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tv   After Words Sen. Tammy Duckworth D-IL Every Day Is a Gift  CSPAN  July 5, 2022 8:58am-9:54am EDT

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writing, the aggregators, real clear politics, real clear policy, real clear world, real clear defense, real clear, you know, conspiracy. tremendous amount of good writing today. >> host: thank you. thank you. this is been a pleasure and i a hope everyone gets the book at their bookstores available everywhere. thank you so much. >> i enjoyed it. >> weekends on the c-span two are an intellectual feast. every saturday american history tv documents american stories, and on sundays booktv bring to the latest and nonfiction books and authors. funding for c-span2 comes from these television companies and more including cox. >> homework can be hard but squatting and the diner for internetwork is even harder.
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that's why we're providing lower income students access to affordable internet so homework can just be homework. cox connects to compete. >> cox, along with these television companies, supports c-span2 as a public service. >> thank you so much for joining us today, senator, to discuss your book. >> thanks for having me on. i'm excited to be here. >> i wanted to start, your entire life story is incredibly moving and do so many emotional moments. as a congressionalo editor thouh on a lighter note i love the part of your of the booe tell me i am the first senator to have a baby while in office. no, i'm the first senator to give birth while in office. >> that men have been having babies for years. but it. tells you, average age t 70 it's hard for a female senator to give birth in office. we need more younger senators and more women senators.
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>> absolutely. the passages in the book in his are fantastic but hopefully we can have a candid conversation about what that was like on a personal level. the senate as a very tradition bound and often hidebound institution. how awkward was that talking through, i think he used the phrase without abreast on the senate floor. .. became pregnant it was through ivf. i was trying. we began having the conversations. the senate even then with democrats in the minority we were pretty evenly divided. i knew we would need every single vote. senate rule says >> introduce legislation, i can't vote, i can't do anything. i couldn't give birth back in illinois where i wanted to give birth. i wanted to do it in d.c., you
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can't take a newborn baby on an airplane. even in the beginning we'd have to work through a lot of issues, including the senate rules. there's no way to get on the floor to vote with my baby unless they change the rules. that was negotiations with amy klobuchar and chief of staff went back and forth, back a forth first with orrin hatch, who was the rules committee chairman and later on with roy blunt when he took over. >> you know, what did that experience show you and tell you how far washington and the hill has to go to be truly feminist in terms of its ability to represent female concerns, strictly or male concerns, fathers raise children, too. >> you can find allies in
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unexpected places. once there were senators who knew about it, there were those very, very traditional. orrin hatch was from the rules commission and he would ask what is the baby's dress code going to be. >> and are you asking me that a baby is going to have a dress code, must wear shoes and arms covered and a suit coat. >> i'll put a blazer on her, which i did that day, and there were republican members who came up to me, marco rubio, i hardly agree with on any number of things and said, tammy, i'm with you, i'll speak up with you, i wish i could have brought my young kids to the
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floor and he totally understood that we need to do this and change the rules, this is crazy and roy blunt before he game chairman, he says i'm the next chairman as soon as i am, i remember how great it was in the house how great i could bring my children to the floor. i'm with you. as soon as he became chairman, literally in the same week he changed the rules for me. >> wow, that's fascinating and brings me to another question i have as a hill person. i consider the photo of you entering the building to vote pretty iconic holding your baby daughter and you're somebody who has been in the public eye for so long and addressed this a little in your book, it's not just you as a public figure, but it's miley in the public eye. >> it is. i am very jealous of my daughter's privacy. when you see pictures, you can rarely see the full face.
