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tv   Susan Page Madam Speaker  CSPAN  May 1, 2022 2:00am-2:53am EDT

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i'm jennifer palmieri, and i'm
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very excited to welcome my friend susan paige to annapolis. i'm a proud edgewater. yay. i'm a proud edgewater anne arundel county resident. i susan i have known each other for a long time because she's covered a lot of people i worked for i was hillary clinton's communications director barack obama's communications director worked for president clinton, john. edwards john edwards presidential campaign and you know in some ways it's the losses. i think this i think nancy blows you would say the same we would say the same thing you kind of grow and think about and learn from you know, the losses and you know a tough situation like the edward family more than
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other than other situations then the victories which come a little easy and susan so susan and i have first met her where you know, if she was usa today when i work for president clinton and very happy to i'm not sarah alfred states that are help with supposed to do this. they're in session. so sarah asked me if i would moderate that i was like susan page. i'm talking about nancy pelosi. this is definitely my wheelhouse i i wrote a book called dear madam president sort of based off of the experiences. i worked learning learned working for hillary and second book. she proclaims our declaration of independence from a man's world. it's not a declaration of war. just don't see any reason we need to continue to follow a man's path and that is what just something about her is about right that you hear the set about women. there's just something about her. i don't like sometimes it's there's just something about
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her. that's incredible. and for nancy pelosi, there's i've just something about her that is incredible and incredibly effective um and susan i talked about this and thought that for our discussion of madam speaker to start with the question of what makes her so effective. she's incredibly effective and even john boehner her, you know foe house republican speaker john bainer said she was probably the most effective speaker ever, right? so i thought we would look start do that sort of three categories and then we'll do q&a with the audience one is role models and early role models and people who helped her along the way i went to kentucky brown jackson's ceremony yesterday at the white house, and it was remarkable. i don't know if you didn't watch the whole thing. you didn't see this. her entire speech except for the very end. that was very moving where she quoted my angelo was her
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thanking people. it was her thanking people who had helped her from the time. she was a child her family mentors jurists the white house team naming everyone and you know, it's not something you would normally see a leader. a jurist jurisdo, so we'll do role models or people who helped her along the way her early experiences and motherhood which seemed to be really important to developing those the leader and then how she manages criticism and along the way because i worked for hillary and you know wrote about those experiences. well, we'll mix hillary into so talk about susan talk about the role models really her her start with her parents which were so important. well jen, i'm so i'm so glad to be here. thank you all for coming on this lovely saturday morning. day you know after two years of this pandemic, it's such a relief to see people in person. so i'm really glad to be here at a celebration of people who love
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books and and we're talking about my book today, but the paperback edition of jen's latest book is also just out in going to be by the way available for sale and autograph after women's supporting women friends. that's all about you know nancy pelosi. i mean really what i what? person comfortable with power, you know, i went through a couple different titles for my book, which is now nancy pelosi and the lessons of power but the first title when i began writing the book was nancy pelosi in the arc of power and people thought that was too much like the art of power which is a thomas jefferson anyway, or the art of the deal. yeah, so we stopped with art and then we met made it nancy pelosi and the test of power which i thought was all right, but we ended up with nancy pelosi in the lessons of power because the thing about nancy pelosi is she
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learned lessons about power from the day. she was born the day she was born newspaper photographer showed up at her mother's bedside in the hospital to take pictures which then appeared on the front page of some of the baltimore of the multiple baltimore papers. and because her dad was a member of congress prominent family. they had the family had had five boys in a row and finally had a girl so that seemed pretty notable. so nancy pelosi has been in the news columns since her birth. she was the person when her father then one the first of three terms to be mayor baltimore. she was the one who held the bible at on the stand for his swearing in so this is someone who grew up with a lot of role models for power one is her remarkable father tommy the elder dalessandro. you are all too young to know him, but some of you might have
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known his son who was the one-term mayor of baltimore tommy the younger dalessandro who died just about months ago, but the other remarkable role model for nancy pelosi was her mother and her mother was known as big nancy. which was a very apt nickname and it also meant that nancy the woman who the girl who became nancy pelosi was always known as little nancy. and i think she did not shed that nickname until she went away to college. maybe that's why she went away to college to not be known to everyone as little nancy big nancy dalessandro. was this remarkably smart innovative entrepreneurial woman well ahead of her time pelosi told me in one of the interviews i did with her for the book that if her mother were born today, she would be president and her mother. her mother wanted to go to law school. she tried to go to law school
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after having nancy pelosi. so she at that point she had, you know six kids at home. that did not work out. she she patent she made she made invented things that that blew me away that there was like a there's an actual patent. she got patents for her inventions including a device to use to give you a beautiful complexion, which is this metal device with a hole in the top and an electric coil inside and according to the ads that they ran at the time you pour the secret oil. into the battle tube and you plug it in and you put your face over it to get it steamed and it will give you a beautiful complexion and i do not know if it would in fact give you a beautiful complexion, but i do know that when i was doing the book one of my kids found one on ebay and nancy delasandro's beauty by vapor machine and bought it for 34 dollars.
