tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN February 21, 2011 5:00pm-8:00pm EST
never going to let the rate on investment go above 20, but it will be 23.8% when that happens. host: you have also talked about when you call him in taxes. guest: the biggest one is on energy, actually, a series of tax increases on american energy producers. they are calling the oil and gas preferences. 40% of the $44 billion the administration wants to raise in this area comes from appealing the section 119 domestic manufacturers deduction. that is a deduction available to all kinds of industries for creating jobs in the u.s. the administration calls it a preference. what they are doing is punishing oil and gas companies. when you look at that, when you look at the so-called dual capacity changes that helps them right off foreign taxes,
again punishing oil companies, not allowing the right off, we have the possibility of a gas tax. ministrations as we are going to move $500 billion worth of spending on roads into a mandatory program to try to cut down on the pork barrel spending. that is the good side. the bad side is they agree with the president commission's recommendation that spending be funded through some kind of increase in the gas tax. he will not find that in the administration's budget, but they are saying, we let the group and the commission came up with. so there will be a fight over the gas tax, i think, very soon. host: pete sepp is the president of the national taxpayers union. we are talking about the president's 2012 budget proposal. republicans, 202-737-0001. democrats, 202-737-0002. independents, 202-628-0205.
we will begin taking your calls and a couple of minutes. you can also e-mail us or send us a tweet. jake tapper of abc news went through a lot of the 2012 budget, and here are some of the things he pulled out. total of over 10 years, but to request, $989 billion from individuals making less than $250,000. $636 million from businesses. new taxes for individuals making more than $250,000. the expiration of the tax cuts, $338 billion. the elimination of the itemized deductions. capital gains tax hike, $118
billion. some key new taxes for businesses. reinstating the superfund taxes, $17 billion. exile attacks on gulf of mexico oil and gas, 5.3 million -- billion dollars. repeal of manufacturing tax deduction for oil and gas companies, $13 billion. when we talk about a capital gains tax hike, how is that written into the 2012 budget? guest: the current rate is 15%. the current administration will say, we're going to raise that for upper income -- we are going to raise that for upper income 20.viduals 20to it is interesting. in the previous segment, you
were talking about aid for energy costs. this is going to raise energy costs. host: what is the national taxpayers union? guest: we are a nonprofit, non partisan group working for lower taxes across the board. we believe that there are bipartisan opportunities for spending restraint and reduction. that is why we teamed up late last year with a group to identify about $600 billion worth of spending reductions. it is called, fittingly, common ground. although there is a lot of highly charged rhetoric going on right now -- we disagree with many portions of the president's budget -- there are things we can do across the spectrum to get things under control. host: do you support any tax
increases given our deficit? guest: we think the congress needs to code -- concentrate on spending reductions first. that has been completely put by the wayside. that has continued and accelerated under obama. congress needs to be serious. we were encouraged to see that earmarked for the extra jet engine got a limited of last week, but then again, when congress had the opportunity to boost the amount of spending reductions for the fiscal year, 90 republicans said, no, we are not going to go along with that. host: chicago, carl. democrat. you are on. caller: my comment is this. i disagree with this guy this morning.
i think america has been brainwashed quite a bit over the last 30 years. all of this about too much spending. when bush was put into the white house, in his budget, conservatives wanted to cut all these programs. we were in a panic. after bush came in, huge tax cuts. we have been going downhill ever since. it happened on ron reagan also. he ended up having to raise taxes. they said you are going to also have tax increases for revenue. host: pete sepp?
guest: spending under bush did go up dramatically. if you count 2009, the year that the stimulus took effect, it would be a greater increase, but of course, bush was not responsible for that policy. by and large, increases in revenue have often occurred even as rates are being reduced. that is because of the economic growth of fact, when the budget was balanced in the 1990's. that occurred after capital gains rates were cut. if you look at the revenue that the obama administration hopes to raise from corporate taxes, a 100% increase in just two years. the last time that occurred with one the bush administration was cutting tax rates in 2003 through 2005. again, cutting rates does not necessarily lead to reduced revenues. it can lead to increased revenues, if you have rate cuts
that are targeted toward economic growth. it does not always happen because many times they are poorly designed. host: this tweet comes in -- guest: well, i think fair taxation is not punishment but unfair taxation, which is what is being proposed in the budget, certainly is. oil and gas companies are being singled out for special tax hikes. we think that when an administration, republican or democratic, goes too far in determining which industries can make too much profit and had it taken away from them and which one gets along, that is dangerous. it is also unpredictable and unstable for the business climate. host: north carolina, jim. go ahead.
all right, we are going to move ahead to port tobacco, maryland. kirk, good morning. caller: my comment is, i do not believe the national debt will ever be paid. it is just too difficult to do. we may achieve a balanced budget, but the spending cuts must come first and then be followed by tax increases. it is too easy to spend money. the other thing is, this national debt. it will probably be paid with inflation. the dollars will be rendered almost meaningless by inflation, which is the cruelest tax of all.
guest: quite possible. very astute observation. if you look at the long-term cost projection for medicare, social security, medicaid, by 2080, they will have got to the point where the national debt will equal 700% of our annual economic output. that is really just a theory because, at some point, probably at the 200% mark, our economy would collapse anyway. that shows the danger of uncontrolled entitlement spending. that is another example of a controlled spending. look at where they administration projected our outlays in 2019, when barack obama first took office, he said they would be 5.1 trillion dollars. his latest budget, what is the projection for 2019? roughly the same amount. even though we have seen two years of supposedly moving to
the center, more spending reduction proposals, we are going to end up at the same level of outlays. host: pete sepp, the first in the caller said is that he does not believe our debt will ever be paid. do you believe with him? -- the you believe him? guest: i think it will be difficult to reach zero. i think we can reduce it as a percentage of our economic output. as recent as the clinton -- as recent as the clinton administration, it was closer to 40%. we need to have a growing economy backed up by spending restraint and more stable revenue growth as a result. if we do those things, we will minimize the share of the national debt as part of our economy. host: when we talk about the national debt, we are talking about what is owed to you and
me. guest: not just that, but what is owed to public programs. host: but that includes future debt. promise. guest: yes. that is issued to securities as well as debts owed to our trust funds, whatever those are in washington terminology. but there are also long term unfunded liabilities not reflected in that $14 trillion, anywhere from $60 trillion to $100 trillion, depending on who you look at. host: next phone call comes from amsterdam, new york. joe, a democrat. caller: i have been hearing a lot about shared sacrifice. i have a couple of examples of how the top 2% are not sharing in the sacrifice. another example for c-span, in
particular. i noticed last week you followed the week youcpac convention -- you covered the cpac convention, you have this right wing guy on today. i wonder when we are court to get some advocates for progressive politics on your show? host: have we covered caylee coast in the past? guest: occasionally -- caller: occasionally. host: occasionally? caller: the percentage of right wing people on your show is substantially higher. guest: certainly, we are prepared to look at any kind of spending reduction, across the board, including military spending, that would be shared a sacrifice. i urge you to look at the report we repeat -- completed. $600 billion of spending reductions from corporate
welfare to the deepwater drilling program to the advanced combat fighting vehicle, which is terribly over budget, just an awful system to perform the way it is supposed to. spare parts purchases for the military. those need to be reformed. on and on. so yes, there are opportunities here. this is not an left and right thing. it is right and wrong. host: where have you found common ground in your approach? guest: reductions in defense, spending by corporations need to be pushed back. the overseas aid. the market promotion program is another example. companies like mcdonald's get to
promote their products overseas using tax dollars. agricultural subsidies also need to be reduced. that is an area where the top 2% of the individuals ought to be able to take the hit. farm subsidies, despite income limits, dew still go to many income individuals. host: long beach island, new jersey. allen, good morning. caller: good morning. in the last segment, there were two rather lengthy calls from people collecting heat assistance, and yet, they seemed to have their priorities out of balance. their priorities seemed to be to pay for cable television and long-distance telephone calls, rather than heat. how can they be watching on cable and making long distance calls when they are receiving welfare assistance?
host: we will let them comment stand. tacoma, washington. sean on the independent line. are you with us? please go ahead. caller: what was wrong with the economy in the 1950's? there was nothing wrong with wood stoves. what happens when your taxes get too high and we have to go back to this? host: i think we got your point. pete sepp? guest: it is important to look at the progression of tax burdens over time. although they have been cut in some years, they have been increased, for example, the guns and butter expansion in the 1960's. that went on unabated for about 35 years until the late 1990's.
host: if you look back at the 1950's, early 1960's, the top tax rates were 75%, 90%. at what point did they come down? once they did, what change, if anything? guest: those top rates were levied on a much smaller share of income than you have these days. two different tax systems, but the rates came down after john f. kennedy proposed deep reductions across the board, saying a rising tide would lift all boats. those taxes were not enacted until after his death, but they touched off a dramatic economic expansion that did not start to slow down until the late johnson era and early-nixon era. host: should -- should social security, medicare, medicaid be looked at and reformed, in your view?
