tv Vicki Kennedy and Cindy Mc Cain at Harvard Institute of Politics CSPAN February 21, 2020 3:29pm-4:31pm EST
>> next, a conversation with cindy mccain and vicky kennedy on their late husband's careers. legacies and work in public service. former massachusetts lieutenant governor kerry healy moderated the event from the harvard kennedy school institute of politic. it's an hour. >> this afternoon we're fortunate to have mrs. cindy mccain and mrs. vicki kennedy in conversation about public service and the legacy of public service, and of course, mrs. mccain has dedicated her life to improving those who are less fortunate globally, doing significant global work in trafficking and other issues. the chair of the board or of the mccain institute for international leadership at arizona state university where she oversees the organization's focus on character driven global
leeway, freedom and human rights issues and chairs the institute's human trafficking advisory coup. mrs. vicki kennedy is both an accomplished attorney and not for profit leader, the senior counsel of greenberg and she advises clients on government issues and regulatory issues. she is the president of the board and the cofounder of the edward m. kent institute for the study of the senate and a nonpartisan and nonprofit dazzlingly beautiful billing right here in about at the columbia point that educates the public but the unique role of the united states senate in our democracy. tonight they will belling be in conversation with -- will both by in conversation with kerry healey,. those in massachusetts know of her public leadership well. the was former lieutenant
governor, the president -- college president as well and with pride a former resident fellow here at the institute of politics. so join me in welcoming lieutenant governor healey, with mrs. mccain and vicki kennedy. [applause] >> thank you. thank you so much. thank you for those kind introductions and i am so excited to be able to have this conversation with both of you today. i think with the backdrop of everything that is going on in the country right now, one of the most interesting legacies of both of your husbands is that they actually got along, and they were fiercely partisan. there's no doubt about that. they wanted to win. but how was that relationship, beth in public and in private?
>> well, what you have to remember at the time the senate was a much different place. it was a body of leaders that were obviously very passionate about what they believed in, their home states, their con city touche sis and et cetera. they were also friend. fierce debates took place, especially between my husband and vicki's husband. they've believed but they were never enemies. they were friends and they would walk off for how many times did we see them slap each other's back and laugh and all the way off the floor. a different time and i'm sad about that. >> vicki, how do you remember it. >> well, john himself said he didn't like teddy very much when he first met him. he said, i really maybe saw a lot of myself in him. i don't think that he said -- he drew to respect him. they were beth on the armed services committee, and he saw in teddy and teddy saw in john
real patriotism, love of his country, and even though they came at it from a different place, they both knew they cared about the country and they loved it. and they just developed a bond, and they found these little nuggets of common ground where they could work together. and it was a sea power they worked on, or immigration, they both were passionate about, and they would sometimes really love to go at it on the floor. they would go at it. but then they would walk off the floor and go, that was pretty good, because it was never personal. boy, do i wish those days were here again. >> but your talks as though this was a long time ago. when did you see the change in the senate and in congress in general? >> personally for me when teddy passed i think we began to see
subsiding, and then with various older members that didn't run again or did pass ultimately, just changed. think twitter and facebook and all the social media have really -- not just changed but changed what is going on but in a very bad way. this instant where you can instantly whack someone verbally on twitter or facebook is not a good thing. >> both 0off talked about the fact you glue each other, that spouses knew each other and members new other's spouses. how do you think that modulates conflict? >> i think it makes a huge difference. what i found is that we had a senate spouse lunch and senate spouses would go to a lunch and get to know each other, and i found that if i would develop a friendship or have -- work on a committee or doing with a senate
spouse that teddy invariably would go to the husband and -- it was husbands prime minister marrily and teddy would say, our wives are having lunch. what do you think they're talking but no because he was that way would tease and that would develop a closer friendship and they would make find something that they would work on but it was an entree. the relationships relationshipss was juan way you could develop -- begin to have something to talk but with someone on the other side of the aisle and start to develop a relationship. it was all about relationship building and having a face-to-face conversation with someone, getting to know them as a person, getting to in the their families. that's what i think is missing, because if you don't know someone's family, don't know someone as a person, it's really easy to have a caricature. don't you think, cindy in this person is one dimensional kind of caricature and you don't need
