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tv   The Presidency First Ladies in Their Own Words - Hillary Clinton  CSPAN  April 18, 2022 3:01pm-3:48pm EDT

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next week, hillary clinton. she served as secretary of state and campaigned for the presidency herself. american history tv's first ladies series is also available as a podcast. you can find it wherever you get your podcasts. there are a lot of places to get police kl information, but only at c-span do you get it straight from the source. no matter where you're from or where you stand on the issues, c-span is america's network. unfiltered, unbiased, word for word. if it happens here or here or here or nar matters, america is watching on c-span. powered by cable. all this month, watch the
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top 21 videos from our documentary competition. every morning before c-span's washington journal, we'll air one of our winners. you can watch all the winning student cam documentaries any time online at student cam.org. i think most americans know that issues like the family leave act, that's a family value issue that president bush is about to veto again. a good job is a family value issue. decent health care so you do don't have to worry about what happens to the members of your family, that's a family value issue. family values are very important, but we need to look at what's going on in the lives of families in america. >> you have taken a lot of hits during this campaign. what's the fact that at one point the campaign was reduced to comparing chocolate chip
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cookie recipes. what does this say to you about society's accepting this? >> i think what you see is kind of a desperate political strategy to distract people from what's really at stake in this election. and it will move in whatever direction they think will help them. it doesn't matter whether the truth is there or not. i think that's sad, but that's to be expected. >> do you feel bitterness about the attacks on you or your husband? >> no. i mean, it's hard to feel anything about attacks that aren't true and are so sinically politically motivated. it is sad, though, that when we have so many problems in this country, that the other party would spend days on distractions, diversions, untruths instead of all of us doing what we can do to try to
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solve these problems. >> that was hillary clinton they would get a package deal. buy one, get one free, he would say. as first lady, hillary clinton spoke for the administration on a wide range of issues. child development, women's rights, climate change, literacy, and most controversially, health reform. and she forged a path for a first lady running for and winning a united states senate seat. you'll hear in her own voice how she experienced her white house years featuring video footage. her first priority was health care reform. before the first year the clinton administration was out, she was testifying before congress on what she thought needed to be done. >> mrs. clinton, we welcome you. this is an auspicious occasion
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in every sense. >> i want to thank you and the members of this committee for the many courtesies and good advice and hours of your time that you have spent with me as a whole committee and that many of you have spent with me individually. in the past few weeks, mr. chairman, you and other distinguished members of this committee have ra raised tough and important questions about how best we can finance health care reform. this is, as we all know, a subject of great complexity. one that had been studied exhaustively, but still is subject to many great questions. we have to in the coming weeks and months ahead, work closely together to understand as fully as we are able, the kinds of issues that are raised by the reforms that are offered not only by the president, but by
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the republican senators represented here on this committee and others. we have to be sure that we get the best value for the health care dollars we currently spend and that we do the best job we can to reform the system so that health care is delivered more efficiently at higher quality to all americans. the simple fact is that americans are sprending nearly now $1 trillion a year on health care, and we are not getting our money's worth. and i would argue that, you know, the economic theory of the cost disease which you know so well which points out the difference in service and labor intensive services often uses the example that a mozart core at the time being played in the 18th century and being played in the 20th century still requires four people. the problem with the american
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health care system if you can imagine, that core at the time has added people to hold the chairs, to hand the violins in, and has required the musicians to stop at the fourth or fifth page of the music to call somebody to make sure they can go on to the next bar. that's the kind of thing that permeates our health care system. we believe that if we don't set the very strong set of goals that we can achieve in both the public and private sector, we will continue to reward this delivery system that does not guarantee quality at all. i think most of us on this committee would be more than pleased to get all of our health care at a mayo clinic. and we would get it at much less of the cost than any hospital building. >> you're listening to hillary clinton in her own words.
