tv Presidential Descendants CSPAN July 18, 2020 11:10pm-12:01am EDT
grahams on the history of communities across the country c-span.org/citiestour. this is american history tv only on c-span3. descendents of presidents ford, truman, mckinley, johnson, and theodore roosevelt share their family stories in washington, d.c. the white house historical association hosted the conversation as part of a their conference attended by representatives from presidential sites around the country and descendents of presidents from james monroe to gerald ford.
>> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome fred ryan, chairman, white house historical association board of directors and deborah rudder, president of a the john f. kennedy center for the performing arts. [applause] >> good evening, everyone. you will it's my pleasure to welcome you to the celebration of the 2018 presidential site summit. the kennedy center is the perfect venue for this. it's so fitting because it itself is a presidential site which is dedicated as a living memorial to president john f. kennedy. and to assure the authentic nature of this historical gathering, the kennedy center brought it back to the 1800s in terms of the temperature in washington, d.c. [laughter] and we want thank you for that. [applause] also, we've been given authority from no higher source than the chairman of the board of the john f. kennedy center for gentlemen and ladies who would like to remove jackets and be more comfortable. so please feel free to do so. this year's site summit is the largest gathering ever of a presidential site representatives. these historic sites include
more than 100 birthplaces and childhood homes, memorials and museums, libraries and landmarks from coast to coast. we're grateful to have the site representatives here and for your devotion to educating the public about the american presidency. tonight we have two outstanding panel discussions focused a on the one thing that all of our presidents have in common, and that is life in the white house. both will be moderated by the chairman of the board of the kennedy center and good friend of the white house historical association, david rubenstein. although he still has his day job, david has emerged as america's interviewer in chief. so you are in store for a very special program. the first panel will feature perspectives of those for whom white house history and family history intersect, presidential descendents. throughout american history, our presidents's offspring have often played a unique and fascinating role. they enliven the stories of the presidencies.
thad lincoln used to drive goats down a corridor in the white house. amy carter roller skated in the east room. alice roosevelt gambled, partied and was even seen wearing a live boa constrictor. this led her father, teddy roosevelt, to explain, i can be -- i can do one of two things, i can be president of the united states or i can control alice. i cannot possibly do both. [laughter] many presidential descendents have gone on to do great things. two presidential children have later become presidents themselves. other children of presidents and their children have made contributions to american life representing a wide variety of fields including educators and entertainers, activists and artists. presidential son steve ford even became a national villian as the boyfriend who broke meg ryan's heart in "when harry met sally." at the presidential site summit, we've been honored to have over 40 descendents of american presidents join us.
these unique americans represent administrations from james monroe to george w. bush. and amazingly, it's going to be here in a few minutes, but we'll be a few degrees removed from the 10th president of the united states, john tyler. he served from 1841 to 1845. he was born in 1790. and president tyler's grandson will be here. i'm not talking about his great grandson or great, great grandson, his actual grandson, ryan tyler, has been participating in this conference and is on his way here tonight. please make a point to say hello to him. i'd also like to ask all of the presidential descendents that are here tonight to please stand and be recognized. [applause] thank you. thank you for joining us.
and for representing the legacies of our presidents and first families. our second panel will hear from those that portray life in the white house in the movies. this is an enormous responsibility. for many americans and others around the world, their understanding of the presidency is based almost entirely on hollywood depiction. imagine how different your view of the white house would be if you had only seen "the american president" or if you had only seen "house of cards" or if you had only seen "abraham lincoln: vampire hunter." [laughter] well, in addition to our panelists from the entertainment industry, we'll be joined by men and women that have been on both sides of the camera. they worked in the white house and then they've gone on to advise hollywood studios on bringing the presidency to the -- to life across theaters and living rooms. we hope you'll enjoy this special evening. i would like to introduce our partner in this summit and who does so much every day in bringing american history to
life and in instrumental in this, and who is probably having difficulties at the kennedy center today. but please join me in welcoming president of the kennedy center, deborah rudder. [applause] deborah: good evening and welcome. when stewart mclaren called me to share the fact that the summit was going to take place and to invite us to participate, i was overjoyed. because so many people don't even know and understand that we are the living memorial to john f. kennedy. my guess is in this room you all know that. but we love being involved in experiences like this and this summit. that said, i know many of you came from farther than virginia or maryland or down the street. and the saying is, you only have one chance to make a first impression. and i just really want to say
this is a hot place to spend time. [laughter] we've been working on the chiller all day and i'm really, really sorry. but when faced with the option of either moving it or canceling it, we decided that we would all be here and experience it together. [laughter] and last night it was warmer, right? [applause] so thank you, thank you so much for being here and thank you to the white house historical society for all their work during this summit and for including the kennedy center. today is a really interesting day. it falls sort of between august 25 and september 8, duh. august 25, however, was the 100th birthday of leonard bernstein and september 8 is the official anniversary of the kennedy center. this is our 47th. we're getting ready for the 50th. i hope you'll return for that.