to know them or think of them as a human being. >> after all, these are members of congress, members of the senate, and we're all human in the very end, so, not just getting to know one another, but getting to know -- it's a very unique situation in washington. that's kind of an understatement but a very unique situation in washington and it can be very daunting at times and having -- i'll use the word sisterhood because it's primarily women -- was very important. and didn't matter what side of. the aisle you were on am friend is a friend. >> so both of you have a really heavy responsibility as the keeper of your husband's legacies. these are profound legacies. they both have long and veried and rich careers that focused on any number of areas, just you could write a list as long also that table. and so how did you -- when you
were approaching this responsibility of preserving your husband's legacy how did you choose? how did you know what perhaps he would have wanted you to do and what role did it play in terms of what interested you as well? >> i feel very fortunate because we have thed wavered m. kennedy institute for the united states senate on columbia point, but it's something that teddy helped to create, and think through long before he got sick. so, it was something way back in 2002 we started thinking of, because he basically wanted people to love the senate as much as he tide. don't think that's possible. he thought that if -- particularly young people could come in and understand how the senate worked, and he wanted a full scale replica of the senate chamber, which we have. you can walk in and feel the awe of men and women of good will, both parties, facing the greatest challenges, addressing
the greatest challenges we have had in our nation. thought if they could kole in and feel that they'd be inspired to do it again and that's what the whole goal was, and working together, solving problems, understanding how our government worked and he thought if we could inspire people to do that, then they would want to vote and care about our country, and then go back in their communities and be involved. that's how it developed. >> cindy, how did you start thinking about it? senator mccain was interested in so many different things. >> fortunately i had the opportunity -- he and i did doctor plan this and is thissing long before we found out he was ill. so we knew -- it was definitely a joint participation with both of us because he -- we knew that his character and the kinds of leadership he had exhibited in tough times and in making the tough decisions that were not
popular, it takes a certain kind of person that stands up to that, much like teddy was and others to make those decision, they tough ones and he knew he wanted to first of all bring people from around the world, not politically but to learn the -- what is important, why you have to make a tough decision, become a leader in a country. maybe those people would have a little bit of an influence. >> tell us but the program, how that is structured. >> the nexten racing leaders and we bring people from mid-career from around the world and they spend a year in washington, and we place them in various -- sometimes in their professions and sometimes not in their professions, around the country, and then we get them together five or six times a year, and it is proved to be very successful in that. it's -- we call it character-driven leadership.
the things that mattered to him, of course, defense, foreign policy, freedom of the press, security issues, and then of course my issue which is human trafficking. so, we used to joke about it. my side, human trafficking, that what we're doing today and his side. that's not the way it was because -- but we had that time to talk about it and we had that time to really plan and really do what his vision was for all of this and that's important. >> why do you think he was particularly inspired by or motivated to try to train these global leaders and what was he hoping they would discover during their year here in the u.s.? >> hope they have discovered -- in fact i believe they have discovered the importance of character in government. and john -- like teddy, dealt with some thugs around the world and guys who would not make the
right decisions concerning their people, et cetera. you know the people i'm talking about. so it was important to him that these young people, that the at least inspired them in one way or another to help them be better leaders. >> what do you think that senator kennedy really wanted to do he wanted people to love the senate as much as he does. but i know he also wanted to inspire civility and how is that connected. >> i would say that our -- we wanted to inspire civility more than he said he wanted to inspire civility, quite honestly. >> that's your part. >> yes. i would say -- the spirit of teddy. in putting -- in really creating the institute, he said, this isn't but mow, although we have things about him it in. he saved aviate about the senate and government. he wanted to explain how government worked, hour
legislation happened. but i wanted to infuse if with the spirit of teddy and how do you due that? so that's really where the civility and working across the aisle come in. everyone knows he was a passionate partisan. he loved to wax eloquent on the floor, but he worked across the aisle to get things done. it's finding that negative common ground. so, that is really such a key part of what we do. in fact -- >> typical visitor be and what -- >> we have a big wait list now of schools to get in. a very popular program called our simulated senate program, and students come in up to 100 students, they prepare, it's a -- two, three-hour experience and they come in and become senators. they're assigned a state. they're assigned a party.