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sometimes you can see where media has captured it, but i almost never post pictures where you can see my children's faces. and they can decide whether they want their pictures on social media, but it was important for me to be seen on the floor as a working mom. we're fighting for moms everywhere. yes, it was about me and my daughter and symbolic for all of the moms who work outside of the home. and to see me break down to barrier so i could show, even a senator can have to fight to bring her kid onto the floor to do her job. >> absolutely, absolutely. and speaking of very common experiences that women often don't talk about, you were candid in the book about ivf and how tough that was and a lot of people are starting to share more and more and get rid of the unnecessary shame attached to it. i loved the way you talked
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about it very matter of fact and how frank you were about your initial experience, you know, with a doctor at a catholic hospital who did not give you full options. you discussed that in the book and what that showed you as somebody who is now active and with health care policies to be more inclusive. >> that was an experience for me. i was a congresswoman at the time and while aspiring to be a congresswoman, i was at the va and also to the va for my health care and va at the time did not have fertility services and them limited and they referred me to the va hospital, a teaching hospital that's a partner. and the va i go to, happens to be a catholic institution, i would go to them for mammograms and always had great care whenever they referred me to them. and when they referred me,
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doctor in the clinic didn't examine me, didn't take me into the clinic and met me in the waiting room, you're 43 years old. you're too old. fertility services won't work for you, less than 3% chance of getting pregnant. the best you can do is go home and enjoy your husband and sent me on my merry way, not knowing thinking about fertility treatments, i believed her. this is a doctor in a hospital i have received excellent care at and never occurred to me and i believed i was too old at 43 to really ever get pregnant and trying for 10 years. so i went home and told my husband and i wrote about this, and my husband went from enjoying your husband, that line, and it wasn't until three years later when i was getting a, you know, i was speaking at a women in leadership seminar when a woman who was there, a question was asked, you know, how do you manage work-life balance.
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i try, but i regret i was never able to have children because i put off having children until my mid 30's and struggled and couldn't get pregnant and too old, at this point i'm 44, 45. and a woman in the audience came up to me, you're not too old. go to a doctor at northwestern chicago in hospital. he's knocked up every single woman over 40, professional woman over 40 in chicago, you need to go to him and i write about this in the book i sort of didn't believe her and i was polite and she continued to pestster me for six months and i went in to see dr. cansino we'll go through the process, no reason you won't get pregnant and examined me and 18 months to the day from when i went to the doctor, i was pregnant and write about this openly, i don't want anybody to be misled the way i was when i went i thought i couldn't get
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pregnant, and where did you go, he said that's typical of catholic institutions because the catholic church does not support in vitro fertization techniques, ivf because it's fertiliization of an egg outside of the human body and aincluded that in the book, i want other families, who struggling to start a family and two beautiful girls, and one i had at 46 and miley i had after i turned 50. so anything is possible. >> so i encourage everyone to read the book. >> i wonder how you context ualize this. >> and there are few members,
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and women in their 30's every day. and do you think about this as you're working or separate it from the work life? >> everything i brings to this because i think it makes me a better public servant as constituents and i tell my staff members as they go through their lives and have experiences they, too, should have that forward. what's of point if working for a united states senator if you can't work on your passion, i call them passion products. i've been working on reproductive rights not just as a democratic woman, but brought attention to my republican colleagues if you support the personhood amendments where the
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life for the eggs you'll make it out of reach. if this is passed, i could be convicted of manslaughter, put the eggs in you, and knowing two might not survive and think what that is foss reproductive acts for women and i brought that to the table and wrote letters to my colleagues and speak up all the time. it's not just about choice in terms of abortions. it's term of choice in terms of wanting to have children and have-- move beyond my grasp because of these laws that have unseen consequences that most people don't think about. >> absolutely. and i covered this, you know, you raised this issue and had a personal discussion about it and i wonder, as your colleagues as you mentioned
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senator rubio and allies on the floor, are you looking at people who are open in talking about this? >> i think so. it's happened time and again whether it's that or whether we're talking about the post office and the need to preserve the postal service and i get my medications through the mail. it's one thing for it to be late and when it's three weeks late, the medication for phantom pain are in there, and when they support the u.s. postal service and i talk about the mama act and introduced the mama act talking about the high maternal mortality rates among african-american women in particular, the need to really support mothers of color who are oftentimes not listened to in the process. and talking about diapers of need, and can't afford to put
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their children in daycare not because they don't have access to daycare, it's because they don't have access to diapers. choosing between buying food or buying diapers, so many daycares, you drop your child off and you have to drop off the diapers for that. if you can't buy diapers and put your child into child care. my colleagues across the aisle have their own experiences to share with doctors and as moms as well. that they've been to that are helpful as well. >> fascinating. switch gears for a second and the earlier chapter in the book. i was struck reading the new york times review of this, they had the thought that i had with this, there are some parallels to dreams of my father. you're a biracial political figure that gets very personal.
