tv First Ladies Influence and Image CSPAN November 29, 2015 11:59pm-1:36am EST
citiestour. you are watching american history tv. >> at 8:00 p.m. eastern on sunday night throughout the rest of this year, c-span produced a series in cooperation with the white house historical association. the questions from the c-span audience, we tell the story of america's 45 first ladies. now, hillary clinton. this is about 90 minutes. ♪ >> hello, this is hillary clinton. i want to thank you for letting me speak with you about an issue that is central to our children's future and critical to our fight to restore this
nation's economy, solving this nations health care crisis. cookbook foro being first lady. the future is not something that is out there waiting to happen to us. the future is something that we make. >> i have said, and i believe, that there is a good possibility that sometime in the next 20 years, we will have a woman president. >> hillary clinton clocked many firsts in her role as first lady. as she considers another bid for the white house herself, hillary clinton's story. -- her story is still being written. tonight we will tell you the story of the spouse of our 42nd president, hillary clinton. here to tell us the story for the next 90 minutes are two journalists who know the clintons well by covering them for many years.
a biographer of hillary clinton, her book in 2000 was called "hillary's choice." and david, whose home base is authorton post, is the of many books. two of them are about the clintons. welcome to both of you. as we start here, i want to play a bit of video from 1992. it is one of those, and there are probably five or six hillary clinton clips that has become emblematic of her. this is where she talked about how she might approach the role of first lady. let's listen. [video clip] >> certainly somebody like myself, primarily children but other issues. i've done the best i can to lead in my life. it is not true and i don't know what else to say.
i suppose i could have stayed home and baked cookies, but i decided to fulfill my profession. which i entered before my husband was in public life. >> they really were promoting this idea that she would be a very involved first lady. as the administration unfolded how did that work out for her? , >> they made a lot of mistakes in the beginning. the public was not prepared for the two-for-one presidency and i don't know if they ever will be, but i think it was stunning to suddenly see this really intelligent, outspoken, totally confident woman who had been given the role of copresident. if we had a copresident, that might be a cool thing because partners in power are more and more happening. at that time, hillary had gone from the 50's to the 70's in her
wellesley and was suddenly plunged into a new women's movement. it actually took a hillary to raise the president. she did have to keep them in the channel because he was brilliant but all over the place, and reckless. to swallow all of that was really quite an overkill for the american public. it took her almost six years to really figure out how to do it. i had an occasion to meet her in the ladies room and she kind of let down her hair and said i just don't know what to do, nothing i do works. she said i understand that i'm really threatening to man. the velocity of change between men and women and the way the country is going from one generation to the boomers is overwhelming, especially to men. i'm threatening to them, and i don't know what to do about it.
>> was she a transitional figure? >> i would say she was almost one-of-a-kind. the role model she modeled herself after was eleanor roosevelt, but there was a great difference between the two. bill clinton and hillary clinton saw from the beginning that they could get to further places together than they could apart. whereas elinor was active as a first lady, she was really on her own track him a different from president roosevelt. where bill clinton relied on hillary for much of his policy from the very beginning, going back to arkansas. it was a reality to them, and his presidency -- >> we said at the outset that hillary clinton wasn't first lady who was quite diverse. she was the first first lady to have a law degree.
she was first to have an office in the west wing, where policy is made. she was later the first to testify before a grand jury in the investigations that were ramping up. she was the first first lady elected united states senator, the first to run for president, and the first to serve as secretary of state. first you have to go back to the beginning. hillary clinton was born in chicago as hillary diane rodham. tell me about her childhood and what was significant about it. >> the most significant thing was the way she saw herself, which was from the age of eight or 10 as a star. her fantasy was, and she wrote about this, was to dance in the
sun and spend under the sun and imagine that god was beaming the sundown only on her and that heavenly cameras were following and filming her every move. she made that a reality. for many years now, maybe not heavenly, but cameras nonetheless are following her every move. she made it happen. >> her father had worked in scranton, pennsylvania in the factories and mines in the neighborhood of chicago. her mother was a traditional housewife. where does this come from in hillary? >> i would not call her mother a traditional housewife. she was very strong and independent. her father was a republican, and 99.5% right. he was in the deep heart of the midwest middle-class. he was very sheltered in that sense. she had her father's politics
but it was sort of incidental to knew she thought she was. she was very strongly a methodist in that sense throughout her life, but it started in her early teenage years. her youth minister was a very progressive person to challenge hillary to think about the world outside. that was when she blossomed and changed her politics. >> you told a story about a minister who would take his wife and kids to chicago to see how other people lived. >> she was enormously affected by that. she knew then that park ridge was a bubble and she wanted to know more about how the real world work.
