go -- and then what? because my mother was not going to solve your problems for you. she was going to listen and she would say what you think about that next and then you would figure it out and by the time you leave you would say i feel great. so much of my ability to get out there again and again and again had to do with going up to the little counseling room and sitting and having marian robinson go -- you'll be fine, just go on back down there. [laughing] can't stop now. >> host: did she ever tell you you know, you talk about that a lot. what are you going to do?
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did she ever say you talk about that a lot. what are you going to do about it? >> guest: no. my mother, and i write about this about how i -- my parents had a really advanced sense of parenting at a very early age. they taught us how to advocate for ourselves very early. so her expectation was like, you know how to fix your problems. you know what to do. when you teach kids at an early age that they have a voice that is worth listening to, number one, and that their opinions actually matter and that's with they get day in and day out at home at the dinner table two adults listening intently and asking questions and encouraging kids to contribute, that was the household, those were our dinner tables. so when you came home from school with a problem you could air it by you had to go back and solve it. at 40, 50 years old, my mother
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wasn't assuming at all she needed to solve any problems i had as first lady. her expectations were you will do this and you will do this well because you know how to do this. so there was never any need for her to even pretend like she had to give me directions. she knew she had instilled those values in me when i was four and five and seven. so she had done the work. >> host: what a blessing. you mentioned you almost thought about quitting because you did have and i don't know how many people realize high-powered positions you had as a career woman, i mean, to balance that. >> guest: before i was first lady? >> host: yes. >> guest: i had a job before i was first lady, everyone. >> host: for the high-powered >> guest: sometimes i had big jobs. i was really, i was smart, was, continue to be. [applause] that's why sometimes when i
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repeat the question, how did you know what to do as first lady? like, okay, i went to princeton, harvard law, was a lawyer, worked in the city, worked with carla working on the library. worked on planning and economic one development, rent a nonprofit, was vice president of a hospital. i don't know, i just, maybe it was osmosis, i don't know. [applause] >> host: you were able to use some of those experiences. >> guest: i didn't come to the position of first lady a blank slate, that sort of what happens in society, you become a spouse all of a sudden. i talk about this in the book of how i felt myself becoming a spouse. i went from being an executive to becoming a spouse, where the first things people talk about was what shoes is she wearing? like no, no, people, not -- you
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are not focusing on my shoes, right? i'm standing in front of military families. we are doing important things but, so yes, there were moments in my profession because the burden of child rearing fell on me as a woman. there was a part of my trajectory as my husband's ascent got faster and higher and louder, there was the challenge of how do i make sure that my kids are sane and i have career. but yeah, that started very early, those doubts and questions of how do you balance it all, and is it fair that we are and his rocketship ride when i have one, too? but that's something i write about. that's what you learn, the balance in marriage. i tell young people this all the time particularly young women is that what i've learned is that you can have it all but you usually can't have it all at the same time, and that's a myth
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that even having the expectation of having it all is set up for young people, young couples, young men and women with children, the notion that you're not successful if you don't have it all. it's hard to balance it all, but i started to learn that life is long and there are trade-offs that you make. i think the trade-off of stepping off of my path until at least i found a childcare solution that worked for me, which was my mom, i entertained the notion of stepping off my track because i felt like i had two kids and i brought them here, so my first priority is to make sure that they are okay. i can't save the world if my household isn't solid. [applause] but the other thing i learned at that point in time when i was ready to jump off the
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professional track, i started not caring what people thought about me professionally, so i felt more freedom to ask for what i needed. so i wound up staying in my career because i had an opportunity to become the vice president of community affairs at your version of chicago. the president was looking for new person to head that the vision and i just had saw show. she was four months old and i was like not doing it, don't care, don't care about work. but one of my good friend said you should interview because this guy is really different. i was like okay, i don't care. i was still breast-feeding so i had sasha in the crib and said we are going to an interview, baby. were going to go see this man
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who wants me to work for him and were going to go see. i have a baby and he has been -- husband who was a u.s. senator, whatever he was doing at the time. you want to hire this? let me tell you what it will take. i wanted this much money, i will need flexibility. i laid that whole list of demands that i knew would have them running in the other direction. [applause] because i really felt the freedom to be like if you can do this, this, this and this for me, and maybe i will think about it. he said yes to all, the whole list of all the things i asked for. and i thought wow i guess i have to try this now. but what i learned as women as individuals, you have to ask for what you need and not assume that people are going to give you what you need. [applause] and that taught me that i can define the terms of my professional life in a way that i didn't feel the freedom to do. so i thought if i'm going to do this i'm going to do it in a way that provides balance. i told folks don't expect me at every meeting.