guest: absolutely. as to a previous caller, the wealthiest making the sacrifice, we need to means test the spirit it sounds sacrilege, but it needs to be done, if we want to save investments in these programs. it is for to have to happen, along with raising the retirement age, raising colas, and figuring out a better way to index the wage formula. host: council, alabama. you are on with pete sepp of the national taxpayers union. caller: thank you for taking my call. it was a long time coming. mr. sepp, could you please explain the tax rate under the clinton years, compared to the tax rates of the upper-middle- class, and can you explain how
we are making more today, but bringing in less revenue, and at the same time, be expected to bring down the deficit? is that possible? guest: the rights under the rates in the-- went up.aera from 1997 onward, there were tax reductions that helped to cut the effective rate both on capital gains, and for middle and upper middle income families. that is when you had a child tax credit introduced that helped to offset the rise in liabilities for families. as the rate in capital gains was coming down with a top rate of 18% -- before then, it was taxed as ordinary income as high as
39.6% for short-term gains. once you did that, there was an explosion in capital gains realization that really brought in double-digit increases of federal revenue from investments. that helped to put the budget in balance, along with the welfare reform that president clinton signed, and some modest spending restraint in the 1997 balance budget act. that was a product of divided government. it is important to realize, sometimes gridlock can help taxpayers, rather than hurt them. host: connecticut liberal mom tweets in -- host: --guest: well, we did not support president bush in that way. we were critical. i would in but the caller to
take a look at our website and examine many of the releases we put out during the bush years when spending was growing heavily out of control. we certainly did not support the t.a.r.p. bailout for the financial industry, nor the first stimulus in response to a slowing economy, which occurred under bush. we feel there are areas where we can work with the president on spending reduction, including defense. we feel the president's support for whistle blower protection, that is a great idea. we need to be moving forward with that as quickly as we possibly can. we also need to consider constitutional spending restraints, such as a balanced budget amendment. that was something that republicans and democrats worked together to pass in the house in 1995, only to fall short one vote in the senate. host: we have been looking at
the constitutional amendment for a balanced budget. but there is always have a loophole. guest: that is a problem. the need to design an amendment that has enough flexibility that will attract support for passage but has enough strictures in it, so that in relatively good economic times, the government will be balanced and the deficit will be a less recurring phenomenon. it is unfortunate that under republicans and democrats our budget has only been balanced six times in the last 60 years. even a keynesian economists would say that that is no good, not enough. host: does reform of the tax system, tax code, does that play a role, in your view? guest: absolutely. not the kind of fake loophole closers we are looking at in this budget, on energy, but reforming the system at its
base, which means not only broadening the base of tax income, but lowering the rates at the same time. there is promise for bipartisanship. there is a senator from oregon proposing the bipartisan tax simplification and fairness act. he will do it again. it would establish rates of 15, 25%, 35% on the personal side, 25% on the corporate side. that would be down from where we are now. that would be a promising start and a good dialogue to be had between members of congress and even treasury secretary geithner, who seems to be saying, we need to start looking at tax reform. not necessarily to raise revenue. i am sure the budget proposal would need to be modified accordingly, because that is of the administration's, but if we could question that out and simplify, we could make a lot of
progress. host: another tweet -- guest: the $345 billion tax gap is largely the product of individuals under reporting income or overtaking reductions. what happens is we tend to focus solely on the corporate side of the tax system, not realizing it is just as indecipherable for individuals. we look at ge, which filed a tax return of 24,000 pages, certainly the longest in history, but individuals in middle-class situations may end up filing their 1040 long form and end up with 40 pages.
that is becoming so indecipherable that even tax preparers are having a hard time keeping up. host: next phone call. you are on with pete sepp. caller: i agree that it is not just the upper class and rich that gets loopholes. it is also the port. if you are ever around people who get the earned income credit, they do not use this money to supplement their income to live on. they take trips, they buy big screen tvs, and they are planning on what they're going to do with the money a year in advance. we are awarding people for bad behavior. young people go out and have kids out of wedlock. we are awarding them and encouraging this behavior. we are punishing people who make good decisions in their lives, make something of their lives, and are hard workers.
guest: this is actually something that began under ronald reagan, the concept of refundable tax credits. the idea that you could get more back than your actual tax liability. we total of the refundable portion of tax credits being proposed in the current budget and it adds up to about $115 billion over 10 years. that is not a foregone revenue, that is actual spending. the refundable portion of the tax credit is score that way for official purposes. host: next phone call comes from jacksonville, florida. bruce. independent line. caller: good morning. the gentleman that called in earlier about you being bias to the right wing, tell him to watch msnbc. one question that i have -- and it upsets me whenever they talk about social security, medicare,
medicaid, when they put them in the same bundle -- i paid social security for the 50 years i worked. i have been paying for medicaid since the 1970's. the whole thing about it is the nonexistent trust fund for social security, medicare, and earlier in your conversation, in nonexistent highway trust fund, which we are paying for now. it all goes into the general fund and gets spent. according to something i heard the other day, the government oppose the social security trust fund for million dollars. another thing that i heard -- maybe you can enlighten me -- if you sell your house in 2014, there will be a 3% tax on that. guest: i do not think there is a
3% tax plan on home sales. i know some individuals might be affected by the capital gains rate increase when they go to sell, but there is even a large exemption for large residences of capital gains. $4 trillion is the minimal amount that the government owes the so-called social security trust fund. that does not even count the unfunded liabilities that will go on as the boom generation begins to retire. it is an illustration of how little you can impact the overall budget numbers, unless you discuss an entitlement spending, even with the so- called discretionary spending freeze that the president is proposing over 10 years. the savings will amount to something on the order of $400 billion. but again, as i was pointing out earlier, that is not putting a dent in the long term out the picture, which will still be
$5.15 trillion by the end of the decade, exactly where it was when the administration came into office. jacobson tweets in -- the next call for pete sepp comes in from michigan. caller: ideas heard a lady talking about how all the people that do not pay taxes and the poor people who are using bad behavior taking up all the tax money. let speak about all of rich people that are stealing money and all the people that are ruining the 41 k's on the tax market. second, there would not be any problem if bush had not rate the country and stolen money.
if there was a big problem when obama got into office. he had no money. my third question is, the only thing america has to do is go back to work. you raise revenues if everyone in the economy is back to work. there will be no deficit. guest: it is quite true that a growing economy with relatively raised employment will make money. you combine that with spending constraints and tax reform and it is simply done. the arithmetic is relatively simple, but it is very difficult to realize that we have structural problems in this country with the benefit programs that transcend republican and democratic of ministrations.
i am actually more hopeful now that we will abide some bipartisan agreement, especially on the senate side, to start spending -- slowing down expenditures. i think we will see some pretty novel deficit reduction plans. host: here is a tweet. guest: the top 1 percent of earners in the united states account for a little over one fifth of all of the earnings. but also nearly 40% of the income taxes. they really are pulling about twice their share of the load of other segments of the population and that is not just income tax, but payroll and
other crimes. yes, those are a bit more regressive, but even if you look where cbo's analysis of those things fall, the quintile pays a higher rate and the bottom quintile actually pays in-rate. host: next call from virginia. caller: obama's assessment of oil, like here in virginia, they need to look in to abuse of the fuel assistance program. i paid into a social security for 40 years and now they want
to do something about a, cutting back and this and that and the other. but nobody has said anything about cutting the benefits that congress makes. they're talking about these millionaires creating jobs. i think there ought to be a sports tax put on these players, basketball and football players. like some of them signed and 8 to 10 year deal for $10,000,000.10 basketball player paying $5,000 a week to feed the sharks. guest: sports teams are actually some of the biggest subsidies in the finance world. stadiums are financed 55% by taxpayers. a big question there whether we should keep subsidizing that
kind of thing. and we never should have in the first place. members of congress have a generous rate. they get a rate that is generally reserved for emergency workers. host: are those two areas where you end of the ralph nader group agreed? guest: an absolutely. host: if people were interested in seeing where your to two groups converged, was the website? guest: it is ntu.org and the topic is "common ground. host: here is a tweet. guest: consumer demand is a result of prosperity.
you have to have the conditions for a growing economy first. host: albany, n.y., on the independent line. caller: good morning. three quick questions and a comment. first, let's go on the presumption that there is a two- year cycle for elections for politicians. president obama, in order to get through his last stimulus package, gave the world the $950 billion tax break over a two- year time frame. that will help him gain money for his billion dollar campaign fund but i don't think that will help get the economy going. comment on that. second, i do not feel there is any problem as a 62 year-old man still working, i have no problem
paying more taxes if the burden is shared by all segments of the economy, as under clinton. we were very successful in putting ourselves out of a deep recession. thirdly, social security, i believe that social security -- the cap on social security paid by individuals, because it is a shared employer and individual- based tax, but the individual should be raised not only to keep the social security solvent, but as a general fund to medicaid and medicare. would you comment on those three? host: mr. sepp? guest: the $950 billion suppose of cost includes everyone across the board, not just the upper 1%
or 2% of earners. on the question of social security, there are only two ways that you can means test the benefits. you can route -- you can raise the matter of wages subject -- the amount of wages subject to tax or you would change the benefit distribution. you would sit down with left- wing organizations and say, what could we do to reach a compromise? we would prefer to have been if of limitations run of and raising the possible wage cap. it is important to look at where we can reach common ground here so we can move forward on some kind of foundation for deficit reduction. one easy place to start, the administration's budget has 20 recommendations for reductions and terminations that were also proposed in the bush administration. it is only $1 billion and some change, but we want some kind
of, at least a symbolic start toward reduction. why not do that? it would be very easy. host: pete sepp is the executive vice president of the national taxpayers union. how did you get involved in these issues? guest: almost 23 years ago i started out at and to you -- had ntu genser in phones and a gentleman called in and said he was going to commit suicide because of an irs problem. i realized it was a very serious business. host: did you ever hear from the gentleman again? guest: no. host: rochester, new york. caller: i'm calling to ask you why you are not complaining about a fivefold increase the payroll taxes since 1980 -- in the payroll taxes that were
introduced since 1980. during the same time from the payroll tax is one of fivefold and the investor income dropped from 70% to 15% on. abraham lincoln during the war tax individuals up to 70% to pay for the war. during world war i it with 80%. world war ii it was 90%. during the cold war it was the 70%. the discouraged profiteering because it was all taxed. now the tax rate on the wealthiest were dropped on the wealthiest during the war from 70% to 15%. our entire budget deficit is over $900 billion when you
combine veterans and the cost of military purchases. guest: you get no argument from me the military spending has gone up excessively and there're plenty of various not only the waste, fraud, abuse, but actual prior to a certain -- prioritization of weapon systems, getting rid of things that are no longer in use. tax rates were certainly higher during world war i end of world war ii, but they apply to a different set of taxable income. if you look at the fact that tax rates under bill clinton for investors dropped, it was a growing stock market that helped to balance the budget. this can be a bipartisan solution.
host: i do not mean to put words in that last callers now, but would you support -- in that last caller posing mouth -- in but last caller's mouth, would you support special taxes or an extra tax to support the cost of a war? guest: i would hope that of those kinds of taxes were considered that first of all, spending reductions would have been made. that is what happened in world war ii and the korean conflict. we cut back on domestic programs and we went into a lot of debt. but that that was structured where we have every intention of bringing up burden down after the conflict. we never really did that after the vietnam era. we certainly have not done it during the middle eastern conflicts.
