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tv   Former Secretary of State James Baker on Leadership His Career  CSPAN  August 28, 2021 12:00pm-12:51pm EDT

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tanks, many of our educational institutions are engaged in these conversations. but as we discussed, the word refugee has a very precise meeting. in order to receive refugee status we need to consider and expa our definition of a refugee to accommodate people who are victims of climate change. as i mentioned earlier, sometimes it is really hard to tease out the claimant refugee from the political refugee. if a victim of some kind of climate disaster can prove persecution based on one of these other five categories, then yes, the individual might be able to receive refugee status in the united states. but based solely on climate change or climate migration it is highly doubtful. at present there is not a move on congress to expand the definition of refugee that would take into account victims of climate change. these are all great questions,
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thank you. any other questions you might have? okay, i will wish you a wonderful afternoon. let me pass out the final prompt and i will wish you all a great afternoon. thank you so much for your attention and thanks for the excellent queions. [background noises] >> did you know you can listen to lectures in history on the go? stream it as a podcast anywhere, anytime. you are watching american history tv. ♪ ♪ >> watch book tv now on sundays on c-span2, or find it online anytime it is television for serious readers. ♪ ♪ >> hello my name is brad tobin i'm the dean at baylor law school. thank you for joining us today as we have a virtual front row
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seat to listen in on a fascinating discussion between former secretary of state james baker the third period as you know, secretary baker was a powerhouse in washington d.c., the beltway and literally around the globe as he served as the united states secretary of state. and also further served for united states presidents over the course of three decades. secretary baker was scheduled to be her capstone speaker at the 2020 vision for leadership conference. however, he and mrs. baker contracted covid-19. i am pleased to report they now have covid-19 illness in the rearview mirror. today the secretary will be by in his own right is a high profile per sauna in texas and across the nation. he is a leading trial lawyer. he's known in our profession
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as a go to lawyer or a super lawyer. is also a historian and he has a special focused interest on the qualities of leadership in the public and private square. recently he authored a book in which he sat down with presidential historians to examine the qualities of leadership that have characterized various united states presidents. i'm also pleased to announce this is the sixth lecture in the start federalist paper lecture series. the lecture series in dowd by john emery child in honor of judge starr is intended as a vehicle i in which we can learn more about the federalist papers and the role of the federalist papers and the ratification of the united states constitution. the papers were authored from 1787 until the time of the ratification of the constitution in 1789.
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it was by james mattis who served as the fourth president of the united states, alexander hamilton was the first secretary of the treasury of the new republic and by john jay who was the first chief justice of the united states supreme court. the purpose of the paper was to persuade the citizenry of the young nation of the need to adopt a new form of government. and to leave behind the very loosely formed government which the citizens had seen under the articles of confederation. and offering the federalist papers, hamilton, madison, nj exhibited i you will the very best qualities of leadership we see in the lawyers. madison was not a lawyer but he was learned and the law. hamilton nj were of course lawyers and they use their lawyering powers, their
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abilities and drafters of the federalist papers we believe the discussion today will further illuminate the fact that given the powers the opportunities licensed by the state to exercise a very potent leadership qualities in both the public and the private square. with that i i hope you enjoy this fascinating discussion, thank you break. >> thank you dean tobin. a few years ago i wrote a book published by the state bar called raising the bar the crucial role of a lawyer in society. one of the chapters identified the two most important lawyers of the last 50 years leon on litigation side and i happen
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to be sitting in the exact replica of leon's office and the law library with the other most important lawyer in the last 50 years with our special guest secretary james baker. so secretary baker, we are delighted you are here. no one epitomizes the concept of the lawyer leader more than you. to refresh people's memories, secretary baker was leader of his law firm for almost 20 years then he went to washington and became number two at the department of commerce and ultimately and essentially led the department of commerce. he was the leader of five different presidential campaigns he's the leader of the white house staff as the white house chief of staff. second term he is the president of the state department he became the
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leader in a landmark cake of bush versus gore. cannot have a better lawyer leader to be part of this program and secretaryaker. secretary baker, thank you for taking time and being with us today. it is the final mark of this very important conference. >> thank you i am delighted to be with you. >> host: since you havave been a leader in so many different arenas were going to be talking about the lawyer as a leader. how do you define the word leadership. >> i think it was the great historian greg mcgregor burns and leadership is a commitment to values and the perseverance to fight for those values. i think that is a pretty good description of leadership.
