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tv   The Presidency First Ladies in Their Own Words - Hillary Clinton  CSPAN  July 1, 2022 11:30pm-12:18am EDT

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ladies dot i think most americans know that issues like the family and medical leave act that senator dodd has championed. that's a family value issue that president bush is about to veto
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again a good job is a family value issue decent health care so you don't have to worry about what happens to the members of your family. that's a family value issue family values are very important, but we need to look at what is going on the lives of families in america and come up with positive solutions to help them. you've taken a lot of hits during this campaign. what does the fact that even at one point the campaign was sort of reduced to comparing chocolate chip cookie recipes. there was a lot of attacks at the republican convention. what does this say to you about societies willingness to accept a more aggressive role by women in politics and in society. oh, i don't think that's really an issue. i think that what you see is a kind of desperate political strategy to distract people and divert them from what's really at stake in this election and it will move. whatever direction they think will help them. it doesn't matter whether the truth is there or not and i think that's sad and it's a little disillusioning, but that's to be expected. you feel it bitterness about the
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attacks on you or your husband. no, i mean it's hard to feel anything about a tax that aren't true and that are so cynically politically motivated as those were coming out of the republican convention. it is sad though that when we have so many problems in this country that the other party would spend days on distractions diversions untruths instead of all of us trying to do what we could do to help solve those problems and that's what i want this election to be about. that was hillary rodham clinton demonstrating her husband's assertion that if americans voted him into the white house, they'd get a package deal buy one get one free. he'd say as first lady hillary clinton spoke for the administration on a wide-ranging issues child development women's rights race relations climate change. literacy historic preservation and most controversially health care reform and she forged a path for a first lady running four and winning a united states
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senate seat. you'll hear in our own voice how she experienced her white house years featuring footage from c-span's video library. her first priority was health care reform before the first year. the clinton administration was out. she was testifying before congress on what she believed needed to be done. this is hillary clinton and her own words. and mrs. clinton we welcome you. this is a an auspicious occasion in every sense. i want to thank you and the members of this committee for the many courtesies and good advice and hours of your time that you have spent with me as a whole committee and that many of you have spent with me individually in the past few weeks, mr. chairman you and other distinguished members of this committee have raised tough and important questions about how best we can finance health care reform.
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this is as we all know a subject of great complexity one that has been studied exhaustively, but which is still subject to a great many questions. we have to in the coming weeks and months ahead work closely together to understand as fully as we are able the kinds of issues that are raised by the reforms that are offered not only by the president but by the republican senators represented here on this committee and others we have to be sure that we get the best value for the healthcare dollars. we currently spend and that we do the best job we can to reform the system. so that healthcare is delivered more efficiently at higher quality to all americans. the simple fact is that americans are spending nearly now one trillion dollars a year
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on health care and we are not getting our money's worth and i would argue that you know, the economic theory of the cost disease which you know, so well which points out the difference in service and labor intensive services often uses the example that a mozart quartet being played in the 18th century and being played in the 20th century still requires four people. there's no productivity increase if you're going to play that quartet the problem with the american health care system is if you can imagine that quartet has added people to hold the chairs to hand the violins in and has required the musicians to stop at the third or fourth page of the music to call somebody to make sure they can go on to the next bar. and that is the kind of waste and inefficiency that permeates our health care system and we believe very strongly that if we don't set the kind of very strong goals that we can achieve in both the public and the
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private sector we will continue to reward this peace work inefficient delivery system. that does not guarantee quality at all. i think most of us on this committee would be more than pleased to get all of our health care from a mayo clinic and we would get it at much less of a cost than if we went to many of the hospitals within a few miles of this building. you're watching american history tv and listening to hillary rodham clinton and her own words. president clinton asked the first lady to take the lead in investigating health problems experienced by gulf war veterans. this is from january 1997 in the white house roosevelt room. thank you, and please be seated and welcome to the white house. i am pleased to see all of you here today for the presentation of this report of the