now you ask, why do i mention those two things? for all the historians in the room, you probably remember a couple of things. but i'm going to share them for those of you who may not know. in 1962, the president and mrs. kennedy hosted a fundraiser at the white house for what was known at that time as a future national cultural center. and who was the host, leonard bernstein. and he was hosting a beautiful musical program, one of many, in fact, that took place at the white house. and it featured our own beloved artistic adviser at large, yoyo ma, as a 7-year-old. very special program. you can find it on youtube. it reminds you of the reality of seeing president and mrs. kennedy with those artists living today and can tell you about it, and leonard bernstein, who was probably the most influential american musician that we all will remember.
now leonard bernstein went on to then compose the work that was brand new commissioned for the opening of the kennedy center in 1971. the white house actually, and i'd love to be able to share this and maybe we'll hear more in the panel, but the white house was actually a place of musical performances. in my understanding, i'm sure david rubenstein knows more, was that john adams was the first. and he had and hosted the marine band, who was just barely in existence back on new year's day in 1801. and president eisenhower was the first to welcome broadway to the white house. but it was really president kennedy and mrs. kennedy who hosted so much. and whether it was individual artists or institutions, they
were the ones that really turned it into a really living artistic place as well. it is that reason that this building became the living memorial to john f. kennedy. when congress asked mrs. kennedy what should we do to recognize your husband, she asked that they name the national cultural center in his honor. and, in fact, that inspired the contributions that made it possible to build this building that we're in today. the kennedy center really has three elements to its mission. obviously, world class art. but also powerful education and programs that reach across the country. and we're really well known almost in all 50 states and puerto rico and d.c. for our education program. it is the programs that happen here all the time that really support and sustain the memorial to john f. kennedy.
our work as we near the 50th anniversary is to strengthen that message and to really reaffirm and remind our patrons and visitors alike that it is what he stood for, what he believed in, how he lived his life that we really represent here. we celebrated his centennial last year and really focused all of our work in that year around attributes that we ascribe to president kennedy. he never used the words directly, but when we checked with his family, they agreed. courage, justice, freedom, gratitude, and service. those are what inspire us daily to bring our work to our communities, and that is what we believe will be even more transparent as we focus on the 50th anniversary coming up in a number of years. thank you for being here. i apologize. i'm not sure that's enough. but enjoy yourselves.
i know that david rubenstein has a fantastic program with you. enjoy. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome president and ceo of the lbj foundation. [applause] >> thank you. good evening. welcome to our lineage and legacy, the stories of the presidential descendants panel. in january 2017, before their father left the white house, sasha and malia obama received a letter from barbara and jenna bush, the first daughters who preceded them in the white house. take all that you have seen, they advised the obama girls, the people you have met, the lessons you have learned, and let that help guide you in making positive change.