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your style of waiting is different from president obama i found enjoyable. and he can be a little ornate and you get to it describing what that's like. if you can discuss who your influences were, you're so candid what it was, being in america and did you look for inspiration, tell the story that senator duckworth would talk? >> you know, the book i enjoyed was trevor noah's born a crime and his book was my inspiration because in reading born a crime, i thought i was going to-- the title is amazing at first. you know, very deeply personal about being important biracial in south africa and even his own birth was a crime, the fact that his parents got together and had him, and in fact, when my parents, you know, met each other and fell in love and had me, my dad in his home state of
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virginia could not have married my mother because in virginia it had not passed and i learned so much about apartheid and experience of apartheid to the individual both on the black side of the equation and the white side of the equation from trevor noah's work and i wanted to do the same thing growing up biracial in asia and i wanted to teach the reader what it was like to grow up in southeast asia post vietnam, but also, why i to this day still believe america is worth it and worth fighting for. i got it write the book because my six-year-old daughter abigail asked me that question. she said mommy, you don't have legs -- and she wants me to treat her to ride a bike because i'm a little more
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patient than my husband, and she says why couldn't somebody else's mom go to iraq and lose their legs and why did it have to be you. and i wrote the book to show america is worth it and began with me growing up in southeast asia, revering america, and it would be an american, and that i could leave and others could not because they had been abandoned by their fathers the way i had not been abandoned by mine. >> speaking of your father, his experience in the va system was the first chapter in a chapter that you yourself continued later on as somebody grappling with vagarees, and talking
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about how the system hadn't failed? >> yes, so my dad did what a lot of veterans do, they don't have to va to get the care that they need and the support that they need because they think they're okay and they're saving the chair for their buddies and my dad time and again lied to the va. had he had wounds from his military service and i'm fine, i don't need anything, you take care of the other guys, which is what you learn to do in the service, look out for your buddies and our veterans take that to an extreme form. and i write about this, for example, in illinois i was the director of the state department of veterans affairs, and the federal va said there were 800,000 veterans in illinois and i knew there were at least 1.2 million veterans because that's how many individual veterans applied for license plates from the secretary of the state. so, the va is undercounting 400,000 veterans in illinois,
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which means that when the va goes to build a new hospital they look at the states and well, illinois only has 800,000 veterans, it doesn't need the additional one or two hospitals that we're going to build and illinois doesn't get those and the 400,000 veterans need some help, it's not there, it's somewhere else. and i tell veterans, even if you don't plan to use it, enroll in it. the best way to take care of your buddy is not to enroll it, but to get there and have your nose counted. i return to veterans in mode for their buddies, sacrifices for the team and it actually ends up hurting the team when they don't get the care that they need. yeah, so i should say i have described the system failure, but it's a culture of taking
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care of that and is it your hope that telling that story can help that happen? >> i hope so, all the stories in the book about me growing up in asia and revering america and lucky that i was an american and talking about being hungry in my teens and my dad had lost his job and unemployed for four or five years when was in his 50's. >> i know some people lose their jobs in their 50's and they're literally a day away, and they're getting food stamps and choosing between do i feed my kids or do i take medicine? you know, all of those things. i've been telling the stories and put them in the book to show you're not alone, you're not alone and there are people like me who are in, you know, positions of power who understand and see you and