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president clinton asked the first lady to take the lead in health care problems. this is in the white house roosevelt room. thank you and please be seated and welcome to the white house. i am pleased to see all of you here today for this presentation of the report of the committee. the work of this committee reflects the administration's commitment to finding answers for thousands of brave men and women suffering with undiagnosed illnesses after serving in the persian gulf war. we are responsible for our veterans and our families. i know there are members who are here, and i would like them to stand so we could see -- they're
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all standing. good. we appreciate very much the time and effort that went into this service. and i know firsthand how important and difficult your task has been. over the last four years, the president and i have received many heart-wrenching letters from gulf veterans and family members. many veterans and their family members said they felt their country had forgotten them. so the president asked me to explore the needs of the veterans and look to address their concerns. i met with the officials from the department of defense and department of health and human services to determine if we were doing the very best we could to respond to our veterans' needs and to facilitate research into their illnesses. i met with the veterans of foreign wars who shared their own observations and told me of
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their efforts to bring more serious national attention to this illness. and i visited with active duty soldiers and their families. at walter reid hospital and the veterans hospital here in washington. i listened to veterans as they tried to describe to me what it was like to live day after day, year after year, not knowing why they have become sick. i heard hard stories of men and women who could no longer keep steady jobs because of their illnesses. one told me about the healthy and active life he had led before his tour in the persian gulf. in february 1995, i reported to the president and the chief of staff on these findings and recommended some steps the administration could take in the future, including the blue
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ribbon panel. and i had the privilege of testifying at the first meeting of this committee and i have been following the work that's been done ever since. so i'm particularly gratified to be here today, and i'm also gratified that our government is making progress and taking affirmative steps to do all that can be done on behalf of our veterans and on behalf of future members of our forces. i want to thank all who served for their persistent efforts on this committee and for considering thoroughly the diverse and strongly held opinions, theories, explanations about these illnesses. i particularly want to thank gulf war veterans and their families for taking the time to share their experiences with this committee. >> the first lady was a familiar figure on international stages.
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in 1998, she traveled to belfast to speak about peace in northern ireland. >> it's a fantastic privilege for me to introduce a role model to me and to young women all around the world. mrs. hillary roddam clinton, first lady of the united states. [ applause ] she's the woman given a real voice can make a lasting difference in their countries and in the whole world. >> you were excellent. i loved it!
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[ applause ] >> thank you. thank you very much fiona for that introduction and even more for adding your vital voice to this conference. i'm sure if you need a note to be excused from school, there are about a thousand of us who will sign it. the road to peace will never be easy, but the world has also seen how no fires, bombs, or terrorists will ever turn you back. when my husband and i go tomorrow, we will pay tribute to those who were murdered by the enemies of peace. they were mostly women and children. they were catholic and protestant, unionists and nationalists, young and old. they were people simply living their lives, working at a
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drapery store, hanging out with friends, buying school uniforms for their children. the terrorists targeted the people of northern ireland, and in response, it was the people, all the people, who bravely stood side-by-side to say, hate red and violence will no longer have a place here. we have chosen ballots, not bombs, democracy, not division. we have resolved to live in peace, and we will never go back. we will only move forward, and as you do, please know that america will stand with you. how appropriate it is that this conference takes place the first week of school. not only because it's a time for new friends and new beginnings, but also because ultimately, our
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children are the reason we are here. for 30 years, parents dropped their children off for school, tucked in their shirts, kissed them good-bye, and dreamed of a time when they could play outside free from violence. dreamed of a time when their children's opportunities and destinies would never again be limited by their place of warship or political party or by whether they're a boy or a girl. today there is real hope that this dream, once expressed through poetry and protest, will finally be a reality for children in northern ireland. none of this would have been possible were it not for the courage and strength of generations of women. though they may have worshipped
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separately on sunday, seven days a week, they all said a silent prayer for their husbands to return safely home. seven days a week, they lived in fear that the unspeakable would happen, that they would be forced to bury their own child. and yet, seven days a week, they carried on with hope and prayer that the future would be brighter, free of troubles and heart break. wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, few were household names. but having seen their lives, their families and communities torn apart by violence, women came together as women have always done. >> first ladies in their own word continues now on american history testify. political scandals marred the years culminating during bill clinton's second term with his impeachment and acquittal.