being the descendent of a president, while a great honor, comes with inherent challenges and responsibilities. the participants in our panel this evening have gracefully embraced the legacies of their presidential descendants and used them to make their own positive contributions to the world. matthew mckinley is descended from two presidents. he is the great-grand nephew of william mckinley, our 25th president, and the great-great grandson of our 22nd and 24th president, grover cleveland. is the greatlt theodorendson of roosevelt and is the vice president of the theodore roosevelt association which he's been associated with for a quarter century. clifton truman daniel is the grandson of our 33rd president,
harry truman, and the honorary chairman of the truman library institute. linda johnson robb is the first child of our 36th president, lyndon johnson. she lived in the white house during the last years of her father's tenure in office from 1966 to 1969. and for over two decades, has served as a trustee of the lbj foundation. and susan ford bails is the fourth child and only daughter of our 38th president, gerald ford. she lived in the white house during the bulk of her father's presidency, from 1974 to 1977, and since 1981, has served as a trustee of the gerald ford presidential foundation. moderating our panel is david rubenstein, the co-founder and co-executive chairman of the carlyle group and our country's leading patriotic philanthropist. generously contributing to the preservation of our nation's history and culture. he is also the host of
bloomberg's "the david rubenstein show: peer-to-peer conversations." ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to this stage matthew mckinley, tweed roosevelt, clifton truman daniel, linda johnson robb, susan ford bails and david rubenstein. [applause] david: thank you all for coming. i want to apologize again, as one of my roles of the chairman of the board of the kennedy center. since the center opened in 1971, i think this is the first time the air conditioning hasn't worked. most of you who are descendents of presidents probably have ancestors that didn't have air conditioning. [laughter] who knows when air-conditioning
was first installed in the white house? it was first installed for james garfield when he had an assassination attempt on him, to cool him down, they put temporary air conditioning in. but the first real air-conditioning is when it was redone under harry truman. but i apologize again. and i just want to let you know that tonight in the other part of the kennedy center, "hamilton" was canceled because we were not sure that people going to that were as tough as the people that were coming to this event. [laughter] [applause] so why don't we start now? susan, why don't we start with you, if we could. susan, you were a teenager when your father became president of the united states. what is it like to go out on dates when you have young men, are they intimidated to call you up and how do they get through the gates, and did the secret service watch you where you go, what is that like? susan: they do, david.
it was difficult. i was lucky. unlike a lot of other presidential children, i grew up in alexandria, virginia, across the river. i didn't have to change schools. i was in an all girls school in bethesda, maryland. so i was dating episcopal boys when i would come home for the weekend. and then they did -- i would, first of all, the poor boys show up just wringing wet. it wasn't just going on a date. it was having to meet the commander in chief. that is always the hardest part. but, yes, they would follow us in another car. i always rode with my date when it was possible. all depending what was going on. if there were threats or different things, there were times that we were not allowed to go in our own personal cars. it was difficult. it didn't -- i have never been parking in my entire life. if that tells you anything. [laughter] david: you also had your senior
prom at the white house. susan: yes. david: was that hard to get arranged? did you have to get permission from somebody or easy to get that done? susan: i did. i'm still the only one that had a prom there. and i wasn't even on the prom committee at the time. [laughter] but the group came to me and said could we possibly have it at the white house? and i said i don't know. so i went to the usher's office, it's kind of the liaison place between the family and the white house or whatever you need. the usher's office takes care of it. so i went and spoke to the head usher at the time and he said he'll get back to me. and so they did. we did our own flowers. the flower shop ordered the flowers and taught us how to do the arrangements. we paid for all the food. the only thing we didn't have was a room rental. it was like any other hotel, it just happened to be at the white house. and everybody in my class showed up for their prom. [laughter]
david: before your father was president, he was house minority leader and also vice president. but did you find from the time that he became president to all of a sudden, people laughed at your jokes more, you were invited to more things and did you find your life changed dramatically? susan: it really didn't for me. i already had my set of friends. and so when there were other girls in my class who tried to become friends with me after me going to school with them for three years, i said i know that story. so i really felt very lucky that i didn't have to change schools or do anything else. and i had a very close knit group of girls that i ran around with. and they really protected me, both through my senior high school and freshman in college years. david: so linda, your father became president after a tragedy. and completely unexpected, of course. how did your life change? where were you when your father was vice president? were you living in washington and then did you move to the white house? linda: no. i was at the university of texas.
i was in a dorm with 300, 400 girls. in those days, girls lived in the dorms without boys. [laughter] big change. and they didn't like -- the secret service moved in. and so they would lock the doors at 10:00 or later on weekends. and the secret service would stay in after that and so after a while, the girls started coming down and bringing them presents. [laughter] and asking their advice on this young man or that young man. [laughter] this was 1963. so i finished out my semester at the university. i was a sophomore. and then my parents said that they really, really needed me in washington. and that mother just couldn't get along without me there to be the hostess and help her. of course, in truth, we didn't know what danger might lurk.