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trying our best to stop the problem that you're facing. despite all of that, the safety nets were there for me. the safety nets were there. i did get the food stamps when needed. i could go to a public school that i could graduate from. i could graduate from college with relatively low debt for my bachelor's degree so i could become a u.s. senator one day and i want to make sure that the safety nets are there for other people. >> another sort of question i had about your inspirations in this. deal with the current situation with anti-asian hate crimes, frankly. we're in a terrifying moment for pacific offenders in this country and you're working on legislation to help address this. i'm wondering, when you're writing this book, we weren't
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in the coronavirus pandemic, but talk about your experience about people who might suffer discrimination in america. >> and i wrote chapters being discriminated against in asia i was half white. i was scorned for being half white and insulted and treated differently by my own asian cousins because i was half white and didn't fit in with the asian community and then he talked about being an other later on in life that was after coronavirus hit. and i hope people understand this is a universal experience for asian americans or pacific islanders in the united states. we're the one group after some of our ancestors, earning our citizenship after fighting in the war. and veterans of the civil war
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had their rights taken away. one of the only our families put into internment camps during a war and fought for this country even as our family members were behind barbed wire because they were in japanese descent or looked like they were from japanese descent. >> while i was wearing the flag of my nation on my shoulder, asking, where are you really from. duckworth isn't your name. >> no, i'm a duckworth and the duckworths have been here rf the revolution and i wanted to explain that. this past year has been really hard on the aapi community, that otherness has always been with us. but now to be the target of hate crimes, that's just exploding and part of it is is because the president of the united states was using hate speech. and donald trump was saying
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kung flu virus and blaming the chinese for the virus and not saying the people's republic of china, but chinese-americans and hate crimes against them has been trauma for the community and risen bye over 150% in our major cities. over 3,000 cases, against aapis and most are not recorded, mugging, theft, anything other than a hate crime. >> the answer to this might be nothing, but i wonder if you got the chance to reopen your book now in light of what we're seeing in terms of violent crime and say anything more in addition to how you address the otherness issues. would you add anything? >> i think i would maybe spend a little more time talking about how when it really mattered, the identity of america was all that mattered.
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in my helicopter on that day i talk at length about the shootout. i think i would have talked about when you're in part of a health crew, it doesn't matter, you know, if you're rich or poor, black or white or asian or historic. i've been part of helicopter crews and skittles. we're all skittles. and we're all americans, that's why i love the army, it didn't matter who i was whether i was a half breed asian girl, mixed-race asian girl. it mattered whether i could shoot straight and carry the load when somebody needed help. i probably would have spent more time on that from rather than falling in love with the army because of this. >> and when you talk about this, i read another new york times interview in prep for
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this discussion, talking about, i don't like to consume too much pop culture about war, it's tough for me to watch that played on screen. how hard was it to put this on paper? >> it was hard, but it all dd i -- i did it all in one signature. it was cathartic in a way. and i did have to go back and talk to people. i don't have memory of what happened past, the aircraft. when dan land the aircraft and the emergency engine shutdown to start the fire, i passed out then. i came to, later on, within the hour and i have lots of conversations with people, but i don't remember any of that. the doctors and nurses in the emergency room in baghdad gave me a drug to sedate me, but they said the side effect would be to wipe the short-term memory and they do that as an