we also need to look at restoring the faith of the american people that certain temporary increases really are that way. no politician seems to be able to keep that promise and say, this was a two-year tax increase and it will disappear in two years and we will learn to live with less revenue when the conflict is over. that just does not happen. host: last call for pete sepp comes from tennessee. caller: we need to start thinking about the taxpayer, the people that get up every morning and go to work. last year in tennessee we had 90 girls in one high school pregnant. both the baby and herself will be parasites on this economy for the rest of her life. we need to stop rewarding bad behavior and think about the taxpayer. they're the ones that are
finding everything. host: all right, we've got your point. thanks. guest: i think it was thomas jefferson who said that we need to take from the government the burden of borrowing. 20 to start thinking about constitutional budget reforms again. congressman bob good lad has introduced a balanced budget amendment. every republican should be able to sponsor it and most democrats shourd, too. it is a good bipartisan proposal. we need to work on long-term reforms like that. even the $1 billion that i recently discussed, there has to be an aggressive start. we cannot keep making excuses. host: let's run through some numbers here. what is the current federal
budget overall? guest: overall, $3.8 trillion. host: what is the current deficit for that $3.8 trillion guest: somewhere between 1.5 -- $1.5 trillion and $1.6 trillion. host: was the gdp of the country? -- what is the gdp of the country? guest: a little more than $14 trillion right now. host: right now, debt per person in the u.s.? guest: if you were to divide it out, about $40,000 >> join us tomorrow when we welcome a guest to talk about
financial issues. and "the washington times." and we will discuss the internet and social media. it gets under way live tomorrow at 7:00 a.m. eastern. here is what is coming up. c-span's white house documentary. and columbia university takes a look at the wikileaks website. and topics from ucla. >> one-quarter of all international traffic is basically involved in infringing on other people's property rights. >> the said committee work on copyrights -- subcommittee work on copyrights.
we will share in a discussion of topics with columbia university. >> would you like to tell us how this incredible story started? and who your contact was? >> with us, it started with a report of someone who read the story and read how they were essentially on the run. the man had an amazing treasure trove of documents. he eventually made contact, and
he persuaded him it would be better for others to put this on the internet. early on in the conversation, it was a way of making impact with the documents. they agreed and they went from there. i think the judgment call has been broadened by events. the british media laws are not as robust. we thought it would give our joint enterprise a legal battle. we also thought he was going to
try to bring down the enterprise through a digital attack. third, this was going to be a massive task. compare that with 2.5 million words, this was the biggest thing in the journalistic organizations ever had to tackle. that is how it started. i think it started well, and as far as we were concerned, i think it ended well. >> going back, as you say, it
was huge. what were you thinking when he took hold of this enormous amount of data? was there any point saying that it would be too difficult to do? >> i think we realized that the skills we had on the journalistic side were barely up to the task. it was quite interesting to watch the media, there were people next door to each other. they could do things that neither of them really fully appreciated.
there was a higher learning curve. and they had to manipulate these information pieces. it was highly sensitive. whether or not it was highly secret, we could debate. but it was highly sensitive. they were all different. it was very much not historic. there were all kinds of issues. are we going to publish these raw? we came to the conclusion that we would have to redact them. >> were they relatively okay
with redaction? there is something that was said previously. >> they kept us from the point of view of total transparency. by the end of the exercise, they had essentially adopted mainstream organizations where it was necessary. that was the case of these. >> one of the questions that comes up over and over again, you have explained a little bit about why you collaborated, you
are saying that is the right decision. do you think you would have come under pressure with what you were seeing at the beginning? >> in terms of either the government or the law? there were a couple years where we were acting highly important, but confidential information was being distributed. it was a good case, it is something a lot of toxic materials have.
and there were internal documents there that in the end, it was suggested that we could not have them discussed. judges were woken up in their pajamas in order to take them down. with these highly sensitive governmental documents, it was by the american government or the british government. we felt that it was going to be vital. >> we could listen all night,
but tell me about the first contact, when they rang. >> they called me, it was characterized as highly paranoid. they wanted to know how we could have a secure conversation. we don't have secure lines. in a very cautious way, he laid out that there were half a million documents involving iraq and afghanistan. we were being offered to share
this exclusive. i had no misgivings about working with him. i had some misgivings about the trustworthiness of the source. i had the same misgivings about british lot and american law. the material in question was in london. the publication was considerably greater. >> if they had approached you directly, what would you have done? >> i would like to think and be
generous enough to call allen and ask if he wanted to share. [laughter] we would have proceeded in more or less the same way. your default position with secret documents is misgivings. you don't always know exactly what they are. they were not completely unknown to us. just previously, they released the footage of baghdad shooting a group of people that included journalists. >> to make the decision to publish? >> if anything, i suppose you
could argue that it made it a bit more complicated in the respect that the times tries very hard to be impartial, and other news organizations are more openly partial. there is a paper of the left. all of them, the weekly standard, the question came up, are we going to come under heat for doing business with this sort of leftish crowd. >> it is a unique contemporary
perspective from his early years as a lawyer to his presidency during one of our nation's most troubled times. the publishers are offering viewers the hardcover edition for the special price of $5 with shipping and handling. -- plus shipping and handling. >> i have asked you to come here this evening so we can talk about the secretary of state regarding the negotiations going on in europe. >> i think we forget this. >> find something you did not know about the 43 men that served as president of the united states.
you feel the presence of the past. it is a public museum for the collection that tells the story of those who lived here. an office facility where momentous decisions are made and announced to the world. and a private residence where first families can retreat as an ever increasing the spotlight is shown on them, created by the founders as a symbol of the newfound democracy and its freedoms, it is built by free men and slaves alike. if the story of survival and growth over time mirrors that of our country. >> this house has withstood war, fire and bulldozers and as --
and it has faced a stern test or two. >> it's a story of a house that in many ways the bill longer exists. it's inside to have been gutted and rebuilt. but even those parts of it that have long become landfill or that we now see only in faded photographs are part of our nation's collective memory and our national heritage. and now, we walk inside the white house and, through time, into its grand state floors where the rooms and spaces all tell stories of the past. and where history still unfolds. past the velvet ropes of public tours to those places you get to see. as we explore president and first families who have changed this come into what is today.
>> had helicopter lands on the back lawn here. >> it is a place of rhythm is based on the first family. >> there is a tremendous urgency about the white house. you have the tranquil state rooms and nothing else is tranquil. >> the briefing in the roosevelt room will take place at 11:45 p.m. >> when they're here, activity it's a peak. the business of the executive branch is conducted in the west wing and transmitted by the ever-present media. in the east wing, the first lady's staff plans private and official events down to the minute details.
in the center, the resident staff works behind the scenes to ready the white house for those events. >> the house is a metaphor for the country. it's roughly as old as the country but it is as relevant as this morning's headlines. it receives a fresh injection of life with every family that moves in. >> when the family is away, there are no events, but changes the first lady once made to the historic rooms in the home get carried out. five days a week, along with all of the other demands on the home, a constant stream of visitors come into this american house museum that stands as the symbolic home to the people of nation. >> every time i come in here, it's a thrill to see the beauty of it, the simplicity of it, the knowledge of what took place in these rooms. the layers of history that are
still alive here make a magnificent. >> you walked up the driveway toward the front of the white house. every time i do that, i am in off. suddenly i become that little kid who wants to jump up and down and say i can't believe i'm walking up to the white house. for me, it is that what that allows you to go in and says this house really can be open to everybody. >> city in the middle of 18 acres known -- sitting in the middle 18 acres known as the president's park, as been home to each of america's chief executive since john adams. it has undergone many changes, but the courthouse still remains a place all of them would recognize. divided into public and private sections, its ground and first floors are open for tours. above that are the private quarters of the family. inside the central mentioned, there are 132 rooms with a floor
plan that unites the ground, the state, and second floors with a centrally located oval shaped room. on the ground floor of the central space is the diplomatic reception room with the map rooms, the library, the firm may and china rooms complementing on either side. one floor is the state floor anchored by the blue room in the center. the state dining room is at one end of the hall, the east room at the other. the red and green rooms to either side of the blue state room. on the second floor private residence, the yellow oval room is a central space bordered by the treaty room, the lincoln bedroom and of the queen's room to the east. presidential bedrooms and studies. the west city hall and the
family's private dining room to the west. >> if you took the white house by the hair of the head and pulled up out of the ground, it would be huge. you would not even imagine how enormous it would be. to basement floors, the west wing with basement and seller and under all that a bomb shelter. you keep pulling and polling, you had a six or seven story building. >> stretching from the west wing it to the east, the white house complex today is over 300 feet long and is equipped for a huge political staff as well as the permanent staff of just about 100 who help run the central mention. but it was not always this way. >> some nights, sitting at my desk in the white house, i'd make my first radio report to the people. >> when franklin roosevelt arrived for his first day in office of march of 1933, the white house is 133 years old and
has been home to 30 presidents before him. but perhaps new chief executive before or since paid closer attention to physically transforming the building and grounds here that roosevelt, its longest resident. >> the fact is, the roosevelts, together revolutionized how we see the white house and its occupants. >> faced with the challenges of the great depression and world war two, fdr expands the role of the federal government and increases the size of the white house complex to what we see today. on one side, he adds on the west wing, bringing it to its current size. inside, he has a new oval office built in the location all presidents since have used. outside, he hired a famous landscape architect to design the current look of the south grounds. with its beautiful gardens and groves of historic trees. on the other side of the
complex, he builds up the east wing to its size today. >> i wish very much i could beat out there rolling exit with all of you on the lawn. i had my eggs for breakfast. >> we love the white house itself -- he loved the white house itself. his work with the country was paralleled with endless work at the white house. he had an architect every morning and they had a different project every day. he created the white house library, the east wing, which he could not get the money from congress so he waited for the war to start. he met for to be a museum for the white house and was collecting things to go into the museum. he was an amateur architect. roosevelt enjoyed his life there. he would not have been happy in a rocking chair on the porch with nothing to do. >> why should i use a pussyfoot
what? >> while we are used to seeing him standing at the podium: those who lived and worked at the white house either view him in a wheelchair or as this rare footage reveals, the metal leg braces he wears the remainder of his adult life after contracting polio in 1921. partly because of his limited mobility, the white house is the center of his presidency and he uses it and a handful of rooms inside to his advantage. >> i am happy to address this evening in this unique matter -- the >> utilizing the growing power of radio and film technology, fdr transforms how the offices seem, increasing its ability far beyond any before him. >> the had an acute awareness of the power of the white house. >> just below the south portico from where he addresses the nation is the entrance to the white house reserved for
president, first ladies and their guests. leading into the first room in the home they see, the diplomatic reception room. centrally located on the ground floor, it is beyond the bounds of public tours and is made famous by fdr. >> never before since jamestown and plymouth rock. >> just eight days into his administration, it is here he made the first of many fireside chats to the nation during his presidency. >> i want to tell you what has been done in the last few days, why it was done and what the next steps are going to be. >> mainly through radio, sometimes allowing the newsreel cameras in four portions of his chats. like so many of the rooms here, it had varied uses over the years and its connections between different presidents and first ladies are many. all originally a furnace room, and 1902, theodore roosevelt