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i don't know if the seller understood the historic meaning of this device and i plugged it in and it still heat it up water. i did not have the secret oil available. the other thing that i think isn't instructive to know about big nancy is that she was a huge risk-taker. she was not hesitant about taking big risks, and and she loved playing the ponies. she had her own opportunities to do that in maryland. yes. she was she had a special affection for pimlico where she spent quite a bit of time and when her husband was mayor he would go to sabatinis sabatinos restaurant in little italy to pay the bookies in the back of the room the debts that his wife had incurred at pimlico. so if you want to know something about nancy pelosi's comfort with power and her comfort with risk and her willingness to attack. goals that other people say
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cannot be reached just look at big nancy dalessandro. and do you think that she that little man felt the mother's frustration that she wasn't allowed to do things or that she saw or that little nancy just saw the possibility. so when little nancy was born big nancy made a promise to god. that had made before she was born that if only she could have a girl after all these boys. she would make the girl a nun. now and big nancy did her best to make little nancy a nun and at one point little nancy said that she did not want to be a nun, but she might be interested in being a priest. that i think that big nancy gave nancy big nancy dalessandro gave
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nancy pelosi comfort with doing things and ignoring those who said you couldn't do it you as a woman couldn't do it you as an italian-american couldn't do it. i think it just made her it made her fearless and she also learned. she also learned from childhood how to manage and motivate supporters. she the dalessandro family had something called the favor file. and you don't actually need a dictionary to understand. what a favor file is so they would big nancy and little nancy would sit at a table. in the front room of their home in little italy in constituents would line up. like line up out to the sidewalk to go through and see. favors they might need some help
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with housing, or maybe they had an immigration issue, or maybe they had a child in jail, and they wanted some help from the mayor to get him or her out of jail and big nancy would listen to the problem to the favor that was needed write it down on a card. and figure out what they could do to help and if you got a favor granted that came with a certain expectation. that you owed them something you would vote for tommy dalessandro the next time we was running for office. maybe you would go to a rally for him or if there was some future person seeking a favor that you were in a position to help with you'd be expected to do that. and this is i think a pretty good description of what the speaker of the house does. and do you think that is how because she's just you know, she's she's effective on many levels on like deflecting criticisms being focused going straight, but just corralling. i mean the house democratic
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caucus my friends that thing is not easy to get your hands around do you think how does she is that? is that how she engenders that kind of loyalty? people, you know, she says the way she learned how to be an effective speaker of the house and leader of the house democratic caucus is by having five children herself. because she says the skills you need to run the house of representatives are exactly the same as the skills. you need to manage a house with a bunch of kids. you need to be comfortable with chaos. you need to be willing to deal with shifting coalitions. you need to be able to persuade people to do what you want them to do and convince them. it was their idea. and you know, this is it's interesting and she's done nancy pelosi has done a lot to recruit women to run for office and
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often as and this is perhaps a little less true today, but in the past it's been especially true that should be recruiting women who had been homemakers as opposed to having a career outside the home and often they would say, oh i couldn't i couldn't run for congress. you should find somebody else more qualified usually meaning some man could be more qualified and she would tell the story about her her own training as a mother was what it was critical for her being an effective politician and you know, she was she was 46 before she ran the first time for public office. i don't think people appreciate that. i was in california at the time. i remember when she was elected and first and she just took off like a rocket when she got to the house represented it was you know, she was 47 when she was first sworn in. no experience, but homemaker right? well listen. yes. no say a question. political fundraiser she had