so, they are forced to put themselves in someone else residents shoes. they understand what their constituents believe, what their party previous -- party believes and have to reconcile and have a piece of legislation they have to adopt based on a current topic or historic topic. immigration, could be health care, it could be -- we have even had the farm bill, other pieces of legislation, and they have to work together to be able to get this passed, and they have to put aside their open beliefs in a lot of cases, and they have to listen to other people, and we do it in a fast fast-paced and lively way. they have technology but they have to meet each other and talk and work and it's facilitated, and that's where the civility
comes in, and if it's my way or the highway, nothing gets done and they realize that pretty quickly. >> i know that you have really focused on the experienceal piece of this. do you tell them they should be civil or won't succeed? >> i think that they kind of figure that out quickly. they know they have to talk to people and -- we even have an exhibit that shows if you only get -- that even youngest children can have, it's how you pass also piece of legislation on what the national topping is for ice cream. kind of really quick. and if you -- the senate has yummy things but the house has thing that aren't so tasty and if you only go in-under xi compromise what i have wait the senate warrants and not anything from the house like race sins and orange slices as opposed to
sprinkles and whipped cream you don't get legislation passed. so you find out very quickly you have to bring -- come together and you have to listen to what other people say. >> cindy, did you find that -- obviously your institute is also very focused o. experiencal learning, podcasting people in the country for year to have experiences. >> yes, it's the only way you can learn in my opinion, and the way that beth they have done and what we're trying to do is exactly the same thing. people need to -- it's really easy to be a monday morning quarterback at home in your armchair and say they should have done this. why aren't they doing that? when you really experience it, especially with young people, of course they not only realize it's important to compromise about also important to lead with character. and i will say, too with regards to what we do at home, our
institute is completely open source, so everything that we experiment with or we manuals, et cetera their human trafficking, et cetera, for schools, everything is online and it's open book and it's free of charge, which is exactly what john wanted, and what i wanted, too. so it's a -- the experience shall part of it spreads that way. >> if could i ask you something more personal. i'd like to talk about grief, and about how that changes people, and i am interested in how did your loss change how perhaps you saw the world or perhaps what you wanted to do with this next part of your life. >> well, grief -- everyone experiences it differently. everyone has a different experience, no matter what it is. for me, beginning portion of it
i felt very lost. i felt very -- like there was no safety net for me and that was not true but it was just how i felt. but what it has inspired me to do even more now is not just continue john's legacy but make sure that for the long-term, we're in the for the long term and make sure his legacy survives and thrives and that's a large part of what i do now, is not just legacy but of course, our institute and the library we're building. >> vicki. >> grief -- one thing you realize is that grief is very personal, but at the same time it's universal. everyone goes through grief and they go through it in a very personal way. cindy and i -- it is shocking as it is to think but that both of
our husbands died of. the same thing -- of the same thing. that is just mind-boggling to me. they happened to die on the same date. the same date. i mean, that -- it's that to me is mind boggling. >> we have been -- jeer four of us are bound now. >> bound forever. it's unbelievable. but with all of that similarity or senators, spouses, that connection are or communications, still all very individual and personal, but again, universal. i think that grief makes you take stock. i think it makes you take stock, and kind of focus on what is important. and when i'm at my best it makes
me more patient. i try to do that. >> if i may say the same date, the same disease took both of our husbands, and we beth had to deal with this in front of the world. and there's a whole different element to dealing with it but then having to do it and make sure that you are held it together for your family and other things that you endure during those times. it's hard for anybody, but to do it on television every day was doubly hard. >> and it changed your role tremendously because while you're both enormously accomplished in your own lives, you had had these very prominent, very high profile spouses, and then suddenly it was your responsibility to fill the shoes in some ways. >> that's true. >> i think their both of us our
role in life -- even though our role rolls might not have changed, put public live it did. >> dow howe did you feel about the public attention differently. >> i was in a fog. to be quite honest. >> i was, too. there's a lot that i remember about it and a lot of don't remember about it. and so it just -- you like everything. your mind has a way of protecting you a great deal. i think once you come out the other side and the new normal hits, it's a new normal now. and getting used to that new normal and getting used it for r family. we had a son deployed when my husband died and complicated things in some ways because he couldn't spend time with him because he was overseas. >> so vicki, i understand that when joe biden's son died, you