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the toughest part of that formula is the commitment to fight for those values and getting it done. in washington d.c., even back in the days i was there, it was easy to kill deer deals it's hard to make dealsls. the really difficult part of leadership in my view, the knowing is really important but it's not as tough as the doing now in order to do obviously aawyer leader has got to be able to persuade. the art of communication both oral and written communication and my mind is an essential trait of the lawyer leader. what do you view as the key?
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what is the key to best practices in communication? >> i think if you want to lead others you have to start out by making sure those others have faith in y your word. so truthfulness is extraordinarily important. it's also important to be consistent. it'sretty hard to be a leader when your views change from time to time during the very time you're trying to lead others. you need to be consistent. onone of the things i used to argue for and i still think is critical in the presidential campaign's message discipline. you have to be consistent, you have to be truthful if you are not either one of those, people are not going to follow
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you. >> besides being a effective communicator what other essential trait is to be able to resolve disagreements and conflicts. typically you'd do that through effective negotiation. now secretary baker in your legal, political, public service careers you have always been well recognized as one of the world's's great negotiators. if you were going to write a book on the art of negotiation , what wouould be the theme in its first chahapterer? >> well, i think if you expect first of all you need to understand to be a successful negotiator you have to make sure that leaving the table
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thinking he hasn't least achieved something. the number one thing i think for successful negotiation is to begin by putting yourself in your shoes. so you know what his or her redlines car what he or she cannot reasonably be excepted to agree too. once you do that, i think you incrse the cnces of a successful negotiation. again i would go back to trustworthiness. you need to makee sure if you are going to be a successful negotiator, the person across the table has faith in your work. that person does not think you're going to be lying to them or fudging around the margins. it's important your word be
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good if you successfully negotiate with someone. >> we think about walking in somebody else's shoes the word that comes to mind to me at least is the word empathy. trying to make a deal with you think of a specific instance to a counterpart made a big difference in american foreign policy? one that comes to my mind is after the berlin wall fell when u.s. secretary of state new that a lot of business to do with gorbachev in his present of the soviet union at the time and his foreign minister.
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very restrained to the point who's criticized brownlee for not showing more emotion at the falling of the wall after always been in the cold war situation for over 40 years. the war had ended, we had one, why were we celebrating? we weren't celebrating because we did not want to stick it in there i since we had a lot more things we needed to get done. and i think that would be one good example. >> so after you walked in your counterpart shoes, and empathized and before you get to the table, you get to the table. it's time to start the actual horse trading as we call it. in order to be able to strike a deal you talked about not
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viewing it as a zero-sum game. talk about yourself many times expand upon how you kept pragmatism in front of your mind in your negotiatis. >> the times and i w was up there it's easy to politically demon ties pragmatism because pragmatism of necessity means compromise. compromise is not and should never have been a dirty word. unfortunately it has been a dirty word sometimes in the past. if you look at washington today, it may perceived to be a dirty word today. that is how you get things done. pragmatism is part of the possible. you are never going to get
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everything. if you go into a negotiation thinking you have got to have everything, your starting position outlines, you are not going to be successful. pragmatism is the art of the possible. i think it is really important when you start negotiating to realize that negotiation is a give and take. you need to understand, partularly when you're negotiating in washington d.c. or internationally, the end of democracy, no one side gets to make all of the rules therefore you've got to be ruling to give up a little to get a lot. a lot of people entered negotiation without hing that view and they are for the most part never successful. lex secretary baker back to the world of negotiation you
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talk about the importance of trustworthiness between people across the table. when you are in that situation, what are the things you do to try to build trust in the rapport you have with the person across the table? >> the one thing you have to be very careful about, particularly never has occasion or reason that means you don't say anything that's not backed up by the facts. the worst thing you can do in my opinion and negotiation is to get caught in a lie. then it's almost all over. because the other guy thanks to himself, i can't trust anything this fellow says. so you have really got to be careful that what you say is