that and the fact that the secret service had put up cameras on the floors and just to make sure someone didn't walk in and go back up a back stairs and so forth. and the girls did not like to have their freedom infringed upon. so they would hang underwear on the cameras. [laughter] and so we decided, we, mother and the secret service, that i needed to come back and help her run the white house. and so i came back and every weekend in 1964, lucy would go out and campaign or i would go out and campaign. we took turns. and i rode half of the lady bird special train through the south and lucy rode the other half and we would compare how many states
i did carry and lucy hers. then i went off after i graduated. david: how many states? linda: i always won. [laughter] then i moved back in -- well, i fell in love with my husband, who was a socialite. you saw the movie, the picture of me in my wedding dress. chuck is in the audience. and i got to date him without anybody knowing about it. and the press were indignent they had not discovered it first. but he was a socialite. we would play cards, we would play bridge. and his roommate dated my roommate. so we ended up falling in love. and this last december, we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary. [applause]
i am very interested in presidential history. so i called up the white house historical society and said i want you to look it up. is there anybody who has been married in the white house as long as we have? and i have to tell you, a lot of the white house weddings don't work out very well. [laughter] i told chuck, i am working on the second 50. david: your husband, governor and senator robb is here. congratulations on your career senator and governor. [applause] linda: one more story. my father was very concerned about doing anything that did not look right. so we got married in december. chuck was leaving in march for vietnam. chuck was -- we were the last presidential children to serve in the war zone. but anyway, i have my marine.
there is another good member of the naval forces, john mccain. but we, anyway, we did all of this in secret. the night before we were supposed to leave, rehearsal dinner. daddy pulls chuck aside and says, you don't know this, but the plane that you're going to charter to fly away on your honeymoon is being bought by a big cotton government contractor who has lots of, you know, aerospace things. and so it will be very awkward if you used their plane. now we were paying for the plane. we were renting it just to fly us off on our honeymoon. but daddy said, no. so there we were on our wedding day with no place to go. [laughter] no way to get away from the white house on our wedding day. and that's a whole other story. i never told my children what we did or where we went. [laughter]
david: i'm sure they could figure out what you did, but where you went -- [laughter] linda: chuck was in vietnam when our daughter was born, he didn't see her until she was six months old. so. [laughter] david: tweed, you are descended from teddy roosevelt. are you asked if you are descended from franklin roosevelt much? tweed: i don't get that much. i get, did i know tr? which i find insulting since he died in 1920, but these younger kids, they never know. david: teddy roosevelt took a trip to africa. and then down the amazon. he almost died. he was thinking of committing suicide, because it was so
dangerous for him and he got ill. you later did the same trip. you wrote a book about it. why did you decide to do that? was it as dangerous when you went? tweed: let me correct the suicide thing. he told somebody years later, whenever he went on an adventure like this, and he went on many, he always took enough morphine with him to kill himself. the reason he did that, if he felt he was so sick that it threatened the other people on the trip that he would take it and so other people could get out. he said, the only time i ever thought about that was the amazon trip. but i didn't take it, he said, because i was with my son. his son was with him. i knew he would take me out dead or alive. and it was marginally easier to take me out alive. [laughter] david: you were the head of the teddy roosevelt association? tweed: i am.
david: how many descendents are there at this point? tweed: tr, i think my generation, there are 24 great grandchildren. only a quarter of them have the name, because they are descendents of women or women themselves. that is group, and we have gone on and become fruitful. my daughter got married a month ago -- two months ago. when i gave the father of the bride toast, she allowed me to say, may the marriage be long and fruitful. [laughter] david: you did not know teddy, but you knew alice? tweed: i knew his wife, edith. but i knew alice. his wife lived many years. i was about eight when she died. they lived in, she lived in sagamore hill, i remember her as an extraordinarily formidable lady.
