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tv   First Ladies Influence Image  CSPAN  November 30, 2013 10:00am-12:31pm EST

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and sinking one of our transports. by tomorrow morning, the members of congress will have a report and be ready for action. ♪ ♪ >> you've been listening to some of eleanor roosevelt's address hours after the attack at pearl harbor. she gave that address before her husband even spoke to the nation. for the next two hours, we are going to get to know this transformational first lady. she's consistently ranked first in historians polls on first ladies. we will look at her life, her relationships and the time in the white house from 1933 to 1945. well good evening and welcome to "first ladies: influence and image" series.
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joining us this evening to talk about eleanor roosevelt is allida black, the editor of the eleanor roosevelt papers project at george washington university and an historian. another historian, doug brinkley who is an author from rice university. thank you for being here with us. doug brinkley, it's march 1933, inauguration and entered the white house. what are they walking into? >> fdr did not get to walk in. he came in a wheelchair. the fact that somebody was crippled in the lower half said there's nothing to fear but fear itself.. that's perhaps the most famous phrase of the inauguration. what people were fearing was unemployment, chaos, hooverville's, unemployment, agricultural angst. dust bowls, october 1929 crash of the stock market. our country was in tatters.
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and there is franklin roosevelt, this man has overcome such odds in his personal life, dealing with polio and now ushering in a new progressive era and offering 100 days of the new deal programs right off the bat where what people called the alphabet soup of the new deal, trying to get banks to run properly as starting a civilian conservation corps that would plant a billion trees. create wpa get employment back up. jobs, jobs, jobs. >> allida black him what was eleanor roosevelt to do and how she defining a role? >> she was struggling because she was exceedingly active the four she entered the white house. she added basically to the publications as well as the new
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york state publication. she's on the board of labor unions and social reform. she taught civics, history and literature in a girls school. she was a major political force in her all right. -- in her own right. so much so that in the campaign, all of the major newspapers and the united states would run full-page stories on her own political career and her own ambitions. when she comes in to the white house, fdr said you have to resign all of your positions and you have to stay and be the traditional first lady. she tells her friends at the thought of living in the white house fills her with the greatest sense of dread.
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at the white house eats women and she fears a life of white glove tests. and so she says to fdr, let me help you with your mail. he says no. she said let me help you with your calendar. he said no. she said let me be your eyes and ears. he said no. so she is in the white house desolate. just saying she loves her husband and she wants him to be happy, but what has happened to my life? what has happened to my hard-won independence? from the first today she is in
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the white house, she is trying to figure out how to resurrect her own of voice in a way that will get her latitude that she needs to be herself while at the same time not undercut her husband's agenda. >> for quickly, doug brinkley, what were some the issues she got involved in? >> the first lady of the world. civil rights, she got very involved in getting african- americans more equal rights. working in west virginia with coal miners and the working people of america. the unforgotten and downtrodden people. also, which i'm sure we will talk about, women's issues. getting women into the forefront of american political life. she had no role model. she created there's nobody quite this role all on her own. like her. >> but here she is in 1933 on the radio talking to women about their need to volunteer. >> if the women are willing to do things because it is going to help their neighbors, i think we will win out. not because of the government. not even because of our leaders, but because as a people we have had a vision and we have went for it and we have seen it through. >> allida, she spent a lot of
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time on the radio. >> she did. she had her own radio show. she will have become her own syndicated columnist in 1935 and 1936. by the end of her life, she will write over 8000 columns. more than 27 books. give 75 speeches a year. writing 150 letters a day. all without a ghostwriter. if i could go back and piggyback on doug, eleanor hit the ground running on policy in ways that we do not really think about. eleanor does not hit the ground on race or education, she hits the ground on employment first.
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the second day of the roosevelt administration, i am sorry, the day after fdr closes the banks and sends the economy act to congress which will cut federal employment by 25%. people are freaking out. the official unemployment rate is 25%. anybody with a brain will know it is about 40%. because it is the first time we have started taking the unemployment rate and this does not take into account the 12 years that the depression had to take 25% of hit the south and west. the federal payroll out in the middle of the depression and to say to federally employed women that you are going to use data lose your job if you're married to a federally employed man, eleanor is through the roof. she issues in this first week of her husband's presidency her own opinion piece saying this legislation is wrong. and so fdr and eleanor have
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dueling editorials in the paper in all of the democratic party press over the injustice of this act. she does win out. that is why she is so intense about women in that speech. >> true, but something fdr and the staff does not delight in. you are going to have to find common ground otherwise you are going to create a shambles of things. she did a marvelous job of holding her own and writing letters to the interior hopkins. -- to the interior, harry hopkins. in a way that was not a commandeering of trying to say will you look into this case for me. she handled, i think very well, >> i think we can give the the crossed wires early out of the gate.
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public if we will examples of way good friends who respect each other and disagree. i will argue that fdr knew she was going to do this. her correspondence shows this. so what they are trying to do is to bring this issue front and center and, by supporting her, some of the backlash. that same day, fdr feeds her information about 3.2% beer right after prohibition. being served in the white house he asks her in her own press conferences to release this information. they coordinate. and when they go at each other, they go at each other deliberately to get the country engaged.
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>> before we end this snapshot and go back and look at eleanor roosevelt's life, at what point did fdr and his inner circle learn to use her as eyes and ears and as an asset? >> not just one day, it depends on who it was. smart people like harry hopkins knew she was important. she had the president's year and what she said mattered. same as eight keys. -- same as ickes. fdr had to win over southern democrats and conservatives. he was very scared on issues of race door his presidency because he was worried about things eleanor really pioneered and facilitated. she talked to american people. she helped fdr a lot. they are working in unity. but she was a force to be reckoned with. wherever she went, i think about world war ii when she went to
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europe and london and britain, everybody just loved it seeing her. she went to the pacific, they said we never had somebody so beloved by the troops like her before. she became a kind of ambassador for the president stopped short just walk in, there was a new yorker cartoon that was famous showing a coal miner saying what is eleanor roosevelt doing care? and in many ways she was the stalking horse for some of his policies. she put up trial balloons and things of that nature. >> i would disagree. i would say that the reason that eleanor went to the pacific is because she was arguing to go for several years because she wanted to cover the pacific the way that ernie pyle had covered the military that was fighting in the atlantic and they kept turning her down because halsey
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did not want her to go. >> i do want to say the one thing since doug brought up the trip to the pacific. henry wallace writes in his diary that she finally got to go to the pacific because the negro situation was too hot. she goes right after the race riots where she is blamed for those race riots. for our audience to really understand the progression, we need to look at eleanor. eleanor really doesn't start race until 19 30 six. >> that is what we're going to do. we'll go back to the wars. we have two hours to talk about eleanor roosevelt and her influence and image. we'll put the phone numbers on the screen. you know all of our programs are
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interactive programs. we want to hear from you and we want your participation. you can also put a comment on facebook and you can see the first ladies section right there. you can send us a tweet. #firstladies. we'll get to as many of those as we can. professor doug brinkley, what kind of world was eleanor born into? >> she was born in new york city. part of that social swirl, societal. the roosevelt name was as good as you could get. her father was elliot roosevelt. the brother of theodore roosevelt. elliott was a character.
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a great hunter. somebody eleanor loved madly. her father, even though he was absentee quite a bit. and her mother, i think the thing for eleanor roosevelt is that she died when she was quite young. she loses her mother and her father. that was quite traumatic. beyond that as she moves up, the hudson is a great story in america. to the bay of new york, on the transpired along the river. -- all that transpired along the river.
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whether it is the new george washington or the steamboat, the world along the hudson river. she grew up just down the road from springwood. the home of franklin roosevelt, her distant cousin. >> did she have a happy childhood? >> no. she writes that the only place she ever felt safe was at the top of a cherry tree. there's significant evidence that some of her uncles who were alcoholics took shots at her. the thing that is very remarkable about eleanor roosevelt is that she was able to transcend that sadness. she writes a young boy in the 1950's when he was severely beaten -- a younger boy, six or seven years old, he went to a water fountain. he had a little plastic cup. he is beaten so badly that he bleeds on the cup. he writes her. he said basically i am in school and now i am terrified. what do i do? the only african-american boy. she writes him and he sent her the cup. i have held the cup. she writes him this extraordinary letter that says she can only imagine how
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violated he must feel because school is supposed to be a safe place. but she understands the painful childhood. she understands violence. and the only advice that she can offer him is what and that is, she has told herself. courage is more exhilarating than fear. in the long run, it is easier. what she is doing, but she is expanding her circle of family and learns through a series of ups and downs that family is really what you construct for yourself. >> who was marie souvestre? >> she was the headmistress of allenswood academy. she goes when she is 14. she is living, she's dividing
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her time between her maternal grandmother who loves her but was very strict and what not to and would not let her play a lot. and really does not see to her education. so much so that eleanor becomes an embarrassment for lack of education to other members of the family. her mother's sister says to her grandmother, we promised anna, eleanor's mother was sent her to allenswood and she goes to allenswood academy where wimbledon is today. a school of 33 girls. she works with marie souvestre
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who she calls a closet bolshevik. and marie souvestre sees in eleanor the spunk and mind nobody has seen. she teaches her the only way to be sure of what you think is to argue both sides of an issue with equal conviction. eleanor writes in her diary, she did not keep a diary but sometimes she would write notes to herself. she said i finally learned i have a brain. and so she does not want to go home. who would want to go home when you have this? she stays in the summer with mademoiselle. she says to her you can stay with me but you have to learn to
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be independent. we can travel, but you must set a budget. you have to learn to make reservations. when you go to places, remember you are a guest. you do not just to the opera, you do not just shop, you visit settlement houses and you volunteer in hospitals. and you try to learn the language of the community you are in. when eleanor leaves allenswood at the age of 18, marie souvestre writes her a letter that eleanor will carry for the rest of her life that says of course she must go home and make a debut, you are a roosevelt. teddy is president of the united states. first and foremost, you are my eleanor. i expect great things from you in your own right in this world. >> what was the relationship with the president? >> he loved her. he loved her. he was very hard on her.