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don't expect me to come to meetings when we're not doing anything because i'm going to the halloween parade, and that's important, and i'm doing my job and i'm doing it well at this meeting isn't necessary. so i felt that freedom for the first time in my professional life to ask for what i need, knowing i was worthy of it, that i was valuable to them even in all my complicatedness i was still giving them value but he had to learn to appreciate the value before i get asked what i needed. >> host: and not be afraid. >> guest: and not be afraid at all. >> host: that they might say no. >> guest: which is easier said than done. i understand, it is not easy to tell somebody that you are worth a lot, especially for women. we have a hard time saying that about ourselves that i know my worth and i can put a monetary number on it. that there is a value to it. [applause]
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those are the kind of things i'm exploring in the book as well. i'm not really just trying to pump the book but these are things i've been thinking about for the last year, i have been reliving these things and figure out what it taught me. so i'm writing about all that. if i sound a little like therapy here, i'm in it, still in it. >> host: and you are having the time to be able to step back because you mentioned going and going. you didn't have really time to reflect as things are happening. >> guest: there was no time to reflect in eight years. we did so much so fast and we also knew we didn't have the luxury to make mistakes. when you are the first -- [applause] i mean, i lived my life as the first, the only one at the table and barack and i knew very early that we would be measured by a different yardstick. making mistakes was not an
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option for us. not that we didn't make mistakes but we had to be good. no, we had to be outstanding at everything we did. and when you're operating at that level and you are trying to live up to the expectations of your ancestors, of your father, when you're the first you're when you're the first you're the one that is laying the red carpet down for others to follow. so yes, we were moving fast. i was starting an initiative almost every year during the eight years that i was there, and when i started an initiative there was a lot of work that went into it before hand. because coming to this work as a professional i knew that strategic thinking about an initiative had to happen, background work had to be done. we met, when we started let's move before we even launched it we spent a year meeting with every expert in the field.
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we had already developed partnerships before we had even announced it. we had focus groups. we were meeting with legislators and policymakers so that when we stepped out into the arena, we knew what the pitfalls would be. we knew where the partnerships need to be. we knew where the holes were. that was work we were doing at the same time that you're doing state visits and halloween parties and christmas decorations, and so you are like a swan with the paddling legs underneath. that was eight years of that. so yeah, i realized there was time that something really major would happen at the beginning of the week. let's say you met the pope or something like that. >> host: let's just say that. [laughing] >> guest: this is the weird thing. that's the kind of stuff we did. i met the pope, or hanging out with the queen.
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okay, that was my week. are you kidding me? >> host: that was one week. >> guest: could be in one week. a state visit, my first trip to africa that was my solo trip involved doing push-ups with bishop desmond tutu. literally, and i was like please get up. please. [laughing] no, no, i'm going to do push-ups. come down, michelle. i just looked around, if something happens to him, it's not me. [laughing] so i was doing push-ups with a ship to two. i gave a speech to a group of young african women leaders. i met nelson mandela. we went on a safari. i went to botswana. that's like four days all that stuff what happened in like four days. and then you go to the next week and i could literally forget everything that just happened the week before because
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something like that would be happening in the next week. so to be able to remember it all, to keep it all in your head, i would find myself forgetting. oh, yeah, i went to prague. i literally forgot that i've been to prague, and i, i mean, we had this conversation. somebody said what do you think of prague? i said i'd never been to prague. my chief of staff said yes, you have. i said no. she was like yes, and went back and forth and it took a picture of me in prague going -- [laughing] you are right. i forgot all about that. i was there for two days. [laughing] that's what the pace is. you can get big major things, not because they were not important but they get crowded out by the next series of issues and demands. so i don't know what the
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question was, how we got on this. [laughing] >> host: you forgot the question. that's all right. so when you think about all of that and then you have the two little ones, so they might have -- >> guest: i never forgot about them. [laughing] >> host: that balance and when people are thinking about balance and how you do it, any advice for how people can try to -- >> guest: there's a lot of advice for balance. my balance is crazy. because you are the first lady but you also tried to go to the potluck and the soccer game. i tell the story about barack went to parent-teacher conference, and he's got a big motorcade, it's big. it's a lot of stuff and men with guns, machine guns, black sniper gear. they followed him everywhere. they are in trucks and leaning out looking at you like i will kill you because that's their job.