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accurate, that it is true, and you can prove it. you need to also test the other guy across the table with respect to the trtworthiness of his or her statements to you. those statements have got to be true. the surest way to kill and negotiation is for one or the other to catch the other in a lie. >> you have read much of your work, we have a tactic used to build a trustworthiness called parallel reciprocal confidence building. >> that's nothing mor to get to the end game, sometimes normally, not just sometimes, normally negotiations is a
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series of discrete, small step negotiations. if you can find a way to approach so you build on the idea that look, if you are willing to do x, i am willing to do y. those are not the end game objectives. those are not the end objectives. they are steps along the way that can be taken that will build trust. it will build confidence and it will lean towards the desired results. you have to always remain flexible. flexibility is really important. it's important as you know in the practice of law, it is important in politics. it is certainly important and negotiation. >> as you know, this conference at baylor law
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school put together this year, many people in her audience are legal educators who aspire to plant seeds of leadership in their students, their respective law students. you have mentored many throughout your life who have become leaders in their own right. so what has been the key for you in planning and cuivating seeds of leadership and the young people who you have worked with? >> the first of all you've got to a good example for them. secondly, i think it is important to teach them leadership skills. teach them what your experience has taught you is required to become a leader. i think that is really important. kids can learn these skills, leadership skills are skills that can be taught.
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we just talked about a lot of them. and students can learn those but they're not going to learn them if they are not presented to them. i think teaching leadership skills is really important. >> host: there's a new book that came out a few weeks ago, there you are on the cover, it is your biography. it's a rououghly titled the man who ran washington. the times of james baker the third period it's written by here times white house correspondent peter baker and his wife susan glasser is a staff writer for the new yorker. i know you fully cooperated the research and setting up the interviews. you did not have any editorial control over the final product. i'm sure you have read it. what is it like to reaead a biography of yourself published by doubleday with
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huge reviews in the new york journal and wall street times, what did you think about the book and its presentation of your life? >> of course i was a little apprehensive. i am a conservative republican and that new yorker and the "new york times" are not cessarily conservative publications. but i determined there really wasn't anything out there for me too hide. so i gave them everything. i gave them boxes, files of correspondence from years ago with my parents and my sibling, my sister and others. i just said have added, i was not particular worried. was i a little bit apprehensive about what conclusions they might come to? you bet i was. are there some conclusions in the book that i would tend to disagree with? you bet there are.
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do i think on balance this is a really fair and complete full throated biography of my life? i do. i think it was fair, it certainly covers everything. and there are some things in there that i did not necessarily know. i disagree with some of the peter and susan's conclusions. but on balance, i think it was good to just turn everything over to them and let them write a full throated biography that had the good and the bad. i tell people it's a fair biography, warts and all. [laughter] and there are some warts but not too many pretty darn good book. they are excellent writers. >> i did a program believe it or not earlier this morning
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with david rubenstein which i know you worked with for many years. he did a program with peter and susan recently. he has read their book and said this book is worthy of a pulitzer. i hope good things comes from the book itbviously would help to build your legacy for generations to come. >> guest: let me just say in my opinionhey did a really, really good job. the warts that are in there, they have dealt with them in a fair way. i was pleased with it. we went later in the chat back to her audience of the links to both amazon and penguin random house doubleday. i hope many of you will make sure you get this book. it i is a fantast read, well deserving of the great positive reviews it has gotten. mostmportant to tell the
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life of our special guest secretary baker. now, as developed in the book in fact it's in the introduction, you have said this a lot, your perspective is always been theoint of holding power is getting things done. during your years in washington obviously did a great job of that. peter and susan say in the book one of the reasons you were able to achieve so many goals is because you are not a crusader. they say you had no ideological fervor which certainly goes along with your focus on pragmatism that we discussed earlier. so do you agree in your political, internatial negotiations, you have essentially no ideological fervor? >> guest: i do not know what you mean by ideological fervor.