passed along a note of advice to him from your family. would you talk but that a little bit. >> sure. it wasn't really advice. it was just i wrote him a note after bough died who happened also to die of the same things our husbands died of which is also unbelievable. just shared with him a letter that meant a lot to teddy that his father, who had lost two children of his open during his -- well, lost three children of his own during this lifetime but wrote this in the late 1950s after he lost his children, one son in world war ii and a daughter in a plane crash later, and he wrote to a friend who had lost his son and he said, i can't tell you that i know how you feel because no one
can tell me that they know -- no one knew how i felt but what i can tell you is that when i didn't know who life had meaning i found meaning in what i thought my children would have done with the rest of their lives, and maybe that what makes all worth it. something to that effect. and i just shared those words with vice president, and he has said and shared those words again and that it meant something to him to try to find meaning in what beau would have done with the rest of his life has been inspirational to him. >> both senator mccain and senator kennedy were enormously optimistic and showed a lot of perseverance. so i'd like to hear your thoughts on where can people find that sense, that reservoir
of optimism and perseverance today. how do you fine it and how others look at their legacy and find theirs. >> i think it was a defining aspect of teddy's life. his perseverance, optimism. i think much of it came actually from his deep religious faith. it was -- he wasn't something he wore on his sleeve but something that was profound and something that kept him very grounded, and also kept him persevering. it was absolutely who he was, and he kept his kind of focus on, this is something important, this is something i'm going to do and i'm going to keep going. i tell you just a wonderful persevering story that makes me smile to think about. in the spring of 2009, teddy threw out the first pitch for the red sox. he was sick. it was -- but it was
exhilarating. this was like the greatest thing. he just -- he could not believe how wonderful this was, throwing out the first pitch. opening day. opening day first pitch, not just any gym. opening day first million. so he had practiced and they said you're not going to be on the mound. you're going to be just a little short thing and can you have jim rice, he's going to catch. it's going to be just terrific. so he decked out and ready and he had just like his little thing and he was -- he gets out there, and they put him on the mound. now, this was different. this was different. because he had a brain tumor, coordination -- so, he threw the first pitch it and went on the ground. so teddy said, i want to do it again. if only he could do. so, he said, all right, one more.
so teddy did another one. he told our grandson that night, he said, i would have stayed out there all day until i got it right. and he would have because he said that's what we do. we stay there all day until we get it right. and that was his -- that was his life. he was just going to stay there until he got it right. he was really fantastic. >> obviously nor mccain was the epitomy of optimism and perseverance. where did that come from for him. >> he learned that as adown man, as a prisoner of war. doesn't get much worse than being tortured every day in a place that was so hostile to him. so when he got out he said i've got nothing else. that's as bad as it's going to go. i'm happy all day long every day and he was. he would find humor and great grace in things that i would -- i'd be kicking the wall because
i was angry and he would be, this is great, don't worry. it will be fine. that's part of who he was, he saw great joy in things, and he much like teddy, just rev eled in and reveled it in and loved so it much. i it was ineffect shoes with other people. >> that's something they loved about each other, that connected them. >> i do. >> i think they beth had that same perseverance and they beth had that sense of humor, and it just connected them. >> wicked sense of humor, by the way. >> exactly. >> well, i will end then on a story of your husband's wicked sense of humor. when we -- when mitt romney was signing the health care bill i remember very vividly that your husband was looking on and he quipped if both mitt romney and
i are supporting supporting the, one of us must not have read it. on that happy note, i would like to move to questions from the audience because i'm sure that everyone is very anxious to join this conversation. so, we have four microphones in different places. i see one there and i see one over there. please identify yourself if you'd like to join the conversation and limit yourself to one question that actually is a question, with a question mark at the end. and unfortunately the press is not going to be able to participate in questions. that's it. so, would someone like to join our conversation? if not i'll have to continue. yes. >> hi. thank you for being here at the kennedy school. i'm david, director of the
malcolm weiner center for social policy. my question is by the nature her to bond between senators mccain and kennedy. when i think about their relationship which was evident, everybody who saw it, one thing i think about i don't see as much today in public life is a sense of common purpose, a sense that even if we may disagree on a specific issue, we're both united behind the idea of country over party and sometimes country over personal gain, and so my question is, how do we foster that in our young people here the kennedy school are harvard more generally. it's essential to the government. >> country over party? >> country over party. country over state, country over everything else. i mean, i was reading john mccain's oral history, i was mentioning to cindy just re-read it and i encourage everyone to read it. did an oral hit for the edward m. kennedy oral history project