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but when they are at sidwell fourth grade on the roof of the undergrad, of the elementary school, even molière was like, dad, come on. everybody was sort of okay when dad didn't go. [laughing] sort of politely going you don't have to come to the fall winter concert. [laughing] it's okay. >> host: we will take a picture. >> guest: you can take a pass, but i would be there and mom would be there and you're trying to be a normal parent in the midst of it, you know, when your kids are invited over for a sleepover and just to explain we will need your social security number and there will be dogs sweeping her house and they will ask if you have guns and drugs, and you have to tell them, sorry, but this is what it means to have sasha over, , but it's going to be fine.
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[laughing] but kids have fun. they learn how to work past all of that, but you are balancing. at least i was balancing not just the act of being a mother but being the first lady of the first daughters who had their own detail all the time. so imagine trying to go to prom with eight men with guns. [laughing] and doing anything else that you're trying to do as a teenager. [laughing] with eight men with guns. barack and i were very happy about it. [laughing] [applause] but we even had to learn like how do discipline them without letting them think that their agents told on them, right? all parents you understand this.
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i had to lie a little bit about where i got my information from. like him how did i know that no parent was at the party? julia's mom called and told me. [laughing] not because i got a full report in detail. it's like what are they so dumb not to know that -- [laughing] how do you think i knew? those are some of our parenting scenarios. my goal as a parent was to try to make sure my kids had normalcy. that's a different set of challenges for the average parent, but here's the thing that i learned one of the things living in the white house is kids don't need that much. if they know you love them unconditionally, you can live in the white house. you can live in a little bitty apartment i grew up in. home is what you make of it inside. it's the interaction you have every day. [applause] and it doesn't have to be
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perfect. it can be broken and funny and odd in many ways, and our oddness was a level of dysfunction that most families will never experience but it was odd, and kids are resilient. they make it through, which is why i think about all the kids that don't make it through. because it takes a lot to break a kid. it takes a lot but there are so many broken kids which reminds us how bad we are doing. because you have got to do really messed up stuff to kids to send them off. they have to come from a brokenness that is so deep and off, and we have to see that in our children and understand that when kids act out there is a reason for it. there's no such thing as bad kids. kids are not born bad, you know? [applause] they are not.
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they are products of their situation. i've learned to give myself a break because my kids are loved and they are going to be fine. we mess up a lot. we make a lot of wrong calls as parents, but we hold them to high standards as people. we don't measure them by things and grades, we measure them for how the interact in the world, how do they treat their friends, how do they treat each other, things like kindness and compassion and empathy. those are the things that we have tried to teach them over these years. [applause] and here's the thing, kids watch what you do, not what you say. so the biggest thing that barack and i could ever do to be good parents to our kids is to be good people in the world for them to see every day. [applause] and that is true whether you are the president and the first lady
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or you are marian and fraser robinson, though standards they -- those standards. they just want somebody to love them, you know? pages one somebody to tell them that they are okay. that's one of the things i have tried to do with first ladies with kids, why i did so much with kids, because i always thought this is the interaction that could change the kids like. this one hug, this one you are worth it. [applause] you never know what can make a difference. [applause] >> host: right. all of this you are giving to communities.
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you are giving to your children, you are giving but you also, i heard you say it, that sometimes you have to put yourself first or not feel guilty about taking care of yourself. how do you do that? >> guest: yes, ladies. and men, too, but let's talk to the ladies a little bit on this one. because we do that, right? we put ourselves fourth on our priority list effort everybody else and we are sort of -- sometimes we are not even on her own list at all. it's so filled with so many obligations and the guilt that we have. this is nothing new but that oxygen mask metaphor is real. you can't save someone if you are dying inside, and that death can look like so many different things.