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i was the white house chief of staff for president ronald reagan. ronald reagan is pretty ideological. and so it is a question of the balae i think. the commitment to values that i mentioned earlier with the definition of leadership is a commitment to values. those values are ideological usually, for the most part. you have to have some ideological component in your policy and worldview. but it is a question of balance. if you are ideological you're going to be too strict and to wedded to the ultimate. governing and international negotiations are a matter o of
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balance. you need the ideological. there is a conflict in american foreign policy, well-known between realists and idealists. you've got to have some realism in your foreign policy which you also have some idealism. ideological fervor, i don't know exactly what you mean by that. you better have some idealists. our foreign policy america's foreign policy is dealt on iowa's six principles. so when i heard you last novemb he spoke to the national convention of the world affairs council. of course i read david rubenstein's book would you be able to achieve in today's politics the kinds of things you did during your heyday in
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washington from 1980 through 1992? you the ultimate principal pragmatist. and now you mention if you mentioned a few minutes ago this political dysfunction in today's washington d.c.? >> i would hope that there would be. i do not know. nothing i accomplish could ever have been accomplished without the president whom i served. so today, leadership has to come from the top. we need presidents today who want to see that old paradigm reestablished, more people go to washington to do the nations in business, not to fight, squabble and argue all the time.
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by the way we need a press that views that as the objective. the press today, when i was there the press were to some degree had their biases. but to some degree they were objective reporters with facts. this is a serious problem for our democracy. our press today are players in political debate on one side or the other, that is not good. it's not getting good for the getting the people's business done. which today is less and less that's happening. to keep getting things done cheaply during your washington years issue believed enemies don't have to be permanent. >> no they d don't. what was you strategy for mending fences and transforming different
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relationships? >> i guess a couple of things. number one you've got to keep your eye on the ball. what is the end and what is the objective? on your way to try and achieve that objective you are going to receive slights from people. people are going to trash you. get the agreement, do get it accomplished. furthermore, i think and to some extent they beat my comes into play here. i have developed that flexible, and i think jesus teaches us to if you want to
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be forgiven you better be ready to forgive. i think if you particularly grow up in that environment of tryingo get things d done and you are negotiating from the other side, you better be like a duck. you better let all of those slights roll off your back. >> host: during your years as secretary of state for president bush, america's foreign policy and execution of it was probably the greatest it has been maybe in history during those four years of course the cold war ended, you led the reunification of germany. and of course the goal for the success of driving the iraqi army out of kuwuwait. when you left office having won the cold war, one gulf war, having brought germany together post-cold war.