and it's online and you can read it. he said something that was so interesting to me. he said, there's a reason that we're called united state senators. and then our states come next. and i think you can say the same thing with party. the party is -- always list the r or d but that comes later, and they both had that sense that it was a higher purpose. it was about the country. how you pass that on, i don't know. that's what we're trying to do at the institute. we all have an obligation. george washington in his farewell address was very concerned about political parties taking away from caring about the country and i hate to think that's where we are. i think it's a huge problem and i don't have a solution to be honest except to come to the
institute. just keep talking about it. look to examples of not so distant future, of statesmen and women who really did put country over party. ... because of the nature of the lack of civility and the lack of honor and character will, not just on one person butan entire body in my opinion , our two husbands respected to a level that was beyond even understanding sometimes in
their honor and dignity about the country was even more spectacular so i think we as voters of that to our country. we know that to our country >> vicki, i was taken by something you said earlier and i can think of examples where senator mccain did this as well it was that your husband looked for the little pieces of agreement in the inner spaces there. >> and that was certainly the only way we could ever get anything done in massachusetts was because we were working for those , that one thing you agreed on as opposed to the 90 percent of things you did not agree on. >> absolutely and there's another thing. not assuming a bad motive of somebody who believes, as a different political philosophy from you. that was a huge thing with my husband, and your husband. just because you think a different way doesn't mean you have a bad motive. and we have to get away from
that. people who think differently from us are not bad. it doesn't mean they arenot patriots . this cannot be sustained, that'sall. it can't . >> it's a pendulum too. i think this is like a lot of things that have happened through the years, it swings like a pendulum and we are going to come back. >> and i think you can put your finger on voting, everyone has to vote and hold people to account. >> we have a question here my name is habib and i want to say both your husbands were incredible leaders. they passed on, now, if they were magically back and they were in top form, given all the challenges thatwere talking about with partisanship and everything, what would they actually do ? what would they be heading for or doing to starthealing us ? >> action steps?
>> one of the things we talked about, the senate is, when it works it's a very procedural place. so there's something called regular order, committee work , committee's work. routine kind of things but things happen. so forexample , when the democrats are in charge, teddy was the chair of the health committee, health, education, labor and pensions. when republicans were in charge he was the ranking member of that committee, he was on other committees as well but whathappened? that committee did unbelievable amounts of things . funding nih, education, healthcare but how when you've got republicans and democrats together?
they worked together. example. no matter who therepublican was in that committee , they would sit down, they would work together and 80 give me your list of priorities, teddy would always make this. give me your list of your top five things you want to do, i'll give you a list of the top five things i want to do and let's see if we have any overlap. we overlap on 2. let's get our staff to start working together and see if we can get these things done area might end the of wyoming, certainly a very conservative senator who's worked with teddy, back then. mike told me that they all of their legislation out of ttheir committees pass with nothing short, less than at least 80 percent. vote in the senate.and they got tremendous amount of things done. now, it's not the dark ages, we're talking 10 years ago. so that's an example of just making, having regular order in the senate.
and having a system that works. i think that a job, john in one of his last acts was standing on the floor and talking about regular order. i mean, don't you think that's that something he would have been passionately advocating western mark i think that's what they would be doing,think let's go back to having the senate be decided . >> people ask me a message, he would be begging for regular order right now. >> let me go to the balcony. >> thank you so much for being here, it's always such an honor your from such an inspirational role model as leyourself. i am a sophomore at the college and both of you thought sensibly about education, playing a key part in your careers, also in the care of your formal husband in the committees. what role if any you think education plays when solving bipartisan, striving towards bipartisanship, when you're
passing on thepath of civic engagement in youth education, and universities , is there room for education to start having these conversations about bipartisanship and solutions speaking more seriously? >> i think bringing back civics education in public schools is very important that i know in my home state they folded and that's, it just, we can't do that and i know that wasn't exactly what you're asking but it really is because how are we going to help our students and our communities understand the importance of serving your country in the united states senate or any other way unless they understand what civics education is, what it is and what it does and how to do it . we, you know, i know there's issues everywhere but that's one that i would say i want to that is not the case in my own home state.