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hillary was asked in 1994 about the couple's credibility. >> recent news reports about the first lady's future earnings, many of us americans are having a hard time with your credibility. how can you earn our trust back? is there a fundamental distrust of the clintons in america? >> i hope not. that would be something that i would regret very much. i do think that we are transitioned figures, if you will. we don't fit easily into a lot of our preexisting categories. and i think that having been independent, having made decisions, it's a little difficult for us as a country maybe to make the transition of having a woman like many of the women in this room sitting in this house, so i think that the standards and to some extent the
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expectations and the demands have changed. and i'm trying to find my way through it the and trying to figure out how best to be true to myself and how to fulfill my responsibilities to my husband and my daughter and the country. >> two years later, the first lady appeared before a grand jury. the question was there any wrong doing concerning the clintons and a failed real estate development known as white water. >> hillary roddam clinton arriving at the u.s. district court to answer questions regard her work at the center of the white water criminal investigation. this was at 1:45 this afternoon. she's the first first lady to appear before the grand jury. let's hear a couple of comments. >> i just want to say before i go in that i am happy to answer the grand jury's questions and look forward to telling them
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everything i know with the hope that it will help them in their investigation. and i have to go in now, but when i come out, i will see you all then. thank you. well, you're all still here, i see. i was glad to have the opportunity to tell the grand jury what i have been telling all of you. i do not know how the billing records came to be found where they were found, but i am pleased that they were found because they confirm what i have been saying. now, it's been a long day, and i will take a question or two from some of you. >> how wide-ranging were the questions? did they go beyond the simple appearance of the records of the white house? >> there were other matters discussed, but most of it concerned the billing records. >> would you rather have been somewhere else today?
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>> oh, about a million other places today, indeed. >> what were you hoping to accomplish today? >> well, i looked forward to being able to tell the grand jury what i know, to be able to answer their questions. i, like everyone else, would like to know the answer about how those documents showed up after all these years. it would have been certainly to my advantage in trying to bring this matter to a conclusion if they had been found several years ago. so i tried to be as helpful as i could in their investigation efforts. but now, i am going home, and i hope all of you will as well. thank you.
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>> you're watching american history tv and listening to hillary clinton in her own words. midway through the clintons' first tirm pb a historian interviewed the first lady as part of a forum. one asked when americans would elect a woman into the white house. >> if he decided not to go into politics or if by chance you hadn't met in school, do you think you yourself might have pursued a political career? >> probably not in elective office. i think that there's so many ways to serve, and i would be involved in my community, wherever that was, and i would be, i hope, working on issues that i care about no matter where i was. but i don't know that i would have pursued an elective, no. >> what do you think -- perhaps this is another way of asking. what do you think in terms of
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the reaction you get from people and the male, you symbolize to the people at large. are you many things to many people? >> well, again, probably. i mean, we get such wonderful letters from people, and i have such a great time traveling around the country talking to people. and so sometimes people articulate what they're thinking about me or whether -- sometimes it's critical as well as positive. so then i get something of an insight into that person. but mostly, i believe that for women today, there are so many options in our lives. that can be scary as well as very exciting. and i think women who are challenged and hopeful about those options, whether they are full-time homemakers or whether they are full-time career or whether they like most of us are balancing family and work and all of the responsibilities,
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they may see me and say, well, you know, this is a woman who's trying to do what i'm doing. and for people who are maybe not as hopeful or embracing of these new opportunities for women, then the way that i have lived my life and my desire to really pull my life together and to have, you know, the marriage, the motherhood, the opportunity to work, the belief in committing myself to my community, that may seem a little bit off-putting. so i think it's so much as what people see through the lenses of their own experience. [ applause ] >> what were your own expectations of the role of first lady perhaps as a young woman, and then before you got to the white house after the election and now? and i'm wondering has that changed you, and in what way?