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it can be our sense of self-worth, our own physical health, our mental well-being, all of that is, before that they that go and we don't nurture it as women, we are not good to anybody else. that is something that you have to practice and that's what had to learn. i had to learn that because i didn't see that even in my mother. my mother was one of those who didn't do anything for herself. my mother dyed her own hair until she turned it green and it was like mom, it's green, it's not working, you don't know what you're doing. just go to the hairdresser. she's like it's fine, it's just green. >> host: i can relate to that >> guest: i remember that. i grew up with women who didn't put themselves first. i thought i want to show my girls something else. i want them to see that being a good woman out here in the world means that you are smart, you
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are educated, yes, you are gentle and kind and loving but you can do some push-ups. you are going to think about what you put into your body, what you eat. you're going to take time out for yourself. you're going to invest in your relationships with your friends. i thought it was important for , my girls to see me having strong friendships with women in my life so i have a posse of women who keep saying. [applause] >> host: that's what he wanted to know about. >> guest: and the posse started early in my life. i always had a crew of women, a crew of girls. i had my lunchtime girls that we went over to each other so at lunchtime in grade school and play jacks and complained about the teacher, and just analyze things, watched all my children. and we got ourselves together and we are fortified and we could go back in and finish the day. that was my early group.
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but when my kids were young i had a really strong group of women, still do, these women are still a major part of my life and i couldn't have gotten through the early years without them because we were all at varying stages of our professional careers. some of us were married, some our single parents, some have husbands who traveled but every saturday we would get together and we started when the babies were in those credos and we would just set them down around each other in a circle so they [laughing] could look at each other. and then we talked about everything. about are they walking yet? is supposed to be? all those questions you have as a new mother and you don't know whether you doing anything right. i was just nice to be around a group of women who are like you. we were all just messing up and it was okay. but we became our most important confidants as mothers raising kids, and our kids, all of these
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kids who have come up together are like cousins and they are out in the world, and they of all done well, which was another lesson that i learned. you can parent all different kinds of ways. there's no one right way to do it. again if there's loving consistency and foundation and security, they are going to be okay. we learned to let ourselves off the hook, and then we started doing fun stuff together like we worked out together, these same women i would a boot camp with at camp david. i want to thank these women who would come because i think if everybody healthy so like once a season i would bring into camp david and we would you like these intensive workouts, and i like eliminated wine and stuff like that until everybody said they were not coming unless i put wine back on the menu so i
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had to put wine on there just to not lose my friends. we would work out like three times a day, and a little navy did that kids would be like, man, go lower on your push-up. like you are just so cute. don't call me ma'am. [laughing] we're getting healthy together. we started doing little seminars with each other. one of my friends was an ob/gyn, with jeff sessions on menopause and then talk about other things that i can't talk about here, but that group, that was my crew throughout the white house years, and that was a part of that self care we all felt good about and we all got stronger over the eight years. we as women, this group of women, we got physically and mentally stronger together in ways that -- i love my husband, you know, he is my best friend but they are more fun sometimes. [laughing] don't tell him. he doesn't know that i have more fun with them sometimes. but they gave me the kind of,
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the kind of fortification that i needed. i encourage young mothers to understand that we were not meant to parent in isolation. and so many young parents, because of circumstances, maybe they were transferred, living away from their homes. i saw this in military families, young military mom would move away from her family, she would have kids, below and she would be wondering why is this so hard? i say because you are not supposed to do this alone. children were not meant to be raised in isolation. we need community. that it does take a village. so i encourage young women to build their village. if it's not at home with your mom and your cousins, then wherever you are build that village because that will be your salvation. it keeps you sane and just keeps you and balance in a way that i think we don't appreciate.
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>> host: what about fun? >> guest: fun facts i just told you a bunch of fun we had. >> host: the push-ups. >> guest: the push-ups are fun, carla. [laughing] >> host: okay. >> guest: so you wouldn't enjoy like working out with me? >> host: i keep score. [laughing] >> guest: you can tell carla doesn't work out because she thinks there are scores to be kept during the workout. okay, one push-up for me and one for you. [laughing] well, we had fun. we had fun. we made sure we had fun and we wanted the white house to be a place of fun. particularly in tough times. we went through some tough times, crisis, shootings. the amount of grief that we had -- i won't say we were carrying it but we had to help the country get through.