turned it into the diplomatic reception room as part of his work on the white house. as you look at it today, its main visual features are a legacy of first lady, jacqueline kennedy, as part of her restoration of the home. >> it is the room people see first when they come to the white house. everyone comes through it and leaves by it. i think it should be a pretty room. this is wallpaper printed in france about 1834. it is all scenes of america. >> but is still at the are who has the biggest impact on the history of this space. -- it is still fdr that has the biggest impact on the history of
this space. >> mrs. roosevelt is the first first lady to hold radio press conferences to days after her husband's swearing in. she walked into the red room with a box of candy which was passed around. with the -- she broke with 150 years of tradition and became the first first lady to have a press conference. interestingly enough, there were no male reporters allowed at her press conferences. as a result, but -- many steffi publishers had to hire female reporters. many journalists got their job. >> the great majority of questions you have some may have been on various stages of life in the white house. >> as the roosevelts increase the public visibility to new levels with world war two comes a need for secrecy inside the mansion. with it, a transformation of another room inside the home,
and are due to one of the most famous this is ever to the white house. >> the white house let's the nation in on an inspiring secret. winston churchill is here. after a daring 10 day trip from london, the british prime minister begins face-to-face conversations with president roosevelt. >> are writing only weeks after pearl harbor, he works with roosevelt, setting up temporary or headquarters inside the house. influenced by churchill's use of maps, fdr had his staff assemble his own war room inside the home. located next to the diplomatic reception room on the ground floor and with his positions office just on the other side, fdr's staff takes over what had been a low ceiling ladies coat room and converts it into a hideaway office where he and a select few monitor america's war effort. >> it looks so radically
different. it had things smacked all over the walls. maps and a little pass through and be up oak and metal desks everywhere and buyout cabinets and telephones. it was the communication brains of the white house for the president personally. >> entering the map room from roosevelts that its point while in his wheelchair, you travel toward the center of the space, imagining what it would have looked like in his day. to the right and just above the fireplace, d.c. the last map made for president roosevelt. on it are the projected european troop movements of april 1945. >> he was always interested in the maps that show locations of ships and always interested in where his sons were in relation to the war and took an interest in all of it. he was extremely interested in extremely well informed on the movements of the military and the information all came from there.
>> he and churchill would spend time here. there is a story of alan are witnessing them, she was not supposed to be there, but she came in, she saw them with the pins on the wall and she said they looked like to boys playing. they look like you're having a wonderful time. sometimes too wonderful. she felt like even though these two great men are prosecute or that has to be fought, they should not be looking like they're having fun moving pans around on the wall. >> as president roosevelt grapples with the country at war, mrs. roosevelt grapples with tensions inside the home. at a poignant movement, citing cost -- citing austerity reasons: dismisses all white members and hires only blacks at a lower cost. >> that darkie in uniform is the white house official barber. >> the white house is often seen
as the central american place. i want people to realize that centrality is because it is a place that grappled with questions of race. it was a place that was reflective of its time. what the white house often is is a symbol of america, for good, for ill, a symbol of what is possible and a symbol of america falling down and failing to meet its stated ideals. >> the employees of the white house today are as diverse as the nation's population. working behind the scenes co. provided continuity to the white house through different administrations. as well as making this place a whole man stage for presidential families. >> they are part of a sense of privacy. you did not see them sharing all of their stories. they feel that part of their professional life is to do the work and what is said in the
white house stays in in the white house. in some ways, they have been some of the guardians of tradition, when it comes to keeping and helping to administration's and having them understand how to use the white house. >> the white house staff has tried to figure out how to accommodate families and feel as normal as possible even though there are dozens of people around, dropping off flowers, vacuuming, fixing things up, all the time. you begin to see them as family in so many ways and that's the beauty of this place. it is the staff that make it home for families over 70 years. >> as a worker, the events provide a window into the home today and it's unfolding history. some, such as the work done here in the chocolate shop offer a window into its storied past. as suites of the executive mansion as a look in 1800 are being made for a dinner honoring the original architect of the white house.
>> the white house is a place for connection. james tobin was george washington's man. >> it is important in understanding the white house to understand where it came from. silly things that are there are unique about white house life and white house usage comes to life. >> the white house was sanctified by george washington. it was george washington, who never lived there, who laid the cornerstone and had a major say in its design. >> with the nation's capital scheduled to move to a new city on the potomac in 1800, in 1792, washington and thomas jefferson and of the design competition to build a president's house. after the selection of irishman,
h jamesobon, problems soon arrived. before the cornerstone is even laid. >> of washington game before the commission and they simply don't know where to put it. do we put it to the north, south, east or west? these avenues are converging on it. they have to see it. barry and patiently, washington, the old surveyor took off his jacket, it is in the record, he drove the stakes into the ground for where it stands today. he had a certain taste that was very out of style. the white house was very at of style for its old standard for its day. it is full of carvings and that was very out of style. you go back and look over the door, there is a 14 foot garland carved of roses carved into the face of the stone.
you would look at that and think it is stuck on. it is not. he loved it, but later just before his retirement, he said i think there is not the taste for ornaments that there once was. >> entering the white house just under washington's garland, you come into the state floor of the home and into a lay out that he and the other early presidents would all recognize. today, with its state dining room at the west end of the hall, red, blue, and cream parlors of the main across all and then a large public room at the east end of the floor. as you walk down the corridor, you come into the east room, the most public and perhaps most famous room in the house, with a direct legacy to george washington. >> washington had an instinctive understanding of leadership. for example, the east room, the
great ceremonial, public growth of the white house was something in which he took a particular interest. >> it is the grand, ceremonial room of the white house. hear, public history unfold in front of the nation. it has borne witness to historic treaties and signings. white house weddings, callous musical performances, visits by heads of state and events celebrating its history. >> this house is forever renewed by the ageless fidelity of its founders and the boundless promise of its future errors. >> it is also a place where the nation mourns together. serving as the room where seven of eight presidents who died in office have lain in state. the east room and its events are symbolic of a home where the unfolding history of our country is represented and where george washington's idea of a public audience room to next to our nation's past. >> it is a room that has always
been sanctified by the portrait of george washington and kept company by a portrait of washington. figuratively, the washington's watch over us in this room. in some anyways, he inspired. >> is this painting of george washington that is the only portrait hanging in the white house on november 1st, 1800, the day his successor, john adams, becomes the first president to occupy the home. >> the house was woefully incomplete. the roof leaked, there's no running water. the grounds were littered with which you'd find on any construction site and you had to be very careful walking around at night, there was no light. it was not a very livable house. >> inside the and finnish home, abigail adams uses the home for
anything but what washington envisioned. >> she used it as a drying room. because it was unfinished, it was leaking like crazy, she set the clotheslines and there. she says i have made it into a drawing room. has no other function. john adams was always compared to washington and favorably. george washington was very stately and tall with his silver soared. adams had a black velvet suit made and stand in front of the portrait that remains in the white house and he would sit there. he did not have many teeth and he smoked a pipe and smelled that way. he would stand beneath a portrait and get some tatters. what happened? >> adams brief occupancy of the white house is one of political defeat and personal tragedy. within days of moving into this
cult of the president learned his residency is going to be very brief indeed because he had been defeated by his former friend, thomas jefferson. to make matters in the belly worse, he learned within days of that news that their son had died. it was a house of a great dilemma. the adams pretty much all up inside the white house. >> i pray heaven to bestow the best of blessings upon this house and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. may none but honest and wise man ever rule under this roof. john adams, a november 7th, 19 -- 1800. fdr orders this and described above the fireplace mantel in the state dining room and it is john adams lasting gift to thomas jefferson and all presidents since who have lived here. >> the state dining room, one of
three dining rooms in the mansion. >> as of visitors go through the state floor today, they have a president to thank to allow the public for coming in for taurus. his presence is felt throughout the rams and parlors on this floor. >> everything you have seen today has a specific purpose in the white house. >> the white house was opened in the spring of 18 01 by thomas jefferson. >> it was officially utilize as the white house dining room during the days of thomas jefferson. >> there is a particular feeling in the green room of jefferson. he used that as his everyday dining room. i can imagine him with thomas paine. thomas paine dined there with him and that's where -- it was relatively small and always political. he was famous for having meals
where he invited everyone he knew it was brilliant to have these incredible debtors. in the east room, president kennedy said when he had all of the nobel prize winners, he said never had so much that talent been assembled and the white house at one time except when thomas jefferson died in the room alone. all the furniture is original, from 1800 to 1810. these pieces would have been made in this era. they're probably better than anything jefferson could afford to put in the white house at the time. a wonderful portrait of benjamin franklin hangs over the fireplace that was painted when he was in england as one of the american representatives for colonial governments. a silver plated a coffee urn was bound by abigail -- by john abigail adams from the federal. the wonderful scene of
philadelphia that hangs above the sofa is at philadelphia in the mid-19th century. it shows independence hall which leads back to john adams, benjamin franklin and jefferson. you're talking about all the great people head something to do with the declaration of independence and the early government and the constitution. >> there is enormous symbolism in jefferson's used of the white house. he became the first president to shake hands. talk about something we take for granted today, that was a defining gesture. >> in addition to his symbolic -- he added colonnades off each side of the home for stables and servants' quarters with the columns of the west of the homes still standing today. he is also the first of several southern presidents to occupy the white house, bringing in slaves to a home partially built by in slave labor, as was the
capital just block away. >> slave labor was involved in the construction of the white house. it was always there. there was that dichotomy, the land of the free and here are these people enslaved. >> when the white house was built, like when the capital was built, a lot of the labor was provided by african-americans. weather was finding the stone, working as carpenters, working as laborers, what happens is african-americans are such a part of the fabric of america that they helped build everything. what you have, even in the building of the white house is the kind of contradictions at the heart of america. contradictions of equality, opportunity, contradictions of race. from day one, the white house is a symbol of all that was good and all that needed to be addressed. >> for any american that understands the complex history of this country, you feel it,
especially when you look at the drawings of how this home was built and you see many slaves who couldn't enter the building working to create the buildings. some of those folks could be my ancestors and it is a profound power and cents that comes with the fact we're the first african american family to occupy this president's. that is our history. >> "the white house -- at america's most famous," is one of -- is included in the american icons collection. get your copy for $24.95 plus shipping and handling. for more information about the white house, including a virtual
tour of the building, i interviews with historians, curators and other video resources, 02 -- go to c- span.org/whitehouse. >> one-quarter of international internet traffic is involved in infringing on other people's intellectual property rights. >> tonight, international -- tonight, intellectual property rights. we now return to the feature documentary, "the white house -- inside america's most famous home." >> it designed by washington, added on to by jefferson, and
built to its current size by fdr, it is a home of constant growth and change. but one president who never orders a hammer lifted to alter the subject changes that forever. it is the one who asked the band to play dixie as the crowd gathers on the north lawn. hear, the room inside the white house where he writes and signs documents that change carnation. hear, where he comes to grieve on thursday afternoon following the death of his beloved son in this room. and here, where his body lay in state. >> physically, the lincolns left little imprint on the white house. in every other sense, they left perhaps the greatest imprint of any president. they left legend.
