tv Huma Abedin Both And - A Life in Many Worlds Virtual CSPAN December 5, 2021 7:10pm-8:01pm EST
keep you ahead welcome to the free library in philadelphia and thank you very much for being here. began as an intern for the former first lady in 1996. she served in the u.s. senate as the senior advisor to senator clinton, worked as a traveling to chief of staff in 2008 presidential campaign, was the deputy chief of staff and the department of state.
in her candid new memoir she emerges from the american political history to take command of her own story. tonight she will be joined in conversation with award-winning journalist. thank you for being here. the screen is all yours. welcome to the free library of philadelphia. i'm happy to be with you tonight and looking forward to the conversation. >> before we get into the conversation i think we would be remiss if i didn't mention the fact that one of you were born in michigan, your parents
started their journey right here in philadelphia. >> that is exactly right when i first heard of that i was going to be able to speak to the free library of philadelphia, i was jumping up and down because it was a very special city in my town in fact as i write in the book my parents were both immigrants. my father came from india, they were both fulbright scholars at the university of pennsylvania and it almost didn't happen because my mother was picking between the university of pennsylvania berkeley and she almost picked berkeley about she picked a pen and from my earliest memory is my parents would bring us back to philadelphia, tell us about their house on chestnut street and in the book the picture of my parents that i share is them standing in front of their house and they have a pizzeria they always went to. i don't know if it is still there but they loved it. i was so happy to be talking with you tonight. >> we are delighted to have you.
want to get into the book now. you often mentioned that your preferred place is in the background behind the scenes and begs the question what made you decide to write this book and put your story out there? >> you are 100% right i've always preferred to be behind the scenes. i like to be the invisible person whether that is my parents or my boss or of a man i was married to. the work i was doing i didn't really care about being the center of attention. i write about how even on my wedding day i felt uncomfortable being the center of attention. it was the bride, a strange place to be. but i did feel as though i had to spend 25 years in public service and much of it in the public eye and other people were telling my story and sharing things about me and finally i decided to take control of my
own story and tell my truth because if i don't, somebody else is writing my history, so i did. >> in telling your story it also meant resurrecting and sending his story and all the pain that came with that. tell me how you worked through that. >> i appreciate the somebody has framed it as the motion of the story. i do try to tell it from the perspective of how it impacted me as a partner in the relationship and i take them down that memory lane being sort of captivated by this dynamic, smart, hard-working public servant and then to go through a dream marriage that very sadly and very quickly turned into a nightmare and the ups and downs that we went through as we tried
to navigate bringing a child into this world. i wasn't even 12 weeks pregnant the first time the scandal broke into than trying to figure out how to navigate our mental health and how to find help when we didn't really know who to turn to her how to make it work. it took us a long time to get to that place and it took me to a pretty dark place before i got to the other side in order to write this book and share my story and one of the reasons i did it is i think there are plenty of people in the world who unfortunately had to endure what i did. i had to on page the paper and maybe i could help them in some ways. a. >> you said writing the book was actually therapeutic for you. >> it was, tremendously. the reason i started earlier, my father who i was close to, i think my father always believed i would be a writer and i told the story in the book that my father came back from a trip to
london and brought me a book called silence by george eliot. i was 10-years-old and didn't understand the material but when i read the introduction i realized and went to my father and said women were not taken seriously as writers. but don't worry when you write your book you will use your own name and everyone will take it seriously. part of it is honoring that a belief that my parents had in me. >> you worked for hillary clinton and still do what you've been there for 25 years in part
i have had the privilege to serve in the clinton administration and of the obama administration, working with senators like john mccain. having an approach to the way that i wrote the book and not telling the story but showing what it was like and a showing what it was like to be in the rooms traveling to the countries, being on the inside and really patriots doing the best they could to advance the causes they thought was important for the nation. sometimes i do have to pinch myself because you can't believe the stories and that is why the book is so long and i put so many of them in there. >> you and heard of the white house right around that the story was breaking and hillary
clinton herself was going through a very difficult marital crisis playing out and at that time you could never have known but years down the road you would have your own difficulty is playing out on the front pages of the paper. going back to that time that you first entered and what we are dealing with in your own story, how did hrc ask you refer to the book, how did she counsel you during this difficult time? >> as you said i was a 20-year-old intern when i walked into the white house completely in all of the experience of falling in love with the work and the people and the culture and support. i think everyone goes through the challenges and you can't compare situations. back then for me my job was to take care of her and i had the experience as the story broke, i
chose to route two story about the end of a huge demand because you can mark all of my professional advancements alongside kind of major news in that situation so i thought it was relevant to write it and my job at the time the way i handled it, i wanted to find out how to make her life easier. for me it was that caretaking. in my situation all those years later, she's always approached the conversation and the advice was i am here to support you no matter what you do i'm here to support you, just know you have that. so i did turn to that confidence in the relationship through these years. >> after sort of the repeated scandals and everything that
came with that, these were front-page stories for a while. why did you make the decision to stay as long as you did and even go far as to publicly defend him when he was running for mayor back in 2013? >> i think a lot of people look at my relationship in this perspective and it is why i wrote in detail as i was writing the book someone was helping with the research and told me the most common headline about me and that period is what is she thinking and what is wrong with her so i put in the book what i was thinking and why i made the choices that i made. but when you were in it, i was trying to make the right next decision for myself and for my child when the first story broke as i mentioned earlier i wasn't even 12 weeks pregnant. i was a newlywed.