i have to say that her mother told me a significant story about her childhood. when they moved to park ridge that vicious social hierarchy of four-year-olds did not admit her, and a little girl named susie used to be her up every day. she came back crying, and one day her mother said, this house is no place for cowards. you go back out there and not that girl out. hillary came back home and said now i get to play with the boys. >> and she has been doing it ever since. >> as a preteen she was reading barry goldwater. jill very young to be reading that. i did not read those books as a teenager. she had a high school teacher who was very conservative who is influencing her in the other direction. >> she did have some conservative teachers, but so did all of us.
i don't think that teacher had a profound influence, no more so than her father. but it was enough to have her looking in those directions politically, but not so much internally. i wouldn't say the teachers had more influence on her than the youth ministers at the methodist church, or her mother. >> she wanted to have equilibrium. she used a carpenter's level as a visual to say keep the bubble in the middle. she also wanted to warn her, never get divorced, because she, dorothy rodham, her parents had been divorced and they abandoned her. so hillary never agreed to give the president of divorce, even though at one point he wanted it.
the other amazing thing about hillary was when she met martin luther king, introduced by don jones, the methodist minister. she heard him in chicago and realized that there were no black people that she saw in her class in part ridge. she read up on it and realized that the emancipation proclamation had not really been carried out, and she wanted to do something. her aha moment was at wellesley when she heard about martin luther king being shot. that is when she turned off from being a little goldwater girl to being a real progressive -- a real liberal.
>> she would graduate the next year. i think that is the moment she turned into an activist. hundreds of thousands of people of that generation, when they got to college invested in all of that. >> how did she get to wellesley, this midwest girl? >> she was very smart. she was president of her high school class. it was an all girls school in suburban boston. her parents drove her out in the cadillac. >> it made her father furious when he realized it was a snobby eastern liberal girls school, and he never visited her there until her graduation. the fascinating thing to me what she wrote a number of letters to
a high school friend that she gave me. she had a four-year identity crisis. she thought she had to select her identity and she laid them out like a smorgasbord. she said should i be a pseudo-hippie? that was ok, because she didn't care about her appearance. that she was a moral methodist. she read catcher in the right and hated it. she said maybe i am a misanthrope. can you be a compassionate misanthrope? and she was, sort of. should she be an alienated academic? she finally came to a decision. she chose her identity, which was, she hated looking inward. she couldn't stand introspection and her father had taught her that any expression of emotionality was a sense of weakness. she wrote about that, no
emotion. she decided she would help other people lead their best lives and help to save the world. >> she became president of the student body, is that correct? >> she did. >> she gave a speech at wellesley that actually thrust her into the national spotlight. what was that all about? >> her generation did not -- did not want to veer from a moderate republican -- she got up and said we don't believe in just materialism and competitiveness. we are looking for ecstatic experiences. her student body just gave an uproar of applause, and the faculty was mortified. it got her into life magazine and she was already a star. then i asked, what was the most ecstatic experience of your 20's? she said falling in love with bill clinton.
she said, he wasn't afraid of me. >> this was the essence of hillary, all of us exploring a world that none of us understand. there are some things we feel, competitive corporate life, is not the way of life for us. we are searching for more immediate, ecstatic, and penetrating modes of living. >> so as you know if you have been watching us along the way, the thing that makes this program different and interesting for us at the table are your questions, and we welcome them three different ways. you can call us, the phone numbers are on the screen. you can post a comment on our facebook page. there is already quite a lively discussion going on about
hillary clinton on our facebook age, and you can tweet us. a viewer wants to know whether or not hillary wanted to drop out of college but her mother encouraged her to stay. did she ever consider dropping out of college? >> i don't remember reading that in her biography. she did go through a year of depression. there were a lot of highborn society girls at wellesley and that was not her bag at all. she wasn't sure that she was smart enough at the beginning, so she was depressed. i think it was in her sophomore year, so she may have considered it. >> how did she get to yale law school? what was the decision to study law? >> somebody who wanted to have an active life effecting change, that is what they would do.