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>> i don't know as a little girl that i had any expectations about first ladies. we never really saw very much of mrs. trueman, who was first lady when i was born or mrs. eisenhower except on special occasions. so really, mrs. kennedy was the first first lady that absolutely blasted open our consciousness. and there wasn't anyone like her. i didn't know anyone at all like her. and we would all just watch her. to me, the most extraordinary accomplishment is the way she handled all of those responsibilities at such, what i now see, as a very young age. because i know when i was that age, my husband was elected governor, which is a much, much smaller stage by a long shot. and i can remember showing up at
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the arkansas governor's mansion and not having a clue about what i was supposed to do. i mean, neither my husband nor i had ever lived in a house that big. we had never had anybody cook our meals. we had never had anybody there to clean up after us. it was astonishing. i remember the first night there, we walked into the kitchen and we said, can we help? and this woman who had cooked there for 30 years looked at us like we were crazy. so i had a lot of learning to do at that level. and i saw mrs. kennedy managing her role with such grace. and of course i admired mrs. johnson so much because i thought she had a voice of her own, which she used, and she promoted causes she cared very much about. then as the years went by and i had an opportunity to meet some of the women who were in this
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role like mrs. carter whom i greatly admired and watched work very hard on behalf of causes she and her husband were committed to and mrs. reagan and mrs. bush, i saw the enormous amount of work that it takes to try to do this and to do it in a way that is both in keeping with your own identity and integrity and also fulfilling the responsibilities, and my admiration for these women glue, and then i got intoed during the campaign reading history. i was so pleased you made some of those references because there's hardly been a first that's happened in the 20th century because so many were there ahead of us. >> we were talking before about people's reactions to the way you have made choices as first lady. and i think of the actry money that occurred particularly in
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the final week of the health care debate as well as last year in the winter, the speculation and so forth during white water. if -- do you believe that had you taken a less public role in a sense like first ladies of the 19th century, which was behind the scenes and essentially deny it publicly. but if you had been working on health care behind the scenes or had taken to the public shown this very traditional role, i don't know anything about anything, and behind the scenes really been in on the cap net meetings and so forth, do you think it would have had an impact in those two very particular public issues? >> well, i don't know. my husband and friends would probably have had me committed. that would not be at all in my nature and my background.
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i have spoken out on public issues for 25 years and have been deeply identified with issues i care about. and have been on record for many years about issues that are of concern to me. and i think some kind of first lady amnesia would not have been very credible under the circumstances. oh, you mean i said that? oh, well, i can't imagine. i think that it is probably better to be yourself. it is always a risk, but it is something that i feel very comfortable with. and i am very -- very interested in public life and in political issues. i -- you know, i'm one of those kids who decorated her bike every fourth of july and read the constitution out loud with my dad.
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i really care about this country and its government. so for me, if i were at home in little rock, arkansas, i would be expressing my opinions to my friends over coffee or around the water cooler, and i don't see how i can change who i am because of the position i'm in. i actually think that in the long run, if people have some better idea about you, it may be controversial, but at least they know where you stand. so that's what i have got to do. i don't really have a choice about that i don't think. >> another thing we have talked about in this class a lot is the if and more likely when a woman president will come in, and i would like to know your thoughts about what you think may have to happen before that happens. >> well, i have said and i believe that there's a good possibility that sometime in the
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next 20 years, we will have a woman president. and i say that because i think that there are a number of women who are governors, senators, members of congress, who are really comes to the forefront and are doing so in ways that will in gender national support and national attention. so i think it's something that i may actually live long enough to see, i hope. and i certainly think you will. >> as she embarked on a second term as first lady, she reflected on her first four years in the white house, and she talked about the public's conflicting attitudes about what first ladies should and should not do. >> i care about politics. that might not be a wise thing for a person married to the president to say. i care about politics. i care about the state of life in this country. i care about our government.