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act of mercy and i'm grateful for them for that, but i had to find the doctors and nurses and hear what happened in that intervening time and i found it incredibly rewarding because i was told of things that i said and did, that i'm proud of. i was not a hero that day. i didn't land the aircraft, i didn't carry anybody to safety. until they sedated me, i was watching out for my crew, for me as an army soldier, that was vindication for who i was at my core, that i was watching out for my guys until the end. >> wow, that's such a remarkable experience and you mentioned that-- did you have any research assistance or others helping you to piece this altogether? >> i do. it was a group project, it was mostly, i reached out -- what happened was over the years, some folks found me and i was
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at walter reed, and the nurse in charge of the emergency room. you, i know, who you are. you were talking to me and i want you to know what you did. he gave me his name and i was able to track down the medivac medic in the medivac health and he put me in touch with other folks, so it expanded and being a little facebook group for the medivac unit and the hospital unit, it was a, in statistics, called snowmobile sampling, and one person helped me find two people, and three people and before long i was in touch with folks some in civilian life and they're reaching out and it became very humaning for the others. many saw what happened after
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they treated them in baghdad, for some of them closure. >> and for one nurse who intubated me, he said i haunted him for years, and final words, and he thanked me for letting him know that i'm okay. >> wow, wow, was he kind of impressed that you're now a u.s. senator. >> you know, the thing about being in the military, you don't talk policy and spectrum. the book is called "every day is a gift", every day since the day i was shot down in iraq is a gift. i should have died, and the only reason i survived is through the heroism of my crew, the heroism of the doctors and the in yours -- nurses and each day is a gift
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that they've given me. we may not all the agree, but know you're my north star and never be a shamed because of what you've done. >> and trevor noah's book, you have experienced a lot of trauma in your life, but chose to title your book a sentiment. >> there's a saying, strong in the book in places, and max used that as book for the title for his book, he's a triple amputee from vietnam. you know, stronger-- we've thought of all sorts of things. my call sign was mad dog six, we could have called it that. one day as i was talking, writing this to the publishers
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and to my collaborator, you know, i was talking about the shootout. every day in my life. i think they asked me. i had a tough day at work, i don't know what it was, a health care fight or something, i'm exhausted today. you had a tough day, yeah, every day is a gift. you know, every day i have is one that i'm surprised that i have. they went, that's the title. [laughter] >> that's the title, every day -- because that's how i live my life. i get up and thank dan and pat and chris and curt hahnemann and matt for carrying me out of the field in iraq and okay, what do i need to do today to live up for what they did for me on that day. >> wow, yeah, sometimes all the brain storming and the title out loud. i love that story. >> another logistical question, senator.
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i'm impressed you have the time to write that. and you crafted one sitting. did your husband take over child care duties? >> i'd do it in bits and pieces. when i did the proposal for the book, i did have on an app. >> i was on long flight, and i went back to iraq, so, you know, i just sat and wrote there. and so, i just would write bits and pieces and put it together and once i had the book deal and i knew i got the book deal in december and i was due act of 2020. i knew i had to get done and i hunkered down and wrote and it's just about making sure that even 10 minutes writing down a paragraph if i-- and so, it's just a process and
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i had a great collaborator who worked with me and helped me along and a lot of good proofreaders and i sent my senior schnarr in the book talking to me. i talk about how he found me in that hospital and give me a new mission and encouraging me to run and i sent him copies to road and two different folks that i'm a big fan of sherrod brown and his thought process and his wife is also a new york times -- you know, connie is a best selling author so i sent it to them, a chapter here and there and i have a lot of people helping me along the way. >> and i love the senator helping out, too. that's a great detail. >> what was the hardest part of this book to write? >> not only talking about the crash. >> the early childhood was the hardest part.
