tv Presidential Legacies CSPAN August 29, 2018 4:52pm-5:35pm EDT
online at c-span video library at c-span.org. on thursday we turn to oral history series and conversations with women who were members of congress. then on friday we'll show you discussions on world war i known as the great war including a look at soldiers on the western front and how the u.s. dealt with shell shock. a discussion now of presidential legacies. over the next 40 minutes white house historic cal association president mclawyer intalks about the lbj foundation and formerly laura bush chief ofuwyer intalk about the lbj foundation and formerly laura bush chief rwyer about the lbj foundation and formerly laura bush chief iwyer about the lbj foundation and formerly laura bush chief nwyer about the lbj foundation and formerly laura bush chief yer i
about the lbj foundation and formerly laura bush chief er in about the lbj foundation and formerly laura bush chief r int about the lbj foundation and formerly laura bush chief intat the lbj foundation and formerly laura bush chief intalks about the lbj foundation and formerly laura bush chief ntalks about the lbj foundation and formerly laura bush chief talks about the lbj foundation and formerly laura bush chief talks about >> good afternoon. . good afternoon. my name is bob mcgee. i serve on the board of directors of the white house historic cal association. as you continue to enjoy your lunch i want to introduce our program for today. you may have heard that we were planning on having our wonderful friend of the white house historical association, renown historian dr. william seal with us for this lunch session but he's been unable to join us. we, however, have a terrific plan b for you. and that is a conversation with a nitd amok bride, mark dimare grove, and stewart mc-lauren on km . and i know if time allows
they'll take questions. now to our panel. mcbride related to the white house and presidency spans more than 30 years as a white house adviser, chief of staff, and diplomatic adviser. currently, she is executive in residence at the center for congressional and presidential studies in the school of public affairs at american university in washington where she directs programming on the legacies of america's first ladies and their historic cal influence on policy, politics and global diplomacy. anita served as assistant to president george bush as well as chief of staff to first lady laura bush. she directed the first lady's travel to 67 countries in four years to support foreign policy objectives in human rights, women's empowerment, global health, education. she is a member of the u.s.
afghan women's council, the international republican institute's women's diplomacy network, the national italian american foundation, and most importantly a board member of the white house historical association, and chair of the committee that organized the presidential sites summit. mark updegrove is an author, presidential historian and president and ceo of the lbj foundation in austin, texas. until recently, he served as the director of the lyndon johnson library and museum for eight years he has authored four books on presidential history, including his newest book, the last republicans, inside the extraordinarily relationship between george hw bush and george w. bush. mark is commentator for abc news.
good morning america, and this week. and, finally, our third panelist is stewart mc-lauren, he's president of the white house historical association. his 30-plus year in washington has been in senior roles, georgetown university, red cross and motion picture association. he also worked with the reynold reagan presidential foundation to conceptualize, plan, and execute the ronald reagan centennial celebration in 2011. please join in welcoming today's panel, anita, mcgriebride, mark updegrove and stewart. >> thank you very much. and i'd also like to recognize
the wife of our other board member barrett that couldn't be here today. wonderful board members. and these men and women give extraordinarily guidance and governance to our organization. founded by miss kennedy 1961 nonpartisan partner to the white house and we are honored to be conceiver this site summit this he can would. today we'll talk about presidential legacy and commemoration. and let's start by diving in lbj. mark your leadership with the lbj foundation monday would have been 110th birthday of presidential johnson. and so there is a commemoration of sorts or at least a noting of that occasion. and johnson was larger than life as president. larger than life post presidency. and what would he think of his legacy as we see him today? >> well, first of all, stewart, to you and a knitnita, congratulations on this
conference. [ applause ] >> i know how much work they have put into this, and it is clearly paid off, because it's been a rousing success. so congratulations to both of you. and thanks to all of you for what you do. i mentioned it yesterday to the group that convened around lunch, but i'm not only historian, i'm a patron of your establishments and i appreciate so much not only what you do, but the passion that you put into what you do. so thanks so much for preserving and perpetuating the history of this great country. stewart, to answer your question, i told a story yesterday that i'll repeat, but lbj when he was a senator was campaigning for re-election, and he convened his speech writers around a stump speech that he wanted to take around the state. and they brought in a speech, and a draft, and he starts reading it, and he comes upon a passage from plato.