>> the mystique of the white house comes from the lincoln time. the whole melodrama. >> the house had 31 rooms, of which only six or seven were set aside for use by the lincoln family. they were all on the second floor. >> these are the private family quarters of our first family, where television cameras are rarely allowed. today, the entire floor is set aside for the families use, but in lincoln's time, without a west wing yet built, family life and the demands of the presidency share this same space, with bedrooms at one end of the hall and the president's offices and those of his staff at the other. it is here you will find the most famous room lighthouse. >> i remember walking upstairs and, to turn the corner and see the lincoln bedroom, to go in the place where lincoln actually
sat and wrote, where lincoln drafted parts of the emancipation proclamation and the desperate address, for me, -- the gettysburg address, for me, that became sacred space. >> the most famous room in the home today is a bedroom. but in lincoln's time, it was anything but a place for rest. >> this room was the office and cabinet room. he got here around 9:00, he worked through the day under the most trying circumstances and the most -- and the most demanding retain that could be imagined. a routine that's nothing like what the modern chief executives subject themselves to because it demands constant interface with the public, and screamed, the security checks, a constant flow of people. awhile >> he would meet with members of the public and day
stream of office seekers. somehow, he managed to maintain his sense of humor. one office seeker one day came and complained and denounced the president to his face. he said i helped put you here. lincoln's response was and what a mess you've got me into. >> perhaps the room where lincoln spends more time than any other during his presidency is here where he signs the emancipation proclamation on new year's day, 1863, following a lengthy reception downstairs. >> he had shaken somebody hands that when he went into his office, now the lincoln bedroom, his own hand was shaking and numb. he proclamation down and said it ever my soul were in an act, it is in this act, but if i signed with a shaky hand come history will say i hesitated. so he put the pen down and waited to sign with a clear
hand. >> the battle of gettysburg still looms. in the bedroom is one of the original copies of a historic speech. the only one signed by the 16th president. >> it seems to encapsulate the genius of the man. this simple speech was not appreciated the time was given and yet it's one of the greatest speeches in the history of the world. it is prismatic in that room calling he did for history. every once in awhile, i will sneak in just to read to get as progress, especially when i have a big speech. i'm constantly reminding myself that was only three minutes long. i have a tendency to get long winded and it's useful to look at that piece of genius. >> i could just imagine the trouble lincoln had trying to figure out how do you make
decisions. your country is about to -- countries about to splinter. how be made decisions of war? how'd you make decisions around questions of race or questions of slavery? he wrestles with so much of that. >> it is here in the most historic room of the house where one firstly will leave her imprint on the future of the white house. to do this, she reclaims part of its past and connects lincoln to his successor. subsequent presidents continue to use the room as their office until 1902 when the west wing was completed. but it would be decades later until harry truman had the idea for a bedroom dedicated to lincoln. >> when truman redid the house in the late '40's and early '50s, he set up that room, the one we now call the lincoln bedroom, to commemorate the fact it was lincoln's office and the room he signed the
emancipation proclamation in. the room itself is a shrine to american history. >> the lincoln bedroom has undergone a variety of changes through the years. different administrations presented in different ways. but the first major resident -- a first major renovation was under first lady laura bush. >> the carpet was over 50 years old. worked with our historical association and president -- and the furniture curators, art historians call wallpaper specialists and we looked back at the wallpaper lincoln had in his office, the carpet he had in his office, and we did reproductions of those. >> and the bad dates back to 1861, bought by mary todd lincoln as part of her refurbishing. it is 8 feet long and 6 feet
wide, made of carved rosewood. >> mary todd lincoln dragged the lincoln bed with a purple, gold and lace. high victorian decorating. we had photographs of the bed dressed the way she dressed it. we did that again. >> it is this bed, probably the most well lead piece of historic furniture in the house, that holds the key to understanding the we did families time here. >> this bed was one of mary lincoln's many extravagant purchases as she began a campaign when she got here to redecorate this entire building. >> they held the bill back forever. when he sought, he flew into a rage. while our soldiers needed blankets, she was buying flub dubs for of that damned old pals.
>> in february, 1862, lincoln's middle son died after a bout with typhoid fever. after that mary would never go into the room again. she never looked at the bed again. >> she was never able to of the door of the son's death in the white house. lincoln finally said to her once, he took her to the window and let her look across the river at the mental hospital and said if you don't get a hold of yourself, you're going to have to be put there. now is the time to absorb it. >> the president, by contrast, would hold up in willie's room often, a thursday, the day he died. just to grieve. how the lincoln is handled their grief goes to how we see them today. in the case of mary, it really
unhinged her. it was the final blow. in a curious sort of way, the world melded the disparate elements of lincoln's personality and his grief, his sense of loss over willie somehow morphed into the nation's sense of loss and in millions of homes throughout the again. >> with the president's face showing the where over the forces outside the home and his own family trial the inside, he comes home to a white house that is the monopoly to a family but union troops for the past five years as peace between the north and south comes in april, 1865. with the civil war at an end, president lincoln appears at dusk before a crowd gathered on the north lot of the white house, looking out from the
center window, he asks the marine band to play dixie. >> lincoln's last speech was made from that window. he was looking at a crowd of several thousand jubilant people in washington. the marine band was on the porch and he is making a conciliatory speech. he was throwing the pages on the floor and his son was picking them up. >> in the speech, lincoln talked about the fact that voting rights should be extended somehow to especially blacks who could read and write and soldiers who had fought in the war. >> there was someone in the audience that night of the one who was listening who turned to his friend and said did you hear that? that means the gross citizenship. that's the last speech he will ever make. that man was john wilkes booth. three nights later, he shot lincoln at ford's theatre. >> it catapulted to race at -- into an assassination. every time i think about that
speech and think about that second-floor window, but that is what you think about. >> without that lincoln melodrama, the white house would not even be there today. there were better buildings. there were better functioning buildings. the presidency needed more. but not only the public, but the presidents themselves found a certain comfort and certain assistance in having that house. >> in the decades following lincoln, the white house is once again draped in black following the assassination of james garfield in 1881. inside, the home grows dark as well, reflecting the victorian taste of the time. as a structure, the building stays the same size, even as the country grows and the demands of the office and home expand. and then, just after the peace treaty ending the spanish- american war, president william
mckinley will be mourned in the east room after being gunned down by an anarchist in buffalo york. the white house needs an injection of life and a new president and his family were about to give it just that. [applause] >> welcome, everyone, to the white house. thank you for joining us tonight to celebrate teddy roosevelt's 150th birthday. president roosevelt once said, "i don't think any family has ever enjoyed the white house more than we have." >> no greater champion in the presidency ever existed and the door roosevelt for the white house. >> he had this wonderful, rambunctious, entertaining family. the children who are overstated in the east room, the same room where william mckinley's coffin had rested in 1901, this surge
of energy. the children got into the act. >> some of the stories after roosevelt's time became a little more extravagant. i have a hard time imagining stickball's on the portraits of george washington. the results were extremely conscious of propriety. the father was a good sport about it. the mother would not have been a good sport about it. >> if you want to ask to him the what -- to whom the modern white house as the most, it was that -- was edith roosevelt. she was responsible for the construction of the west wing. >> with the roosevelts are right, the white house is just over 100 years old. upstairs, edith roosevelt draws this map, showing how crowded things are with the family and
the offices of the president still sharing space. with the growing responsibilities of the presidency, the presidential suite of offices of the second floor where lincoln had worked are converted to family bedrooms on the east end of the house and it has stayed that way ever since. what looking for a space to the president and his staff, roosevelt has his own ideas about what to do it the greenhouses and conservatories to the west of the home that had started during the buchanan presidency. >> he worked decant conservatories where the west wing is now and said smash the glass houses. i think he took a childish delight in smashing a glass houses. but equally important, saying i'm getting rid of anything the reminds anybody of james buchanan. i'm not that kind of president. the glass houses disappear and
on that site he leaves the west wing. >> considered contemporary at time of the new building is one story tall. in it is a rectangular office for the president where theodore roosevelt hangs a picture of his favorite predecessor. >> he says there are two kinds of presidents. lincoln types and buchanan times. there is no doubt which tight he himself belongs to. it is no accident that he puts lincoln portrait in a place of honor. he said when i looked up at that portrait of lincoln, i often ask myself what he would have done. of the day he is sworn in on president -- as president in his own right, theodore roosevelt puts on a reading the with a lot of lincoln's hair. there are very few instances of a president identifying so strongly with a predecessor. >> as the west wing is being built, the family is making over
the magic as well, changing its official ceremony rules and transforming its state floor and to a style more appropriate for a growing international power. >> out went the potted palms and the huge stained-glass greens. out what all of the victorian stuff and he took a back 100 years to the austerity of federalist * that washington or adams, if they walked into the house, they might very well thought it home. >> you see his legacy of the home. at one end of the state floor, he takes the east room back in time at the other, he modernizes the state dining room to meet his needs for bigger state dinners, and large it to its size today. >> when you walk into that state dining room, on one level, it was simple. on another, it was grandly