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on the father, elliott. he got a woman pregnant that was working in a house. angry and called him a philandering swine, my little brother, he is embarrassed by the family. tr could be very hard on his family. he beat up somebody -- was that he loved his brother tremendously. one of his greatest times early was going hunting in western iowa. when he commits suicide, i think tr felt a special kinship to eleanor. eleanor had a great sparkle in her eye and intelligence. she developed her courage over a period of time.
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i think theodore roosevelt admired that about her. so he was there to give her away when she married franklin roosevelt on st. patrick's day. >> it sounds like at this point she has developed some sense of what social issues are important to her. >> she had exposure to them. she had an interest. but she is still very between two worlds. she is caught between the world of london which she loves and wants to stay in. she wants to teach and stay there. she does not want to come home. she is caught between the demand of being the daughter of the most dutiful debutante in new york as the "new york times" repeatedly called her mother and the social expectations of the needs of the president. just trying to figure out of the dance. >> theodore became bigger than life. she turned the name and relationship and the connections to a big influence. i found it very interesting, around 1936, she edited a volume of her father's big-game hunting letters where she kept a tiger skin of her father. she had every reason to be angry at her dad.
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he was bit of a deadbeat father. but she never really held any angst against him. she had a very forgiving nature in the end. >> we are talking very early 20th century here. it was in 1905 that she met fdr. >> they become reacquainted. >> they had met apparently when they were young a little bit at springwood. they were cognizant of each other. they met on a train ride. it began a romantic interlude through letters and seeing each other. >> from 1905 through the 1920's, a very busy time in the roosevelt's life. they went to live at springwood at hyde park with delano roosevelt's mother. we visited a springwood. here's a little video. [video clip] >> when she fell in love with franklin roosevelt in 1905 when they got married, they would move in with franklin's mother, sarah. sarah owned and operated this home referred to as springwood
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since the year 1900 when sarah's elderly father had passed away. -- sarah's elderly husband had passed away. because this was sarah's home, she made the decisions here. she also handled the finances of the family and was most definitely the matriarch of the family. this is where the family gathered for the daily meals, the activities in this room are important because they reflected the interaction of the family. sarah roosevelt sat at the head of the table. franklin at the other end. and eleanor would find whichever seat was comfortable for for her. she did not have an assigned
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seat at this table. this is the bedroom that they shared as adults. up until 1918 when infidelity was discovered within the marriage. from that point on, mrs. roosevelt insisted on not sharing the same bed with franklin roosevelt. at that time, mrs. roosevelt chose a bedroom right next to this room. it has a doorway coming right in
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this was an area where she could. be by herself. it was a bit of a private space for her. the furniture in this room was used by mrs. roosevelt, one of the few areas where she could get some privacy. when mrs. roosevelt was in hyde park and franklin was also here, it was a given they would both asleep here in the house. if for some reason franklin was not in hyde park, mrs. roosevelt here on her own would choose to spend her time a couple of short miles away. in this direction, we have the entrance of sarah roosevelt.'s bedroom. her bed room is sandwiched between sarah's and her husband's just like in her life she was sandwiched between them. >> a little bit of talk about
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her mother-in-law. what was sarah roosevelt alike? >> first of all, franklin was i think she was a good mother in terms of loving and kept her eye on him. people felt bad about eleanor having to deal with her. she was very intensely loving and caring. fdr cared the world about her. he was seen sometimes to be happiest when she was around. in fact, she was opposed to their marriage. very much so, she said please, you're going to put he was the family to shame. saying mother i have to marry eleanor. she came along to some degree with the wedding. >> is it a love story? >> yes. i would like to go back and talk bit about eleanor and sarah, if i can for little bit. so much of that is, as doug has referenced, but in little cookie-cutter things. eleanor's mother died when she
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was six. her mother called her granny. she was so embarrassed by her daughter. the relationship with eleanor and sarah is very intricate and very intimate and it changes over time. one day first, when eleanor falls in love with fdr, she very much hopes that sarah will be a surrogate mother to her. and so you will see lots of overtures to this. as doug so aptly said, sarah created this cocoon of love around fdr. others have memorably reconstructed to say sarah's love for fdr gave him the cushion to take the risk that he needed to leave later on.
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i think when they come together, we do not know a lot because eleanor burned the letters when she found out about lucy. we really cannot reconstruct that. what we can do is supposed based on the best evidence that we have got and i think that the record is pretty clear that fdr confided in eleanor his ambitions. she did not laugh at him. she saw him as this feral, handsome, charming hunk. everybody saw him as a dapper pretty boy. he was a hunk. if our views get to see him walking and swimming. he made her laugh. he could see and those sparkling blue eyes something that was there that other people do not see. the level of trust is there. that they stayed together for year despite his mom's best intentions to keep them apart and they have this very sort of teenage idyllic crush.
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they are too young to get married. they have hormones. and then they -- but they learned to love each other in different ways. >> married in 1905. in the next 10 years they had six children, five living to adulthood >> and that is. important. the first child died as an infant. but she ended up raising a lot of boys. it's a lot of work. sometimes we lose sight of that. but as we said at the outset, this is remarkable. she had one daughter. fdr was an absentee father.
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eleanor kept the rhythm together. when fdr would show up, the kids went crazy. only because he was gone so much. he did not have to be the disciplinarian. he could be the fun playmate kind of father. >> let's get our audience involved here. our guests are allida black and doug brinkley. mary in west grove, pennsylvania, please go ahead with your question. >> why is she viewed as the most disliked and loved first lady of all times? if she was here today, how would she deal the 24/7 media? >> oh, i got that one. eleanor took a profoundly controversial issues of civil stand on the rights, women working, women traveling unescorted. she spoke out by the second term on legal and constitutional
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questions that made people a little nervous. and especially the daughters of the american revolution who looked at her and called her an unfit woman and really did not want her in the white house. her poll numbers throughout and the letters she received as well as the hate mail and the largest fbi file that we have in american history up until that time shows the extent to which the american public really revered her. but the people that disliked her, disliked her intensely. she really was a rorschach test for what you thought about democracy and social upheaval at the time. if it was good for the government to be engaged or for people who disagreed with each other, who do not look like each other to get the table, if you thought women should have a
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strong voice, you stood with eleanor roosevelt. if those things made you uncomfortable, you really did not. >> i agree with all of that. also, the fact that she did so much with african-americans. as we all know there was jim crow and the south and there were bigots. here is eleanor roosevelt meeting with african-americans and it angered the right at that time. she would have done very well on the modern circuit. after all, she wrote my date columns from 1936 to 1962, six days a week. that is what blogging is today. she was doing it six days a week. that is what i think. people liked her because she told people what she thought. and that -- she had a genius for that. >> and she is clear. if i can piggyback on doug, eleanor would write that the press got it wrong. she held her own press conference. so in a great way, she was her own press secretary shaped her
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own image. >> and brought women -- as the first lady, i want women journalists. they were all being excluded. she started having regular press conferences for women and bring the journalist. looking today at the great women
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in the correspondent, eleanor is their patron saint. >> we have a tweet here from jeremy. we will put up and use another name that was formative. did lewis how have much influence in developing eleanor skills and personae? >> >> he became the in-house political advisor. my friend wrote a book about him. he was able to coach eleanor on some of the intricacies of american politics and was able to take her seriously and he said, you are an asset. do not ever mistake that. >> was this prior to the presidency? >> once was struck with polio in 1921, louis howe believed in fdr's political future. sarah said retire. you have money, you love for history and you can run your property. so eleanor and how double team fdr and said let's go.
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it is a tripod in some ways on the political front. >> alida, there are two important years in eleanor roosevelt's life. 1918, lucy mercer and in 1921 with polio. walk us through. >> well, when eleanor discovers that franklin has fallen in love with lucy mercer, in the interest of historical accuracy we do not know if or not it was an affair. what we do know without a doubt is that they are in love with each other. >> emotionally? >> emotionally in love with each other. eleanor reads the letters when she is unpacking and she leaves. she offers him a divorce. she takes the children. and he considers it. and louis howe says to him, there has never been a divorced president. that lucy is catholic and the pope will never bless the marriage. his mother said to him, if you do this, i will cut you off and you would never have a penny.