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presidential advisory committee on gulf war veterans illnesses. the work of this committee reflects the administration's commitment to finding answers for the thousands of brave men and women suffering from undiagnosed illnesses after serving in the persian gulf war. and it reflects the president's abiding commitment to being responsive to and responsible for our veterans and their families. i know that there are members who are here of the commission and i'd like them if they would just to stand so that we could see all they're all standing good. we appreciate very much the time and effort that went into this service, and i know firsthand how important and difficult your task has been over the last four years the president and i have received many heart-wrenching letters from gulf war veterans and family members. many veterans and their family members said they felt that their country had forgotten them. so in the fall of 1994, the president asked me to explore
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the issues surrounding the health needs of gulf war veterans and to look into the federal government's efforts to address their concerns. i met with officials from the department of defense the veterans administration and the department of health and human services to determine if we were doing the very best we could to respond to our veterans needs and to facilitate research into their illnesses. i met with representatives of the american legion and the veterans of foreign wars who shared their own observations and told me of their efforts to bring more serious national attention to these illnesses and i visited with individual veterans active duty soldiers and their families. at walter reed hospital and the veterans hospital here in washington. i listened to veterans as they tried to describe to me what it was like to live day after day year after year not knowing. come sick. i heard stories of hard-working men and women who could no longer keep steady jobs and support their families because
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of their illnesses. one veteran officer who had been diagnosed as 100% disabled told me about the healthy and active life. he had led before his tour in the persian gulf and about his frustration and seeking effective treatments for his symptoms. in february 1995. i reported to the president and the chief of staff on these findings and recommended some steps the administration could take in the future including the creation of a blue ribbon panel to investigate these issues further and i had the privilege of testifying at the first meeting of this committee in august 1995, and i've been following the work that has been done closely ever since so i'm particularly gratified to be here today, and i'm also gratified that our government is making progress and being responsive in taking affirmative steps to do all that can be done. half of our veterans and on behalf of future members of our forces who might be put in harm's way in the future.
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i want to thank all who served for their persistent efforts on this committee. and for considering thoroughly the diverse and strongly held opinions theories explanations and evidence about these illnesses. but i particularly want to thank gulf war veterans and their families for taking the time to share their experiences with this committee. you're watching american history tv and listening to hillary clinton and her own words. the first lady was a familiar figure on international stages in 1998. she traveled to belfast to speak about peace in northern ireland. so it's a fantastic privilege for me to welcome to andrew just to a role model to me and to young women all around the world. this is hillary rodham clinton first lady of the united states.
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she won that woman given a real voice can make a last and difference in their communities and their countries and in the whole world. so good. thank you. thank you very much fiona for that introduction and even more for your adding your vital voice to this conference. i'm sure if you need a note to be excused from school. they're about a thousand of us who would sign it. the road to peace will never be easy. but the world has also seen how
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no fires bombs or terrorists will ever turn you back. when my husband and i go to omaha tomorrow. we will pay tribute to those who were murdered by the enemies of peace. they were mostly women and children. they were catholic and protestant unionists and nationalists young and old. they were people simply living their lives. working at a drapery store hanging out with friends buying school uniforms for their children the terrorist targeted the people of northern ireland and in response. it was the people all the people. who bravely stood side by side to say? hatred and violence will no longer have a place here. we have chosen ballots not bombs democracy not division.
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we have resolved to live in peace, and we will never go back. we will only move forward. and as you do, please know that america will stand with you. how appropriate it is that this conference takes place the first week of school. not only because it's a time for new friends and new beginnings. but also because ultimately our children are the reason we are here. for 30 years parents dropped their children off for school. tucked in their shirts kiss them. goodbye. and dreamed of a time when they could play outside free from violence. dreamed of a time when their children's opportunities and destinies would never again be limited by their place of
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warship or political party or by whether they're a boy or a girl. today there is real. hope that this dream once expressed through poetry and protest. we'll finally be a reality for children in northern ireland. none of this would have been possible. were it not for the courage and strength of generations of women? though they may have worshiped separately on sunday. seven days a week. they all set a silent prayer for their husbands to return safely home. seven days a week. they lived in fear that the unspeakable would happen that they would be forced to bury their own child. and yet seven days a week they carried on with hope and prayer that the future would be brighter free of troubles and heartbreak.