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worked for a year in a synod office next to another junior aid named stinney hoyer. our congressman, he's our congressman. yeah, so she hit but she had not she didn't have the traditional experience. she hadn't worked as a she didn't have a law degree. she hadn't worked in some of the traditional ways that funnel you into public office. she told me she wasn't sure she was gonna like congress and that she and her husband agreed. maybe she would serve for five terms 10 years. that was what her father had done. he had been a five-term congressman, but i think that within about an hour and a half of arriving in washington. she knew she had arrived where she ought to be this place needed to be organized it and i think about years grabbing her background compared that to you know, what hillary clinton saw as in early role models in her mom and her dad and i feel like
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she never saw power power was not around her when she was but was around her growing up was her mom and her mom the trauma that her mother. yeah as a young child. she was abandoned. she had a help raise her sister. she had to like work in a home as a young age just really really mistreated and that was sort of her path and her motivation. um, and what difference do you think that makes like if you compare these are two of the most powerful women in the of the country? yeah. they both have had tremendous power. how is hillary clinton's understanding and use of power different. do you think from nancy pelosi's? i don't think it was not her. it was not her training right her background. she had a motivation to get into public service. it was about kids. she never probably never would have gotten into politics had she not been, you know had had she not met bill clinton who like put her on a, you know,
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broader along on a different path. and so the the power sort of came secondary. i don't think it was not something she was it is not her milia right? her milia is policy and i think that that power is not it's not something. she was she does not i think pelosi probably me. you tell me i think i feel like approached approach me to see a plosie pelosi approaches a problem thinking about how she can correct. i mean, she's the perfect person the perfect job like how she can corral people around, you know, move them to support a certain outcome and hillary's the one that's designing with the outcome is right, so it's just and the the power came with, you know more with bigger and bigger jobs, but it's not it is not her
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current. yeah. yeah pelosi, you know, i've covered. seven presidents and 11 presidential campaigns. i was telling someone before the program started. i have no other skills. thank god we keep holding elections. so i have something to do but nancy pelosi is more comfortable with accumulating and exercising and maintaining power than any politician i've ever covered. it is natural to her and i think it's because she grew up in a world. i've said this before she grew up in a household where the use of political power was like the existence of running water. it was just part of it was part of everything the family was about it was part of her mother and her father in her community and yet she never thought of herself as a candidate for office until a woman told her she ought to do it. she had done. she had been a very effective
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political fundraiser in california and she had in fact chaired the state didn't democratic party and done. it was seen as doing a good job running the california democratic party, but she never no one else thought of her as a candidate and neither. did she until salib burton who was a member of congress who has succeeded her legendary husband phil burton, who was a liberal lion of the house. so her husband dies. she runs and takes the seat. she gets sick. and she calls in nancy pelosi. who was this fundraiser and said you should run and pelosi is like no. i'm not a candidate and it was salah who put this in her mind. that she should run and she told me that if saliberton hadn't done that she'd never would have run for office. and that's the story of so many women in politics and it's true
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for hillary too. she never saw herself as a candidate until you know through her husband's political career it became it became it became something there. you know, there's another way they're alike. and hillary clinton and nancy pelosi in that they are hugely demonized. oh, yes. i've literally written two books about so, why are these two women demonized? um, so i mean honestly, this is just something about her that i think that what i because when i joined the clinton campaign, you know you i had been through a lot already. i had been through the clinton presidency the edwards campaigns the barack obama's communication director. i was like i can handle this i can handle hillary clinton and it was if i was just it was if i had been a bus driver all my life and all of a sudden when i got in the bus and i turned the wheel this way the bus went that way and i put on the brakes and the accelerator would go and it's like all of the instruments that i normally use that i knew