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the roosevelts come back together and today learn to develop a new relationship which gives them space. space that goes beyond the sort of infatuation, high school, julia roberts crush love story. two adults finding ways to love it is each other and trust each other in different ways. but with two independent and somewhat overlapping lives. polio changes that in 1921. by that point, eleanor has become exceedingly political. and this is really before howe and eleanor bond on the railroad
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car. >> fdr is in the state senate right now? >> eleanor and louis howe are on the campaign train together. eleanor is very political before that. and so she is working with the international ladies garment workers union. she's working with the national women's trade union league. she is working with immigrants. she is understanding how to lobby, how to petition, how to build coalitions. which it is not know how to do speak in public. so howe's first tutelage is how to speak without that modulated voice. but then, as doug has said, they form an intractable team for fdr. this man is so disabled to talk about the intimacy in their marriage, polio so debilitated him that eleanor has to give him enemas. she has to insert a glass
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catheter into his penis. she has to lift him up and turn him over. this man who was so virile. in her mind she is thinking, i love this man. what is happening to him? we have to keep his spirits up. and at the other half, she is thinking, oh my god, i've finally gotten my life. and now my life is gone. and i could be here doing this for the rest of my life. they figure out how to navigate and that. that is a remarkable testament to both of them. >> can i just add to that and maybe for listeners. he wins the state senate in 1910. he promotes a lot of different
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efforts, conservation, and the unions. after being in albany, he is assistant secretary of the navy for the wilson administration. he's in d.c.. at one point he gets to do an inspection in europe and then in 1920, as mentioned, he teams up with james cox of ohio third cox is a progressive and fdr goes like a banshee across the country promoting the league of nations and wilsonian is him. and they go down and are hard to beat. it ushers in the republican presidency of harding, coolidge, and hoover. fdr is sad that he lost in 1920 and now in 21 he gets polio. but what i think is just in intimated what was just, intimated out of the antebellum moment when you think he could contract polio from a boy scout pool in behrmann new york where he picked up the virus and went up to maine. he had terrible chills and camped out and went to bed with the shakes and woke up and cannot feel his lower half. eleanor roosevelt was there for
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him like nobody else. she showed her true colors of friendship, loyalty and love. after that, he adored her for more reasons. somebody who took care of him. that was when he was beyond down. >> before we move into the white house i want to introduce one more character. >> how important was eleanor roosevelt's friend lorena hickok in helping her to adjust to her new role as first lady? >> it is hard to overestimate the impact that hick as eleanor and fdr called her. she was the leading political journalist of the era. she was the only woman who would write on the front page of newspapers and did her own
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bylines. she was assigned to cover eleanor and fell in love with eleanor. there is an intimate trust that develops between the two and the love that develops between the two. >> emotional or physical? >> we do not know. there is no doubt in my mind that hickok was in love with eleanor. we know that eleanor will help hickok later when she falls in love with marion. they will build a home together. when marion dies, she struggles with diabetes. eleanor will support her. you cannot put these in a box. what we can say about hick is that hick taught eleanor how to deal with the press in a way where eleanor could define her own message. when eleanor becomes first lady, hickok resigned her position and moves into the white house. because she has fallen in love with eleanor and she can't be objective. then eleanor went to fdr and he
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said i want you to investigate what the new deal is doing and not doing. i want you to get the hopes and fears and put your journalist's craft on paper in very private reports to us. what we get is the most incredibly honest and powerful assessment of how the depression is affecting individual people. hick is involved in that. eleanor will never make a major career decision without talking to hick. >> one statement we do not mention. >> she was with the associated press switches how she was able
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to get the front page stories. she was very good. she was not a lesbian. eleanor was married. she had responsibilities of all of her children. and she was becoming first lady. she had all these lives. eleanor roosevelt had other responsibilities. >> eleanor wasn't really taking care of the kids then. eleanor very much has her own life. eleanor and hick vacation together. eleanor and hickok traveled together. they talked three and four times together on the phone. they write voluminously. a lot of those letters were burned. we do not know. what we do know is hick is in the white house and she is a person that is respected by fdr. respected by hopkins, respected and trusted by eleanor.
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hick's idea that eleanor should have women on the press conferences, because women will lose their jobs. hickok suggested to hopkins some of the components for what would be wpa. so she is a force. >> franklin got elected. you mentioned that lorena hickok moved into the white house at one point. we have a map of the second floor of the white house. if you can walk us through. eleanor roosevelt and you can see in the far left lorean hickok has a room across. er has a monopoly over >> that's most of the white house. a nice map. franklin has a monopoly. >> and he has much easier access. we never want to forget that this is a man in his wheelchair. it has to do with his life. you can see up close to
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speechwriters were and you can see how important he was doing more speeches and traveling and his fireside addresses affecting the country greatly ray was affecting the country so greatly where he was communicating a radio. it was franklin who beings into to people, during the great depression and world war ii. >> several roosevelt is fdr's mother of the far right. is that where she would stay? >> it is important for your viewers to know this is not a static map. where the roosevelt wars are and where we stand churchill and sarah are, they would be filled with guests.
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the boys were only there when they were home from school or when they were visiting over the holidays. church only comes in 1940 and 1941. and hopkins moves into the white house in 1937. so it is not like everybody is in these rooms all of the time. >> more importantly than that is they spent a quarter of their time at sea, cruising all over, fdr, and not just going to conferences, but going down to florida and fishing in the gulf. then he had his home in warm springs, georgia where he had therapeutic pools were actual spent a lot of time and a little white house and down there. he would get to springwood as often as he could. it's not that he was a president stuck in the white house. he moves around an awful lot. >> we want to show you some inauguration video.
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as we take this next call from kathy in colorado. >> hello. thank you so much. i've enjoyed so many of the first ladies. i wanted to say thank you. my question has already been answered in regards to lucy mercer. i did have a couple more other questions. did eleanor know about all of the other arrangements made for franklin and lucy to be together? did anna have involvement in this? was lucy married? i think she was. did she have any children? what year did she pass away? did she have any books that she wrote? >> thank you. more about lucy mercer. who wants to start? >> i will do it briefly. no disrespect intended.
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eleanor did not know about the arrangements that some of the staff had made for lucy to return to fdr's life. she does marry, a wealthy south carolina businessman. anna roosevelt the daughter brings lucy back into her father's life. at her father's request during the war. lucy is with fdr in warm springs with another cousin the day that fdr dies of a cerebral hemorrhage. >> it created embarrassment for eleanor roosevelt that lucy mercer was there and not -- >> if we go back to the map of the white house. how much did the public know about the living arrangements? >> they knew people who were coming and going. eleanor put it in "my date."
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did lorena hickok have a permanent room? >> it was not permanent. she was traveling. but when she is in washington, she stays there. they knew hopkins was there. the roosevelts, this assertive in a historical analogy, but with the fords. when you come in the white house after watergate, betty and gerald ford opened the white house up and it becomes the home of the american people again. it is no longer the siege or the bunker. the same thing is true during the roosevelt white house in the sense it is not the hoover bunker. it was very clear who was coming and going especially when my day started getting published. eleanor says who was there as -- who was spending the night, what they talked about and what they had for dinner. she would also have our own press conferences where she would tell people who the guests were and who was living there. >> it was a different time with
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so yes, people knew. the media and press. people would not take photographs of fdr and his wheelchair. we only have a couple of him. it was considered -- can you imagine in our youtube area today? -- in our youtube era today? . they did not cover people's affairs and dalliances. things will percolate but they do not take on a cast of somebody watching like the clintons had to deal with during their presidency when the media was reading all of this and gossip columns.
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people left them somewhat alone. a tweet from dennis. >> >> wow. she came from a famous family. she had theodore roosevelt who was already in the white house. she had a lot of scrutiny. she shared about the new deal programs that franklin started as governor. i have been looking at the conservation aspect and the models that is happening during the governorship that he immediately adopts when he becomes president. she is very equipped policy wise for the difficulties you might find as being the first lady lady under all of that scrutiny. >> they also learned to live separately. the roosevelts are never together for more than six months out of the year from the time he gets olio until fdr dies. what she learns develop her own
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during the governorship years is specifically how to voice and her own alliances and support policies and ways that will get fdr to pay attention. in many ways, the 20s for eleanor were her own political laboratory. >> she used the media. >> absolutely. >> some of the first of eleanor roosevelt. here are some of her first. she regularly held press conferences. she had a syndicated column called my day.