and he says, plato, plato, let me get this straight. i'm going back home to texas to talk to just plain folks, and you have me quoting plato? he said keep the quote but start it with my daddy always used to say -- [ laughter ] . i mention it because my daddy said certain things about lyndon johnson. and what he said contemporaneously when johnson was president was very different from what we are saying today. presidential legacies evolve. and i think it takes us at least a generation, and even more than two in some cases, to get a clear perspective on how basically a president will be remembered in perpetuity. lyndon johnson it took much longer, because vietnam so divided this nation, and it took at least two generations for passions to recede around
vietnam. but when they did, and we got clear perspective, when that dark cloud of vietnam dissipated, we saw what lyndon johnson did in the legislative arena, and in particular what did he in civil rights. and there is no president, say perhaps for abe lincoln, who has done much in the way of cause of civil rights ex which in so many ways defines us as a nation as lyndon johnson, and finally getting due credit for those accomplishments. so i think in answer tour credit, stewart, he would be pleased. >> well, we can't talk about presidents without talking about first ladies. and and and anita, you've done a terrific john and favorite to laura bush. let's talk about johnson, mrs. johnson took over being first lady very suddenly in passing of president kennedy. and mrs. kennedy had done so much in our space historic
preservation of the white house, but mrs. johnson continued that in her own way. these were 45 men and women who have been very unique in their presidents and in their personalities, and also in their legacies, as we see evidenced in these wonderful presidential sites. but tell us about mrs. johnson and her role as first lady and that transition, and the very painful way, and what she did in the white house in our space. >> well, first, i think -- let me put my microphone on, that would help. thank you, stewart for that question. and first i want to acknowledge a couple of really terrific first lady historians are in the audience with us, too, katie sibley from st. joseph university, and nancy smith is in the back of the room who did oral histories with lady bird johnson and got to know her quite well. then at the archives for many, many years. i'm always struck by -- and i
happen to live in the neighborhood just around the corner from where the johnsons lived at the el manies where he lived as vice president. then they lived for even several weeks, if not almost a month after he had become president. and she had become first lady after that. the tragedy of the assassination. i so i always walking by that house always feel the presence of the johnsons still looms in the spring valley neighborhood of washington d.c. but i'm really struck by the quote from mrs. johnson herself about how she felt about becoming first lady after the assassination of john f. kennedy. and how she said people look at the living and wish for the dead. you just can't imagine really the personal pain that hiexhibid
that the whole country was feeling. and here were the johnsons front and center that take over leadership of the community at that time and feel the challenge to also help comfort the nation in a certain way. and to help mrs. kennedy through it all, which of course they were incredibly gracious as we know, and told her she can live and stay in the white house as long as she needs to to get her children packed up and moved out and to move on with her life. but mrs. johnson, again, having a front row seat of working with laura bush for so many years, and she would say very honestly, that in addition to her mother-in-law, of course, lady bird johnson was her favorite first lady. and she learned so much from her. from watching her and being a texas woman herself and sort of the graciousness of mrs.