she got to law school in 1969, actually a year before bill clinton did. she took a five-year program to get through yell law school. she wanted to be a lawyer more than he ever did. it was the way to the life that they wanted, effecting social change. yale law school was a very socially active place during that time. it was like everything was rigid. >> which you have considered harvard law as well? >> yes. >> what was the environment for women studying law at yell law school when she arrived? >> there were not very many. she was quite unique there as she has been at every venue.
she didn't speak an awful lot about prejudice. she was just too darn smart. when she and bill decided to enter a contest with the barristers union present their case for a live jury, she did all the work and all the writing and bill did the presenting. he was good at the presenting, but he goofed off during the preparation. when hillary, who made a real impression on one of the judges, he later hired her for the impeachment committee on richard nixon. >> it sort of captured everything that was to come in a way. a fellow law school student described it as to kill a mockingbird and hillary was the lawyer.
>> hillary clinton talks about how she and bill clinton met. let's watch. [video clip] >> he was standing out in the hallway and it was one of those moments that just clicks. i was sitting there and i just started staring at him. i thought, i really like the way he looks. i need to get to know him. then he caught my eye and begin staring back at me. here i am in the library, not reading. he is actually surrounded by people who are talking at him, not talking back. finally i thought this is ridiculous. i am in this class with this person, so i put my books down and i went up and said if i'm going to keep looking at you in your going to keep looking at me, we ought to at least know each other's name. he says he could not remember his name. that makes me feel so good when he said that. he did sort of stumble out, i'm bill clinton. do you want me to go on about this? then it was the last day of class and we both showed up for the last day.
i was walking out the door any kind of got to the door at the same time and said where are you going? i said i'm going to go register for my classes next year. so we walked together and stood in this in less line and we talked and talked. i finally got up to the line and the registrar, this wonderful woman who i have kept in touch with said hillary, what are you going to take? and i started to fill it out and she said bill, why are you here? you registered yesterday. >> people always want to know, what was it that attracted these two people so strongly to one another? they seem so different in many ways. >> hillary had not been popular with boys in a boy-girl since. she liked big, handsome hunks,
and here was this big, handsome redhaired guy with elvis sideburns, and he had this southern charm. he was just looking after her after class like a lovesick hound dog panting behind her. it really made her feel like a woman. that was a new experience for her. then she realized how brilliant he was, and how they clicked, and how she could really do something with this type. she could really bring him out. when she left the watergate impeachment committee to go out to little rock, fayetteville, her best friend was saying you are crazy, you are leaving this fabulous career in washington where you are in line to be in a political life. she said, bill clinton is going to be president some day, and i'm going to marry him.
>> from bill clinton's perspective, obviously there were a lot of women who were interested in him. but hillary was different. during that time, his roommate at yale would say he would prepare and prep them for times when hillary was coming over because he wanted to impress her so much. she would not put up with what she called his arkansas palaver. she was the one who had the guts to say come off it, bill. they actually did have a lot in common. they had the same ambitions. they thought they could get places together that they could not get to a park. they share a love of politics and movies and books and intellectual things. there was a spark there, that i think hillary from the beginning was head over heels for bill. i think he just saw her as
someone different and someone who could really help him and be a partner. >> how long did it take from that first meeting to marriage, and how does the relationship progressed? >> it took several years. what happened in between was quite fascinating. when bill was running for his first congressional race, the campaign was chaotic, and he was losing. hillary dropped everything and flew out there and came into the little campaign area. she was a college girl that he was having a romance with out the side door. she came in and said what is going on? that night, the night before the vote, they knew there were going to lose. she and the campaign manager and his wife all got locked in a room together to find out what was really going wrong here. hillary was giving them the
third degree and the wife said i even had to take bill clinton's girlfriend as my babysitter to get him out of the way. she started swearing and cursing and throwing things. the next thing you know, the window was broken. and who sat through the whole thing, nobody ever mentioned him? with capacity of a buddha -- bill clinton. that set the tone for the way she dealt with all of those, it was never his fault, it was always somebody else's fault. >> when she came out to arkansas he was running for the senate. they were law professors together at the university of arkansas.