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how to use just went haywire and it sounds stupid now, but i had not appreciated how important role models are and the fact that we had never seen a woman in this, you know in it, you know as the actual nominee we'd never seen a woman in the oval office we had an idea and you know, i had an epiphany late very late in the campaign like in october of 16. and i thought oh what we have been doing is trying to like jam her into a male. role right into like very ill-fitting suit for her show her show you she can do the job as it has always been done. which has how is how a man has always done it and i thought what a disservice no wonder people think she's inauthentic. um, and i had no idea about what to do about it all these and and it was you know, and it was too late because we you know, we we just don't know what that looks like, and i think that and it's
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not as if everyone who didn't like her or didn't vote for her is sexist or you know, i think we're all certain. we're not sexist. we're all certain. we're not racist. therefore. we're pretty blind to the biases that we all have and so the way we reveal itself is like it's sort of you don't recognize her. there's something kind of vaccine confounding about i don't know. there's just something about her. i don't like there's just something about it. i don't trust. and we would ask the questions like well, what is well, i don't know. she's always so sketchy. she's always hiding something like what's that about? well, why what are we gonna white water ended up to be i mean, we'll go into it but edited to be like a total nothing and but it just it just like suspicion just builds unsuspicion and and i think that with pelosi what has been remarkable to to me about pelosi is she just shuts it down. she just doesn't she just she gives you. no sign that it bothers her she just boom. she just keeps going it's
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remarkable, and i just she seems to appreciate understand that it is not about her. well, i actually always that way in politics or just have to work. so i'm not i think she doesn't show when she's really mad, but i would just make the point hillary was running for president nancy pelosi is running for the head of the democratic caucus. it's a smaller constituency, right? she doesn't need to make she doesn't need to be an effective order and she's not she doesn't need to connect with thousands and millions of people. it's a different. it's a different kind of role, but what part of the think about how nancy pelosi keeps her position. it's because if you cross her you in your member of congress, you will pay a price and and rules she rules with a favor file. you can members of congress want
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favors from her. they want a committee assignment. they want to go on a particular foreign trip. they want legislation to get a hearing or to be passed, right? but there if you if you if you behave in a way that she thinks was not appropriate or that created her with a lot of problems. you're not going to get off. scott free. i'll tell you that. she's the in the so i did 10 interviews with her for the book, which i am very appreciative of because the speaker of the house has other things to do that. i was a professional. yeah, you ten interviews and that it yeah that's like that. is that gives you a remarkable insight? so i saves the this real stuff. i know she wouldn't like for the 9th interview because because i didn't want to like start out with the stuff that she wasn't gonna like and in the night interview. i was asking questions about the things i knew that she would
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like the least the things that you know, she would might see us the most negative or and there was one particular thing. i was asking about that was really. she that she thought did not deserve to be in the book and wasn't important and it relevant and we engaged in this conversation in which i became increasingly terrified. so we're sitting there. she's not she know she's shorter than i am. she's not taller than i am. she didn't raise her voice. she didn't yell at me. she didn't curse, but she somehow got bigger. i'm sitting in this chair and pelosi is just getting bigger and bigger and and more and more, you know, alarming to me and she kept insisting. she asked increasingly probing questions. she forced me to defend myself to defend my point of view to articulate in a very full way. what my why i thought this was
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an episode that deserved to be in her biography and at the end of this interview. which was not my favorite interview of the stuff the chin. she continued to think it shouldn't be in and i continued to say it should be in and that's how the interview ended and i went out. i went out it was about it was about three o'clock in the afternoon. i left the speakers office, which is this fantastic office with this magnificent view of the of the national mall. i went to my car i drove home. i poured a glass of wine. i crawled into bed and i watched about three hours worth of rizzoli and isles reruns until i felt a little calmer. now. remember that pelosi couldn't really there's my career is not dependent on pelosi right you can imagine what a member of congress must feel like when pelosi is trying to get you to vote for the affordable care