>> i want to echo that and i think you have to have first steps before you get to a discussion of bipartisanship, you have to know how your government works and we have an unbelievable lack of knowledge in the country, even with college students as to how the government works. in terms of three branches of government , we i think that there, their studies that show that only a third of americans d know that we have threebranches of government . and less than a third can name all three branches. they don't know that we have coequal branches of government. honestly, i don't know if everyone who isserving in government knows that we have three coequal branches of government . >> i'm very sincere about that. i am very sincereabout that . so it really start with that and understanding what the real, how our constitutional system works . and once you ysunderstand that, then you can start taking it
to the other level once you really know how it's supposed to work, then i think bipartisanship and civility and start to flow from that. >> if i can add onto that a little bit and push you a little bit further because i think obviously what you said is right. but is there a role or higher education or high school education to promote a diversity of ideas?>> i actually do think so, yes. i think it's an important thing. i will go out and perhaps shocked people that i'm saying this but yes i do. i think you need to be exposed to a lot of ideas. you cannot just have one idea that you need here i diversity of ideas. you need to debate a guy diversity of ideas . >> so that you know what you
really believe. >> i agree. not every school has a nurturing environment with regards to just that. encouraging different ideas, different thoughts and those are the things i think especially at the high school level and sometimes at the college level we are missing . is the spirit of debate but also the spirit of agreeing ls also and disagreeing. it's something that i wish we had more of an i think i wish these in education for teachers, it would be a part of what we would do . >> and ics, kerry, i think you can have a diversity of ideas and debate in a civil way. it doesn't have to be the most provocative person on either side whose insulting and rude and it makes people feel unsafe and unwelcome. >> we tend to go to extremes and say, but there's other
ways todo it. you could have bigger estimate . on hot topics which can be armed. >> but you talk a lot of dignity. i think that is part of the core there is how to debate with dignity. >> exactly. >> let me go appear to this balcony area. >> i'd just like to expand upon, my name is late read on a sophomore year at the college. i want to expand on the questions you answered about puttingcountry over party which i agree with . how do we voters balance when they see candidates with one, they have a practice of character and the others where they have a crisis of ideas, where they feel they fundamentally disagree with the entire direction they would think that country in it would hurt them and their family but in the other candidate may fear that they have fundamental disagreements about the way they live their lives. i'm surethis is not applicable at all to a current situation .
>> can i fill you what ithink ? i think a major crisis of character is extremely problematic. and i believe in checks and balances on policy. and i think that's why we have a congress hopefully that works area and i think that hopefully we have courts that will do their job. you have two other branches of government, but i think that a crisis of character in , with a believable bit and on the world stage at least from where i sit is tremendously problematic. >> i agree and a crisis of character or character in general tells you a great deal about some of the obvious things and the obvious problems there will be but also about who that person is as a person and how
he makes he or she makes decisions. there's a lot to gauge when we vote. but more importantly, i agree with this, character is important, more so than other things in many cases in my opinion area that you have to lookdeep into the person . if you do as much research as possible, your reading, you h watch tv, whatever it may be that i think it should be heavily considered in your coat . >> i'm interested in your response in particular because senator mccain was considered a maverick and that was certainly often how he expressed his unique ideas. opinions area do you see people willing to be mavericks in this environment ? or is that as much a casualty of civility? >> i think it is a casualty
that i wish we saw more of it. i wish we had people that were mavericks, wouldstep forward , take tethe perhaps the unpopular topic and move it along. much like my husband would do, he would take the unpopular vote and he thought it was right. it wasn't about him or his party, it was about the country and i know that's the case with penny. i think it's all, and if i might say he loved the term maverick. he thought that was really cool. he was a fighter pilot in his other life . [laughter] >> so what allowed senator kennedy to me be a maverick as he was as well? >> i think it's just courage of his convictions. i think it's just what you believed. he knew what he believed. he wasn't afraid to compromise, he just didn't compromise his values. >> are we having a crisis of courage today?
>> gosh yes, absolutely. without question, don't you think ? it's a valid question. >> i think so. it's a crisis of leadership, a crisis of courage, absolutely. and it's a crisis in terms of the voting population. because as it once again, it's up to us to fix this. we can fix this at the ballot box, but we have to pay attention. and i think that you know, the different ways of getting news can be also difficult as well. >> here we are, at the institute of politics and i can't, you know, i can't not mention president kennedy's profiles encourage book and the whole idea of people being willing to risk their seats, being willing to risk for standing up for principle and for courage. right now, i fear that too
many people are more worried about reelection. and that that becomes the motivation. when i hear oh, but the base is againstthis , i just, and we can't upsetthe base , that's really bothers me. because is that really the test? or is it what's right for the country and goes back to that aquestion . what comes first, and it's, that's maybe why it's what do you believe, what is right for all of us? not what's right for your reelection area. >> i just would like to see more people, and it's a rarity. i realize we're asking a lot . >> this almonds been very patient, thank you .