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the bad guys, it was not an accident it was intentional and we landed the bird. and that day, i want to honor his expertise and his, you no, he received the distinguished flying cross for his actions on that day and it's not a crash, it's a landing, dan did an amazing effort of piloting. >> we'll make sure, and we want to thank you. >> no problem. and mrobl my earliest stuff was -- probably my earliest stuff was the hardest to right. i've only talked about it in recent years as the nation has been in more of a depression, a recession, and talked about it more and then the fact i was on food stamps and i was ashamed
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of being on food stamps for a long time in my early 20's and 30's, i thought that was a failure. it only as i got later in life, that's not failure, that's success. we never gave up as a family. to this day, i'll roll over you to get a penny off the ground. i'm not ashamed of, we picked each other up with the school lunch program and other programs, we should be more open about that because there are families that are, you know, food insecure right now that need to know that there's hope. >> yeah, well, it makes sense although i would not have expected you to use that. and you talked about trevor noah and in that same interview of the new york times i referenced earlier you referenced the point of time
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and talked about books like white rage, a book you referenced recently and you'd like to see the president read it and i'll ask you a question i would ask you. what book would you have anybody on the hill, have them read? >> i would rather have a reading list, i definitely would put white rage on that because it really does talk about the pendulum swing in our nation every time we've had a major movement and success and you know, a stepping forward that there is this backlash that's been part of our nation's history. and i think that is one that should be read. i think that people should understand those in the military and that experience. brendan freedman who wrote the war i always wanted, is a good. that's a good book about the iraq war and afghanistan as well and what my generation of
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truthful thinking after not having been at war for 10 years, this is our turn to go and with that coming of age story is for military men and women. but i would have a whole long list of things and you want to learn about apartheid, south africa, it's just really good. >> that's fair. and-- >> yes. >> another book question i had reading your book this is not your typical political memoir which are everybody times written by members who have their eye on something higher and i wonder, you could do the book for everyone. they have no idea who you are, because you're from another state? >> this book was written for my daughters. i want them to read and understand that america is worth it. i want them to read and understand the struggles that i went to and that america provided me with privilege and with help along the way and that america is worth it.
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i truly wrote this just for my girls, but also for others to understand that this democracy is worth fighting for and to maybe give people a perspective as to why i believe in the programs that i believe in, and you know, more food stamps, more money for public education, why i support the policies that i do. and to really explain how i got to these positions based on my experiences. and i hope people get that as well, but really, this book was, it's a love letter to my nation, but written for my daughters so that they would understand why i was willing to even compromise their life. my daughter, to teach her to ride a bike and that's a cost to her i made a decision before she was born that resulted in me losing my legs and i would do that again based on that decision, our democracy and this less than perfect union is
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worth the struggle to become a more perfect union. >> yeah. speaking of your daughters, one portion when you're asking your daughter, what he is daddy's name and what is your mother's name and she says that in congressional voice, tammy duckworth. and talking about your current situation as a working mom, you mentioned you want your daughters to maintain the privacy. how did you wrestle with that if at all? >> if you'd asked me about it when i first ran for office, i would not have talked about it. but after having had my two girls, after having gone through a senate campaign while on ivf and trying to get pregnant and have a miscarriage, i decided he had to write it for other moms who
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work outside the home and struggling with fertility issues. people would come up to me and have this idea that my life is all heroics and you know, v.i.p. treatment and i want people to know, no, there's no such thing as work-life balance. it is a lie, it's a lie, a lie perpetuated that hurts our nation and hurts our families in the long run. because there is no work-life balance. we must have things like universal family leave, paid family leave. we need to have it and here is why, the fact that, you know, military women have to go back-- this is when i first started in 2014, military women had to get back to work even after a c-section and back to afghanistan and that's wrong. i got into that portion deeply personal as a mom and i struggle with it and i see your
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struggles and i, too, had to pump my breast milk out sitting in a toilet stall. there's no place, and i was trying to do the best for my infant daughter, but their system is not set up to support a mom who works outside of the home so i felt that, to have left it out would have been a disservice. >> yeah, and as you mentioned not even the senate and the workplace is set up to support that. you know, now that this book is out, you know, we're talking today. i imagine you're doing quite a bit of other public appearances, to what extent do you want maybe other female leadership figures in politics to start selling stories like this. and getting personal. >> and i'm hoping more people step forward and speak about the struggle. i understand that as a female leader, i have to step forward
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and take charge, often. but sometimes, this is too exhausting and you have to take charge and set up abandon boundaries. i get talked to about women who want to run for office, especially federal office and younger children and i tell them, you know, if you read the book, you see the story in the campaign that i just had enough and i had a huge temper tantrum and when i was with my campaign, i was with my baby daughter and i felt inadequate even as the world saw me as this senate candidate who had it altogether and i want more women who actually do achieve success to be upfront about the fact there was all struggles, and it's not just all you have to work harder.