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i care about the public policy issues that come through the door of the white house because they require the president and the administration and the country to may attention. i've always cared about it ever since i was a little girl. i will care about it long after my husband is out of the white house. so i'm not toobt start caring about things that i've never cared about because it's not appropriate in somebody else's mind for me to continue to care about what i've always cared about. the rules are not any different than how i've always lived my life. my husband has a different job and we live in the white house. >> i think what has been most curious to me is how people are very concerned about this position. and on the one hand, people want a wife of a president to be concerned and caring about the issues confronting the country and to work on something of a
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public interest. on the other hand, they don't want her to do it in a public way on a policy level. they don't want, you know -- when i worked on health care, a lot of people thought i shouldn't be making recommendations about legislation or that i shouldn't be involved in working on behalf of what my husband asked me to work on, which was one of hi his primary objectives because they thought that was somehow inappropriate. that if you exercise influence, do it behind the scenes where nobody can see you. i find that curious. to me, 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, i mean, just like anybody else who's involved in public life. so to some extent, i think that misunderstanding comes with the territory and certainly in going back and reading about all of my
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predecessors in this position, it certainly seems that almost regardless of what they wanted to do or tried to do, it's a no, ma'am louse kind of situation, and i think americans are rightly concerned about unelected power, but if you try to become accountable by taking a public position, they're concerned about that as well and want you to retreat and exercise power blind the scenes. >> first ladies in their own words continues now on american history tv. even when engaging in what outwardly seemed to be traditional first lady events, she put her own mark on her role. here she is in 1995 donating her ground. >> care so much about displaying the entire history of our
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country and giving some context historically, socially, and politically to the women whose gowns are often one of the most south after visits in washington as tourists and americans and people really from all over the world stand in line, we now will be able to share with these visitors not only the beauty of the gowns but also something more about the women who wore them. i must say this is a bittersweet moment to give this dress up. it is not something that i came to lightly, and as you'll note, we're into the third year of my husband's term before this has occurred. i hope all of you will have a chance not only to admire the gowns, but also to look carefully at the rest of the exhibition. with historic photographs and illustrations, campaign memorabilia, furniture silver
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and china, we can gain a new appreciation not just of first ladies, but also of women's history and presidential politics in the course of our great country's history. from their political role to their public image to their private lives, each first lady has shaped her position based on her own past experience, interest, and aspirations. i have certainly been inspired by the women who came before me, and i have learned so much in reading about their lives. i often have hoped that more americans could learn more about these women and not just see them as stereo types or cardboard cutouts because each of them had a rich history which she brought to the white house, and many of them i think would be quite surprising even to people today to read what they wrote, to read what they said,
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and to understand the roles they played in influencing their husbands and the force of american politics. actually, i take some comfort in that because it is probably true to say that everything which has ever been said about any of us was said about one of the other of us. >> in the waning days, hillary clinton debuted her voice. here she is speaking in the east room. >> as bill said, i don't think that any of us have ever walked into this house without that sense of awe overcoming us. and if you ask why i would write this book, i suppose, you know, the answer is that that sense of awe is something i want to share. because for me, the history that has been written here that is
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really changed the course of america and the world for the better is something that i want everyone in our country to appreciate. you know, not everybody even with a mal and a half visitors a year will be able to come to the white house. but i hope that either through purchasing this book or going to the library, people will have a chance to see what we see and which i hope will never be taken for granted. even after living here for eight years, i can still remember my first glimpse of the white house with my family. we stood outside and peered through the gate as i often see people from my window doing and i think back to what it was like when i was 10 year old thinking about what had happened in the years before i was even born.