simple. >> it is hard for people to imagine it's a third larger that was when it opened. at the north and was this staircase that led to the second floor. by eliminating the staircase, 140 people can be squeezed into that space. it created a much more impressive place for state dinners, for occasions of a state. the wall paneling in there is almost all original to theodore roosevelt. the chandelier, the sconces, the chairs, the big eagle side table. the only thing teddy roosevelt would not recognize is that in his day, the walls were oak paneling and he had the animal heads the hong all around the room. if he were to say the white
walls, i sort of remember this room but it's not the way i remember it. the heads did not survive the harding administration. the dominant feature is the great portrait of a thoughtful, perhaps perplexed abraham lincoln. it is a very powerful image. >> that painting was the key to the white house in 1939. robert todd lincoln is alleged to of said this is the best picture of father that was ever painted. >> just below the portrait is a lasting american image on the fireplace mantle left here by president roosevelt and still seen today. >> that is there because of the door roosevelt. the mantelpiece is not the original. it's a copy of the original which was put there after the 1902 renovations with lions of the front of it. roosevelt had a thing about
lions. all the architects like lions. he disliked them all. he thought the american bison was what you would have and what of the last things he did was order those lions had recall our best bison heads so you have buffalo on the mantelpiece. >> looking down through the parlors, you see a portrait of the door roosevelt hanging in the east room george washington designed. >> what i look at that portrait in the east room, i have to think about he and the sergeant. they did not get along and they could not all arrive at a pose and roosevelt got impatient with them. finally, roosevelt stops and put his hand of the post of the stair and the sergeant said that is it. he painted the thing on the
landing of the stairs, with the shades pulled and everything. that is how that superb portrait of roosevelt is done. it shows his source and his power of a wall. if roosevelt were to step out of the portrait, he would look around and say my east room. it is largely unchanged since the 1902 renovation theodore roosevelt directed where after 100 years of the room being kept very up-to-date and got progressively more victorian and exotic looking, he thought it should be more stately, or something a european would understand as a diplomatic set piece. a place where he could do his business with foreign visitors. though it was gutted in detriment renovation and the plaster and woodwork was replaced, the woodwork was copied to match what was put in mind -- will was put in in in
2002. the idea there were gold drapes and white walls all dates to that 1902 time. roosevelt would feel extremely comfortable and please that when he left office, he actually got the american institute of architects say the white house should be left as teddy roosevelt created it. which was a little presumptuous to think the president and first lady after that would have a say in how it would look, but in this case, i think he would say they left this room alone. >> on the state floor, tourists can see the impact of teddy roosevelt and other presidents on that part of the house. but his lasting imprint is what he leaves in a part of the home that only the first families and invited guests will ever get to see.
>> is the second floor private residence of the white house. since the executive offices were moved out during the roosevelt's time, the entire floor has been reserved for the family's use. it is here where they all come to live private lives out of the public spotlight. >> the white house has always been a place of tension, a tension between the public side and being someone's home. that tension plays out all the time in every administration. the visibility they constantly face is part of the stress of
being in that house. one of the challenges is to make peace with that and recognize that to survive, you have to realize it is ok that part of my life is completely in the public, even when i come home at night. the other part is to find that protection, find that space that allow it to the privacy you need but also allow you to revel in the house you are in. >> i tell people it feels like you are living in a beautiful hotel and the ground floor is the lobby. when you step out into it, you're going to interact with a whole range of people. maybe a group of tourists. the abc staff members were special visitors or staff. did you go into your private personal space and it feels very much like your the only people living here. >> the best public housing in
america. it has always been that way. i assumed the occupants of that house pinch themselves every day to think that they are there. >> the dining room and the kitchen were added by jackie kennedy. up until the kennedys, the family ate dinner downstairs in the family dining room. mrs. kennedy had little children, so she really wanted an upstairs kitchen and dining room. >> in the middle of the family's living quarters is the yellow oval room. it's the most formal room on the second floor. it reflects the home today at our country's past as well.
it is here where john adams hold the first-ever white house reception and where benjamin harrison displays the first official white house christmas tree. and here where fdr spends more time than any other room in the white house during his presidency. >> that was where roosevelt could go and relax. he loved to play cards, he would play poker, game is with his cabinet officers. there is a wonderful story had a poker game on the night congress was set to adjourn. the minute the speaker of the house call to say we are adjourning, whoever was ahead at that moment would win. on one of these occasions, the treasury calls. he said i would like to talk the but we're in the middle of a big poker game. finally at midnight, roosevelt polls ahead and whispers bring me the phone.
mr. speaker, you are adjourning. he would play poker there. he loved to sort his beloved stamps and read it in that room. it really was where he could relax. >> this is a very warm house, the way it is decorated and even the stories of that. this is a south facing room so even on a cold january day, the sun pours in. these beautiful curved windows. >> a lot of the rooms was done this way both by jackie kennedy first. the chairs, she brought to the white house. we had a luncheon for queen elizabeth and prince philip here the day of their state visit and we were able to point out of the mental set, clock and two chairs there of that or her gift from her father, king george, to president truman when she visited the white house as princess elizabeth.
so there are years of history for more information, go to c- span.org/whitehouse. it is $24.95, plus shipping and handling. >> can now return to the featured documentary. -- we now return to the featured documentary. >> it is a house full of history and stories of those who have lived here and altered this
home over time. while some presidents thoroughly enjoy their time here, others claim to have not, can still leave a lasting impression. studyingbetter start the presidency of the united states because one of you will be president of the united states. if you ever get there, you'll be sorry that you were there. >> when the truman lived into the white house with their daughter, the president is determined to make the house a home for his family. but the home they moved in a tent -- moved into was 145 years old. >> when she came in to see the white house, she was appalled there were marks on the walls
were the pictures had been. she could not imagine living in that gloomy place. >> the place looked like an old hotel. you should see the pictures. it began to create a lot. >> in the east room, the ceiling upside and plaster begins to fall. the wooden home is a rocking and is deemed a fire hazard. it is obvious that drastic changes needed everywhere in the white house. the first alteration truman makes is to add an amenity to the family quarters, enhancing private life here at the white house. if you look -- if you look at film shot by president truman, the south portico is missing one key feature. something controversial during its prime, but cherished by all first family's sense. located just off the yellow oval
room, at the truman balcony as for first families can come to relax while looking out over the south lawn. something president truman and deemed essential. >> he wanted the balcony for convenience. people living in the cage was not appealing to him. everybody who has lived there has loved it. mrs. reagan used to like it. the trumans loved it. >> it is a magnificent place to spend time. our family uses that balcony often. no matter what the weather is, it seems like there is always a beautiful cool breeze blowing through that balcony.
it makes us just a joy to sit out there and to watch the sun go down and the lights on the monument star to come up. it is breathtaking. >> utilized by all first family's since its completion in 1948, president truman was criticized for changing the architectural look of the white house. >> it is a metaphor. something new. something that has not been done before. something that will desecrate a national treasure. it was characteristic of harry truman. he saw the comfort, relaxation that the balcony would provide. every one of his successors has been grateful. >> and i did not understand what all the fuss was about. innovations in the white house. when millard fillmore was president, phyllis insisted on putting a bathtub and the white house.
you ought to read the paper about bad day and what a terrible thing it was. i put a lot more bathtubs in there. >> the white house we see today is a reflection of harry truman's workfare. after at in the balcony, a complete reconstruction of the home is necessary due to its structural weaknesses after 148 years of use. president truman and mandates that they stay on tight. he authorizes the rebuilding of the entire inside of the white house. a project that would take almost four years to complete. >> how big did it is a it -- is
an enduring -- how they did it was an engineering masterpiece. they made an elevator shaft to hold up the top floor. all the way down into the ground below the basement. they emptied the house by bringing all the parts into the shops and out the window openings. they dug down and they had paid taxes -- pick axes. he said, stop, you cannot do that. that is exactly what they did they took them down to just metal. they had a driveway under the wall. the house was literally an empty vessel. >> filling in the empty shell
the mansion, truman built the white house for the future, fortifying the insides with steel instead of what print quality preserves his historic interiors to what they had been in the past. what we see today, he makes a change that impacted an important part of white house ceremony thereafter. he shows off the newly built white house in the first ever televised tour of the mansion in 1952. beginning the program by coming down the brand new grand staircase that he designed. the grand stair was changed because president truman thought was awkward to go down. teddy roosevelt had built it. he would walk down and struck down the stairs. truman thought it was very awkward. he had it redesigned. it provides of the photo op that
you see in the paper. there is no doubt that harry truman's white house -- one of the most important props in that stage is the grand staircase. it is most famously used at the time of state visits, state visits -- state dinners where guests make a press -- a ceremonial procession to the first floor of the white house before going into the state dining room. he gave us the balcony so presidents could relax. he gave us the grand staircase, which is anything but relaxing. ♪ >> he really preserved the white house for all time. it was true and you made it possible for the president to stay there. the president will stay there.