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she had a radio show. she held an official government position in which we about a little bit later. she addressed the convention in 1940. she earned money. she chaired a white house conference. she traveled solo overseas. she had quite a few firsts. his a little bit, here's the radio address if you are member at the beginning of the show, we showed a portion of the radio address right after the bombing of pearl harbor. here is it in its entirety from 1941. >> good evening. i am speaking at a very serious moment in our history. the cabinet is convening and the leaders in congress are meeting with the president. the state department and navy and army officials have been at the president all afternoon. in fact, japanese ambassador was the talking to the president at the very time that japan airships were bombing our citizens in hawaii and the philippines and sinking one of our transport loaded with lumber on its way to hawaii. by tomorrow morning, the members of congress will have report and be ready for action. in the meantime, we as a people are already prepared for action. for months now, the knowledge that something of this kind might happen has been hanging
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over our heads. and yet it seems impossible to believe, impossible to drop the everyday things of life and feel there was only one thing which was important, preparation to meet an enemy nomad or where he struck. that is all over now. there is no more uncertainty. we know what we have to face, and we know that we are ready to face it. i should like to say just a word to the women in the country tonight. i have a boy at sea on a destroyer. for all i know, he may be on his way to the pacific. two of my children are in coast cities on the pacific. many of you all over this country have boys in the services who will now be called upon to go into action. you have friends and families in
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what has suddenly become a danger zone. you can't escape the anxiety, you cannot escape the clutches here at your heart. and yet i hope the certainty of what we have to meet will make you rise above these fierce. -- above these fears. we must go about our daily business more determined than ever to do the ordinary things as well as we can. and when we find a way to do anything more and our -- more in our communities to help others, to build morale, to give a feeling of security, we must do it. what ever is asked of us, i am sure we can accomplish it. we are the free and on -- and un-comparable people of the united states of america. to the young people of the nation, i must speak your word tonight. you are going to have a great opportunity. there will be high moments in which are strength and durability will be tested.
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i have faith in you. i feel as though i was standing upon a rock, and that rock is my faith in my fellow citizens. now, we will go back to the program which we have arranged for tonight. >> allida black, i want to ask you. her voice changed from the 1933 radio address that we heard to a much more modulated. , lower tone. >> she is in her own element. she is saying what she wants to say. she very much appreciates the gravity of pearl harbor. she's got as she says, boys in the pacific. she had been to the battlefronts in world war i. she saw hundreds of soldiers piled up with their stomachs exploded because they had not been buried yet. she was her much involved in the effort for the league of nations and the world's court and in fact fdr sends her to the radio debate with hoover when the for senate begins to vote on legislation.
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her, this is a defining moment. she is telling fdr and has told fdr for at least two years prior to that because they both understood that war was inevitable. they were trying very hard to stay out of it. she says to him, we must but remember that to the lesson of jews trying to not only calm think me as -- the nation but there is no time for hype and it's. we are all american ---it' hypenates.
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>> i would like to know what role federal -- eleanor roosevelt played in the woman suffrage movement. >> user not really get involved in suffrage movements until fdr came out for suffrage. she was there in terms of and to wages, sanitation really get involved. she was not a suffragist until fdr came out for it. she is very much involved. she involved candidate training schools and canvassing clinics for women to become involved. she began to help bring the women's division of the democratic party in new york state.
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> what about criticism of eleanor roosevelt throughout her 12 years as first lady? critical of it? >> they were. people did not like fdr. 32,illed the opposition and dirty 6, 40, 44. eleanor roosevelt was not about the trust. albatross. you and not have liked it in the south. this is very controversial. wrote to anshe african-american person in chicago. she called black people "da rkie."
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said howan-american can you use that and she said it word for myld childhood. choose with women's issues, this speech that you gave, the gravitas is, we are all in this together. this is no longer democrats versus republicans. not just that, on the women's issue, shee does -- supports the tuskegee airmen. including the first really day care for women who have factories and have children. she's constantly pushing the envelope and fdr kind of allows it which is remarkable. and many people, some people if
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you're real liberal, you preferred eleanor roosevelt to fdr because he's present and he had to modulate himself in a certain way for votes. >> was there a criticism in congress for eleanor roosevelt within the government? >> let's just let's do politics in congress. the first campaign button that the republicans made in 1936 was we don't want eleanor either. so there's a long history of -- of mocking eleanor in political cartoons. also there are lots of cartoons about eleanor coming out of the mines with soot on her face saying she had black blood. j. edgar hoover was convinced she had quote/unquote colored blood. they had a secret meeting to have her declared colored and stripped of her citizenship. the fbi component of eleanor and race is -- >> the fbi kept a file on it.
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>> the largest fbi file in american history. >> when did it to become public? >> in the early -- the late 1980s. a lot of that is classified. if i win the lotto, we'll get the court suit and we'll get classified. >> chris, alita black, and doug brinkley are our guests. garry: thank you. -- >> guest: i think she's everything abigail adams was to john adams to american history in her day and age, eleanor roosevelt was for the early 20th century almost as if she was a reincarnation of her. and i'm wondering if hillary clinton is maybe a reincarnation
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of her too. it's just -- there are these women who have a place in history and abigail adams and eleanor roosevelt strike me as that. >> thank you, chris. >> well, nobody is a reincarnation of anybody else. but the caller is right, abigail adams is a great first lady and her correspondence with her husband is quite remarkable. and the fact that abigail was an intellectual. that's what you're seeing well nowhere roosevelt. she is somebody who's intellectual, not just a political life or something like this. she has deep and interesting ideas about america that she develops not just as first lady later, she thinks in civil rights in terms of human rights before most people are. and she's thinking about how we become -- what democracy really means and she's also mentioning the fbi not liking her and embracing of the union movement. there's the fear of strikes in this and eleanor roosevelt sided with the workers of america. but hillary clinton is in the category -- eleanor roosevelt never ran for office. that's the big difference
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between hillary clinton, who is -- the senator from new york and is -- always been talked about as running for president. some people want eleanor roosevelt to run for senator or governor for new york after her husband died in '45. but she, of course, said no to that. >> well, we've discussed quite a few times the my date column she wrote. up at fdr at the site. we talked with one of the park rangers about her columns. >> this is eleanor roosevelt's typewriter. this is the type of typewriter she wrote her my date column. she wrote her my date column on december 31, 1985. they continued for 26 years amassing 8,000 columns. she was a prolific writer and wrote books that focused on her
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interests. some of the books were about international politics. some were the time in the white house. others were an interest to children. often roosevelt wrote alone but sometimes she would write with other articles. she wrote with her friend and colleague, arena hickok. i would like to take you back to archives to show you some of her more significant my day columns. what i have here are the original drafts of the my day columns that i wanted to share. the first one was eleanor roosevelt's first my day column and it appeared december 31, 935 and it sets the tones for the my day columns to follow. this is a day of taking up more or less a regular routine again. the house is filled in and out with guests of children. at 11:00 a.m., i met with the ladies of the press. i enjoy this hour on monday mornings. she's talking about the comings and goings in the white house as they're getting back to the regular schedule after the holiday season. the next one i wanted to share is from december 7, 1941. and this my day column is written by mrs. roosevelt and she's talking about what's going
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on in the white house as the attack at pearl harbor, the information is coming into the white house. and so what this does is it gives a sort of an eyewitness account from the inside of what was going on. as i stepped out of my room, i knew something had happened. all of the secretaries were there, two telephones were in use. the senior military aides were on the way with the messages. i said nothing because the words were quite sufficient to tell me that finally the blow had fallen and we had been attacked. the next column is from february 6, 1961. and here mrs. roosevelt is talking about how she just has gotten back from a speech by dr. martin luther king. and she said i've had the opportunity of hearing dr. king speak. he's a moving speaker because he's simple and direct and the spiritual quality that made him the leader of nonviolence in this country touches every speech he makes. so far we've seen the draft of the my day columns but we thought it would be interesting to share what they look like when they appear in the newspapers.