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now, some of the rooms that you've seen on this tour have of course changed over time. as carter said, it used to be the custom that exiting presidents and first families would take parts of the white house with them or auction them off. so there wasn't any sense of continuity as there is today. but it's equally true that tastes have changed. when we redid the state dining room, there were some purists among us, not me but others who said that we should go back to the original teddy roosevelt renovation. so i called betty monk and asked for the pictures. i'm getting older and don't see as well as i used to. so i put on my reading glasses and i think i said to betty or whoever was standing near, are these heads on the wall? you know, we called for
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enlargements, and they're surrounding the dierns and the dining room were the head of a moose and elk and nine other big game that president roosevelt had bagged and wanted to share with his guests. and we had a couple of very vigorous discussions in the committee for the preservation of the white house because there were some who thought we should call the smithsonian and ask for the return of the heads. but you know, there is -- there's a certain -- i haven't done it often, but there's a certain privilege of position that goes with being first lady. i mean, there are -- not that you would notice. there are some downsides in being first lady, but every once in a while, you can say, i'm sore are i. no heads on the wall. >> as we close our look at
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hillary clinton, you'll hear from her as she transferred to first lady to political candidate and united states senator. she embarked in the summer of 1999 on what she called a listening tour of new york. not quite a year later she was speaking as a candidate for u.s. senate. on election day, she became senator elect clinton. still ahead of her were two more titles, secretary of state and democratic presidential nominee. you'll hear from her during freshman senator orientation. this is hillary clinton in her own words. [ applause ] >> i am delighted that the president is here this evening,
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and i am so grateful -- i am so grateful for his support. i would not be standing here tonight were it not for bill and were it not for all he has done for me, and i could not be prouder as an american and as a new yorker to have a president who has meant so much to our country. we are a better country than we were in 1992. i pledge to you that i will work my heart out every day in this campaign to become your next senator. and i will work -- [ applause ] >> i will work every day in the senate to keep faith with you, with the values and the ideals of the democratic party of new
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york because make no mistake about it, this election is not about me or about any republican opponent. it is about the people of new york and the common mission that we are pledged to. what is that mission? well, i think it is to strengthen our families and protect our children. to improve our schools and extend health care to every new yorker. to free our families and communities from the terror of gun violence. to strengthen social security and modernize medicare. to ensure america's continued leadership in the world. because despite the strides and progress we've made, there are still too many forgotten new yorkers.
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[ inaudible question ] >> well, i had a very good day. john and i have been going through orientation together. i think that for me, it's been the great privilege to be here, especially with the other new senators with whom i'll serve, all of whom are impressive and as committed as john and i are to the work ahead. and i was just thinking, you know, i hadn't spent much time in this building since 1974 when i worked for the congress and
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1968 when i was an intern, so i'm delighted to be back and rediscovering the beauty of the capitol. i think all of us who just listened to senator bird were struck not only by the history but the challenges that each time faces. he really put into perspective some of the early channels that senators in the early 19th century faced all the way to the present time. and that just increases our feeling of responsibility that this day has impressed upon us. >> you're kind of a blank slate as far as -- is concerned. how do you plan to make your impression up here? >> well, i'm pleased to learn that i am. that's very good news. i intend to work as hard as i can and to represent the people of new york to the best of my
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ability, to work hard to serve my constituents, to work with my colleagues whenever and wherever i can on behalf of our country. so i'm absolutely hoping to build relationships and create consensus with every senator. >> is it important to do those to overcome being a first lady and now a senator? >> well, i think that will develop over time. certainly, i've tried in my campaign and in the weeks since the election to make clear that, you know, i intend to shoulder the responsibility of being a senator. i am not adverse to hard work, and i expect to be working very hard to learn a lot because there's a lot to learn as we have already seen today. >> thank you for joins us for this special look at hillary clinton.
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next week, laura bush, a one-time librarian who became first lady. it's also available as a podcast. you can find it wherever you get your podcasts. weekends on c-span 2, every saturday, american history tv documents america's story. and on sundays, book tv brings you the latest in nonfiction books and authors. funding comes from these television companies and more, including comcast. comcast is partnering to create wi-fi enabled lifts so communities and families can get the tools they need to be ready for anything. >> comcast supports c-span 2 as a public service. c-span now is a free mobile app
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featuring your unfiltered view of what's happening in washington. keep up with the day's biggest events with live streams from the u.s. congress, white house events, the courts, campaigns and more from the world of politics all at your fingertips. you can also stay current with the latest episodes of washington journal and c-span radio plus a variety of compelling podcasts. it's aavailable now at the apple store and google play. c-span now, your front row seat to washington, any time, anywhere. >> laura bush, you have described yourself as a traditional wife, a traditional mother. what does that mean? >> well, actually i say that i have always had traditionally jobs. i was a schoolteacher and school librarian. i was a public librarian for one year in

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