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you can't have all crisis. the country needs a moment if -- to feel like a can celebrate in some way, shape, or form even in the darkest time. so we had halloween at the white house, and kids came and mostly military kids and their families would come around the south lawn and was all decorated and the house was orange and everybody was in costume and they got to trick-or-treat at the white house. .. word, wrap for those of you
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who don't know, poetry, sort of cool poetry had never been done in the white house in the east room with georgeand martha standing there . so we were going to do that as the first event. we refining some of the hottest young voices and we did a rope line and this young kid lin-manuel came up and barack and i said whatare you going to perform young man and he said i'mgoing to do a rat alexander hamilton . we were like , you're the
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president and first lady, you cannot laugh in the face of your guest andgo what ? are you kidding? then he went on to perform the first number, that was the first number he had prepared and it was obviously amazing so afterwards we were like that's really good and he said yes, i'm going to do a whole broadway show on it and we were like, what ? good luck with that, kid. and then it blew up. and we invited the whole cast back and they performed, first they did a whole day of workshops for kids from all over the country so they were doing lyric writing and you name it, they were in the red room writing and wrapping in the blue room and dancing in the yellow, oval and you name . they were everywhere and then they did the performance in the east room with all these kids who had never gotten to see the broadwayperformance but they all knew the words .
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so we had fun. we had lots of fun and all our fun always involves kids because kids just make everything better. and we wanted to make sure kids felt like this white house belonged to them. that they felt like when they walked into it and kids of all backgrounds felt like this was a place that kids were supposed to be. not like peering out the front gatesbut they were supposed to walk in the stores and experience everything going on in their . and i think that was of all the things we did the work we were able to do with young people was the most fulfilling and hopefully the most impactful work that we did in those eight years. and they felt like yeah, i'm wrapping in the blue room >> wrapping in the blue room. we had eight whole design workshop and there were mannequins that we did a whole workshop and anna
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wintour put it together and some of the top designers came and it was a way to get almost all the designers had worked with me but not to make it about me so it had to be about kids. they came for a day of working with these young designers and they were making jewelry, different rooms and they came together for a panel and they got to meet diane and all these big names came and they spent the day with these kids and it was about them that it was also aboutfashion . that was the way i tried to think about linking the stuff people wrote about, but let's keep some kids howto be designers . this craft means in america. that it's not just about how you look at what you do. >> and all of that was fun. >> and the kids left feeling like hey, i'm at the white house.
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>> they felt like they were something special, i'min the white house doing this . we had a mentor program that we never really publicized but i worked every year with a group of 20 girls from the area because mentoring has always been a big part of my life and barack as well so he had some young men that would come and they come once a month. they were usually kids from the dc area, not the top kids but not the kids struggling but sort of those kids that are in the middle where there probably isn't a lot of programming for them and they would be paired up with a high-powered woman in the administration, valerie jarrett was a mentor, chris kohler heard was the first executive chef at the white house laura bush appointed, she was a mentor and they meet with these kids all the time but they would come together once a month in the white house . it was interesting to see
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their transformation. when they first start they were shy. they couldn't look me in the eye. they were just nervous because it was nerve-racking. you're in the white house, you're meeting michelle obama and why were you pick and you're wondering but we spend time talking about everything and by the time they completedusually two years with us , either graduation ceremony when their parents would come, they felt there was just a shift in who they thought they were. they felt comfortable in that space, in that room with me. they knew that they deserved that for themselves. and as that process of just givingthem that exposure on a regular basis , saying you are worthy. i don't even care about your grades. who are you as a person and you are worth being listened to and they came andafter a while they owned theplace . they didn't even notice me . i said mom, that's michelle obama. we're good friends now. let me show you the blue room .
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my belief for them was if you can walk into the white house and look me in the eye and introduce yourself there is no room you cannot go in . there's no room you can't go into after that . [applause] >> right before we started there was a high school, a highschooler and she's here, it's her first time. there she is, there she is. >> hi honey. >> of course we hope she'll be a librarian but any advice you might get a highschooler if she says i don't know about college or what i want to do. >> how old are you? >> 17. >> you're going to go to college right? that's thefirst advice. go to college because you need a college education in this day and age if you want to be competitive . but here's the thing, there are so many different ways to get an education.