kennedy, also, mrs. kennedy of course, and also mrs. johnson how she provided over the white house. and mrs. bush who loves the outdoors and loves flowers and plants and natural landscapes and the national parks always looked to mrs. johnson as an example of, you know, someone who so appreciated our natural beauty. and mrs. bush would say, you no he, people would look at mrs. johnson and say oh she loved flowers. but really what she was was our nation's first conservationist first lady. so i think that her preference -- and once of the personal recollections of i have mrs. johnson is seared in my memory for the rest of my life, is mr. johnson, rob, who we heard from last night on the descendants panel, but linda had called me when i was chief of staff to mrs. bush, and had said i'm bringing my mother back to
washington for what i know will be her last time to see some of her friends. of course, we know she had a stroke. she wasn't speaking. she was in a while chair but still very vibrant. aen she said do you think we can come to the white house? well, i knew instinctually mrs. bush's reaction would be of course. and i never answer for anything on mrs. bush's schedule without talking to her first but i know the answer would be yes. i said i'll call you back with dates and times that could work. and mrs. bush was so thrilled to have mrs. johnson come to the white house, that she is now the sitting first lady can take the former first lady through the white house. and so mrs. bush had made sure that any of the resident staff that were still working in the white house, that had been there in the johnson time, were there to greet mrs. johnson at the
diplomatic reception room door when she stepped in. and in addition, one of the butlers who had worked for the johnsons, mr. german, was now a part-time elevator operator that operated the president es operator in the white house just a few days a he can would, mrs. bush made sure he was there, and he was the one who greeted mrs. johnson when the door was opened of the car for her to get out. and the way that mrs. johnson reached up in recognition to embrace mr. german and how he embraced her would really make you weep, but would also, the two last things that i'll just say about mrs. johnson's visit, her last visit to the white house, is mrs. bush wheeled here into the room on the ground floor which had just been repainted under one of the restoration projects that mrs. bush did, thanks to the white
house historic association, and mrs. bush had had the walls of the verma room painted the same as mrs. johnson wore in the official portrait. and moved the portrait above the fireplace in the room so very striki striking. there is three striking portraits in that room. jackie kennedy right when you walk into the room, the beautiful painting of her. mrs. johnson's over the fireplace. then eleanor roosevelts. so mrs. bush said to her, lady bird, i want you to see -- >> and eisenhower is in there too. >> i'm sorry, thank you. for the eisenhower descendants in the room, i apologize. but i'm talking about mrs. johnson's visit, i'm sorry. but laura bush said to her, lady
bird i want you to know i have this room repainted in the color that would match your beautiful dress. and took her upstairs in the elevator and brought her by her husband's portrait on the state floor and the ground foyer. and mrs. johnson, i'll never forget it, just in her wheelchair, went up just as to embrace her husband. it's one of those things as a staffer in the white house, you realize you are a staff, you are not a principal, you work there, but it's one of those incredible opportunities that you get to see firsthand that really reminds you what a blessing it is to have the opportunity to be there and to witness the history. >> you mentioned this, talking about, stewart, the way in which johnsons took office was through tragedy. and we kind of forgotten until you recited it yesterday.
mrs. johnson described that period after president kennedy's association as americans looking at the living and wishing for the dead. boy, that really puts into perspective the difficult situation that she walked into as first lady. and her husband as president. >> sure. >> we talk about death and grieving, and these are important times in our nation's history when a president passes. tomorrow most of our group will be going up to washington national cathedral which has been the stage and setting for a number of presidential funerals. this saturday senator mccain's funeral will be in that cathedral. eight have died in office, that's significant office, and elements state funerals taking place in the white house. tonight we'll be in east room where kennedy laid in state. and then post president sit we remember reagan and ford and mrs. reagan and mrs. bush.
what is it about these moments of death and focus on a former president or a living president? one of my probably earliest memory of a living president was four years old sitting in front of a blk and white television of the kennedy funeral and being trans fixed and scared about this, really. what is it about death and presidential funerals or first lady funerals that brings home to us who they are to us and what we remember them to be? >> we are naturally divided as a nation, this will answer your question. but we are naturally divided. we were divided from the very beginning when founding father is came to philadelphia to forge the nation. they were divided by cultural, ideological differences, and they found common ground into which they planted the seeds of democracy. that's the story of our kintcou. we are naturally divided but
there are moments when we all come together as a nation. one of them is when we have the death of a president. we don't lose a democrat or republican president, but we lose our president. and we become united as americans. and there aren't that many opportunities for us to have these moments of unity which are so needed in our nation. and that's why i was disappointed that not more was made of senator mccain's death. senator mccain is one of those few americans that we all cherish him as an example of what it is to be american. and we can celebrate in his legacy the things that we all hold dear as american values. so i think that's, you know, we talked about the passing of george hw bush when he's come close to death in the past several years. and this man is it a beacon of