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>> i really thought we were on the cusp of a new paradigm. i really did. you pointed out we not only ended the cold war we ended piece two. it showed antagonists could get along and could resolve their differences in a way that would promote freedom, prosperity for people around the world. we were very hopeful. one of the big disappointments i think of my life is to see the return by russia to the same types of things that are
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going on when russia was the soviet union. we make efforts to bring russia into the organization of the west and so forth. they evidently did not work. so here we are now in eight pretty much of a cold war environment in china. in china i was one who fought like hell to get china into the wto we thought they would become a more responsible international player once they were into these important international immigration. they made a lot of p promises but they did not keep those promises. that is not good. here we are today. i think there is room today for doing the kinds of things that we did during the reagan
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and george h.w. bush administration. we are in the same environment. >> of course with this audience and the theme of this conference and with your spectacular career as a lawyer became such a success in washington d.c., when i interviewed myself peter and susan i asked them about what was it about your training and practicing law that translated readily into your service and washington while you were leading in different parts of the government? >> what did they say? what did you ask them that? >> i asked the map. they said you being a lawyer was absolutely key it absently was. i wrote a book about my four ars my experience as a
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lawyer help me. secretary of state, you do a lot of negotiatiting. a lot of skills i have an negotiation. but secretary of state's job is to negotiate on behalf of this country. this negotiation is notot a business negotiation. it is international negotiation. so being a lawyer and learning to cross the tease, not the eyes, be careful, and think through things, t those are all traits i think i learned because of my legal trading. they helped me immeasurably.. >> peter and susan, talk about
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of course your success in working with congress. talk about the ricochets, you are the master like a pinball player being able to p play the ricochets. as i thought about that i thought about your famous five peas, prior prep rotation prevents poor performance. how did the five peas translate into being able to deal with the political ricochets you had to confront constantly? >> even more important when you are dealing with the politics of washington. particularly in some of the jobs i had. what do you consider was your most significant accomplishment in the 12 years you were in washington running
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for president being chief of staff are two different presidents my experience of a lawyer in my training as a lawyer really help me in that. how i kept a memo to every inappropriate request i would ask for when i was chief of staff and when i was secretary of state and everything else. i think i learned that because i was a lawyer. and remember, i came to washington in the immediate aftermath of watergate. that is a tough environment. chief of staff at the white house, of the longest-serving
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chief of staff in the white housen history up until my successors came along. i tell people it's the worst job in government. you walk around with a target on your forehead or your back and people cannot get to the president they want to get to the chief of staff. in the press of particularly want too. my training as a lawyer was invaluable to me in my second career in politics. >> the same time social media everywhere as well as television, multiple cables, everything there is the immediate seems to be a bigger part of our attention span than ever before. during your time in washington you courted the media assiduously. for the most part with great
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results. straining these future leaders, what tips can you give to get them on your side as opposed to against you. >> well, the number one thing i think is to realize that the most important thing when you're in a high level job in washington d.c. dealing with the media the most important thing made a point never going at home at night without returning from a congress person or a press person
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return the call after hours and know they would not be there to ansnswer it. i would get credit for returning the call. but what the press wants, they want you to have transparency, they want you to be willing to talk to them and they want to have access. when you are in those jobs. they paid attention to it and it was the right thing to do. in terms of backgrounding the press, some people caught leakin it is not leaking. leaking is when you talk to the press to push her own interest as opposed to interest in the administration. your job as the chief of staff is to make sure you spin the administration's position to as many press people as you can. that is not leaking, that's a background with the press and it is very important.
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we went again focusing on our audience here, these law school professors are in front of law students, law school deans and so forth. we are in front of law students all of the time. secretary baker, pretend like you are in front of a big class of law students. you were a law student many years ago the university of texas, obviously that training served you wellin your legal career. for today's law students is there anything besides what you said already you think really needs to be driven home from your experience you realize how incredibly important it is to get while you are young before you get out into the professional world? >> i cannot think of anything other than what we have talked about here today. i am a big believer in prior preparation prevents poor
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performance. that is my grandfather's mantra and my fathers. it s sure served me well. i would never go, there is a passage in the book that talks about when i was going to be on the shows when i was chief of staff of fort ragan. i would require the staff to come in and briefed me. sometimes for two hours. [laughter] the press secretary is recorded in their saying i would rather be out playing little league ball with my son and trying to briefed baker for two hours for a meet the press appearance. prior preparation is really, really important. particularly important and practicing law. i know it is important in trying to serve in washington and either politics or public service. another thing i would say, i
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tell people i was fortunate enough to be secretary of states in the united states at a time it was a unipolar world, wonderful time. everybody wanted to close to uncle whiskers. i went all over the world, and 91 countries during that and everybody admired the united states. everybody wanted to come to the united states. nobody wanted to leave the united states. guess what, with all of our troubles today, everybody admires the united states. some people resented that they either admires or resented us. they all want to come here. everybody wants to come here and nobody wants to leave. so i get very tired of listening to people run down this country and talk about all of our problems. yet we got some problems that we have had big problems in the past.