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act, and you don't want to that gave me just a little sense of that. that is that i had a during obama she you know leadership would come in a lot and then after i think it was probably like maybe 13 paul ryan with speaker and obama had everybody all the you know, mcconnell reed ryan and pelosi over. i can't remember they're at an impasse and you know the when the republicans lately last few times the republican speakers have just had a very hard time getting anything getting their caucus degree on anything and anything done. they've proven to be very ineffective and i talked to her as she's coming on. i was like do you just look at those guys and be like, these guys are a bunch of jokers. and what did you say? well, you know, she's so guarded and there was like the one time i got a good giggle and people see it's like just in there looking and i'm like right why
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it's just just well republican leaders also senators of either party. she has a lot of contempt for because the senate has its own rules. you can't roll them quite as easily as you can in the house and the senate has been you know, the the place where house passed legislation goes to die. did you so but it was interesting some of the people that you interviewed that's pretty interested in like some of the you know. boehner said hillary said but tell it shares likes what's with some of the other leaders that have worked with her had to say about well boehner did say when i interviewed him for the book that he thought she was the most effective speaker in american history and actually newt gingrich who is no friend of nancy pelosi's and vice versa also said that when he looks at pelosi, he sees a fellow pirate. which i think gingrich sees as
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high praise so but beta also said that and this is a point of criticism for some of pelosi. he said that there were times when he would. try to moderate the rhetoric he would try to leave a door open for more cooperation and that she was always full steam ahead and within his view taking very partisan views on things and that is also something that top aids to president george w bush told me that remember when pelosi was first elected speaker the first woman the history of our country and george w bush went up to deliver a state of the union address and he made very gracious comments the beginning. acknowledging the history of the moment mentioning her father and according to his top aids bushfelt that pelosi never
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reciprocated that he was making an offer. hey, let's try to let's try to act in a somewhat cooler manner than the pot where the politics are heading today and that that was not something she was willing to do. and some i mean some of what i mean, it's interesting. i've thought up a nice i read that passage. i thought about it. i wondered if she if she thinks where does that come from if she thinks if i relinquish any notion of this? entirely part i rel the power that i have within my caucus we're thinking she would say bainer didn't deliver. better couldn't deliver his caucus like what's the point of bipartisanship if you can't deliver your people that mean that happened with she thinks the most damaging legislation. she pushed through was not the affordable care act. it was tarp. it was that bank bailout in 2008 when we had the financial meltdown and nobody liked bailing out banks like in american politics bailing out banks when americans are losing
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their houses, not the most popular thing to do, but the economists were saying if you don't do this, we're going to head into a depression so they made a deal pelosi and bainer made a deal that they would each deliver 50% of their caucus for this unpopular legislation, and she delivered 50% of her caucus and a bit more and he did not and it went down and i don't know if you remember that after the house vote the stock market just plunge in a way that was really serious and at that point they brought the legislation back up pelosi delivered all the votes. they needed boehner did not once again deliver 50% of his caucus because he couldn't because they were that caucus was not under control. so i think her view would be you want to play with me. you got to deliver. the i mean, that's such a i had i had sort of forgotten. i mean we i think about her so effective from aca and obama and and then during the and during the trump years and and and then