character at a time when we need humility and civility and the notion of service over self. so it's what these people represent and what we aspire to be as americans that celebrate around the passing of these people. >> absolutely. >> well, mrs. bush's funeral, we were talking yesterday about it was like america's mom had passed and reminiscing about who she was. tell us your thoughts, anita, you were both at that funeral, tell us your impressions on first lady's funeral like that and how that differs from a president? what does a first lady mean to us at a time like that? >> i think you described it very well, stewart. she was like a mother and a grandmother to the nation. and really left an imprint through her example as someone who loved her husband, loved her family, and loved her country, and really her life so openly and with such great joy, to be
each of those things, a mother, a wife, and first lady of our nation. i this i she was also, too, you very gracious second lady. and, you know, in the shadows of mrs. reagan, which of course couldn't have been very easy. but she presided over the white house with such joy. and really one of the things that she said to her staff, and people knew this about her, when she became first lady she gathered her staff together and said i want to do something that helps an american every single day. and that is quite a charge to give to the staff. and that's what they saet about doing. had she had another four years or he had another four years, who knows what that could have been. but i think the post presidency too, both of them, her life with him after, i think that was again a great example that
continued to endear her to the country. i think there is something too regardless what you might feel about george w. bush, this family, father and son, lived through each other's presidencies. and those two first ladies had that opportunity to, you know, help each other. laura bush said i learned a lot about being first lady from my mother-in-law. what a great example. no other first lady has had that. because as al gore knows back there about the adams, louisa adams did not have her mother-in-law to ask questions about being first lady. and it was just so different. but barbara bush left an imprint just by the sheer force of her personality and her character. and of course i wish jon meachum who spoke earlier today on the presidents and the press panel of course is the only person in america other than barbara bush
who has read her full diaries. because she kept incredible diaries. mrs. johnson kept incredible diaries. and as we know jon was you'eulot at her funeral. but she could slice and dyes too and people liked that about her personality. >> we had george w. bush around the library around the 50th anniversary of the passage of the civil rights. and we were in the great hall of the library. and around the perimeter of the hall are portraits of all of our presidents and first lady sz. and barbara bush was infamously known among the family ranks as the enforcer. and george w. bush looked at the portrait and leaned over to me if you look carefully you can see her eyes move.
[ laughter ] and i was relieved at the funeral that it was so short. that's what she would want. >> she planned it. >> she absolutely planned it meticulously that way. and i'll never forget, it was a couple years before her death, the bushes asked me to did a fundraiser in the public library. and the evening before we had dinner, my wife and i had dinner with the bushes, and i walked her to her car, the bushes came in separate cars. as she was getting into the car, she said george and i are many coulding tomorrow. i said i'm honored. she said tell me about the format. what are you doing. i said i'll speak about 40 minutes and take ten minutes of questions. as she was going to the car she said make it a half hour, no questions. [ laughter ] >> well, we talked about presidents and first ladies and
their roles. but we have 45 descendants that have been with us this week going back to james monroe, descendants of james monroe that are here this week. let's talk about presidential families and descendants and what role they play in keeping or evolving or changing that legacy of a president and a first lady. >> i'll let mark do most of this, of course, because he runs a library, where you depend on the family to be involved. it's a huge factor to be able to. and i think we heard that through a lot of the panels at our summit this week. i heard it even at the philanthropy panel, being able to engage the community where a presidential site is to have the people feel connected. the more they can feel connected to the human side being honored with the name on the building is important, and paszing these stories along is so important.
i was struck this week too that susan ford is it here, she was on our panel and terrific about representing her parents legacy. she brought her daughter with her because she wants her daughter to now take up this mantle of being, you know, kind of succession planning for passing on the legacy and message of our ancestors who have had this incredible role in our history of leading our country. so i think it's hugely, hugely important. >> yeah, and i think that's right. i think it's important, though, not to direct history. i talked to george hw bush about this. and he said we are not trying to build the legacy. i'm going to let historians decide what the legacy should be. and i think that's a visible for family members too p and i've had the great good fortune of working with linda johnson robb who you all saw last night and
lucy johnson, the johnson daughters on projects relating to the presidential library and the lbj school of public affairs. and they are not heavy handed. they will trust that historians will get it right. and it must have been very painful for them to see their father is so defined by vietnam for so long. by the way, when president johnson was in office in 1968, both of the johnson daughters were living under the white house roof with their parents. and both of their husband's were in vietnam. so their husband's were putting their lives on the line in vietnam because of the decisions because of their commander in chief, their father-in-law, and they are hearing protesters outside the white house gate chanting hey hey lbj how many kids did you kill today. and they could see him striving for peace and knew how painful this was for him. so i really admire their not