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wives mothers sisters daughters few were household names but having seen their lives their families and communities torn apart by violence. women came together as women have always done first ladies in their own words continues now on american history tv political scandals marred the clinton years culminating during bill clinton's second term with his impeachment and senate acquittal hillary clinton was asked in 1994 about the couple's credibility during what came to be known as the pink suit press conference recent news reports about the first lady's cattle futured earnings and with all these whitewater allegations many of us americans are having a hard time with your credibility. how can you earn our trust back? is there a fundamental distrust of the clintons in america? well, i hope not. i mean that would be something that i would regret very much. i do think that.
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we are. transition figures if you will we don't fit easily into a lot of our pre-existing categories, and i think that having been independent having made decisions. it's a little difficult for us as a country. maybe to make the transition of having a woman like many of the women in this room. sitting in this house. so i think that the standards and to some extent to some extent the expectations and the demands. have changed and i'm trying to find my way through it and trying to figure out how best to be true to myself and how to fulfill my responsibilities to my husband and my daughter and and the country two years later the first lady appeared before a grand jury the question. was there any wrongdoing concerning the clintons and a failed real estate development known as white water?
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lady hillary rodham clinton arriving at the us district court to answer questions concerning her work for the failed, arkansas savings and loans at the center of the whitewater criminal investigation. this was at 145 this afternoon. she's the first first lady to appear before a grand jury here a couple of comments. just want to say before i go. in that i am happy to answer the grand jury's questions and look forward to telling them everything. i know with the hope that it will help them in their investigation and i have to go in now, but when i come out i will see you all then. thank you. well, you're all still here. i see i was glad to have the opportunity to tell the grand jury what i have been telling all of you. i do not know how the billing records came to be found where
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they were found, but i am pleased that they were found because they confirm what i have been saying now, it's been a long day and i will take a question or two from some of you. questions did they go beyond the simple appearance of the of the records of the white house? there were other matters discussed but most of it concerned the billing records. would you oh about a million other places today indeed we do right? well, i looked forward to being able to tell the jury what i know to be able to answer their questions. i like everyone else would like to know the answer about how those documents showed up after all these years. it would have been certainly to my advantage in trying to bring
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this matter to a conclusion if they had been found. several years ago, so i tried to be as helpful as i could in their investigation efforts, but now i am going home and i hope all of you will as well. thank you. check for a target. you're watching american history tv and listening to hillary rodham clinton in her own words midway through the clinton's first term historian carl anthony interviewed the first lady as part of a forum hosted by george, washington. university one young woman asked when americans would elect a woman to the white house if he had decided not to go into politics or if perchance you hadn't met at school. thinking back before you met him. do you think you yourself might
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have pursued a political career? probably not in elective office. i i think that there are so many ways to serve and i be involved in my community wherever that was and i would be i hope working on issues that i care about no matter where i was but i don't know that i would have pursued an elective now. what do you think perhaps this is another way of ask. what do you think in terms of the reaction you get from people when you meet them in the mail you symbolize do you to to the people at large or are you many things to many people? well again, probably i mean we get such wonderful letters from people and i have such a great time traveling around the country talking. people and so sometimes people articulate what they're thinking about me or whether you know, sometimes it's critical as well as as positive. and so then i get something of
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an insight into that person, but mostly i believe that for women today, there are so many options in our lives that can be scary as well as very exciting and i think women who are challenged and hopeful about those options whether they are full-time homemakers or whether they are full-time career or whether they like most of us are balancing, you know, family and work and all of the responsibilities they may see me and say well, you know, this is a woman who's trying to do what i'm doing and for people who may be our not as hopeful or as embracing of these new opportunities for women, then the way that i have lived my life and my desire to really pull my life together and to have you know, the marriage the motherhood the opportunity to work the belief and committing