like alice, too. neither of them brooked much time for children. david: when president nixon was resigning the last day, he asked his son-in-law to give him a book that contained a letter from teddy roosevelt. the letter was something he had written when his first wife died. you remember this letter and what he said about the light of his life has gone out? with respect to that letter and respect to teddy roosevelt, what is it you most remember about teddy roosevelt and the fact that he thought his life had ended, and how did he reconstruct his life? tweed: it's interesting. of course, i did not know him, but my grandfather for the most part raised me, because my father was in the foreign service overseas. years later i realized, a grandfather does with his
grandson just what his father had done with him. and all those trips, tr was good with children, all those camping trips, my grandfather did with me. even told me the same stories, and so on. i felt i knew him that way. tr had a lot of tragedies in his life. as we all do. david: his wife and mother died on the same day, in the same house. tweed: on valentine's day. in the same house. he was a very young man. i don't know, 25 or something. and it was a tremendous blow, as you might imagine. his wife had just presented him with a new baby, and in fact she died partially as a result of that. he was totally devastated. at the time, he was a state assemblyman, he decided in rooseveltian style he would pick up the ball and move forward. and he went and finished his
stint there. then he decided to go out west and reinvent himself. david: when you let's say you use your credit card, and it says roosevelt, how many people, what percentage of people ask if you're related to teddy roosevelt or franklin? tweed: all of them. david: 100%. do you ask if you get a discount? [laughter] tweed: with the name roosevelt, you have both sides of the .ence, fdr or tr when i was younger in new york, most of the cab drivers were democrats. and so when they found out my name one way or another, they would start talking about fdr and i would nod appreciatively and so on. [laughter] it worked both ways. david: clifton, can i ask you about your grandfather? your grandfather died when you were 15. you wrote a book about your experiences with him. what was he like in person? was he a simple talking person, very direct as we know, or more complicated?
clinton: no, he was simple and direct. you had to be careful, though, when you were his grandchild. early on, he came to visit us -- david: are you the only grandchild? clinton: no, i am the oldest. three others, three younger brothers. he stayed down the street at the carlisle hotel, got up at the crack of dawn every morning, went for a quick walk, grabbed as many newspapers as he could find, walked to our apartment, let himself in and read the newspapers until someone woke up. my brother and i were first down one morning, and he was behind the newspaper so he did not see us. we started to go into the den where we kept the television set. he caught us and said, where do you think you're going? i said, into the den to watch tv. he said, you don't want to do that. i thought, yes, i do. that is why i was sneaking past you. [laughter]
he went into the den, he took down a book on the top shelf and said you come out here and sit by me. we didn't argue with harry truman, we sat down and opened the book, and he started to read. my mother came down a few minutes later and stopped cold at the bottom of the steps. neither of us were moving. we were sitting there on the arms of the chair while he read to us from a book that didn't have any pictures in it. [laughter] my mother said, what in god's name are you reading to those children? he showed her. it was a history of the peloponnesian war, at 6:00 in the morning to a four-year-old and a two-year-old. [laughter] david: is this urban legend true that somebody went to your grandmother and said, can you get your husband to stop using the word manure, and her response was, you don't know how long it's taken me to get him to use the word manure.
[laughter] clifton: as far as i can tell, it's true. even if it isn't, i'm going to keep telling it. david: you have sometimes played your grandfather? clifton: i have. there was a play that was called "give 'em hell harry." david: can you give us a line from that or the accent? clifton: you always have to think of a good one from that show. now you have put me on the spot. he starts off by saying, i never saw myself as president of the united states of america. i was just in the right place at the wrong damn time. [laughter] david: he was a president who did not live in the white house for a while. the white house, as i understand it, was falling apart and had
not been reconstructed since it burned down. he moved across to blair house and an assassination attempt occurred. did he ever talk to you about the assassination attempt? clifton: no, that was one of the things that came as a surprise. my parents and my grandparents i think cherry picked what they were going to tell the children about grandpa. being shot at is not something they told me until later on. david: in those days, there were no presidential pensions, or secret service after you left the white house. your grandfather, he carried his bags to the train station at the -- station after president eisenhower was inaugurated. he went back to independence. the first time he came back, 1953 or so, he drove back. can you describe the trip? clifton: he caused havoc. he and my grandmother drove across the country. stopped traffic all along the way. every time they pulled into a motel, the operator called everyone in town. after they finished the trip,
local authorities across the country said, mr. president, please don't do that again. [laughter] fly next time. david: when president truman died, it turned out there were no pensions for widows of presidents, so the congress passed a pension act, that it was very modest. how did your grandmother survive? clifton: by that time, they had sold my grandfather's family farm in granville, missouri, not long after he retired. and that farm was almost 600 acres and they sold it to developers, that took care of all the bills. they even had money left to send their grandchildren to college. she was ok. david: let me ask you a question. you're a decendent from two presidents. grover cleveland and william mckinley. which one do you like better? [laughter] >> it depends on the day.