it set the tone for the differences between them. bill clinton was the easy professor that gave everyone a b plus at the worst. that is because they were all going to be voters in arkansas sunday, he didn't want to upset them. hillary was completely organized. her classes were tough. the dean of the law school said if he was going to hire one of the clintons to be a law professor, it would have been hillary. >> talk about her experience on the impeachment panel after watergate. one of the few women, one of the youngest lawyers. she defined it as one of the most important or formative experiences of her life. how did it shape her? >> it was a historic moment in american history. she worked for -- she had met
him at yale when he was a judge. the congressional hotel is where the staff was working. her job was not the most exciting. a lot of the staffers were not getting into the grid of the scandal itself. her job was to look at the constitutionality of impeachment. one of her bosses was ernie nussbaum. he would later be the council at the white house when the clintons got there. it was really an examination of close of power and the manipulation of power and the abuse of power. you could not work in that office without learning a lot about that. >> were going to take you next to fayetteville and the house that bill clinton bought for hillary a as he proposed, and where they got married. let's watch.
>> this is where the clintons lived when they were professors in fayetteville. bill was driving her down this to you 21 road to go to the times road to go to the airport 1230 and they saw the house and it was for sale. hillary pointed at the house and said that is a cute house. bill took her to the airport and picked her up from the airport about a month later and said i bought your dream house, you have to marry me and live there with me. that was the fourth time he had proposed. and they were married right there. there were nine people at the wedding. it was a very small, intimate ceremony. the wedding announcement made no mention of the fact that hillary was retaining her own name. bill did not seem to be bothered by this. when they told hillary's mother, she cried. we have a replica of her wedding dress here at the museum.
it was $53 off the rack and it was made by jessica mcclintock, a popular designer at the time. it was a very humble beginning for the clintons here in fayetteville. they were both making $14,000 a year as law professors. they used to sleep out here in the summers because they did not have air conditioning. this is the clinton kitchen. she referred to it as the room in the house that desperately needed to be remodeled. this is what it looked like when the clintons were here. they had the harvest gold appliances. of course hillary never cooked. she said bill would occasionally fry things. the formal dining room the clintons called the war room. they used it as campaign headquarters for the attorney general campaign, which was the first successful political campaign in 1976.
there was a map of arkansas and hillary had the idea to visit each county three times. fayetteville was a place where they readily settled in. they really thought they had arrived. they had got married, bought a house, they had successful jobs as law professors and they had finished law school. they had reached a plateau where they had reached a lot of the things they set goals for in life. >> we are going to get some of our first callers in here and then we will pick up our story. let's begin with james in oakland, california, our first caller tonight. >> i am loving this series. one question for gail sheehy. she referred to a time when hillary clinton agreed to divorce bill clinton. i'm also curious about where she had major policy differences than bill clinton. thank you.
>> it was 1989 when bill clinton had gotten caught with -- he had pulled back from running for governor again and hillary had explored whether or not she should run for governor, when the polls showed that she was not going to be getting many votes at all. bill clinton fell in love with another woman, really fell in love with her. this was not a bimbo or a lounge singer. this was a woman, quality professional whose family was in arkansas and in politics. he asked hillary for a divorce, and she consulted with her minister and herself and came back and said nothing doing. that's not going to happen. and this affair is going to end. and that was the end of it.
they never brought that up again and they found their own arrangement much later, which we can talk about later. >> there were some policy differences. one of the major ones was more a nuanced and complete difference. early in the second term when bill clinton declared that the american government was over and was reforming welfare. hillary rodham clinton's mentor was marian wright edelman. she was very much opposed to what they were trying to do in terms of welfare reform and he quit the administration. that was one of the major differences.
>> from brooklyn, you are on the air. >> will you ask the question again? >> i want to know what drives hillary clinton to want to become the first lady? >> isn't something she had aspired to? you said from the beginning she knew that bill clinton was going to be president. >> she knew that he had it in him to be president, and she wanted to be part of that. she wanted to be a star, and she thought she would hitch our wagon to his star as a way to become a star herself, and she was right. >> we have had quite a few young callers calling in. chad crabtree is on twitter and he asked, how influential is religion and her faith.
hrc does not seem as visible or vocal with it as president clinton. >> i think it is more important to her. she was a very moral methodist. a very buttoned up prude in many ways, socially conservative in behavior. faith got her through some of the worst times. she really relied on it, and also the inspiration of eleanor roosevelt. >> bill clinton was a baptist, hillary was a methodist. hillary used her religion more as an excellent nation in her active life. her motto was do the best you can, the most you can, as often as you can. that was part of our methodist motto.