>> my name is ben bulger, i'm an alumni and also grad student . and i've always grown up thinking that experience mavericks in both john mccain and ted kennedy and literally decades of public service experience. any other profession, if it's a pilot, going through the storm he would want a pilot with experience the gentleman that landed the plane on the hudson successfully or if you're going to a serious surgery you would want someone who's not a rookie why is it that the public somehow is disaffected with people with experience in politics -mark i think at an asset and both your husband seem to be a great representation of experience in public service making a difference area what could be done to change their perception that long serving politicians are bad? i think they're great sometimes. >> you make a very good point there, experience does matter. if i think a core element in all of this. i think all too often, we tend to again, all that
social media news, we what's glamorous. some people vote as well, he said something outrageous or did something outrageous, whatever it may be an overlook things that are the most important. at an educational process that we need to undertake regard to the voting population. it's you know, for both of our husbands, both of them ran for president. both of them lost and i know in both cases, maybe it had a great run, they done the right thing, they had lived , had done the very best they could for and were kind to their importance which is more important and came out of it, you know, the end result was maybe not what they wanted it was a good race. a clean race. on the issues area you don't see that right now i don't believe. you may disagree w.
>> no, i do. i just was smiling when you talk about experience because teddy ran for the senate when he was 30. he used to say there was nothing like a young man with new ideas and later he started say there's nothing like age,wisdom and experience . [laughter] i think the key is whether you are still relevant and whether you are still engaged, whether you are phoning it in or whether you are really no you know, hitting the ground every single day working hard and really getting things done and i think for both of our husbands they have worked every day eating the ground, really working hard and getting things done . they were engaged in making a difference and that's the test to me. and you could be in one term or you could be in seven terms, it depends on whether you've still got the energy and are still doing it but there could be someone in
their first term who really is still just phoning it in so i believe, i agree with you. it's not about how long you're there it's about what you're doing with the time you have there and the truth is the longer you are there you understand the opsystem. you understand the issues. you really know how to get things done. you develop relationships area you have a depth of knowledge that you don't have at the very beginning and you really understand what you believe in a way that you may not have known when you were really a very first elected. it's a good thing. >> i also think learning to listen. the ones that do really well in my opinion that are truly at the top are the ones that listen. >> absolutely. let's go up to the balcony. >> thanks so much for being here, my name is rachel and
i'm an alumni and currently a project director at the kennedy school area i was thinking a little bit about one of the things that has been fun about this cycle is watching people in their role of potential presidential staff who don't fit our traditional conceptions of what that would look like and i was wondering if i could hear a little bit from you to about your reflections of how that role has transitioned over time. during the period in which you both served in it and also if you have some time for the public whether our expectations of that role should be changing. >> as far as i'm concerned, i think the role has changed greatly and it's fun to watch . it's fun to watch the changes that are happening and seeing how the rules have noted around this kind of new beginning with everything. i still am a big believer in the quote, now don't get mad. in the traditional spouse because like it or not in a
political family, you have to have support and the spouse is the likely person that's going to do that. i do like the opportunity that peoples houses don't always move to washington, they stay at home and thehome space, i think that's important . that's a new development. >> a positive, absolutely. very positive in my opinion because i think it keeps a member grounded and keeps them more centered on what's important, what's at stake. interstate, it's where you're from but i also love watching the new younger folks coming in and how they're doing this and how they see themselves in their roles in the country, it's fun. >> cindy and i will disagree on that but i know you like being at the home state but massachusetts is so close to washington , that for us, it
was much better for me to be in washington with teddy but then we just would get right back to massachusetts. i preferred that way and so did he. >> i think it's interesting role depending on whether your the spouse of a senator or if you're the spouse of a president. i don't think sthe idea of a totally separate career for the wife or husband of a president. i don't know how that would work, i don't think it can work. i think there are issues of conflicts that you have to be very sensitive to. i think there are issues of conflicts even with the senate. it is, it's a very, it's something you have to be aware of. >> that's been the case with
you with your legal work, you were not able to work. on so many things. >> and i didn't have anything before the senate but i think there are other people who do it very successfully. it was not possible for me to continue my legal work and be married to teddy although he was very encouraging and said you should continue but it was you know, clients were in the newspaper because they were my clients and pait wasn't possible to do. but i'm back. >> you are, you're doing it now. we have a backup at the microphones but we're goingto minutes got about five left , can we just hear some of the questions and then maybe you guys and choose which ones you want to respond to. >> thank you so much for being here today. i was going to ask who do you think today in the senate is best representingyour husband's legacies . >>i like that question .se
. lightning round. that with a 10 foot pole.hing >> i'm not either. >> that tells you that was a great question. >> that was a great question. >> thank you for giving us a glimpse into your reflections on brief which i found very moving my question is , we thought about being a principal spouse but what was it because you would have known about that role before you got involved with it? i wonder what that was attracted you to public service? >> i think that's funny because i don't think we really either of us, i didn't think of the role. well, you go ahead. >> i was going to be a naval officer,i had no idea what we get . so i thought we were going to be living in florida or something .