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myself to my community that may seem a little bit off-putting so i think so much is what people see through the lens of their own experience. what were your own expectations of the role of first lady be perhaps as a young woman and then before you got to the white house after the auction and and now and i'm wondering if you could just has that changed you i mean and in what way you know, i don't know as a little girl that i had any expectations about first ladies. we never really saw very much of mrs. truman who was first lady when i was born or mrs. eisenhower except, you know on special occasions. so really mrs. kennedy was the first first lady that just absolutely blasted open our consciousness and there wasn't anyone like her. i mean, i didn't know anyone at
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all like her and we would all just you know, watch her and the to me the most extraordinary accomplishment is the way she handled all of those responsibilities at such what i now see is a very young age because i know when i was that age, my husband was elected governor, which is a much much smaller stage by a long shot and i can remember showing up at the arkansas govern. mansion and not having a clue about what i was supposed to do. i mean neither my husband nor i had ever lived in a house that big we had never had anybody cook our meals. we had never had people there to clean up after us it was astonishing and i remember the first night. we were there we walk into the kitchen and we said can we help and this woman had been the cook, you know for 30 years look like we were crazy. and so we had a lot of learning to do at that level and i saw,
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you know, mrs. kennedy moving into her role with you know, such grace and just marvelous ability to pull it together and then of course, i admired mrs. johnson so much because i thought that she had a voice of her own which she used and she promoted causes that she cared very much about and then as you know, the years went by and i had an opportunity actually to meet some of the women who were in this role like mrs. carter who my greatly admired and watched work very hard on behalf of causes. she and her husband were committed to and mrs. reagan and mrs. bush. i saw the enormous amount of work that it takes to try to do this and to do it in a way that is both in keeping with your own identity and integrity and also fulfilling the responsibilities and my admiration for these
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women grew and then i got interested during the campaign and reading history and i was so pleased you made some of those references because there's hardly been a first that has happened in the 20th century because so many of the women in the 19th century were there ahead of us when we were talking before about people's reactions to the way you've made choices as first lady. and i think of the acrimony that certainly occurred particularly in the final weeks of the health care debate as well as last year in the winter the speculation and so forth during whitewater if do you believe that had you taken a less public role in a sense operated like the first ladies of the 19th century, which was you know behind the scenes and then essentially deny it publicly but if you had been working on it behind healthcare behind the scenes or had taken
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to the public shown this just very traditional role, and i don't know anything about anything and then behind the scenes really been in on the cabinet meetings and so forth. do you think it would have had a different impact in those two particular very public issues whitewater and the health care debate. well, i don't know my husband and friends would probably have had me committed. that would not be at all in my nature and my background. i mean i for better or worse have spoken out on public issues for 25 years and have been deeply identified with issues. i care about and have been on record for many years about issues that are of concern to me. and i think some kind of first lady amnesia would not have been very credible under the circumstances oh you mean i said that oh, well, i can't imagine i
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think that it is probably better to be yourself and it is always a risk, but it is something that i feel very comfortable with and i am very very interested in public life and in political issues. i you know, i'm one of those kids who you know decorated her bike every fourth of july and you know, read the constitution out loud with my dad and you know, we i really care about this country and it's government so for me if i were at home in little rock arkansas if i had never met bill clinton, and i had gone home to chicago i would be expressing my opinions do my friends and you know over coffee or around the water cooler, and i don't see how i could change who i am because of the position i'm in and i actually think that in the long run if people have some better idea about you it
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may be controversial, but at least they know where you stand and so that's what i have got to do. i don't really have a choice about that. i don't think and i think we've talked about in this class a lot is if and more likely when a woman president will come in and i'd like to know what your opinion and thoughts about what you think may have to happen before that happens. well, i have said and i believe that there's a good possibility that sometime in the next 20 years. we will have a woman president and i say that because i think that there are a number of women who are governors senators members of congress who are really coming to the forefront and are doing so in ways that will engender national support and national attention. so i think that it's something that i may actually live long enough to see i hope and i certainly believe you will in