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in the in the vitaministration, but i had forgotten that like the magic, you know where you're like, wow. she did like nancy has the votes, right? this is like a mantra and democrat about nancy has about nancy always has a nancy never goes to the flourish, you know the boat but it kind of started with she like rescued the rescue package. she george w bush. whom she told me was the worst present may a president who made the worst mistake in american history, which is saying a lot which is the iraq war. she did not have a high view of george w bush in his presidency and even though it cost her members to push to the legislation. she did it because she the because the alternative just looked to him uh, tell us she took on a particularly like iconic status during the trump years and walking out the you know, the orange coat with the big collar of shredding out of the of the white house to the
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cameras there. do you think that she had trump's number because she'd encountered him and she'd seem in him in baltimore. she'd seen him and san francisco politics. she'd encountered people like him before. well, donald trump's very distinctive figure are there. i mean, there are people i'm not sure i'd know a lot of people who are like don't even jersey and he's like everybody you go before land. he's like everybody knows that if you grew up in jersey new york, you know trump, you know people like him, you know bullies like him and you just got to punch him in the face and that's what you have to do with like grew up in kansas. so, but you know, she had his number she's totally how did she know? well then how like what so as you say she knew how to deal. you know, she knew how to deal with aggressive men and bullies she grown up as the as with five older brothers. how do you think she managed to handle herself there? that was probably also good training. she had a view of trump. that was extremely negative from
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the from the get-go. in fact, she told me that her plan had been to. resign after the 2016 election. she was ready to leave congress, so she'd been reelected. but and so but since somebody else was going to be elected democratic leader. she would resign they'd have a special election san francisco and she felt comfortable doing this because she knew things would be in good hands with president hillary clinton. and then election night 2016 she starts tonight. believing that as many of us did that hillary clinton was going to win the election. and she looked at early returns from pennsylvania and talked to bob brady who is like an old-time paul from pennsylvania than a member of the house much like her dad who gave her some numbers from outside the
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philadelphia area that indicated there was a problem and at that point she knew hillary was going to lose. she was at a big event for big donors. she stopped reassuring people that things were going to be. okay. she didn't tell them what she thought was going to happen and by the end of the night she decided not to retire. because she thought trump was a threat to the nation not a threat to the democratic threat to the nation and that she felt an obligation to stick around and she became she became the face of the democratic opposition to president trump, and i'm not sure it takes. i think it took him a long time to understand that i interviewed him on air force 2 for i mean on air force one for usa today a couple weeks before the midterms in 2016. i mean in 2018, and i said are you concerned? that democrats may win control of the house. and his aids steve bannon in
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particular were very concerned about that because they thought that would lead to just unending investigations. of the trump administration and president trump said that he was not concerned particularly concerned about that because he knew pelosi he got along with pelosi pelosi wanted to do business. that's true. he thought that they could they hadn't been able to pass an infrastructure package and he thought that they would have a better chance of passing an infrastructure bill with pelosi as speaker then republicans in control that turned out to be true. yeah much later different president, i think because she wasn't on the impeachment train. he thought she was going to protect him and she was not interested in patient when she was very reluctant to impeachment, but she was no friend of donald trump and she was for two years in the minority incredibly effective at playing a very we can against trump and then when she got the majority she was very effective in playing a much stronger hand
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against donald trump. we'll take questions from the audience now. we have a microphone in the middle. folks up and start doing that. she's got a question. yeah, great. now my niece brought her here. i just want to be totally transparent hear me. okay, i just want projects gonna be? well, thank you for asking. i'm working on a book for simon and schuster. it's another biography of a powerful and interesting woman. it's a biography of barbara walters. okay, you'd buy that book, right? is the same book agents like oh we do. yes here i don't in fact i texted him this morning and said we were going to be together. we love our agent. yeah. yeah, it's weird people don't often do that. yeah, but we do. barbara walters, that's excellent. yeah, you know.