>> good evening. i haven't talked to you since i -- ida mckinley. these are two icons and i have read both your works. i really enjoyed your work on character back in 1988. my question was, in response to a caller last week with mrs. bush, i think the question was over the relationship between the first lady's during the transition. i remember a quote of mrs. bush and i would like to get both your comments on it. after the informal tour of the white house, mrs. bush in response to reporters questions, i think the reporter said, do
you have any advice for mrs. clinton? and mrs. bush said avoid reporters like the plague, and if they quote you, make sure they heard you. so i would like to find out from both of you in terms of what hillary clinton -- i don't remember her having much of a comment then, but i would like to get your take on the transition, and thank you so much for your work. >> she certainly did not avoid the question. it is interesting that barbara bush on your program talked about how much she likes bill clinton now. i don't think that was necessarily true then. >> over time they became quite good friends. >> i had an experience with hillary early in 1992, actually the day after she and bill
appeared on 60 minutes to address the gennifer flowers issue. i flew with hillary in a tiny little plane to pierre, south dakota before she was going to appear at a roast. they're on the television screen was jennifer flowers. i was right next to hillary and i watched her expression. not an iota of surprise, then just directing her secretaries to get them on the phone. ride into battle mode. she swept into the roast, charmed the whiskers off the farmers, went to the phone again and came back boiling mad. we got on the plane and for the
next half hour, she staked out what would be their battle plan for the rest of their time in the white house. she said they are now doing paid character assassination, and run against the press. the second one was a big mistake. she did shut the access to reporters off, which really alienated them a great deal. and she stonewalled all the time, and she lied much of the time. and the press very early on stopped giving them a glass half-full and started giving them glass half empty. she had decided, she had made a choice. she was either going to -- they were symbiotic, joined at the hip. they had an unspoken agreement,
she didn't ask him for any details about the women, and he didn't ask her about whitewater or her cattle futures or her investments. >> we have got to spend a little bit of time with the arkansas years. we will not do it justice, but dave murdock asks how did the locals treat hillary? we use that as a jumping off point to say after the successful attorney general bid, he went on, bill clinton, to be elected to five nonconsecutive terms as governor of the state of arkansas. what is important about hillary clinton's time during that period? >> in some ways as she did as first lady of the united states. when bill clinton for started
relying on her to make his most important policy issues. the precursor to health care in the white house was education reform in arkansas, where he appointed hillary to lead the effort to inform the arkansas school system, which was so bad that arkansas was 49 instead of 50th on test scores. she came into the first lady of arkansas as hillary rodham. part of the campaign against bill was sort of this woman who would not take her husband's last name, and that was so un-arkansan.
will clinton was called the protean character who could adapt to any setting. hillary was also adaptable. she's the one who came from illinois and the east coast to arkansas. after the first two years, i think she looked to get out of work in arkansas and she was part of the whole social and political scene. >> a lot of it had to do with image. she had not given any thought to her appearance, buying a dress off the rack. she dressed kind of like a hippie. she didn't wear makeup, her hair was not fixed, and she really spruced up. she pulled herself together and began to look more like an acceptable southern lady, and give teas and do more of the first lady duties. but she was also supporting him.
the big thing she gave bill clinton was money. she was the breadwinner while he was making a very paltry salary for many years. she was made partner at the law firm three years after she retired when she was back in the governor's office, because that was now a very big in action. >> a little parallel with the obama family, where michelle obama was the lawyer earning more money to allow her husband to pursue -- >> the difference is that michelle during that time had been happy with her husband being a political guy going off to springfield illinois. hillary knew what his job was and she supported that part of it. >> gail sheehy, in arkansas there were the seeds of things that she would take to the white house, and you referenced them. we should explain what decisions he made that would end up becoming investigations.
the whitewater investment, the whitewater properties the rose , law firm and billing during that time, investing in futures were all things americans across the country would begin to hear about when they mated to the white house. talk about her involvement in these decisions that she made that would become national. >> the real story here is about the decision to allow a special prosecutor. that was a big debate between bill and hillary. >> i'm looking at what she actually did there -- >> to this day, i don't think anybody really knows. she was investing. she had a hotshot investor who got her into cattle futures. >> a friend of their at the university when the clintons were there, and her husband was very sharp with trading.