i opened the chapter with a scene from buckingham palace waking up going to a white tie dinner knowing i was carrying his baby, i was deeply in love with my husband. i thought i had at the perfect husband. in the following years, as his behavior changed and got worse, i don't believe for a long time that i understood it. i grew up in a family my parents were happily married. i didn't know anyone that was divorced. i didn't know how to handle it. i had anger and rage, but i couldn't figure out why. i didn't understand. i didn't think there if he did a lot for me. it took a long time for is to help and that's why i share in the book all the things and then he did do one the one hand he took care of everything. he took care of our household and a schedule and a child into caretaking and on the other
hand, he was living this life that was shocking. it was a struggle and the 2013 press conference i was trying to figure out, the first time it happened i just wanted my life back. i was trying to fix things and get him into a profession he was good at. it was a mistake that because i encouraged him to run i thought i needed to deal with the consequences and to stand with him when there race fell apart. >> it's written very honestly about the time and the aftermath of stepping up for him that there were those who felt like you had now become a liability so much so you fear losing your job behind it. how did all of that play out? >> i was told i was going to lose my job over it. it was horrible. this, even at the time, people
said you're making a big mistake. even today, i don't believe i made a mistake standing up at a press conference because to me i felt i was taking responsibility for a decision that we had made jointly. i think if i understood clearly then the mental health challenges, this falling into the behavioral the social media portals that hadn't been available and all of a sudden work available to him is something you just couldn't stop. i write in the book why can't you just knock it off when you are in any kind of relationship with somebody that has addictive behavior can't stop, it's hard to navigate that space. i drove to the house and she told me she values the work i did professionally for her and she didn't believe that i should pay for my husband's mistakes.
>> there was also a point that you thought you might lose your son. it kind of got you this on welcomed attention from the child welfare services office in new york. it just seemed to add a whole other dimension to what you were facing at that time. >> it did. it was six months of terror and defiance. i felt judged and i write in the book because i was a working mother and to say because you were not present, questioning my capacity to care for my child, i took that very seriously and was very relieved when that situation was resolved. >> on top of all of that, there was a decision by the then fbi director james comey to reopen
the investigation into hillary's e-mails and of course the reason that additional e-mails was found is because they were investigating anthony and found these e-mails on his laptop. as we remember the investigation was quickly closed and you write in the book about how you spoke with anthony over the phone and said if hillary loses the election it will be because of you and me and you say you went on to write the following then of course she does go on to lose the election. that is a heavy load to carry. how did you process all that? >> one of the many reasons i wrote this book is to share what it's like to be an american muslim and my faith has always been central and a quarter to my life and i do think god is carrying me through in so many
ways. the conversation was a moment in time not knowing what was going to happen. it was so shocking and particularly this is why i had in the book i had cooperated with the investigation from day number one when i read it there thatthere was an investigation i had been asked i went down the hall to my office to say no once asked me to provide anything. a year later it's something if i had been asked i would have said please take a look at it. i think i write this in the book i couldn't even feel any more because it felt selfish in that moment. it was all about the mission. the election in 11 days and
obviously we know how that ended. i had to get professional help to get to where i am and i'm glad i got help. i needed it. >> you write of james comey that he was a daily nightmare and even today it feels like torture. you said it felt like he was playing god. >> that was a choice that was made that affected the outcome in my opinion it did and i don't believe that it was necessary for them to have made that announcement. but i have to let go. the feeling she had single-handedly lost because of me, and that is a burden that was too much to bear.