>> for me i grew up in it, we didn't have children when he ran the first time. westarted to have our babies , by the way and anyway , so igrew into it . and it's much different than vicki's experience was nevertheless, one thing you hear a lot, you read a lot about political spouses or whatever it may be. but i'd like to remind everybody, we had a front row seat to history. like none other.and every time i would get a little frustrated with things i think this is really a unique perspective and a unique position to be in. >> i wouldn't trade for anything in the world. >> so one minute answers in these next two questions, let's say here and i promise i'll get to you. >> thank you for being here. i have a quick question. do you think that the need to have a quick, fast answer and
to streamline executive authority and decision-making in our government is what's cieroding able appreciation of the senate? where you debate an issue for a long period time? i'd just like to ask you that question area is it the fast pace of the global world that we live in that is eroding appreciation? >> is the senate to old-fashioned ? >> i think that's an interesting question. i think it's, whether it should be streamlined that made more fast-paced, i think it's an interesting, provocative thought and one worth considering. >> i agree with that, you could try it in your institute . >> i'm looking institute people in the front row.
>> speed the liberation. last question. >> no pressure i guess. thank you both for being here. i'm from arizona so appreciation for senator mccain's service. i guess the question i have in my mind is what might you consider the most underreported aspects ofeach of your husband's legacies and i guess the joint legacies that you shared together ? >> thank you. wonderful question. to end on. >>. >> underreported? >> underappreciated, perhaps. >> i'll say this, i don't think people understand teddy's work on armed services and his work , i think that i think that's probably. >> what would he have wanted people to know about that? k>> he wasn't really big on people knowing too much about what it much of what he didto be honest . i can remember him running for reelection in one competitive race actually against someone you know well
and they said let's talk about your record and he would just like, he said i just kind of move on from that and somebody said if you t don't do your own horn no one's going to hear your music. and he said, he just kind of moved on so i'm not sure he was focused on what other people would know about what he did but he was very focused on our troops and on them having the proper equipment, on having the proper armor, on being adequately equipped, that was something very important. >> is there under per underappreciated piece ofjohn mccain ? >> john was all through his career remained on the interior committee and remain careful about certainly the land in arizona, land-use in arizona but land use around the country . i don't think he was ever ultruly appreciated for the work that he put in on protecting our national parks , protecting our land, our
grazing rights were a huge deal at west, all those things you the amount of work you put into that, when it was armed services or inteorthat not the tv clip that night. >> mrs. mccain, mrs. kennedy, thank you so much. >> this week we are featuring book tv programs showcasing what's available every weekend on c-span2. tonight starting at 8 pm carol westover recalled growing up in the idaho mountains and herintroduction to formal education at age 17 , then holocaust survivor max eisen reflect on his life and
imprisonment slits during world war ii followed by cassie chambers who looks back at her grandmother, aunt and mother who all grew up in poverty in kentucky's appalachianmountains region . enjoy book tv this week and every weekend on c-span2. >> on this saturday at 6 pm for the results of the nevada caucuses. precinct results, candidate speeches from joe biden, senator bernie sanders, elizabeth warren and any global chart, peace jed and tom stier. at at your calls about campaign 20/20 , live coverage on c-span on-demand at cspan.org or listen live on the free radio app. >> sunday at nine on afterwards, pulitzer prize winning journalist nicholas kristof and sheryl done report on the issues acing
the working-class and rural america in their book tight rope. thereinterviewed by oregon democratic senator jeff merkley . >> the people in the small-town around america and the ruralareas around america , peopleare walking on a tight rope .and one miss and they fall. there's no safety net. >> over the last 50 years we have vastly overdone it and it's become kind of upset with this personal responsibility narrative, blaming the people who fall off the tight rope. for the catastrophes that follow. >> once afterwards sunday night at nine eastern on book tv. >> next hearing remembering the holocaust and marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of auschwitz. the house oversight and reform committee heard from witnesses on waste to combat bigotry, discrimination and violence area this is 3 and a half hours.