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we can fix any problem because we are the finest, best country in the world. >> we love the patriotic speech that is such a magical opportunity getting back to the proper preparation prevents poor performance, an important part of your rise was when ronald reagan asked you to prepare you your extraordinary preparation that caught nancy reagan's attention so here we are in thislection year here we are the presidential debate and the vice president debate. in that stands out in your memory in preparation for debating. may be a big meeting or case.
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of course reagan is such an iconic figure and there you are getting him to where he can surge past incumbent carter. >> there are a lot of long time people who work for him, who were a little reluctant for him to debate. i had been, and there were some that joined me. i was sort of the deputy chairman of the reagan campaign in charge of debate. they asked you to come after george w. bush left so late. i had never seen reagan lose a debate. so i argued strongly for him to debate john anderson. john anderson was another republican running for president. carter did not want to debate to republicans. so i said we ought to go debate anderson i felt sure reagan would wipe up the floor with him, which he did.
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i wanted to put an empty chair out there and put a sign on it, jimmy carter's chair but they would not let us do that. i would have been very effective but reagan was a wonderful debater. whenever the red light went on the camera he was good. the only debate they had in that 1980 campaign was one debate. he just destroyed jimmy carter in that debate. and then of course he did something i don't think wl ever be done in american politics again, he asked somebody, me, who had done to campaigns against him to be as white house chief of staff. everybody was shocked. nobody was more shocked than i was what a beautiful human being i was privileged to serve for four years. >> getting back to your magnificat statement of patriotism for our final questition for this program,
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secretary baker, and i've interspersed some lessons from our audience in the last few see you know many of these came from the audience. if james baker set down with his grandchildren today, would you recommend a career in public service and or politics? >> absolutely without anyny question. and remember this for your students out there, politics can be a business. and i have got the scars to show for it. but politics is the way under our democratic system that you get the right to practice policy. and so lyndon johnson once said you could not be a statesman until you have been elected. and it is true.
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politics is the way we get to practice policy. even if you were politics, your politics are not successful you are giving back to your country when you participate in politics it is our system. it is very imperfect. it's better than most other systems better than all other systems. so i would encourage all of your students to find a way to participate in politics. if you want to go straight to public service, you can do that go take the foreign service exam and go into one of the nations international policy agencies. there are ways to do -- george bush used to say the way to get into politics is to go out and do something else first successfully, which is what he does. which is what i did.
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mine was being a lawyer. whatever you do, remember this is the finest country in the world it is on incumbent upon each of us to give something back. the way you give back is to participate in politics and or public service. we want secretary benkert and john baker we cannot thank you enough. this is something we are all going to member for a long time. thank you for your incredible years of service. thank you for letting washington at a time when things ran and trained state on the track and things actually got done. i hope the rest of your day goes well. you have been an important and key part of this conference on the lawyer's leader thank you so much. >> thank you. >> recently discussed her new book, the barbers on the hotel that set women free with the new york historical society. the mid 20th century all
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female barbizon hotel afforded young women including poet and novelist cynthia platt actors grace kelly, liza minnelli and davis he became the first lady nancy reagan the opportunity to pursue independent lies for. >> looking at the women the socioeconomic diversities, certainly that did not happen until the 1950s i discovered. but the socioeconomic diversity happened very quickly. and that is one of the fascinating things to me. the women range from debutantes, to really women who run away from home in rural ohio. they were living next door to each other now. that in itself is very interesting. and then, the 1940s in terms of this new woman as i say when these guest editors start to come in it certainly also
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impacted in terms off its intellectual cachet and its place in a new york intellectual society. and then the 1950s this new woman particularly fascinating because this is the decade where the barbers on his nickname the dolls house because of all of these models. this is when grace kelly is here and so forth. many actresses in the late 1940s and 50s are at the barbizon. it is eight dolls house the barbizon is now a place where it's famous because these beautiful young women so men hang around at the coffee shop trying to pick up women pretending he is a canadian hockey player. there is all of this, absolutely. it is so interesting when you dig i


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