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this is from november 6, 1940, election day. in here, mrs. voeltz writes about how they had a quiet afternoon, some of us took a walk and returned to the big house for tea where we found johnny and ann and a little datsun percy arrived from boston. later on she talks about how a larger park than usual came in in hyde park. the president went out to greet them. this is a tradition on election night. the roosevelts would come to hyde park, gather the family around, await the election results. when they were announced, the folks from hyde park were down and the president would come out to greet them. >> what was your comment while we were watching that? >> she's such an intellectual, eleanor roosevelt. and it differentiates them from the first lady. she's a brilliant writer. when you look at no ordinary
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times, you can see thinking through the second world war and the strategy ideas. she wanted to bring in for example world war ii many more european dislocated people and she later regretted that she couldn't help more jews immigrationing to the united states during that period. she was wide ranging in her interest in anybody who wrote socially provocative books and literature of magazines but the sheer discipline of doing what she did -- this is a gold mine. >> i like to talk to some of the viewers. blanch cooke has done -- blanch has done a marvelous job, two volumes on eleanor roosevelt's life. if anybody has the reason to read and she's writing a third now on the second world war and brings out the intellectual side of eleanor quite well. >> would you like to add anything to what eleanor said to
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blanch about her volumes? >> blanch is extraordinary. she's giving us a gift. i think one of the things that blanch to a large extent secretary clinton has done is reintroduced eleanor to a new generation. i would like to send viewers to the eleanor roosevelt papers' websites to many of the books that just showed or transcribed. she wrote a marvelous book at 1938, 1939 of the moral basis of democracy that nelson mandela smuggled to read when he was in prison. the appeal for containment. so there's serious books. they didn't sell very well because they were profoundly serious books. eleanor thought that her job was to really help the american people grasp the information that they needed to have to handle crises and to resurrect their own self-respect. and so that -- that tone resonates through everything
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that she writes. >> alita black, what was arthur dale, west virginia. >> well, it was arthur dale was a homestead resettlement community in reedsville, west virginia. and it was the poorest spot in the country, coal miners had lived there, the mines had shut down. the -- there was no electricity. no running water. very few la betweens. the vegetation was so december late that the kid stayed alive by eating dandy lions or poke
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salad. so eleanor did an investigative story there. eleanor read about it. she was so appalled by what she read that she drove out there, four hours then for her to drive outside of washington to see it. she drove up unannounced without secret service protection. we'll talk about that in a minute. and she became passionately committed to arthur dale in the sense of trying to get housing, develop a model community there, to get schools for the kids, she worked with the financier bernard ber route and marshall field, the great department store magnate from chicago to try to get businesses there. so while she was able to really hell restore this community and really promote it, she didn't succeed in attracting businesses to it. but the houses that are there with the indoor toilets, their
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schools, their community centers are in use today. >> was it a failure? >> no. >> it was not a failure? >> people will say it's a failure because she could not attract businesses there. but let's look at the literacy rates. let's look at the disease rates. let's look at the construction that's there. let's look at the morale that's there. the suicide rates. the education rates. it was not the success it could have been, but it was not a failure. >> joe in monroe, michigan. this is the first ladies and eleanor roosevelt is our topic and you're on c-span. >> thank you very much. i would like to ask you what was the relationship like between eleanor and her cousin alice. and also another question there, is it true that franklin was
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seeing lucy that alice used to invite them to her home behind eleanor's back? >> no, the second question. that is part of the folk lor that surrounds the -- the franklin and eleanor sort of carrying on, so to speak. it was -- alice did not like eleanor. she just did not -- she spread wicked barbed stories about her. she would say, well, you know, you can't help but feel merry -- feel sorry for franklin because she was married to eleanor. she would say that franklin contracted polio because he had syphilis because he was married to eleanor. so alice was, as my mother would say, a piece of work. and the way to conceptualize alice is imagine you're walking into the parlor and you're there for tea and she will pass the sofa and say please come sit for me and there would be a needle pointed pillow on the sofa and say if you don't have anything
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nice to say, come sit next to me. >> what was teddy roosevelt's reaction with teddy roosevelt's affair with mercer and how did teddy roosevelt feel about fdr? >> he loved fdr. admired him a great deal. wrote a very warm note to him but right when the engagement well nowhere took place and saying that you have many golden years ahead of you and this even you being president is nothing compared to making a marriage work. and we mentioned, of course, we presided over the marriage. theodore roosevelt died in january of 1919. at that point, fdr had been in the wilson administration. they're on opposite sides of the equations. theodore roosevelt was a republican.
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and fdr was a democrat. and so the -- they didn't get along in that regard at the very end because, you know, i read recently because i'm working on a book on franklin roosevelt. i read a story that one of theodore roosevelt's sons went wherever fdr went in 1920 around the west and speak right after him and dispute everything and say fdr is an embarrassment to my side, the oyster bay side of the family. if i could, just one other point, because i think we haven't made it clear, we never came up with val killez. if anybody wants to learn about eleanor roosevelt, go to val right next to springwood or very close, it's her home. and there you can really feel -- >> what do you mean her home? >> fdr acquired property in the -- it's val kilitzer creek in duchess county. they built a lovely home. developed a furniture factory for a while. it's a longer story.
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but this is eleanor's peace of mind. place she could get away. there's a swimming pool there where she can swim. it's now part of our national park service as a stand alone home. it's there with the vanderbilt estate and fdr's home. but to go -- i encourage people who care about presidential history, don't just go to the fdr home and see franklin delano's grave, visit that huge insight to the personality there. inner city kids come there. poor people to come and talk. world leaders and presidents would visit her there, it's quite a spot. >> it was built in 1925 along the fall kill creek. and it was built because the voeltzs loved to picnic and they loved to picnic away from the main house. that's where they can get away and hang with their friends and a lot of the political cronies that mama did not like would come up for picnics.
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so eleanor remarks to fdr in the winter that this was -- how sad it was that it was their last time that they could picnic this year. and they picnicked with at that point nancy cook and marion dickerman, two women with whom eleanor had developed a close political working relationship with. both of whom were very involved in the democratic party. one of whom had run for office. so fdr offers to sell the land to them for a 99-year lease. and we'll give them a 99-year lease. and the three women will each put in a third to build the cottage. and the cottage would be called val kill. and that was an extraordinary place for eleanor. inbut they -- it's also a political experiment because the women built a furniture factory there during the -- to help farmers in the hudson valley win marketable skills in the future. women have a falling out in 1935.him1935. >> all three women? >> all three women. >> man and marion and eleanor have a falling out. and in 1937, i think, eleanor
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buys them out. and so she converts the furniture factory into her own home. that's what she will -- that's the only home of her own and her most special place and she will live there until she dies. >> and for this program, we visited val kill. here's a look inside. >> let's go upstairs to where the bedrooms are located and we'll find a historically creeky staircase. >> this here is eleanor roosevelt's master bedroom. mr. roosevelt takes prime footage over the fireplace area with the largest portion in the room. mrs. roosevelt's bed is somewhat interesting in the depiction and shows how mrs. roosevelt preferred her laundry to be delivered by the house hold staff, folded and placed upon her bed. she would place it throughout the cottage. on close examination of the laundry reveals that it's all monogrammed. we have mrs. roosevelt's monogram on the main towels
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here. we have nancy's monogram on some of the linens. some of the linens are jointly monogrammed with the initials emn -- eleanor marion nancy. and that was pretty consistent throughout val kill's operation. when i looked through this room, it just surprises me that a lady who was born into wealth that married into wealth and generated wealth in her lifetime would live in such a simple fashion. that bed is surely not an
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elaborate bed for a lady who was 5'11" tall. but she had a simple life style. and that stands out. this is eleanor rose veelts sleeping porch. it's a very important area here at val kill cottage. this is where mrs. roosevelt would come in the evening at approximately 11:00 after saying good night to her guest and it was private space for her, the little scottish terrier dog that is so famous in the rose veelts story would accompany mrs. roosevelt to this area and spend the night here with her. this is where she would sit, do some last-minute letter writing, maybe some last-minute reading, then retire for the evening. himshe referred to this area as being like a tree house that's
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surrounded by glass, screened in areas. she can overlook her property, her fall kill creek, the fireplace where the picnics were held. the tennis and badminton court. the cutting garden, the stone cottage which was so important in the early years. this is her private space where she could get away from the activities of value kill cottage for a short while and be with herself. >> and we are back live, there's a little quick look at val kill and a little private life there. when she was there, did she have a simple life style? >> she had people visiting her all the time. but she could live so simply. i thought it was very eloquently said. i've been impressed with how spartan, both frank and eleanor can live right next to val kill which fdr was building a dream house top cottage to have no
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electricity to be on a mountain top. if you go to the white house down in georgia, you're amazed this man is willing to live in such stripped down circumstances reminds me a lot of jimmy carter, eleanor roosevelt. the mother was an eleanor roosevelt democrat. she loved eleanor roosevelt. but the ability to live with furniture that's made there. carter makes his own furniture in his home. very spartan and warm and pleasant and emphasis on gardens and outdoor life. the bringing of the natural world. i can't emphasize enough to listeners what a special place that part of the mid hudson is in duchess county and the great love and friendship of franklin and eleanor from shared neighbors, shared friends, shared topography and knowing all of the little back roads and things together was a big part
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youthings together was a big part of the happiness. >> did she use that to get way? >> yeah. >> this is the own space to conduct business. val kill was her home and office. himeleanor was very rarely alone in value kill. he did a very extraordinary job in giving you the sense, the feel that eleanor had and how much she loved it. eleanor was always surrounded by hordes of people at val kill that she would invite. there would be neighbors, dignitaries, friends, reporters, painters, there would be performers, there would be winston churchill. there would be stein beck, pauley murray came to val kill. it was a hub. it was eleanor roosevelt's unrestricted space.a >> you referred to this a little earlier. you intimated that she did not like the secret snfs. >> no. this is the thing -- >> no. >> having them around, i should say. >> this is the most
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extraordinary thing about eleanor roosevelt. and showed a great deal about franklin. i want to go back to 1932. fdr just spoke in an open convertible in a park in miami. he just unlocked the steel braces so he could slide back down from sitting on the top of the car into the seat. an assassin's bullets ring out. it kills the mayor of chicago who is literally closer to fdr than doug is to me. and they have both been through the attempts on patty roosevelt's life. they have a personal conversation. we don't know what they said, but they reference the conversation in reference to their children about the physical sacrifice it takes to lead a country in a war. they both saw depression as the war on the american spirit and the war on the soul and the
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economic soul of the united states. so eleanor refused to have secret service in the white house. she said first of all it impedes her the ability have a conversation with the american people. she saw her number one job, responsibility, as helping bring the government to the people so the people could understand the human face. so she travelled without secret service. i can document 15 attempts on her life, 17 i don't have all of the information on. we know the ku klux klan placed the largest bounty in history on her head. we know people shot at her. we know they dynamited trees outside of clap board churches
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where she spoke. we know they wrapped dynamite around the axles of her tires. we know they placed nitroglycerin where she stood. she said it was her responsibility to be able to have a talk with the people of the united states. she wanted to meet her neighbors. anybody who interfered with that interfered her ability to do her job. >> she had friends, her policemen with her. some of her closest friends and security. i think the important point is that the roosevelts wanted to meet people. they didn't feel they were better or were an elite family. that's something they shared. i was reading fdr the other day going bird watching and thinking the secret service had no rights on the road because he wanted it
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dark to see a particular bird and he would blow them off, the secret service, to take country drives. he loved going fast in his automobile because he could shift it with that no lower half. if i might -- if i can get to one other thing. >> getting a little heavy on this and light on time there. when it came to protecting herself, she knew how to shoot a gun. >> miller did not travel well nowhere when he was in the white house. the deal was made that she learned to shoot. but eleanor rarely -- eleanor would carry a gun in some circumstances. the bullets were not in it. the bullets were in a separate spot in the car. and for all of the people who were going to e-mail me about this, she had permits in every single space that she went to. >> and in speaks of which, that is our featured item this week on the first lady series. if you've been to our website,, you can see it's comprehensive and a lot
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of added material was there. this week, we're featuring her gun permit which they pulled out of her wallet in 1962 when she died. that's what's featured on our website. tonya in coatesville, pennsylvania, you've been very patient. go ahead with your question. >> thank you so much. my question is complicated. one of the things that i met in roosevelt through the junior league. my question is douglas hit on it earlier, please tell me -- could you tell the listeners about the relationship she had about the tuskegee airmen, a little more like how is that controversial and also her relationship with two other african-americans and that's mary mcclout mathune and also a. phillip randolph? thanks. >> three topics in way. but in world war ii, we had 1
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million african-americans who served and eleanor roosevelt was very concerned that they were being treated as second class citizens. there are stories of her going into georgia and seeing african-americans in the hospital that had smaller rooms and worse medical conditions and would blow her top and say you ear treating african-americans the same. tuskegee is an historic place where booker t. washington made famous and aviation was going to be a big part of the war effort. she went down there and not just embraced the tuskegee airmen, but gave them the publicity, they were part of this together. i forget the exact amount of time. but an hour flight flying over the air space with an african-american pilot. remember, theodore roosevelt got hammered for having booker t. washington in the white house. now eleanor roosevelt, his
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niece, is flying with the tuskegee airman, you know, over southern -- you know, air space. i'll let you take on the -- in the naacp. >> eleanor had worked very closely when the draft was being getencouraged fdr to african-americans more involved in the war. want the tuskegee airmen to fly. saidecretary of war leadership is not embedded in the negro race. it was a felony to give plasma from one race to another. despite plasma being perfected by an african-american physician.