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i was works as hard as i could and i did make it and that's the message to tell to other families, you can make it, but it's hard, it's not easy, but it's worth it in the end. >> yeah, absolutely. you know, and part of all of that, you know, we're announcing a little bit of a baby bust in this country and certainly the average age of motherhood grow. you asked somebody who became a mom of two at 50. is there anything in writing this and recalling this, anything that surprised you, anything you'd want to share with anyone watching right now whether they can do it? >> i actually feel younger because of my daughters. they make me do the things maybe if i had been a mom in my mid 20's, i would not have appreciated it. i think i'm a calmer mother, more patient, but i also think it's given me a second youthfulness. i go and i sit on the swings
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with my kids and i don't think i would do that if i didn't have kid and i get to do-- to the aquarium the other day with my girls and my three-year-old has a great belly laugh and running from fish tank to fish tank, mommy, fish, (laughter) >> and you know, it was a laughter and so, i say go for it. it's that old line, now, you can either be a 50-year-old with kids or or a 50-year-old without kids and wishing you'd had some or you know, when you talk to somebody who's 65 who wants to go back to college. why would you do that? you're 65. >> in four years you'll be 69 anyway, you might as well be a 69-year-old with a college degree, so do it. >> very, very good point. you mentioned you were in this conversation, your senator
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senior, durbin. i wonder if you had conversation was him that shaped part of the book or notable dialog with him that you wrote about? >> i wrote the book, the army teaches you for writing, get to the point, keep your sentences short, subject, verb, noun, right? you do it. so that's how i write and that's how the army taught me, i'm an active voice and plain spoken and i spent 23 years in the army. and came back to me and said, it's moving and i learned a lot about your experience as a child and i can see why you are the way you are now. you made me cry with your passage about the shootout, but tammy, could you tone down the army language just a little
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bit. and that much army -- he couldn't say f-bomb. i don't think you should be writing that. and i was like when i gave him rah copy of the book the other day, and i'm sorry, i didn't tone it down and he said, yeah, i didn't think you would. >> that's funny. and always watching out for him, he's my mentor and he says, i know, you have to be true to yourself. i don't swear that much. only in private that i do it and with people that won't mind, when i'm with my army buddies. i'm very much myself in the book. >> absolutely. going back to the stylistic conversation. did anybody say, hey, adjectives give me color or saying be you, write that in army style? >> everybody said be me. and i think i have adjectives. i wanted to show what cambodia was like before it was destroyed. i remember, you know, my early childhood memory was sitting in
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a car with a yeasty warm roll of french bread and it had been a french colony at one point, the flowers and mango trees, i needed to be true to myself. >> you've succeeded in that. one portion of the book i was wondering when you were going through fertility treatments, that's an incredibly tough thing to go through the ivf process let alone the campaign. and did you consider saying more about that? was there more that you just found tough to put into words. you talk about it and other portions where you say all right and it's succeeded in a lot of failures. how did you navigate that. >> i wanted to write it, that
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people could read and get through and was enjoyable. and i'm sure some people will cry when they read the portions about the shootdown and how i feel about my buddies, but there are laugh out loud moments as well and i thought i was upfront about it, and i don't dwell on things, it's tough, it sucks, and i even have a chapter, it sucks and i own it, an army philosophy, and now i'm moving on. and i am a working mom of two girls and senator, and moving on. what happens, and i can't dwell on it. i can't have the time. after this interview i've got to buy the stuff for an easter basket which i haven't done yet. what are we 48 hours away?