there are moments in this world things that have been in the country that i don't believe would have happened if hillary clinton were president. i don't think we would have put this deadline on leaving afghanistan and that is when it crept up on me. fast-forward and there was a time that you described this as one of the most difficult periods in your life and how you couldn't eat or sleep in for a fleeting moment you considered stepping off a subway platform. take us back to that time it was also a major turning point for you. what happened?
>> i chose to share this part of my story because i think it was so important and i talk about in my early life what we call the community and you always have a sense of support. if there's a wedding, you go, funeral, you go. i went to the university and it really was a community. i was surrounded and the 2019
was different. i believe single parents are heroes juggling work and motherhood and feeling this every day i got so low and the fact i thought about it for that moment told me in an instant i needed help and i could do it. we went through a disclosure process and for me, it was the only way through the end of the only way i was able to get to the other side and feel as healthy and whole as i do today. >> we talk about he was incarcerated for a period of time. he was ultimately diagnosed with sex addiction and that is something a friend of yours had mentioned to you in the years
prior but none of the founders you are working with used that term. i know anthony has his own a sty to tell but i wonder what do you want people to know about sex addiction and what that is? >> we were seeing therapists fairly regularly. i think the biggest thing i learned enough period where i really embraced the process, because what i didn't understand i had to let go of this notion as somebody that has had so much control in her life, i am very good at organizing and control and to me i had to accept there were some things you couldn't control and for some people as i learned in therapy when they are in the midst of addictive behavior, they do things and consider things that they never would when they were sort of in a much more present state and so
i had to be open to that. i had to be open to it and understand it. it's not just one week or one month. it's a long process. he is still committed to the process. you have to remain committed to the process. for me it is less about what they diagnosed him with and it's how is he a good father for our child and he is a good parent. i know that's the most important thing to both of us and we've managed to do it but as to his mental health and addiction, i prefer for him to talk about that. >> talking about your son who is now nine i believe, how is he handling all of this especially with the book coming out and sort of the reminders of that time in your life, how is he handling this?
>> on the one hand he's like a typical. in some ways it was a bit of a moment he was conscious in the world and have seen his parents in public with photographers around. i write a story early on he stopped and said why do strangers talk to you and daddy on the street and we didn't really know what to say in the moment. he said is it because you work with them and we said yes immediately. he knows his parents are public and i think he does have the memories of photographers chasing us down the street. when i told him mommy has a book coming out, the first thing he
said is does that mean those people are going to come back so he does have a memory of it but our intention is to be sources of truth and i hope that when he reads the book when he's old enough that he will look back and be proud of his mommy. >> one of the scenes in writing about hillary clinton's political career is the ongoing struggle that women leaders have being charged by how they look and not so much what they do and how they think. you write at some length how you witness that in your time with hillary clinton. >> it's why i chose to write about the different periods and how they did play a role.
my first experience they were at a debate and he marches over with a piece of paper demanding that she sign it and it was the first time you saw this kind of in your face at this moment we thought it showed weakness and went back in this room thinking what's going to happen. but this constant in 2008 every time someone made a comment about her clothes or how she spoke, we laughed. i feel like as a society in 2008 we giggled it off. it was sort of accepted that this is the price you paid to be in the game and that was including us. everyone knows how that ended. it ended very well in the end and obama was a phenomenal
candidate. i write about what it was like interacting with his team and it was incredible. fast-forward and it was unbelievable. it was everything. of the story people bring up that i write in the book she looks angry but you should get a picture of her grandchild. i learned in that campaign you are never going to please everybody. it was impossible and then fast-forward to 22020 and we had all these qualified women running for president but we have a sort of national reckoning to see women as leaders. they had been very hard to be executives in the country and forget commander-in-chief. it is a hill to climb, sure.