it was lucky what happened when he was there. he had the vision and the sensitivity to historical things. ♪ >> more than a century before harry truman rebuild the white house, another president and first lady will have a similar task before them. in the spring of 89, when they moved in, rebuilding the home is the farthest thing from their mind. -- 1809, rebuilding the home is the farthest thing from their minds. it is the red room and it is where dolly madison held her wednesday afternoon parties to bring together politicians and
other influential washingtonians. >> she was very gracious and well-received, but she was a smart political wife. she was good for president madison, who was known to be not the most outspoken. she greeted these parties and she brought people together. she would invite both sides of the aisle, but diplomats of countries that were not speaking to each other. she would bring them together. they could not resist her. she dressed -- she had low necklines and she won her -- she wore her turbines and things and she was a character >> she was the consummate hostess, i think, but in a very clever way. >> the portrait of dolly madison hangs in the red room.
she is an inspiration for that room. the bridegroom was, in fact, and yellow under dolly madison. the red color was introduced in the 18 twenties -- 1820's. loaded with the archaeological digs in egypt, italy's trade the figures and classical figures and sea serpent and dolphins that were introduced into the furniture. the furniture -- the fact that two of the most interesting art objects in the room are the best of martin van buren and the portrait of his daughter in law angelica. dolley madison is connected to
that story years and years later. when president dan buren was inaugurated in 1837, she had moved back to washington. she was the most important -- dolly madison introduced angelica to work has been to be, the president's eldest son. she became the hostess for the white house. as a result of dolly madison doing a little matchmaking. >> directly east of dolley madison's party room is the blue room of the white house. when she stands here and a late afternoon of august 24, 1814, dinner was set, but the company, and was not invited. -- coming -- company coming was not invited. two years into the war of 1812, british troops entered the city
at 7:30 that evening, raising the unfinished, burning their way down pennsylvania avenue. the head towards the white house. >> it is one of the great melodramatic moments of the white house. she was absolutely terrified. our best accounts -- the last one cresol the white house. he wrote him a more anti tells about it. -- memoir and he tells about it. they finished the dinner. they had 22 javelins' and they
were thrown into the open windows of the house. it burned until the early morning when the rain started. it pretty much put the fire out, but it was a big stone box with ashes and the bottom. it was a tremendous jolt to the american people. it was the angriest moment of the war. >> although the first lady famously helped save the portrait of washington, the reputations in the immediate aftermath had not been saved. >> they were hated after the fire. that was one of the byproducts. they were considered terrible cowards for running. >> with the andrew jackson symbolic victory over the british in january of 1815, the war comes to a close on a triumphant note for the country. >> the white house was rebuilt
in triumph. madison said come up it will be rebuilt. >> in a ground-floor service call, you can still see the regional burn marks left. as james madison would have looked at these charges tons in the archway, the house was rising again. with construction taking over two years to complete, james and dolley madison would never live here again. it was time for a new president and his wife to make their mark on the home. they are some of the oldest remaining items and they were brought to the white house by a president and first lady whose influence is seen all around the home, but centered in the blue
>> in furnishing the house, and james monroe and his wife were into french furnishing. he wanted all the furniture to come from france. he spends a lot of money. these clocks fascinate me the most. these things are still in use. you have that. all the presidents have used them sense when -- since then. >> many of them are in the blue room. we have wonderful chairs and sofas setter in the room. they were acquired by president monroe by france. he was criticized by -- for buying french things and not american. this room is much more of a period it room in that sense. the wallpaper is of the same. as the furniture of the portrait
of president monroe. it is really a place where the matter arose would feel the most comfortable. -- where the monroes would feel the most comfortable. this is wallpaper that is of our vantage. >> the blue room is my favorite because the view that looks out over the south lawn on to the monument is one of my favorite views in the entire city. this room is just incredibly peaceful. it is reverse the tile. we welcomed state guest said here, but we could also transform this room into a very intimate setting for a luncheon. it is something very peaceful about this space. it gets great sunshine during the day. there is quiet in the evening. i love this space and five of the shape of it.
it is unique. -- i love this space and i love the shape of it. >> it was made in paris, france. >> it is a museum that helps tell the story of the past and is a private home. for much of its history, the furniture and objects were sold off at auction. until one presidential couple began to bring it back to celebrate the history of the white house and change its future as well. [bagpipes playing] >> the administration produced a concept of how the white house could be run to convey and in
power the message of its distinguished past. the white house had become very, very old. to convey this, i think the thinking behind the concept is that it is hard for most people to think of it. they made that definition visual to people. >> the thing i care about most is to make it more of a museum with more pieces of beautiful -- that belong to old presidents. >> in 1962, 56 million television viewers watched as first lady jacqueline kennedy shows offer ongoing efforts to bring back the history of the white house. by gathering pieces of presidential history in the home, she makes it into what we see today. she said the precedent for future first ladies.
>> every piece of furniture here has a meaning. it has the story ended goes back for generations. that is why i encourage people to do these tores, take time to listen to the curators. there is a font of information those people have great every single stage of anything in these rooms have some kind of meeting. it is amazing. >> thank you so much. >> the first lady has a significant impact on the house. in mrs. kennedy's case, she came with a vision of the white house as something a little more than a house. we were having a million visitors come through to see the house. that is the most interesting parts of the public. that is one of the key elements. she wanted to give us a new
importance by being a museum as well. in addition to enhancing the public spaces, she leaves remarked elsewhere in the home. if you travel up the grand staircase that harry truman built, at the top you entered into a treaty room. it is the private office of the president inside the family quarters. in 1962, it is only an idea. >> the thing that we will do is that so many trees have been signs in this room. if you notice the inscription, it says, at this room --
after dedicating the ram with vice president johnson, were so much history had been made before, history would soon unfold to once again. >> for the first time, an agreement has been reached. this treaty is not the millennium. it will not halt the perception of -- production of nuclear weapons, but it is an important first step. a step towards peace. a step towards reason. a step away from war. >> it is a rump still steeped in history as the kennedys wish to four. -- is still a room steeped in history as the kennedys wish for. >> it was always an out of the weight room. when president bush came in, he converted back into a study. it had been before mrs. kennedy
that is the president's office in the house. that is where he works, he does have meetings there. >> you can not help but feel the connection and. behind you is a portrait of mckinley watching a treaty being signed on the very best. there is a connection with president mckinley. there is a portrait of a grant. you read the book and you realize, several pieces of furniture were used by grant. that is really my favorite painting. instructing his generals and admiral -- this was his instructions to make sure his great dream of the united states prevail after the civil war.
>> i consider its to be a source of strength to us. anything which dramatizes the great story of the united states is worthy couple the closest attention and respect by the americans who live here and visit here. that is why i am glad that jackie is making the efforts she is making. i know other first ladies have done its. i know that those who come after us will continue to try. " the wonderful thing about what the kennedys did have nothing to do with individual pieces of furniture. it is a concept, the whole idea of the historic house. a young person could go in and see the red room and get an
impression of that period of american history. that was her idea entirely. >> it is one of three original documentaries from c-span. get your copy for $24.95. order at c-span.org/store. for more information about the white house, interviews with historians, and other video resources, go to c-span.org /whitehouse. >> one-quarter of all international internet traffic is basically involved in infringing on other people's intellectual property rights. >> tonight, a subcommittee work
on international property rights. -- intellectual property rights. >> we now return to c-span's featured documentary. >> lyndon johnson enjoyed in the center of attention. he wanted to make sure that his presidency was colorful. he had 22 people to film and tape and preserve everything that he did. it is an unparalleled record. >> lyndon johnson's years of president have a profound effect on how we view the white house.
allowing cameras into the residence to film his family, we see how a first family lives inside here. we gain an understanding of the most powerful office of the world. >> you can see his office from here. the lights may be on until 8:00 or 9:00 or 10:00. sometimes, he does not come home for dinner until after midnight. in terms of his responsibilities, there is a great distance from here to there. >> it is the commute from home to work that all president will make. in the past, -- into the most powerful office in the world. the oval office. >> every man who was ever
occupied this office has been dedicated to doing what he believes is the best interest for the people in this country. >> fdr relocates the office to where it is today. in part to make it more accessible for a president down to a wheelchair. >> when you think about how much -- it has its origins. and leaders who were otherwise just names and a textbook. it makes the place people-like in the emotions that it generates. >> people feel a reverence for the space because it symbolizes a the presidency and it symbolizes what has been the
extraordinary record of tough decisions that have been made in this room. >> the paintings on the wall, the carpet on the floor, the drapes behind the desk, these are changed with each presidency. they are a mirror held up to the president's personality, a temperament, interests. what heroes desi enshrine -- does he enshrined? what books are to be found in that room? >> all of this tells you a lot
about the man behind the desk. >> it is possibly the piece of furniture in the white house that has seen more presidential history take place and any other. it is the desk given to president hayes by queen victoria in 1880. used by president kennedy first in the oval office -- oval office, it travels around the country as a memorial to him. until president carter brings it back to the white house. >> i see the ghosts in that room. almost like a drug. his need for it news and how his presidency is being portrayed in the nation's media. >> in the early years, he told me that when he was in a good mood, at the white house would
reverberate with is vitality. he was such a big figure. what happened in those last years, when vietnam, at it caught his legacy in to break it became more forbidding place. in those last month, prior to this decision to withdraw from the race in march of 1968, he still had a recurring dream that he had become paralyzed and that somehow outside the door of the room where he was lying in the red room, his aides were all dividing up his power without consideration for him. he would have to wake up, take his flashlight, and go look at the picture of woodrow wilson. >> imagine a man in the white house literally surrounded by protesters.
his daughters living in that house, and his wife in that house, hearing the echoes of those chance. it is impossible to escape. >> i shall not seek and i will not accept the nomination of my party for another term as your president. >> with his -- a new president's desk awaits in the same room, signifying the timeless white house tradition of peaceful presidential transitions. it is an office that he aspires to for much of this political career. he and mrs. nixon greatly add to the museum collection of the white house on the state floor. >> his contribution physically is enormous.
the white house today is the nixon white house and the state grants. they brought the white house to that state. >> outside the gates, it is a home whose history and documents are still under siege for most of his presidency. from the vietnam protesters to the watergate scandal at the end, the white house becomes an insular place for president nixon and a place where he finds solace in one particular room. >> richard nixon was a man who cherishes solitude. his intellectual privacy. he loved a fire in the fireplace and it was his habit to turn the air conditioning up as high as it would go and start a fire. it is important for every
president to have a time when he can think. for nixon, that is what the lincoln sitting room was all about trade in the end, it turned out to be a place of security and memories. sooner or later, every president bonds with lincoln. he famously compared himself to lincoln and the sense that he justified actions of that others sol as abuse of power. -- others saw as abuse of power. just about every president gets very close to lincoln's ghost. >> ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states of america.