that is how they got into that. $1000 could make $100,000 on cattle futures. she got in trouble with the rose law firm records and actions involving jim mcdougal who was actually bill clinton's friend. >> it was sort of the morass of arkansas politics they got trapped in. >> john is watching us from michigan. what is your question? >> like everyone, i have been following this series of programs and i want to commend you, susan, and all of c-span for such wonderful journalism. it has been great. >> i would like to go back to 1972, and i believe that bill clinton was in charge of the texas mcgovern campaign, and
hillary and a man who is now a historian also worked on that mcgovern campaign in texas in 1972. that was the first foray that the two of them, bill and hillary, got together. am i correct in that? one other thing connected with that, i think i heard this, and i wonder if this is true or if it is improbable, i believe bill clinton said or wrote in one of his book that in the course of that, he drove cokie roberts dad, hale boggs, who was then the house majority leader, to the airport and dropped him off, because he was a campaign aide, and said goodbye to him and everything. that was the last that hale boggs was ever seen. >> we will get a response to your question.
>> i think it was hugely informative because this was a very new kind of politics, which they believed in. mcgovern had the kind of platform that they were interested in. they thought they were going to bring that new politics to a larger america. i think that inspired them. >> they also met betsy right in that campaign. she was furious with hillary for advancing bill clinton's career instead of striking out on her own, but hillary pulled back from that. she was more interested in making it as a twosome. >> taylor branch and bill clinton were very young and they were running texas. they had been hired by gary hart to run the state. texas was a political mess. there was a huge split between
the progressives and the conservatives. it was an enormous learning experience for both the clintons. hillary was in san antonio and bill was in austin, running the campaign. he took george mcgovern out to the pedernales to meet with lbj. clinton learned a lot in that campaign. he also learn how you can lose. from that moment on, bill clinton's concept was how you could be a moderate progressive and still hang onto something in america as it was changing. >> during his term as governor, the clintons increased their national profile, leading to the
1992 presidential campaign. the mentioned earlier that it was a bruising one. including the arrival of ross perot's candidacy in the campaign. it brought bill clinton and hillary clinton to the white house. after they arrive, there was the announcement about health care. we have a couple of clips to show you that help demonstrate the intention of the first lady's involvement in health care. let's watch. [video clip] >> i'm glad hillary has agreed to share this task force and she will be sharing some of the heat i expect to demonstrate. in the coming months, the american people will learn that we have a first lady of many talents, but most of all who can bring people together around on complex and difficult issues to hammer out consensus and get things done. >> as the president said, and as he believed, this is not a partisan issue.
it is not an ideological battle. it is a problem to be solved that affects all of us. and i'm looking forward over the next weeks and months to not only working with you, but to watching you craft the most important social policy that our nation will have confronted in many decades. >> a lot of people thought i should not be making recommendations about legislation or that i shouldn't be involved in working on behalf of what my husband asked you to work on, which was one of his primary objectives. they felt that was somehow inappropriate, that if you exercise influence, do it behind the scenes where nobody can see you. i find that curious. i like to know what goes on in front of the scenes, because i'm very much the kind of person who believes that you should say what you mean and mean what you
say and take the consequences. just like anybody else who is involved in public life. >> emily on twitter says what and why was the difference in hillary clinton's health care proposal failing compared to obama care? why did that not work for the clintons? >> i would say that one of the contradictions in hillary's statement, she talked about how she liked to be open and upfront. one of the big problems with that effort to push through health care was that it was so secretive and congress did not feel they were part of it. of any sort of major initiative through congress is difficult to matter who is controlling it. there was pretty much antipathy toward it and money spent by insurance companies to defeat it.
president obama was able with the democratic majority to just barely get it through by working with them. one of the major problems with the clintons effort is there was not the feeling they were actually partners in it and that they had just concocted it in secret meetings. >> how important was it, the appointment of hillary clinton ultimately in its trajectory? >> i think it was a long hangover for the clintons. you can see from the video that hillary came on with a modulated voice. she speaks without notes and paragraphs, all the skills that we have seen her practice all along, but she never said i'm not an expert, but. she never showed any deference to the people on this committee, one of the most important committees in washington, to say i look over to your expertise.
she said i know, i've studied, i've talked to thousands of americans, and this is what we need to do. think she got off on the wrong foot with members of congress. as david said, then everything was in secret, many, many meetings, and then this giant thing with thousands of pages was dropped on the table. the same complaints, the same opposition from republicans on every single score, including will americans be guaranteed they can keep their health care plan if they like it? the key was in her defense when she said i don't understand why i could make policy just like any other public official.