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so i'm-- easter egg hunt time. i haven't got the time to spend dwelling on the past. >> absolutely. been fantastic, by the way. i'm wondering how constituents see this at all? you know, if you had any conversations with people about your personal life and ended up in chapters of the book. it's in illinois and-- >> oh, definitely. my constituents are why i was able to write this book. because over you know, the last years of my four years in the house and four years in the senate. as i've talked to constituents, i've been prompted to tell stories that i never told before. i never told people that my dad was out of a job for five years and that we were struggling and that i was the only one putting food on the table for our
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family for a time there. i only started talking about that because i met folks at a steel mill that had been laid off and looked out at the audience, i'm 52 years old and what am i going to do? and it hit me and i started talking about my dad in that meeting and i'd never spoken about him being out of work before and my staffers were like, i did not know that about you. so it's my constituents, it's the fact that after i had my two girls, i started talking about ivf and then women would come up to me, oh, my god, thank you for talking to me and i've had more than one person come up to me because of you i tried ivf and now i'm pregnant or i've had my baby. it is constituents who made me comfortable, and relate to them and understand them and hear them i've been able to share experiences with them and that's gotten me to the place where i'm able to write the book and i'm able to open up
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myself and share these stories and learned to recognize it. these are not uniquely my stories, these are stories that people fought through and i hope they see themselves in my story whether they're the first person to go to college like i was or asked where are you from even though they're americans, whether they've had to fight to try to get some support at work for being a working mom. you know, i hope they see themselves in this book. >> well, that's really beautiful. you know, i wonder writing it helps you think about your future in different ways. we sometimes see members step away to spend more time with their family and you have a young family. have you --. >> you know what? i've got to pay for college, i'm not stopping working anytime soon. i've got a six-year-old and a three-year-old, i've got college tuition coming up, i can't stop work for another 18
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years at least. [laughter] >> that's a real problem, now, my oldest daughter will get my husband's gi bill, but i used mine up on my ph.d., i've got to be hustling for miley. [laughter] >> no, look, it's -- being a senator is an amazing job and i love it. the only thing that's better than this job was company commander, a company or battalion commander, i'm happy to be a united states senator and i think my job makes me an about thor mom so i plan on doing this for a long time to come. >> wonderful. do you plan on maybe writing another book? >> oh, my god, thgs -- let's see how this one goes. lets see if this one is well received. like i said, i can't write this book just to tell my story. i wrote this book to tell america's story and it's an
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example of an american story and to really answer my daughter's questions. i end the book if you read it with a letter to my daughters, and other moms and dads might desire to speak to your child as an adult, but from your current experience. if i write another book, it might be about the people at walter reed and the peer visitors and there are such characters there, tom and both korean war veterans and both of whom are, you know, he's a amputee and she's there. and they talked about the milk shake man a vietnam veteran and wandered around walter reed and paid for milk shakes out of his
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pocket to help them. >> not more work, senator, but i think the book is a great idea. this has been a fascinating conversation, thank you for your time. i hope all go out and read your book. >> thank you. ♪♪ >> if you're enjoying book tv, sign up for the newsletter, book tv every sunday and c-span2 or anytime online at book tv.org. television for serious readers. >> c-span has unfiltered coverage of the u.s. response to russia's invasion of ukraine, bringing you the latest from the president and other white house officials, the pentagon and the state department. as well as congress, we also
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have international protectives from the united nations and c-span networks. the c-span now mobile app and c-span.org/ukraine. our web resource page to watch the latest on demand and follow tweets from journalists on the ground. go to c-span.org/ukraine. >> dr. offit, i'm so pleased to talk with you today. >> the pleasure is mine. >> obviously, the themes in your book are very relevant for what we're going through today in the pandemic and i know you said you started writing the book around the time the pandemic began, but can you tell us where the idea for the book came from and why this book now? >> i think the emotion for this book, actually, came from the fact that i am a c

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