and who was in the audience and who you are talking to. both i think are probably, i think, two of the greatest. david: let's talk about grover cleveland. he married the youngest first lady ever, is that correct? >> that is correct. 21 years old and beautiful. francis bold from cleveland. david: how old was he? >> 30 or 40 years older. a lot older. i think he was 48 when they married. david: ok. he served two terms, but not consecutively. >> that is correct. david: is there presidential memorabilia you have in your family? >> i do have a ton of letters. i was talking to george cleveland, who is here today, he is the grandson of grover cleveland. we were talking about that yesterday. there's a lot of letters that exist, a lot of letters that he wrote. he was a voracious reader and
writer, there are tons of letters that our family has accumulated over the years. david: i see. have you ever heard this story where president reagan after he was elected, he went up to see tip o'neill. tip o'neill said this desk is grover cleveland's. president reagan said, well, i played him in a movie. he said, no, you played grover cleveland alexander, the pitcher, not the president. [laughter] david: i don't know if that is true or not, but it sounds like a good story. let's talk about president mckinley. he was a governor and senator -- >> he was a governor and senator from ohio. and tragically killed in a world's fair. >> that is correct, in buffalo. david: that led to teddy roosevelt becoming president. what kind of memorabilia, if any, you have from president mckinley? >> i have a letter written on my
birthday, december 21st, 1896, it was not on white house stationery, it was written on executive mansion stationery. it is very special to me. completely preserved, and i treasure that. david: you look great for a guy born in 1896. [laughter] david: how many times do you introduce yourself and say i'm matt mckinley, what percentage of the people ask if you're related to mckinley? >> all the time. david: have you thought about putting cleveland in the middle of your name? >> i think i should. a lot of people loved grover cleveland. david: were they related themselves? >> they were not related. my parents married and that is the relation. the wonderful thing is that grover cleveland attended william mckinley's inauguration, which i think is special. david: susan, when your mother was first lady, she came down
with breast cancer. in those days, people never used the phrase or mentioned the phrase breast cancer. people did not talk about it very much. what was the thinking she had about saying what the operation was going to be, and did she have any hesitancy about it? how did that change her life in terms of being a breast caster advocate? susan: we are talking about 1974 and we had only been in the white house about six weeks when mother went into the naval hospital for her routine physical like any first lady or president goes for. they found a lump about the size of a pea. so when mother went in for her surgery, which linda and her mother and her sister were there at the white house that day, you will see pictures and a small suitcase at the foot of my parents' bed. no one ever looked at that picture and discovered she was going into the hospital.
when she got in there, they did the surgery the next morning, in those days you did a total mastectomy. she had stage two breast cancer. they did a total mastectomy. i don't think mother was prepared for the outpouring of support she got from the american people. because in those days, not only did you not say breast cancer, we probably could have said mother had female problems and gotten away with it. that's what you were able to do back then. when she found out so much about breast cancer, and the women that were hiding in the closet and didn't talk about it with their husbands. it wasn't even said on television. she realized what an impact she could make with the american people and that's when she chose to go public about it. david: president ford has a presidential library where? susan: in ann arbor, michigan. david: are you involved in that library, you and your family?
susan: the library is in ann arbor, and the museum is in grand rapids, which i think is the only museum and library that are separate. i sit on the board of the ford foundation, we do events to support the library and museum. david: i see. ok. tweed, where is the teddy roosevelt library? tweed: there isn't one. there were not presidential libraries then. so the vast majority of his papers that were collected during his life and afterwards, the personal stuff is at the harvard library. the governmental stuff is at the library of congress. the museum he has now is in sagamore hill, it is run by the park service. it is the house full of his stuff that was there. david: if you could tell someone in two sentences, the most important thing about teddy roosevelt, what would you want people to know?
tweed: i think normally what people think is the most important thing he achieved as president, the conservation effort. 230 million acres, one out of seven acres in the lower 48. that was a tremendous achievement. another achievement, perhaps, for better or worse, he created the modern presidency, by viewing the presidency in a different way than had been done before. billed -- he also not build the west wing? tweed: you mentioned something about renovating the white house. he renovated -- rather his wife renovated the white house, and they, too, moved out. david: but part of it later, i thought the west wing was created. tweed: it was created. i think somebody else mentioned it was called the executive mansion. he changed it to the white house. david: linda, what is the fondest memory of your father being president? when you think back on those years, what do you enjoy the most, or what is the best memory you have about it?