being heavy handed in terms of trying to direct that legacy, but letting history sort things out, and it has. >> it's been so special to have them with us this week and integrated into our programs and how special was it last night at our event at the kennedy center to have john tyler there, the grandso grandson, the grandson, not the great grandson, but the grandson. >> [ inaudible ]. >> spanning over 200 years of american history in three generations. >> that's incredible. >> and you feel like you are seeing through them a window into american history. >> that's the role they play. >> a big part of what we do, white house historical association is education related, telling stories, going back to when george washington selected this piece of land two blocks from where we are, and the young irish architect that
designed the white house soch. so we have these institutions that develop education programs that unpack and tell the story. let's talk a little bit about the importance of the education process, connecting with the next generation, which did not know these men and women as a living president. how do you put those programs together? and how do you do your outreach to take legacy and take education to students of all ages? >> well, i just think here's one thing i'd like to add. of course i know this afternoon our next panel at the archives is on civic education and this whole role that the presidential sites play in this and it is so important. i think, personally, we've been chipping away at our civic education in our country for too many years. and i think our kids and i still have school age kids, middle school and high school kids aren't getting the same sort of lessons that we were getting on
the blackboard. it is a little different. but i think that there are so many opportunities that particularly all the sites really have. and even opening night ceremony the lincoln memorial when we brought the three actors from the play hamilton to the stage, not to sing and dance for us, but to really say how do you feel about this role that you have to bring history to life in a way that is so engaging? and really what responsibility they have to educate our young people. and i was really pleased to hear them say the partnership that they have with the gil der lar man institute in new york on middle school and high school education around these founding father figures. and to really explore the courage, but also the sacrifice that it took to found the
nation. so i was very encouraged by that. and i think we've tried to really tell that message throughout our summit this week. but the libraries with the rich material that they have, the archives, the papers, the artifacts. one of the earlier panels said it's one thing, i think allen deal bureau on the philanthropy panel said, it's one thing to have the artifacts there, but it's the stories, and how do you tell them and keep telling them to people engaged. and i work at a university. and other people here are from universities. every time have you a new class of students that comes in, as, you know, freshman, you realize this is sort of the next group that you have to teach about 9/11 or whatever it might be. because now they were two years old when 9/11 happened. so what do they know about it? what's their frame of reference?
they don't. how the president had to deal with those decisions. how the country changed forever. but you feel this obligation when you are around young people constantly educating them about our history. >> you know, i know this is very definition of preaching to the choir, but that's why what you do is so vitally important because there is an education gap in this country. kids don't care about civics. but if you can get them engaged in the stories of your presidents they'll start to get trds. we have seen that with hamilton on a huge mon huemental school. i'm looking at them, get kids engaged in michigan, and the story of the michiganer, gerald ford, who becomes president of the united states and does something to heal the nation, they will start to get interested in civics and
history, and that can only make us a stronger country. >> i think we have time for three questions. there is a microphone right here if you'd like to come to the microphone. but i'd like to begin by inviting steven to the microphone. one of of my great privileges was to work with sen he tenial in 2011 ronald reagan. but it was an opportunity for me to take the life, leadership and legacy of the 40th president of the united states and to share that with the next generation that did not know him as a living president. and to have partnerships and collaborations with eureka college, wonderful school which formed him in so many ways. and with other sports teams and high schools to teach these stories about this man. but that was in 2011. and in 2017, i believe, was the
kennedy centennial, and they did also an extraordinarily job of reaching across the country. and i'd love for you to talk about that steve in erms it of t the -- terms of a legacy of a president and taking in a centennial and sharing that president in new and fresh ways with the country. >> thank you very much. i think it is a time, just like you were talking about the paszing of president or first lady that we come together and think about it. today, you know, 80% of the people in the united states were born after the kennedy administration. 80%. so it's those folks trying to connect with them. so when i started, first thing i did was read the report that you put out from reagan, learned all the great ideas. and really thinking about partnerships. we had over 200 partnership arrangements with museums and organizations. there are 896 places in the world named after john kennedy. and we reached out to literally hundreds of them. from the kennedy ser center to new york airport and things like that. not really just telling the