she was a public official. >> in 1994, the republicans took control for the first time in several decades. i don't want to do a bill clinton presidency discussion but i want to frame this question in terms of how it affected hillary clinton's record. republicans took over the investigation. can you talk about that? >> the defeat in 1994 was to the clintons exactly like the defeat in 1980 when they lost the governorship. they had to recover in the same way. they had to think of what the apology would be, how to get back into the game. even though they were not on the ballot in 1994, it that defeat was the same as any other for them. everything started to unravel from there. >> we will talk more about the
charges and the investigations later on. the decision to put hillary in charge of health care, the uprising against it which then had an effect on the election, which then change the course of the presidency. >> other causes that she was involved in continually were children and also women's issues. she published a book during this time and it became another with her, "ittic takes a village." >> i followed her on that book tour, and the public loved it. that contest was really hillary's. it was her form of family values. we need to take the village to
support -- that women who could work and have a family at the same time would be productive in the community. it is not all just pull yourself up by your bootstraps. she was mocked for it by the press for a while, but she was so popular on the book tour, and her book became a big best seller. she was able to rehabilitate herself with that book, and then became a book writer among her many other talents, which she continues to use. >> she did win a grammy award. >> sort of like barack obama's nobel peace prize. >> hillary clinton held the white house new summit lobby for passage of the foster care independence act. >> she also called out the military on agent orange and
made them finally admit that this was a disease that was the result of warfare in vietnam. >> let's go to jason next in louisville, kentucky. >> thank you for doing this special and also thanks to c-span. not really a question, just a comment around the historical significance of hillary clinton as secretary of state. specifically that she made bringing equality of the gay community to the forefront. one way she did that was with her historic speech before the human rights council in geneva where she famously said, "gay rights are human rights." much as she did in beijing regarding women's rights. we had not have someone at that level to take that stand and really make that push.
>> thank you for calling in tonight. talking about her interest in children's issues, we have not talked about the clintons child, chelsea, who was born in 1980. a word about their style as parents and how they raised her. >> you could see when they got to the white house that they were protecting her. she wasn't part of the story until there were certain times when they needed to present her as a family. there is nothing negative to say about their parenting, and there shouldn't be. they were excellent parents. they showered her with knowledge and books and love, and she became very much like parts of both of them, the better parts of each of them, i would say. >> when you watched how they managed to give her something of
a normal life in that very public environment, what were your observations? >> there were the awkward years in middle adolescence when she was kind of gawky, but she carried herself with confidence that they must have instilled in her while she was going through that awkward stage. she was devoted to her mother, and then her father used to come home and have dinner with her all the time when hillary was traveling, so he would have his saturday night date with chelsea. that was one of the things that was most heartbreaking for him when had really gone over the line with monica lewinsky. he kind of lost chelsea for a while. >> there was a time when he was governor of arkansas and chelsea was asked, what does your father do? she said he talks on the telephone.
>> hillary clinton actually wrote a book while she was in the role, "an invitation to the white house, at home in history." may i ask each of you to comment about her stewardship of the white house and how they used the white house politically to advance their goals? would you talk about her interest in the history of the white house and how she approached it? >> she started america's treasures preservation and did a lot of research and found a lot of things and put them on display. she did restoration of the treaty room, several of the rooms in the white house. she was not as active as jacqueline kennedy was, but she was still pretty active. i don't know much about their social entertaining.
they had some big white house lawn parties, but they didn't use the white house nearly as much as the kennedys who made it a cultural center. she was very busy doing other policy things. >> we know about the lincoln bedroom. they brought in a lot of musicians. bill clinton loved music, much like president obama and michelle bringing in various musicians, the clintons did as well. they also turned it into something of a sleepover place. a lot of friends stayed there often. no one actually lived there like under roosevelt. also a lot of big donors would get rewarded with a night in the lincoln bedroom. >> let me take a couple of calls and then we have to talk about the investigations and legal troubles of the clintons as a political partnership.
ellie, you are on the air. >> you had a funny look on your face there. this has to do with something that was brought up last week with barbara bush. they put the fear of the lord in the press and they would not get called back to the white house if they printed something that barbara bush was not in agreement with. barbara bush new her husband had been having an affair and so did a number of the press, but they would not acknowledge that. hillary clinton, she lied that