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we live in the united states of america and we have wonderful community colleges. we've got four-year colleges . there are so many ways todo it . there's no right way to do it . you don't have to go to some four-year school and live in a dorm. it's an excellent experience if you can do it but you have to get an education beyond high school.that is a must. a high school diploma is not enough anymore and we want you to be the best you can be and take care of your family and where nice shoes and the all fly and have power and all that good stuff. having an education is the key to that. so that's my advice in a nutshell. >> we don't have much time left but i have to ask you aboutthe book . >> i've been talking about the book. >> it's coming in november. >> you guys ready?
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>> we want to be able to book talk. you've got to give us a few things so we can book talk it . >> i've given you a few tidbits but if i were to describe thebook , it's a re-humanization effort. because you know, for me, a black woman from a working-class background, to have the opportunity to tell her story is interestingly rare. i think that's why some people ask the question how did you come here, how do you go from here to there. i sense people think i'm a unicorn. it's like i don't exist. like, people like me don't exist and i know there are so many people in this country, in this world who feel like they don't exist because their stories are told.
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or they think their stories aren't worthy of being told. and in this country we've gotten to the point where we think there's only a handful of legitimate stories that make you a true american . so if you don't fall into that narrow sort of line, it's like you don't belong. but we all belong. and i think my book is just, it's the ordinariness of a very extraordinary story. and i hope that by telling it, that's it makes others, not just black women, not just black people but other people, other people who feel faceless and invisible and voiceless to feel the pride in their story and the way i feelabout mine . the ordinariness of growing up as a working-class kid with to
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humanize each other in that way. we are all just people, you know? with stories totell . and we are flawed and broken and there is no miracle in our stories. it's just your living life trying to do good. and that's who this little girl in becoming is. she is becoming a lot of things in life but the journey continues and i hope that it starts the conversation about voice and encourages so many other people because we need to know everyone's story so that
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we don't forget that humanity in each other. because what we've learned, barack and i over the course of this eight years and traveling across the country is that americans are good people. decent people. really. even if we don't agree on politics . and we have to remember that about ourselves and understand that's true not just here in america but around the world. there are no doubles out there. there are no people out there. there are people who do bad things but all of us are really just trying to figure it out and if we've done something horrible is usually because we were broken in some way and if we understand each other's stories and share those stories and maybe we can be more empathetic. maybe we can be more inclusive. maybe we can be more forgiving and more open so i hope that the book encourages some conversation around those kinds of things. and then you hear about china
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and my shoes. a couple of nice stories, you know. bo and sonny make an appearance so not to worry, they arethere. they're still alive doing well by the way . [applause] >> i just had to tell you we are glad you are michelle obama. thank you. and they are to. >> thank you all. thank you for everything you all do. keep doing the work out in the community. we need you. [applause]
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>> that includes another look into book tvs archives. a reminder you can watch all the programs you saw on first ladies tonight i goingto our website , and a reminder that c-span published a book and a series on the first ladies which you can also access online. >> we connect this month we are featuring book tv programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span2 area tonight book tv looks at several programs with booksby american presidents . enjoy book tv on c-span2. >> book tv this labor day weekend, watch top nonfiction
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books and authors . sunday at noon eastern on in-depth, a two hour live conversation with author and faith in freedom coalition found around three . at 9 pm eastern on afterwards, right?in your editor at large joel pollock on his book read november and his thoughts on the 20/20 democratic primaries and election he's interviewed by recent editor at large matt welch . and on monday labor day 6:15 p.m. eastern judy gold with her but yes, i can say that. and at seven melissa korn and jennifer levitz on the college admissions scandal with her book unacceptable . at 8:30 west more with his five days at 10:30 p.m. retired admiral aims to bring this on his book sailing through north. watch book tv this labor day weekend on c-span2 and be sure to watch the all virtual 20/20 national book festival live saturday: 26 on book tv.
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>> you're watching book tv on c-span2 every day with the latest nonfiction books and authors . c-span2: created by cable television companies as a service and brought to you today by your cable television provider. >> welcome to another summer evening with book tvs binge watch series. tonightwe're focusing on books written by former first ladies . the first lady to venture into publishing was nelly taft who recalls her time in the white house in her 1914 memoir recollections in four years. 10 other first ladies have published memoirs. we're going to focus tonight on five women who have served in that positionin the las


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