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she goes to the airbase, they do not know she is coming. she has the movie camera. to gives the movie camera the still photographer to people on the ground to photograph this. andtakes them back to fdr puts them on his desk. this is to say, when are you going to do this? she was going to riots in the united states for the promotion of housing for some african- americans who had relocated from the south to the north for the defense industry. for a race riot. let's giveriefly,
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sarah credit. sarah roosevelt is the person who takes the soon to meet eleanor roosevelt. is bis when he foundingethune college. she will become good friends and colleagues with a. philip randolph. they work together over the marian anderson concert. this is not just about the dar. say, why ability to curse hitler and support jim crow? why silence marian anderson? philip randolph was one of the
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leaders of the marian anderson event. he was also involved in the first march on washington. fanas to force fdr to discrimination. eleanor is right with him, too. >> we only have a half hour left. she did travel to the pacific and this is a speech she made. you're looking very depressed. he said oh, i have not shot a. jap. that and youo shoot that.
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[indiscernible] he said do you want to come? there and i said to hell with it. [laughter] >> did she serve as fdr's eyes and ears during the war? >> the uso is about getting the morale up. .he writes beautifully about it she went all the way over there. the soldiers loved her. early on, in 1933 you had the right atch of veterans the time of fdr's inaugural.
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hoover sent the army on a bonus right deaths march. eleanor went to talk to the soldiers. she had a lot of veterans who admired her in the military . admirals.loved by the successful tour in 1943. you see eleanor walking through here. you see her tell that joke. what you do not understand is what happened to her in the flight going over there. she is on an uninsulated military aircraft. there is no pressure. her eardrum shatters. she goes deaf in one ear. the arches fell of her feet.
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she will never be able to stand without special shoes. this trip changes eleanor roosevelt. she begins to carry a prayer in her wallet that says dear lord help me to remember that someone died for me today. help me to remember to ask and answer am i worth dying for? you do not see her in hospital rooms. you not see her in foxholes. you not see her tending to wounded. she did all that of his trip. >> and her final month as first lady, what did you find out? >> she was not down there in warm springs with him. there is a portrait of him when he died.
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the wounds of her having people around the she did not know about, she ran a funeral service so wonderfully at hyde park. fdr would've very simple headstone. attorney to rest an and when she dies in 1962, she is buried with him. .> next call for guest lynn in florida, you are on c- span. >> i am a professor at daytona state college. when she was 17 years old, she fixed her hair and put her clothes out. eleanor was so impressed with her. she would go out and work in the garden with the girls and
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attended some of the classes and bake pies and whatever they were doing she would be right them beside them. ton may walker was trying get equal pay for black teachers , eleanor roosevelt got her a scholarship. she used to go to the third- grade classroom so she kept a very personal level. she was willing to trust a 17- year-old girl and i find that remarkable for somebody who was first lady of the united states. >> thank you for that call. years as first lady. how quickly did she get out of the white house in 1945. >> she was out within a week. truman said she could stay
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longer. she wanted to get out. she said the story is over. the story was not over and she knew it would not be. people were lobbying her to run for the senate or to be governor or secretary of labor or to be president of one of the major colleges. they wanted her to run one of the major for local action organizations. >> what was your relationship with bess truman? told vice president died, that roosevelt had she was seven inches taller than harry truman. when he is summoned back from drinking bourbon, she stands up to meet him and she puts her hand on his shoulder and she says, harry, the president is
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dead. and he says i am so sorry. says you are the one that is in trouble now. >> did she go back to val kill at that point? >> yes she went back to settle the family estate. she keeps contact with the first delegation. by august, she is so frustrated with truman that she begins a full-court press on truman's politics. and pointer tom the first american delegation to the united nations to get her out of the country. >> she stays at a place in greenwich village. house in to get a manhattan. eventually she retreats back to
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val kill. >> she used to val kill as a meeting ground. here is a bit of the public eleanor roosevelt at val kill. --this is val kill college cottage. it used to be a furniture factory. mrs. roosevelt turned this into her primary residence. named val kill cottage. these are the steps to the entrance way. wouldus world figures have entered the home with him mrs. roosevelt. this is the desk where she worked on her column and some of her books. tremendous correspondence with the american public. this is the desk with a misspelled name tag. it was presented to her by a
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young man in hyde park. -- created the item in a shop class and had no idea she had missed spelled his name. it found a home on her desk and stayed for the duration. aside from her writing, this was her reception area. some of her dinners when on here. this is where the cocktail hour was enjoyed. the dining room is an important room. activities here and table setting were derived from an early magazine article in the 1950's. called how was eleanor lives at val hill. this is the living room. as he looked to the room we notice an area that is significant because that is where john f. kennedy would sit with mrs. roosevelt.
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he was seeking her support in his presidential bid. that is because mrs. roosevelt was once the most powerful woman in america. she was the matriarch of the democratic party. she was representative of visitors. they came in different shapes and sizes and colors. she grouped them together they seem to function well. the walls decorated with many photographs. these were incorporated in this room. there is always a good picture of franklin delano roosevelt. roosevelte mrs. uncle, theodore roosevelt of his room. there were many interesting personalities like a millionaire ehrhardt.melia
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this was a very important place to mrs. roosevelt because it was her first and only home that she owned on her own. this is where she would start to refer to when she said it felt so good to be home. you mentioned something very quickly about the chairs. >> to see the picture of eleanor and jack kennedy. she switched the chairs so she would look up -- down at him and she would -- he would have to look up. fixed you're watching c-span's first lady series erie. >> i have a question. where are the descendents of fdr
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and elinor? the would you think about entries direction today? >> why don't we stick with the kids. >> all a virtual dead. the grandchildren are very much alive and active. some of them are involved in public service efforts and goodwill. they are running outlook health programs. once eisenhower was elected, what did eleanor roosevelt do? >> she was not thrilled that eisenhower was president of the united states. we were talking about truman, she was in the liberal wing of the democratic party. truman was more of a centrist. she was disappointed that
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stevenson lost in 1952. adlai stevenson. we underplayed this so far. we talked about the death of fdr . his great legacy is the united nations. -- she started to work very closely with the u.n.. she offered the united nations declaration of human rights. there is no figure more synonymous in human rights and eleanor roosevelt. [applause] we stand today at the threshold of a great event. nations andunited mankind. this universal decoration of
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human rights will become the international magna carta of all men everywhere. we hope that this proclamation by the general assembly will be an event comparable to the proclamation of the declaration of the rights of man by the french people in 1789. adoption of the bill of rights by the people of the united states and the. >> that was ella roosevelt in 1948. have theld not declaration of human rights without eleanor roosevelt. she was not only chair of the committee, she was chair of the drafting commission. imagine one thing. you have 18 people sitting around a table.