history but why is it relevant today. and we use this expression of visionaries never go out of style. but when you think about world peace, the idea of peace core is just as relevant today. talking about commemorations, next year we as a country will be celebrating 50th anniversary landing on the moon. and today we think about big ideas, we think about a big idea, whether it's in your company or your organization, you call it a moon shot. well, it literally was the first moon shoot. i think that's a way to think about it in a fairway that brings us together. not that he did tfrg right. he made his mistakes. but looking at those key points as a commemoration, sen ncenten next rear landing on the moon was. thank you very much. >> great example. >> any other people have question to raise to the group? while we are waiting, i'm going to put these guys on the spot very quickly. other than the presidents that how far worked with or represent today, give me your two favorite
presidents or first ladies? but if you would like to have dinner with them tonight, who would you like to have dinner with? >> well, i'm going to steal this from mark, but i think almost everyone in the room would say abe lincoln. i would absolutely love that opportunity. and i would love to talk to martha washington. i would love to know what it was like to be the first person to have to do this job and really bare the responsibility of setting the precedent to be the first first lady of the nation, even though it wasn't called that at the time, of course. and i would really love to meet the trumans. i really would. i'm just so fascinated by this cost country trip they did in their car in the post presidency just like ma and packet el here i was living in the white house and now i'm driving going to every hotel that exists. i think that's so
quintessentially american. they were cool decent people at their core that do little things that go to drive ins. >> steve represents the kennedy legacy so well so i'm going to borrow from john f. kennedy who said he had a number of noble lawyer rets, there have been so many great minds since thomas jefferson alone. and i would if forego all of the other just to have abe lincoln alone. but i would certainly want dolly madison to host it. going back to the trumans, i think just what anita said, there is this great story about harry truman who goes bounding with his driver/body guard mike westwood down from independence to jefferson city for a meeting. and truman is in the front seat and he spies this woman whose pigs have gotten lose and --
loose and running around. and truman demands he stops the car. and he hops out and helps her to corral these pigs. a reporter gets wind of this when truman arrives at his destination in jefferson city and they asked him if it's true. he said yes of course but you have to remember i ws a farmer before i was president. so down to either. >> so american. >> anyone have a question? >> yes. trying to tie into your comments, mark, and i appreciate telling the gerald ford story. one of the things we did a year ago was to come up with the idea to take president ford's story, standing up for diversity at his senior year at university of michigan where his traveling roommate because of the color of his skoon couldn't play on the football team. historic group put this pbs
thing together, and students would fall asleep. and there has some stabs at t we said let's turn it into ha play. let's turn it into a 40-minute play. well, half my board is ready to lynch me. and what am i doing in that. but we did ten productions of the play in february. we have it lined up now. we have waiting lists of schools that want us to go in and do this play, but it's a 40-minute play talking about president ford in a locker room with his traveling roommate, willis ward talking about why he can't go on the football team. so i think, i just wanted to share that, is we need to make stories relevant to our audience. and i think that was discussed. and that's the way to do it is to take a story that is iconic and make it in the format that we want to do. so i appreciate you highlighting that, mark. >> it's really creative. >> one thing that brings to mind
is a new tool that we have at the white house historical association in partnership tw amazon webster adviceist. and it is a white house tour app. you can download it on app play wh experience or search white house experience. and right now it takes you on a virtual tour of the state rooms of the white house as well as nonpublic historic rooms. but eventually we want to perhaps have it teach the stories of what the white house was like at different times, different presidents like you represent and tell other stories and teach other aspects of white house history. and in the meantime, we'd love for those watching by c-span and those here to download that app and explore the white house with us. we are really grateful for all of you. and you are on the tip of the point of the spear out there in american history and presidential history and white house history. and it's been inspirational to
us this week to have you here. and we look forward to work wg you collaboratively moving forward. we don't want there to be an every four year or two-year experience. we want us to be arm in arm telling these great stories of these 45 great men and women who have leads our country and prepare the next generation who will be leading this in the future. thank you all very much. have a great afternoon. [ applause ] tonight american history tv is in prime time. we'll show you the white house
historical association site summit with panel discussion ton presidents and ts press. featuring former presidential press secretaries and white house correspondent. tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span 3. if you miss any of this week's american history tv programs, you can find them any time online at c-span video library at c-span.org. weekdays continues until labor day. on thursday we turn to our oral history series and conversations with women who were members of congress. and then on friday we'll show you discussions on world war i known as the great war, including a look at soldiers on the western front, and how the u.s. dealt with shell shock. up next, we travel to concord, new hampshire to visit 14th president pierce only home he lived in.