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three three characteristics of the three women done biographies of our two i've done and when i'm working on complicated barbara bush barbara bush. yes. i did a biography of barbara bush. called the matriarch barbara bush nancy pelosi and now barbara walters one. they're complicated. to their consequential they had an impact. and three no good biography of them. so a lot of you know, yeah, there's kind. and feel on that. yeah. hi my question. that that item that you talking to speaker pelosi about in the ninth interview. what was that item actually in in your included in your book. was yeah and what? what was that? so not gonna poke the bear by telling what it was but you know, i'll tell you this. this actually makes me look
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smart when potentially could make me look stupid. so i'll tell this story when when i was when i was starting both books. i didn't. contact the subject of the books beforehand to see if they would cooperate. which i think potentially could be very stupid. both of them cooperated. i did interviews with barbara bush through the last six months of her life. and then the 10 interviews with pelosi for this book and then an 11th interview for the hardback for the paperback, which just came out a couple weeks ago. but the reason i didn't ask them if they would cooperate is because i thought if if they said no, i might chicken out. and i thought if they said yes. that they might think they had some control over what i wrote. but if i came to them and said i have signed a contract to do a biography of you and i would really appreciate you talking to
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me. it is clear that i'm writing a work of journalism and not an authorized biography because in an authorized biography she would have had been able to make a call about what i could include and not include and that was actually true with the barbara bush book as well. there was something in the barbara bush biography that the family was very opposed. she had died by the time the book came out, but the family was very opposed to but it's in there because it seemed important to me. can you talk a little bit about how pelosi dealt with the challenge from the squad and that's happened to them? do they have any power any kind of? power well, they do have they do have power. yeah, they may have more i mean if democrats lose control of the house in november, which is now i think very likely nothing's guaranteed, but i think very likely the ones who are left are going to be the most progressive members of the democratic caucus
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and the squad will have more power. they'll be a bigger percentage of the caucus. you know, she pelosi told me that she saw some of herself in aoc, especially when she was younger when you know when she was standing up for the for liberal positions and couldn't understand why politicians would settle for half a loaf when they ought to get a full loaf, but that as in the position she was in now she her view interview, i think always had been pretty pragmatic get the most liberal thing. you can't get don't give away the most liberal thing you can get in pursuit of the most liberal thing. you cannot get that would be her attitude and willie the best interview. i did, you know, these interviews would be set up well in advance right because figure the house busy schedule and so one of the interviews i had with her was right after a meeting at the democratic caucus that had just turned into a brawl with between her and the squad because they had defected on an immigration vote that she had
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really wanted them to vote. with the democrats on and so she was all warmed up by the time she got to the interview with me and i was asking her about about it and she got annoyed and said i thought this was an interview about the book and i said well, let me just ask you one final thing about this then do you think the squad understands the process of passing legislation? which should be a very a very good question as it turned out and she said no and she said, you know in this she's quoting a famous line that dave bonheur and former member of congress used. he said some people come to washington to pose for holy pictures. and say look how pure i am and some of us come to washington to get things done and i can tell
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you having nancy pelosi. say you are posing for pictures is not a compliment. good morning. thank you for being here. this really builds on the on the last question. i'm wondering what the speaker thinks about her legacy in terms of. the shifting ideals of the american public in terms of anti-racism and you know ableism and and the things that were very concerned with in terms of a social justice lens. how does she see her her legacy in in that piece? so that's a great question. i'm not sure. i have a i'm not sure. i have a good answer for it. i mean and in some way some of the big cultural trends in our country are things that she's fought for for 50 years, right, you know when she came to when
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she was first elected one of the biggest the biggest issues. she initially had to deal with was hiv aids because most politicians wouldn't even say the word aids and she was coming from representing a district. that was the episode of the epidemic. of aids so and yet look at our attitudes now on things on not just on aids but on, you know same-sex marriage and on on racial justice some of these trends just from the last couple years. so i'm i'm sure she sees those in a i'm sure she sees those with gratitude and pride, but it's not something i talked to about so i maybe i shouldn't pursue if you ask her. what is your biggest legacy? i think she'd probably say the affordable care act. do you think that i think so. yeah. her is intercourts the the
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supreme court, so she's been asked that question which she dismisses and refuses to answer because i think she sees it as not something that's going to happen. so why waste time on it? okay. yeah. thank you. um, oh yeah. good morning. thank you for coming. how would you explain or frame nancy pelosi's? relationship with her faith. i mean clearly her family were very active roman catholics. she has said publicly when asked if she hated trump that she hated nobody. she was a catholic and she prayed for him. how does that influence what her priorities are and how she faces every day and and the choices she makes well, she is a person of faith. she regularly attends mass. her faith is very important to
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her. she prays every day. she says and i believe her when she says that and i think you know her whole one of the things she tells aspiring politicians. you need to know why you weren't wondering for office and she says for herself it is for children for children in need to take care and protect children. there's a there's a big social justice thread. through pelosi's i think life and through her political priorities that were shaped first by the all-girls catholic school. she went to in baltimore and then by trinity college, i mean she she her until she went until her entire schooling. was it catholic institutions taught by nuns with only girls in her class. you know both that's another similarity between hillary and pelosi right what that they went to all girls schools in college. i went to all girls college.