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we don't agree on anything. no one agrees on labor, or citizenship or government. you have the government possibly changing who the negotiators are in those 18 seats. you have one small window in which to come up with a vision that will stand in opposition to the horrors of the holocaust, the atomic bomb and the fear that another world war will start in 10 years. without her negotiating skills, none of those people would've stayed at the table. everybody was a salt in conflict. block opposingat the declaration. 300 meetings and more
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than 3000 hours. , she kindnteresting of out in the soviet union for not caring. the soviet bloc countries did not want anything to do with human rights. warrior in ad sense. she exposed the soviet union for what they were. israel a great friend of and is still beloved there. for thea great sympathy plight of the jewish people after the holocaust. we have several tweets. >> deep and incredible morning. all the ex-president came to the funeral. kennedy and eisenhower and truman, everybody else you could think of.
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world came to be at hyde park. she was a champion of the underdog in the underclass. if there is anyone who should have won a nobel peace prize and didn't, it was ella roosevelt for her work with human rights. she had an international following. >> did she have any relationship with lou hoover? >> they were not friends. it would not hang out together. >> we have this picture of eleanor roosevelt and bess truman all standing together. what is the context of that picture? >> i cannot tell you what it was about. i have seen it. it whatever i say will be wrong. >> nancy, please go ahead with
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your question. pointust wanted to make a that my father had corresponded with mrs. roosevelt. she was very impressed with him. family tod our entire come to her townhouse in manhattan. i was 11 years old. glass.pheasant under she insisted we eat the pheasant with her fingers. this was in 1953. that summer she had us come up to hyde park and spent a weekend with her grandchildren. there was a game room on the property where my father and i had to sleep. my mother slept in the house with eleanor and my two-year-old sister. from there when i went off to
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college, eleanor invited my roommate and i to come across the hudson and spend election eve with her in 1960. she had numerous guests there while they were waiting to see whether candidate would get elected or not. >> this is all because your father corresponded with her? no other connections? >> no. x it happened all the time. my cousin was in georgia with the dar. she had invited eleanor roosevelt to come down and talk to the women farmers in the area. they did not expect that she would expect -- except.
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talkingand when she was , instead of going up on the stage where they had a special seat for her she just came down to the front row and sat between two african-americans. not know what to do about that. >> thank you for sharing that story as well. you areioned that writing a new book on fdr? it is about the renewal of america. history environmental and conservation history of the 1930's in 1940's. save forests. he would tour at the yellowstone and other national parks.
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significantly, he created bird fly ways. he founded u.s. fish and wildlife. he spearheaded the wildlife protection movement. those were fdr ideas. intensely involved in soil conservation and the land and how to rehabilitate land. how to take old burned-out properties and make america better. >> did ella roosevelt ever function as a traditional first lady? >> yes. house.ertained the white she stood receiving lines. you had parties. they had the easter egg roll. they had private dinner parties where she brought in people she
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thought the president should meet. she served those functions quite well. >> we have a final tweak. -- tweet. what would eleanor think was her most important contribution? >> she would say the declaration of human rights. i think it is something else. i researched this woman for 30 years. she has seen everything that is horrible to see about democracy and slaughter and violence and poverty and discrimination. she never gave up. she kept going when people tried to kill her and when they
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disparaged her husband and they mocked her children and when they hit her income. she believed in democracy and the promise of america. of believed in the promise human rights so profoundly that she risked everything she had to try and make us get there. on daunting showed and fierce courage. >> that in civil rights. we had a wonderful call about her going down to georgia and sitting with african-americans. we were so backwards on race in then -- relations 1930's. she is in the same pantheon as martin luther king. she cared about equality. website, weon our have a companion book available
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for the series. black worked on it. to see a profile of all the first ladies up through moshe -- michelle obama. inlike to thank our partners the series. week, it is best truman. we're going to leave you with a little bit of eleanor roosevelt in 1953, talking about what it means to be a liberal. we thank our guests. >> you have become known as the movement the liberal in this country. some people call them do- gooders.
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can you define a liberal 4s? liberal was a person who kept an open mind, was willing to meet new questions with new solutions. moveeral feels you could forward and not look backwards and be afraid of moving forward. [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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>> on monday, betty ford. shortly after moving into the white house, she had a vest ectomy -- mastectomy. she brought a new public awareness about cancer. controversial.
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during her husband's reelection campaign in 1976, she was so popular one of the cancel -- or the slogan said vote for betty's husband. when a ford loss, she deliver the concession speech. she opened up about her addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs, leading to the creation of the betty ford clinic. we're offering a special edition of the book "first ladies of the united states of america." comments from noted historians. 12.9 pluslable for shipping. produced byction chronicles live
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fe in the mansion during the tenure of each. we bring public affair events is strictly to you, putting you in the real express of carrying complete gavel-to- gavel coverage. now you can watch us in hd. kagan discussing the working of the u.s. supreme court. choose the days before the opening of the term.
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over one hour. we appreciate your service in this role. my family and i are welcoming justice kagan to the university of alabama. we are honored by your presence. i want to give you first a few vital statistics about our speaker. she was born in new york city. she received her a.b. from princeton. then she went to oxford where she was awarded a masters of philosophy. then she got a jd from harvard law school.
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after law school, she clerked for a judge in the united states court of appeals. then she clerked for justice marshall. then she became a law professor at the university of chicago. she went from there to serve at president clinton's administration in several roles. then she went back to teaching at harvard. she was subsequently named as dean of harvard law school. she was the first female dean of the law school there. in 2009, president obama nominated her for solicitor general of the united states. she served in that office for a full year.
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she was then nominated as an associate justice of the supreme court. she took that position in 2010 and she fill the vacancy left by justice john paul stevens after his retirement. he was our last lecture at europe law school. -- our last lecturer here at the law school. i brought this along so i could read it. this year, in time magazine, she was named one of their 100 most influential people in the world. i want to read to you what they had to say about our speaker today. it starts off with elena kagan, the persuader. people love to talk about the swing vote, but the truth is that only at -- every supreme court justice has only one vote to cast. what makes a justice influential is the ability to persuade others to agree. that depends on the effectiveness of the justice. in that respect, elena kagan has
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what it takes to be a highly influential supreme court justice. she has demonstrated herself to be an incisive legal thinker, both in her written opinions and her questions for the bench. she is also an excellent communicator with a crisp and direct style that will make her a persuasive -- maker persuasive, not only among her colleagues, but among be court's broader audience. she is an important voice on the court for decades to come. it is our pleasure to welcome our speaker and have a conversation. justice elena kagan. [applause]
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>> can i think everybody first? i just want to thank the judge for that warm and gracious introduction which i hope a little bit of it is true. and i want to thank the whole law school for inviting me here and to the judge for endowing this lecture series. we had dinner last night and i was saying, i do not know how to sit in this chair. i was saying at dinner last night, when i became a justice, i got a letter. it said that i had a lecture series, an endowed lecture
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series at the university of alabama law school, and the following people have participated in the lecture series. it named all of my colleagues and some of the former supreme court justices and some of the world's greatest non-american dust this is -- justices. my colleagues and i frequent lead lunch together. we talked about it and i had this letter and i said to them, what is it about this lecture series that everybody goes down there for? it is true, every law school has some kind of lecture series. but they do not get every single justice of the supreme court. in one of my colleagues said, is a command performance. i said, what makes it a command performance? i got two answers. one is wherein -- when you said something about persuasiveness and how we judge needs to be persuasive. the word back from my colleagues was that you are a very
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persuasive man. [laughter] the second thing they said was that people just have such a good time when they go. then they come back and each justice comes here and goes back and tells all of his or her colleagues, you have to go down there. each one of us has gone. the warmth in the hospitality and the graciousness that you will show me in the last two hours -- 12 hours, proof that all my colleagues are right. i will give you one example. the chief justice mentioned that he was a little disappointed and then he came here and had a great time, but there was one thing he did not get to do. that was go to dreamland. so i mention this and i said it wasn't on my schedule either. i am merely got an offer of raise -- of ribs to take back with me, as well as a surprise for the chief justice. huber tends to be a newbie at
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this business, but he seems to me to be a complete professional. you are very lucky to have them. i know about dean's, i was one. thank you judge. thank you to your entire family. thank you to your university community who that has been so gracious. so far at least. [laughter] we have a few hours left. [laughter] we will handle the next 40 minutes or so anyway. >> i must say that justice kagan has been one of the more gracious guest that we have had as you can all see from our first few minutes together. it is a real honor to have you here. i was tempted, listening to the
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introduction, about all the things you have done, it reminded me of president kennedy's quit about thomas jefferson. harvard law dean, officer in the white house counsel, senior apostle -- senior paul c -- senior policy advisor. it amazing to find them all in one person. if i may, i would like to start a question. it will tie our law school together with your own experience. a few weeks ago at first your orientation we had a wonderful presentation. a former alabama attorney general came. and we had a former u.s. attorney general. it was about reopening the prosecution in the 16th street baptist church bombing case that occurred about 50 years ago. i thought the presentations were inspiring. they were inspiring to me as an
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old guy. i will they were inspiring to all people. you may also know that the offer of -- the author of "to kill a mockingbird," harper lee, studied at our law school. i was wondering if there were fictional or real stories that have been meaningful to you over the years? >> what a great question. so i think what i would do is go back a lot of years in my life to when i was more the age of the people sitting in this room. i had graduated from law school and served one clerkship. then i had the chance to go to the supreme court and serve another clerkship with thurgood
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marshall. it was one of the most meaningful, incredible years of my life in many ways. it is a special thing to be a clerk on the supreme court for absolutely anybody. you are there in the building were all of these important cases were decided. you have a sense of the importance of the institution. and the small role that you plan it. -- play in it. it was something beyond that to work for justice thurgood marshall. he was approaching the end of his life. he turned 80 the year i started working for him. he had a few more years on the court and then a few years after that. he was in rickety health. he was maybe even more so than he had been early on in his life, taking stock of what he had done and what he had accomplished and what it all meant. for clerks that year were privileged to sit there in his chambers and listen to him. he was telling his stories about his life. we would go into his chambers everyday or every other day and
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we would talk about the cases. we would do the typical thing that clerks do with judges. at a certain point in time, we said all that we had to say about all of these cases. he was put into a storytelling mode. he was the greatest storyteller i have ever heard in my life. in a year of telling stories, pretty much every day, i don't think he ever repeated a single one. he could make you cry, he could make you laugh, he could do anything at all with you. but in addition to that, he had some awfully good material. [laughter] the material of his life was so thrilling and inspiring to think about what lawyers could do to advance a society and make it more just.