>> we leave with high hopes, and with deep humility. always remember others may hate you, but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. and then, you destroy yourself. >> his farewell was many things. it was a wrenching personal experience, obviously. it was a farewell to his staff. but it was also a farewell to the white house family. illustrated just how many rules the house played. >> this is not the biggest house. this is not the finest house,
but this is the best house. >> richard nixon talked about the house. by that, he meant the house on a personal level -- the king is dead. and as a historic symbol. no one who spends any time in that house can fill to appreciate either role. -- can fail to appreciate either role. nixon and possibly it was apologizing to the country. for besmirching that house. and it's history. >> it is the best house because this part -- this house has a great heart trade that card comes from those who serve. >> with president nixon bidding farewell, the home undergoes a series of changes, reflecting a new family and the events in the
world public began to shape the coming era of the white house. >> it is universally recognized as the symbol of democracy. most of all, however, it is a home. >> the first change is on the country's perception of the white house. " the defining thing about the fords were held level they were. -- how level they were. >> the ford kids went on with life as though they were still in the house. people seemed less impressed by it. >> that was a great strength of
the four daughters. -- ford daughters. they were like us. at a time when the house was stained by scandal and public unrest, president ford also made the change to the white house the last until today's. he removed the secret taping system. >> president ford ordered all the tapes redoubtable office. they had been there since the 1930's. he found out later they had not been removed, and hit the ceiling is big time. >> they have to repaint the office. >> the biggest change brought about during the ford administration is one thrust upon them, the country, and the
home in 1975. after two assassination attempts on the president. >> the tense on his life and problems abroad at the embassies caused the secret service to restrict the president's activities. more people come to the white house than ever in history. there is much more activity now than there ever was. >> the white house is busier than ever, placing greater demands on both the first family and the hon. to levels above this activity is the third floor of the white house. a place where first families to get away from all the demands of their public life below. it placed never before seen by television cameras. >> it has always been a particular favorite of first families.
when you talk about the white house, particularly the era when you have 5000 people a day going through the house. the farthest he could get away from them -- is open to the outdoors, in many ways. very unofficial. it is a place to get away from it all. the camp david inside the white house. and being invited into that room was being invited to the families in a sanctum. >> this delirium famously served as caroline kennedy's kindergarten classroom and a place for president eisenhower barbecued also on the patio. 25 years later, when president reagan returned to the white house following the assassination attempt, it serves as a place of recuperation. >> the solarium was there -- who
did the did the college legacy is more than a cent. the physical white house -- the third floor, the old idec, -- attic , that was transformed. most importantly, it was called a skype parlor. today, it is called a solarium. >> it is a reflection of our country and the times in which we live. >> today, the secretary of the treasury will announce the from
now on, the two blocks of pennsylvania avenue will be closed to motor vehicle traffic. it is a practical step to protect against the kind of attack we saw in oklahoma city. i will not allow the people's access to the white house and the president to be curtailed. this closing is necessary because of the changing nature and scope of the terrorist actions. >> 9/11 is one i will never forget, of course. it changed the president. a chance to nation. we still feel it today. it was a day that we will never forget. there was such a sense of helplessness. there was also a mission. not knowing what was happening was probably the hardest part.
9/11 changed a lot of things. if the present and the first lady want to go out for awhile, they cannot. >> when i first got elected, i would go running. there would be people lining the fence. after 9/11, no one is on the fence. >> there are moments of loneliness and the white house when you live here because you are so aware of everyone that lived here before you end of every challenge that our country has faced before us. there is always an era of encouragement. a strong faith in the american people and in our ability as a people to overcome challenges. but the level of security
dramatically improves. the amount of visitors dropped to zero for quite some time. now secret service has found a way that they can safely and allows visitors back in. if you think about the impact of 9/11, there will be an assessment of whether or not we overreacted. i think it was very important symbolically that as soon as the president and security felt comfortable, they began to open the white house again to tourism. the white house is all about symbolism. it is not so much the business is as usual, but we will continue to liberalize and not be held captive. -- live our lives and not be held captive. >> after many months of anticipation, we celebrate the opening of the newly designed
pennsylvania avenue. i know this process has not been easy. >> from the surrounding streets to the historic gates that has been here since andrew jackson's time, the white house will always be a work in progress. >> good morning. welcome to the white house. >> for a younger generation, the white house is still one of those symbols of america. people will continue to wrestle with that as long as the white house stance. the white house still has meaning. >> what is so special about this place is that when you are here, you are connected to people who lived here a century ago.
>> i often think of personal stories from the lives of presidents who have lived here before us. everyone knows at the white house as the major american landmark. it is both home and office to the president of the united states. >> we also want to bring people into the white house and we want to let them know that this belongs to you. this is part of your legacy as an american citizen. >> of the white house has been -- the white house has been a place to which americans feel emotionally bonded. that is the case regardless of who happens to live there. that connection, that is something that goes back more
than 200 years and grows with the passing of time. >> i am convinced that the appearance of the white house will never change. it is too valuable as it is. it says too much. it means too much to the presidency. people always be able to go up to the fence and see the house. i do not think that image will ever be changed. it is better protected today than ever was.
evening so that we can hear a firsthand reports from the secretary of state regarding the negotiations in europe. >> you can look at this as a historical curiosity. >> find something you did not know what d.c.'s ban video library. -- would d.c.'s ban the video library. -- the cspan video library. >> every morning, it is washington journal. watch live coverage of the u.s. house and policy forums, the supreme court arguments. on the weekends, you can see our signature interview program.
you can also watch our programming anytime at c- span.org. a public service, created by america's cable companies. coming up, we will have the first of to discussions of looking at the wikileaks web site and the controversy. we will show you an event from columbia university on the topic. the single shift westward to ucla. here is a look at that event. >> to start us off by trying to debunk a couple of myths. offer a few thoughts about what the potential implications of wikileaks could be. myth number one is the idea that
these documents are facts. documents are not facts. a cable or a memo is one person's perspective and usually designed to do three things -- advocate a particular position, reports information, and make the author look smart. not necessarily in that order. a cable, for example, that a u.s. government official has met with a foreign official and that foreign official believes that the u.s. should attack a third country. it does not mean that the foreign officials government actually holds the position that the united states should attack. it could beat that is the case, but it could be that that is the minority view in the foreign government and the official is
trying to convince the united states that it is the majority of you. -- view. maybe before an official is posturing. maybe the u.s. official misunderstood the conversation. maybe the u.s. officials have his or her own agenda and is reporting this particular meeting and the amending other meetings that do not serve that foreign policy agenda. maybe the entire cable has been overtaken by events and things have changed. the conversation is so outdated, that is not the position of the foreign official anymore. we need to be, i think, very cautious and very careful and not treat these things as ironclad facts. they are not. the upshot here is not in some
ways, the wikileaks data is dumped -- data dumps obscures' reality. some caution in how we deal with these kinds of documents. myth number two is that secrecy is always bad and transparency is always good. i am a researcher that rights and publishes information about the intelligence community. i am a big fan of transparency and openness in government. i have a great first amendment lawyer and i work very hard to make public some of the critical deficiencies of our secret agencies. with that said, there is a limited transparency. there is a careful balancing that has to be done it between the interest of protecting information, to guard national
security, and the interest of making bad information known to promote the public interest. secrecy and fact has been used since the earliest days. george washington was a great spymaster. he was a fan of invisible ink. secrecy has been a part of the american government since the earliest days. i think there is -- and american culture that we are skeptical of secrecy in a democratic system. harry truman was very worried when he thought about creating the central intelligence agency about the possibility of creating an american gestapo. he had not the germany in mind. -- nazi germany in mind. it is that wariness that wikileaks is tapping into. it leads me to the big
difference between wikileaks and mainstream media. this is a policy matter, not a legal matter. i cannot speak to the particular legal issues. when you think about traditional mainstream media, they are owned by americans who explicitly consider the balancing between keeping something secrets and publishing it in the newspaper for everyone to see. they take that responsibility quite seriously. transparency is important, but transparency has limits because they are considering national security interest. at the same time they're trying to publish information. wikileaks is run by an australian who considers himself more of an anarchist. his interest is in exposing the united states and his view is that transparency should have no limits.
there is no balancing, or very little balancing, and what wikileaks is doing. just to give you some historical examples, as many of you know, in the cuban missile crisis in 1962, the papers got wind that something was afoot in cuba. kennedy's white house passed papers to hold publication of any information about what was happening on the island of cuba for this critical 13 days. so that the president and his advisers could deliberate and secrets. i think it's fair to say that historical consensus is that those 13 days led to a much better decision making process and better outcome. the transcript showed that kennedy had been forced to make a decision the first day.
the consensus was leaning toward the side of an air strike, which could have triggered nuclear war that the blockade that he ultimately chose. there is a long history of the balancing of national security interest and transparency. i do not see that in the wikileaks case. let me turn to a few implications. to a great extent, we do not know yet how much potential harm there is from the release of these documents. the obama administration is divided about how serious this business is. secretary clinton argued that it is quite serious indeed. countries will negotiate because it is in their best interest to negotiate with us. negotiate with us.
IN COLLECTIONSCSPAN Television Archive Television Archive News Search Service
Uploaded by TV Archive on