linda: i think when he went to the congress and asked them, it was bipartisan, he went and asked them to pass massive civil rights legislation. and i'm -- [applause] david: that wasn't easy for somebody whose best friends in the senate were not in favor of it, and had come from texas. why did he decide he wanted to do that? linda: he knew it was the right thing. before he represented texas, he represented his constituency. time had changed. and he personally knew of discrimination. he'd seen it, not just with people who were african-american. but for instance, when he was the senator, our phone number was in the regular phone book,
and he got a call, a hispanic in texas, i believe he was killed in korea. the local funeral home in texas refused to take his body. they said that if they took his body from the battlefield to bury it in his hometown that no white people would use the funeral home. and that did not sit well with my father. and so he had him buried in arlington. [applause] and so he felt that a long time ago. david: when i worked in the white house for jimmy carter, i was 31 at the reelection in 1980. i thought if we ran against ronald reagan, it was a good thing, he was 69 years old. i thought he was ready for the nursing home, i thought. it seems middle-aged now.
-- it seems younger. it seems middle-aged now. your father died at 64 years old from something that today could be solved in 10 minutes today with a stent. linda: i feel very strongly about heart disease, he gave those genes to me, but the doctor did everything he could. we had wonderful doctors. but daddy was worn out. he had his first heart attack when he was 47. and in those days, when you had a heart attack, you went home and vegetated. but they had such good care. dr. dudley white had taken care of president eisenhower, and they had learned a lot. and so daddy survived and went on to have a very good, full life.
but it has been hard. and yes, it is tragic that he was only 64 when he died. i am older [cough] then he was now. [laughter] but it was just absolutely horrible. to the last moment, that was january 22, and in december, in the middle of a snowstorm, daddy insisted on going to a civil rights meeting at the library, opening the civil rights papers. because he said, we have not finished this, we must continue, and he had a wonderful crowd of civil rights leaders and local people, and said, it is up to you now. you must finish this, you must make our country so we can all benefit, because we need you. we need you. you are going to make our country better. and so it is very important that
you please do this. and of course he was active with the immigration law. and changed, all the jews that were not allowed to come, he opened up asia and africa, those people could not come to our country. he was doing it for the benefit of this country because we're richer with everybody working together. [applause] david: if somebody wants to learn more about lyndon johnson, where is the lyndon johnson library? linda: it is in austin, texas, and we ask you to come. it is wonderful. we used to be the premiere library because we -- and we still are, in the sense that we have tapes of daddy talking. and he'll be talking to harry truman. i am fortunate enough to have met your great, great aunt. both of them.
princess alice was a hoot. [laughter] her younger sister was wonderful. they took us to sagamore hill. president truman gave me a tour of his library. i have been blessed with getting to meet a lot of these people. so i hope they all come to the library of every president and learn. there are so many things. clifton can tell you about going to many of the libraries and learning. and daddy went, too. and said, all these years i've been saying all those bad things about hoover. [laughter] i never knew he did all of those wonderful things to feed europe. david: is there a truman library? >> there is. it is in independence, missouri, about a mile from grandpa's house.
david: why did he wear those wild shirts when he went to key west, florida? what was that about? [laughter] >> everybody wears wild shirts when they go to key west, florida. david: is there a cleveland library? a mckinley library? >> in canton, ohio. david: why is there no cleveland library? now you have a mission. >> that's exactly right. there is a lot of memorabilia and papers. david: we have run out of time, unfortunately, we could go on for hours more. for those who want to see this again, it's on c-span, i don't know when it will be shown. let me wrap up by saying, i want to thank all of you for being here, and thank you for what you've done to let the american people know much more about your ancestors and parents. thank you for what you're doing for the cause of making certain that more people in our country know about our history.
obviously, there's a problem that many people don't know much about our history, particularly presidential history. thank you all very much. [applause] you're watching american history tv. all we can, every weekend, on c-span3. on lectures in history, columbia university professor eric foner teaches a class on the rise of socialism in america in the early 20th century. he examines socialist movements in new york city and milwaukee and discusses the presidential campaigns of eugene debs. >> this is a class called the american radical tradition. we started with the american revolution and have been going through the abolitionist