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i mean it's interesting to me the only brothers i just read valerie owens book valerie biden owens president's sister. it's very good. it's interesting val really strong woman. she came she only had brother she had four brothers. i think i think there's four of them three brothers frankie frankie joey and jimmy. thank you, joey jimmy and and then hillary was the only girl as well. i think that when you're the only girl you like are a little tougher. maybe you like them. so, you know you absorb different lessons. and then she went to an all women's college. my daughter's both was stepdaughter both went to all women's college too and found. it interestingly. i was concerned that it would make not give them confidence in you know when you're in the world with men and women both but it does seem to instill um, just sort of a foundation of confidence.
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i've been struck by how many women leaders went to all women colleges of which they're not that many left. yeah. yeah, it just it does seem to instill some kind of foundation of confidence. um, i have so the we have three minutes left three minutes left. i'm wondering about the men. i mean that the men who helped her along the way because this is i remember when i i worked for leon panetta, who was my congressman at the time i grew up in a navy family and we were in leon panetta's district in monterey. and so i saw the california men in the california delegation, leon panetta, george miller chuck schumer, and he's not on the california delegation marty russo chuck schumer. there was john worth a cabal of men that sounds weird, but you know, i mean that i was like wow this nancy pelosi. it's like boom. she's all the appropriations
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committee. boom. she's chair of the california delegation. boom. she's rising in leadership people that helped her and but i'm never clear that's interesting. and then also did she have an ambition to be speaker when she got there or like it was just like i also can imagine no one else can do this job. i'm doing it. i think she looked at how the what the democratic leadership was doing, and she thought they were doing it very well. that's what i think too. i don't think she came to washington thinking gee i want to climb this ladder. i think she looked at it and said boy are these people in apt? i don't think and i don't think it was gender-driven. i don't think it was like women need you know there as representing women hood. i think it was like i'm a democrat we can do better than this and when she was there was actually pretty early on there were rumors that she might challenge speaker the speaker who lost his race out and double it foley. yeah, which she was not considering.
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i mean it would have been folly for her to challenge him at that point and they came to her and she dismissed it and they let they came they said we know that you women members of congress have some concerns no need for you to run for the leadership. let us know what they are and take care of them. you can imagine how well receive that message was. um, yeah, so there's like, yeah, we should yeah. i have a concern that you're not doing it. well, so i will run and do it and you know what she did number one lesson of power. you talk about the lessons of power heard nancy pelosi's number one lesson of power is one she learned from her father, which is no one will give you power. you have to take it. and that is what she did in running for the leadership, you know standing hoyer your maryland congressman was in line to be the next whip and she ran a three-year campaign.
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to defeat him to get onto that stepping stone that led eventually to the speakership. she when people come to her aspiring politicians with tough races and they want this or they want that. she says nobody's going to hand you power. you have to seize it that has been the mantra of her life and it is serve this leader pretty well one thing. i just closing comment about pelosi when i started the book. this pitch i made to my publisher was that here is the most powerful woman in american history the first female speaker of the house and when i finished the book, i thought you know, she's in the history books as the first female speaker the house, but she's also in the history books as one of the most effective speakers in the history of the united states of america and that is pretty remarkable. it's been my privilege to spend
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some time studying her. yeah. yeah. all right. thank you. i am so pleased to be here to introduce congressman jamie raskin and author of unthinkable. unthinkable is his soul-bearing new book. and the reason i was asked to be moderator is i spent the last four years making a documentary film about jamie. i followed him around and that film premiered on. february 6th on msnbc if anybody missed it you can it's streaming on nbc.com for free. so

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