a. >> the margin from the book is worklife balance or the lack thereof or the pursuit thereof. you worked around the clock for the better part all while raising your samanta dealing with what was going on with anthony. what would you say to someone who loves their job and family and is struggling to keep it all together? i opened one of the chapters of this he says a good life is a balanced life i chose every
single time and in part it's because i had a job that was all consuming. i told myself when the clintons left the white house that he was 25 years ago and i had the extraordinary privilege but in hindsight, even after jordan was born, i wrote that i would get pulled, tugged, but here i am going out to create a world that is better for him. hillary is actually the one that said to me my son's father is about to go to jail, i am on the road and she says no, focus on your child.
i think balance is good. >> another thing you write about is the power of female friendships and you mentioned hillary land a few minutes ago. talk about that and what you saw in the way that you learned about the power of female friendships. >> i feel as though going back to the point i was making and being married to do my job, which i was, i took my friends for granted for much of my 20s and 30s. i would land at 11:00 at night, it was always on my schedule working all the time and it's only now as an adult i recognize i have rarely made them priorities. it was only when i was sort of losing friends over choices i had made, specifically to stay in my marriage, i defended my husband and lost friends over that. i realize friendship is precious and we need it.
even now on the book tour, my girlfriends come along for the ride and go with me to cold air. she says let me fix your top. it's nice to have somebody at 11:00 at night to say i'm just feeling low, let's go eat. those are precious relationships and i lucky when i was struggling with writing i called her and said i need you. she didn't even know what she was saying yes to both together i'm creating a book i am proud of. >> you've got to have your tribe. january 20th we all watched ms. harris being sworn in as the first south asian female vice president, and i wonder for you as a south asian female yourself, what that moment was like. >> epic. i have goosebumps a band down my
legs even as you said at those words. it was so incredible and affirming about the possibilities and the power when she walked out. she represents everything that is right about the possibility of the future. we are really proud of our vice presidents. i'm curious what this might look like for you. >> that was my first interview i was so nervous and cold i was shaking so i confessed i approached my whole book tour and epilogue originally included
all the women and men who inspired me and when shonda wrote her book her approach that year i'm stealing that so here i am thinking i am being brilliant and then i actually don't think i heard her. the answer is no. i tried to clean that up this week. >> on the other side of all that you've been through, you find two things. resilience and hopefully bless. not having this per se but the question is where are you on that journey?
there's a difference between entertainment and bliss and one of my colleagues told me this morning he had never seen me so lifted even as i'm doing now the things that terrifies me the most, which is getting out there. so i think maybe i'm on a path to finding that list. >> what is your relationship with anthony now and is he seeking help?
i'm glad my son has two parents. i didn't have a choice when i lost my father. a. >> and joann asks what does your son currently understand about his father's past? >> we've chosen to share with him as age-appropriate he's nine and as he gets older he will have more access to information on the internet and so we are speaking and we have sought professional help how to talk about it and we are feeling good about that structure of support we put in place.
>> given the results on tuesday, what direction should the democratic party go at this point referring no doubt to the results in virginia where the democrat lost that race in jersey, phil murphy and mixed bag in between so what do you think about the direction which the democratic party should go? >> the joe biden administration trying to do some difficult things. i understand people are frustrated at how long it's taking and they are trying to do some big things, unprecedented. covid obviously hasn't helped, but i do like to remind myself the year after, it's not unusual
for us to suffer in the next. we just have to keep our enthusiasm and energy more motivated. we have some work to do. we have to keep people engaged. the administration has to show results. i think once we get a little more progress, we will be having a different conversation. >> questions about your background. what did you study in college and what led you to apply to begin intern in the white house and how did they come to interview you for that position? >> i never got an interview with hillary and this is one of the things she likes to deny. i was a teenager and i write about this in the book.
comes over and sure enough it's this congressman and colleague. it wasn't love at first sight. he made this impression and we became friends first before anything else. >> do you have any advice about healing from betrayal trauma? >> the best advice i can give is the advice that works for me you have to take the time to heal. for a long time i didn't allow myself to feel anything but anger and i compartmentalized a lot of my feelings and it was only when i allowed myself to feel and forgive myself. it took time. >> how do you navigate in the
post-trump america? >> we live in new york which i think is a blessing in some ways. it's been a challenge in terms of how we navigate it and it's something we have to think about particularly as you said after the death threats and hate mail that i've received it's not something i think about. sheila asks how hard is it to let go of the unfairness? >> i was there for a long time and as you see it almost killed me. the only person it was affecting was me.