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january 1997 as she embarked on a second term as first lady hillary clinton reflected in a c-span interview on her first four years in the white house, and she talked about the public's conflicting attitudes about what first ladies should and should not do. i care about politics. i mean that may not be a wise thing for a person married to a president to say, but it would be untrue if i were not to say that i care about politics i care about the state of life in this country. i care about our government i care about the public policy issues that comes through the door of the white house because they require the president and the administration and the country to pay attention. i've always cared about it ever since i was a little girl i will care about it long after my husband is out of the white house, so i'm not about to start caring about things that i've never cared about because it's not appropriate in somebody else's mind for me to continue to care about what i've always cared about. so the rules are not any different than how i've lived my
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life. it just happens to be that my husband has a different job and we live in the white house and for four more years. that's what we'll be doing. i think what has been most curious to me is how people are very concerned about this position and on the one hand people want a wife of a president to be concerned and caring about the issues confronting the country and to work on something of public interest on the other hand. they don't want her to do it in a public way on a policy level. they don't want you know when i worked on healthcare a lot of people thought that i shouldn't be making recommendations about legislation or that i shouldn't be involved in working on behalf of what my husband asked me to work on which was one of his primary objectives because they thought that that was somehow inappropriate that if you exercise influence do it behind
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the scenes where nobody can see you i find that curious i mean to me i'd like to know what goes on in front of the scenes because i'm very very much the kind of person who believes that you should say what you mean and mean what you say and and take the consequences. i mean just like anybody else who's involved in public life. so into some extent i think that misunderstanding comes with the territory and certainly in going back and reading about all of my predecessors in this position. it's certainly seems that almost regardless of what they wanted to do or tried to do it's an anomalous kind of situation and i think americans are rightly concerned about unelected power unaccountable power. but then if you try to become accountable by taking a public position, they're concerned about that as well and want you to retreat and go ahead and exercise power that is behind the scenes. so i don't think it'll ever get sorted out completely first
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ladies in their own words continues now on american history tv even when engaging in what outwardly seem to be traditional first lady events hillary clinton put her own mark on her role here. she is at the smithsonian in 1995 donating her inaugural ground to their collection. we are also grateful that this museum and the curators within it care so much about displaying the entire history of our country and giving some context historically socially and politically to the women whose gowns are often one of the most sought after visits in washington as tourists and americans and people really from all over the world stand in line. we now will be able to share with these visitors. not only the beauty of the gowns, but also something more about the women who wore them.
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i must say, this is a bittersweet moment to give this dress up. it is not something that i came to lightly and as you'll notice we're into the third year of my husband's term before this has occurred. i hope all of you will have a chance not only to admire the gowns, but also to look carefully at the rest of the exhibition with historic photographs and illustrations campaign memory. abelia furniture silver and china from martha, washington to barbara bush and now to me we can gain a new appreciation not just a first ladies but also of women's history and presidential politics in the course of our great countries history. from their political role to their public image to their private lives. each first lady has shaped her position based on her own past experiences interests and aspirations. i have certainly been inspired
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by the women who came before me and i have learned so much in reading about their lives. i often have hoped that more americans could learn more about these women and not just see them as stereotypes or cardboard cutouts because each of them had a rich history, which she brought to the white house and many of them i think would be quite surprising even to people today to read what they wrote to read what they said and to understand the roles. they played in influencing their husbands and the course of american politics. actually. i take some comfort in that because it is probably true to say that everything which has ever been said about any us was said about one of the other of us in the waning days of the clinton administration hillary clinton debuted her book an invitation to the white house at home with history. here. she is speaking in the east room.