my best self and mother but i had to let go and understand. i had to learn the truth, process it and move on. >> the books you love most, i know you talked about at least one of those. i am staring at a stack of memoirs that i want to get through. i love people's stories and i opened the books. when i was a little girl i loved the much everything. my father brought back a lot of
novels and i sort of just absorbed a little bit of everything that i would probably say jane austen, pride. i kind of fell into those as a little girl. a. >> what was the hardest and happiest memoir for inspiring many women? >> thank you for that question. i write about that experience becoming a mother. that was the happiest and the hardest. now you're going to get me emotional. i lost him when i was 17, he was terminally ill and already had five years to live.
the only time i broke down when i was talking about my dad, this book is for him and i want to share them again to say this is what i did and i hope you're proud of me. everything related to my father was personally the hardest part. >> the follow-up is will we be seeing a kids book in the future? >> you say this is a good idea, maybe somebody from the publishing house is watching. >> you never know. i love the process of writing, so maybe this is part of my year of saying yes. your dad is proud of you, he
says. let me see, questions from the audience here. >> the audience asks excellent questions. would you ever work for another female presidential candidate if you were asked. >> i've done that and i know what it takes. i can say this though if a female presidential candidate asks me to help her, the answer would be yes. a. >> who will be coming to the san francisco bay area. i will be doing a virtual event on tuesday but they are not doing a lot of in person events if i do show up maybe loretta can connect me to you and i can find your book.
>> let's see what else you have here. how did you like being on the view and also i'm sad it wasn't in person. >> i would have rather been next to tracy talking with all of you, but i'm thrilled there is a book event at all so let me show my gratitude for that. what is the first part of the question? >> i love the view. i just felt like having coffee with a girlfriend. thanks for your candor into service. would you walk us through your day at work, a day in the life?
>> by day starts very early and depends which section but i've changed my priorities to make sure the schedule works. that hasn't been the case. i'm running from meeting to meeting. i'm off on a plane somewhere. it's changed my work schedule rather dramatically so i spend a lot of time but who knows after this book tour hopefully the world is back open again i will have a different answer for you. >> what is the best piece of advice that you have ever been given? >> i think the best piece of advice i've been given i have to go back to my parents and this notion of a balanced life i'm
trying to live intentionally by that advice. >> a week before we say goodbye, just a couple of comments. someone is says you were amazing on the view and many thank youse for your service. there is one i wanted to make sure i read. you have so much experience. there you have it. i'm really humbled. thank you so much. >> it's been a delight to have an opportunity to talk with you. a lot of people have been inspired and encouraged by your honesty and transparency in the
book. thank you for writing it and making time to talk with us here at the free library tonight. what a delight. >> i've enjoyed the conversation. it went by so quickly. i've loved the conversation and i'm thrilled to have been with you tonight. thank you for giving me part of your evening. >> i want to thank all the folks at the library. the author events team for bringing all of us together. we hope you found the conversation to be insightful and encouraging. have a great weekend and we will look forward to seeing you next time. the whole purpose was to attack
al qaeda and eliminate the threat from al qaeda's global terrorist group so that they couldn't carry out any more attacks against the united states targets were allies around the world. and in afghanistan we were pretty successful with that in the first six months. by april of 2002 just about all of al qaeda's leaders have been killed or fled afghanistan. they didn't have a presence left after the spring of 2002. the documents show people lost focus and strategically for the last 19 years we've never set out explicitly what we were hoping to accomplish in
afghanistan. one thing president biden points to a lot of is the death of osama bin laden in 2001. in the original goal of dismantling al qaeda that raises the question of what were we trying to accomplish for the ten years since then. retired cia officer provides an inside look into how the agents prior to and after this september 11th 2001 terrorist
attacks. >> welcome to the institute event. my name is charles lister and i direct the program on counterterrorism. today's event marks the release of an excellent new book of nonresident colleague a retired decorated 34 year veteran of an intelligence agency and distant service. his experience is the intelligent community leader created effective positions and multiple field assignments as cia chief of station and director of national intelligence representative in the presidency near representative. over the 34 years of