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and as bill said, i don't think that. any of us have ever walked into this house without that sense of awe overcoming us. and if you ask why i would write this book i suppose, you know, the answer is that that sense of awe is something i want to share. because for me the history that has been written here that has really changed the course of america and the world for the better is something that i want everyone in our country to appreciate. you know, not everybody even with a million a half visitors a year will be able to come to the white house. but i hope that either through purchasing this book or going to the library people will have a chance to see what we see and which i hope will never be taken
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for granted. even after living here for eight years i can still remember my first glimpse of the white house as a young girl visiting washington with my family and we didn't go on the tour what we stood outside and peered through the gate as i often see people from my windows doing and i think back to what it felt like when i was you know, 10 years old peering through those gates thinking about the people who lived there and what had happened in the years before i was even born now some of the rooms that you've seen on this tour have of course changed over time as carter said it used to be the custom that you know, exiting presidents and first families would you know take parts of the white house with them or auction them off and so they're wasn't any sense of continuity as there is today, but it's equally true that tastes have changed when we redid the state dining room. there were i have to say some purest among us not me but
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others who said that we should go back to the original teddy roosevelt renovation. so i called betty monkman and i asked for the pictures. and you know, i'm i'm getting older and i don't see as well as i used to so, you know, i was peering at these pictures and and so i put on my reading glasses and i i think i said to betty or whoever was standing near. are these heads on the wall? you know, we called for enlargements and and they're surrounding the diners in the state dining room were you know the head of a moose and the head of an elk and ahead of, you know, nine other big game that president roosevelt had begged and wanted to share with his guests and we had a couple of very vigorous discussions in the committee for the preservation of the white house because there were those who thought we should call the smithsonian and call teddy roosevelt's library and asked for the return of the
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heads. but you know. there is a there's a certain i haven't done it often, but there is a certain, you know, privilege of position that goes with being first lady. i mean there are you know, not that you would notice there are some downsides in being first lady, but you know every once in a while, you know, you can you can say i'm sorry no heads on the wall. as we close our look at hillary clinton you'll hear from her as she transitioned from first lady to political candidate and then united states senator. she embarked in the summer of 1999 on what she called a listening tour of new york. not quite a year later. she was speaking to the new york democratic convention as a candidate for us senate. on election day 2000. she became senator elect clinton. still ahead of her were two more titles secretary of state and democratic presidential nominee.
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you'll hear from her first at the new york convention and then during freshman senator orientation. this is hillary clinton in her own words. i am delighted. the president is here this evening. and i am so grateful. i am so grateful for his support. i would not be standing here tonight. were it not for bill and were it not for all he has done for me and i could not be prouder as an american and as in new yorker to have a president who has meant so much to our country. we are a better country than we
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were in 19. oh i pledge to you that i will work my heart out every day in this campaign to become your next senator and i will work. i will work every day in the senate to keep faith with you with the values and the ideals. of the democratic party of new york because make no mistake about it. this election is not about me. or about any republican opponent. it is about the people of new york. and the common mission that we are pledged to what is that mission? well, i think it is to strengthen our families and protect our children.
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to improve our schools and extend healthcare to every new yorker to free our families and communities from the terror of gun violence. to strengthen social security and modernized medicare to ensure america's continued leadership in the world. because despite the strides and progress we've made. there are still too many forgotten new yorkers. i think they're interested in jail. there do a lot of things together, right? well, i had a very good day john and i have been going through
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orientation together and i think that for me it's been the the great privilege to be here, especially with the other new senators with whom i'll serve all of whom are impressive and as committed as john and i are to the work ahead and i was just thinking, you know, i hadn't spent much time in this building since a 1974 when i worked for the congress and 1968 when i was an intern, so i'm delighted to be back and rediscovering the beauty of the capitol. i think that all of us who just listened to senator byrd were struck by not only the history, but the challenges that each time faces. he really put into perspective some of the early challenges that senators in the beginning of the 19th century faced all the way to the present time and
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that just increases feeling of responsibility that this day has impressed upon us senator lee hutchinson today said that you're kind of a blank slate as far as the impressions are up here are concerned. how will you make your mark? how do you plan to to make your impression up here? well, i'm i'm pleased to learn that i am that's very good news. i intend to work as hard. as i can and to represent the people of new york to the best of my ability to work hard to serve my constituents to work with my colleagues wherever and whenever i can on of our country. so i'm absolutely hoping to build relationships and create consensus with every senator. overcome being a first lady and now a senator. well, i think that will develop over time.
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certainly. i've tried in my campaign and in the week since the election to make clear that intend to shoulder the responsibility of being a senator. i am not adverse to hard work and i expect to be working very hard to learn a lot because there's a lot to learn as we have already seen today. thank you for joining us on american history tv for this special. look at hillary. clinton in her own words next week laura bush a one-time librarian who became first lady american history tvs first lady series is also available as a podcast. you can find it wherever you ged
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yourself as a traditional wife a traditional mother. what does that mean? well, actually i said that i have always had traditional jobs. i've had jobs that were traditionally women's jobs. i was a school teacher and school librarian. i was a public librarian for one year in houston. i think in a lot of ways, i've been lucky. i've been very


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