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to make it more equitable for all people. some of his stories, i think when i went to clerk for him, i was more familiar with his appellate work in his work at the supreme court. he was a great appellate advocate. i am making this up a little bit, but he had something like 30 graces -- 30 cases that he had one almost all of them. everybody well knows how magnificently he carved the strategy of bringing down the fifth them a separate but equal end of bringing down the system of jim crow -- ringing down the system of separate but equal and bringing down the system of jim crow. he knew he could not do it all at once. he understood how to get a court to move towards an end result is little bit at a time. and how he picked cases that
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would allow the naacp legal defense fund to make incremental arguments, the kind of cases that the court is going to accept. and that the legal defense fund would win. i know a fair amount about that, but i did not know he was one of the greatest trial attorneys of his time as well. he spent enormous amounts of time crisscrossing the state of the south, representing a wide variety of people, mostly in criminal cases. and frequently in capital cases. and he was subjected to incredible danger himself. he would come to town and it was not clear that he was going to be safe. and of course, the indignities of traveling in a place where you could not stay at a hotel. you could not eat at a regular restaurant. and then representing why people before all-white juries. it was not clear that anybody had justice in mind. the stories that he told us of those cases, it all came back to me the summer i read a very fine book.
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it had just won the pulitzer prize. it was called "devil in the growth." -- grove." it is a gripping story. it reads like a whodunit. it is about him and the incredible lawyering skills that he had. and the great ethics that he showed in all of his work. he was a great lawyer and a supremely ethical man. i guess he is the person -- it is important that me and my clerks, we were poor kids who have not experienced anything in the way of discrimination. to be exposed to that at that
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time of my life day after day, it was an experience that changed me forever. it made me think about the potential of law in a way -- i hope everybody in this room does. >> that is very interesting. we got some insight into your beginnings. some of your earliest experiences as a lawyer was there with justice marshall. i would like to ask you about --
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>> it has not changed that much. [laughter] >> that is something we are interested in. through the years, in a serious way, you have seen the process from the outside. i understand that when you were in the clinton administration, you are involved and assigned to work with ruth bader ginsburg and in connection to her confirmation hearing. then i read a law review article that you wrote for the university of chicago. it was critiquing a book about the process. and i have been through the process yourself. i wondered if you would comment on your thoughts on the nomination and confirmation process.
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>> sure. \>> sure. you know, i had a good time actually going through the process. i will say a little bit about why. notwithstanding that, i think the process is sort of broken. everybody agrees on that. it is hard to see how to fix it. i will tell you a little bit about why i had a good time going through the process first. the part of the process that the
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public sees is the confirmation hearings. the two or three days were the nominee sit in front of the judiciary and answers questions. each senator gets a half an hour and it goes one by one. then it starts all over again. that is an extremely important part of the process. it is the tip of the iceberg. before that happens, the nominee does visits with individual senators. they're called courtesy visits. i did 81 of them. my colleagues, justice sotomayor your, i think she did 92. 81 senators, i went to them one by one to each of their offices. some of them would just be kind of meeting great, 10 minutes, you take a picture and say hi, you go your merry way. others of them were extremely substantive and interest in serious conversations. senators would try to figure out what you were all about. and what your approach to the law might be. and for the most part, i enjoyed all of those conversations enormously. there were rules about you what you -- rules about what you couldn't could not say. sometimes it was difficult to figure out what the boundaries were. it was a little bit of a challenge. but for the most part, these were called courtesy visits for a reason. everyone was very gracious. people knew that they were going
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to vote for me. people knew that they were going to vote against me. there were relatively few people who were undecided. i enjoyed them. i enjoyed putting names to faces and seeing what these people were like. i enjoy conversing with them. that was pretty much it. then you get to the hearings themselves, and i have to admit to you, maybe it will be obvious after today, i have to admit you to -- it meant to you that i am a little bit of a ham. [laughter] i was nervous going in. all the lights are on you. the first day, when i gave my opening statements, because you are on tv, you get professionally made up.
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we had to notch down the makeup on the second and third day. you definitely feel like you are in the center of things. there are tons of people taking pictures of you. as it got underway, senator leahy was first. then your senator was next. once i got through those two, i thought, i got this. [laughter] it just seemed as if there were words coming out of my mouth that seem to make some sense. in a way, you are very much in control of the thing. they are very polite. they do not interrupt you. they let you say what you want to say. and i love talking about -- maybe someone was talking --
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[laughter] i had a good time. with all that said, i think the senators are very frustrated by the process. they basically want to know how you are going to decide cases. that is what they want to know. i do not blame them for wanting to know. that is in them thing to know. -- unimportant thing for them to know -- an important thing for them to know. how we decide the next abortion case. the nominees are not going to say that.
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the nominees, to a certain extent, cannot say that. there are clear ethical boundaries that the nominees cannot cross. and to be frank, there are some things that even if you could say, you would not say them. as a nominee, your goal is to get through the process. it did not seem to work out all that well for judge bork when he was open about absolutely everything. [laughter] all of us, since then, have stopped short of saying that the senators would really like to know. i don't blame the senators for being a bit frustrated by that state of affairs. as a result, i think the senators, and i say this of both parties, that people -- the people who work for you and the people who are against you and the people who are trying to figure out which is which, maybe least of them, of the people who work for you and the people who are against you, it becomes a little bit of the theater. it just becomes a place for all of them to make their statements about what they think about the courts and the issues. the court decides. it becomes political theater and
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you are just sitting there. you are the excuse. you are the excuse for both sides. four republicans and democrats alike to do their set pieces and make their speeches. that doesn't seem all that helpful. i totally understand why it has come to that. my senators may feel frustrated. i do not know the answer to the question. some people say we will just get rid of the thing entirely. i think senators have every right to see who it is that has been nominated as you try to get some sense of who is that -- who that person is and how they might approach the job of a judge. it is hard to make the hearings themselves really work.
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>> if i could follow-up on the workings of the political process, one of the things that is different about you as compared to some of your colleagues is that instead of the normal way of coming to the supreme court -- progressing through judgeships, -- you worked in a clinical job. you are one of president clinton's senior policy advisers. how did that experience affect you and your service on the board? -- court? >> be chief worked in the reagan white house. he worked in the reagan white house. justice scalia worked in the reagan justice department. i worked in the clinton white
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house. in the clinton justice department. maybe i am missing somebody. \i think the chief justice and i are the only people who worked in the white house. i think it is a different job. when i think about those four years of my life, it was the equivalent for my colleagues. it was a very different job. one of the great things about lawyerly careers and my career event at different points in my life, i have one different hats. i have done different things. i have different responsibilities and obligations. when you are working in the white house for the president, and i have worked both as a lawyer and is a policy person, you're mostly thinking about policy and politics. as a lawyer, you are thinking about lots each -- law too. but always with some politics attached to it. your job in the white house is to mary law and politics.
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-- marry law and politics. i cannot imagine any judge describing their role that way. it is not to say that law is a science or a mechanical enterprise. you obviously know that it is not. we disagree on many things. sometimes we disagree incredible ways that follow from -- predictable ways that follow in our own theories of how to interpret the law, constitution, statutes. all of those are so different in thinking about policy and the way people in the clinical branches do. -- elliptical branches do. that was when i was in my 30s. it was a different role. it was a different set of responsibilities. as the judge, i think about law and what i am doing and what i am called upon to do in a very different way.
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of all the things in my life that affect what i'm doing now, i honestly think that affected the least. one thing that i bring to the table from those years is an understanding of how certain political processes work. sometimes it is relevant to particular cases that we may hear because of course, we do review a lot of executive branch decision-making. but other than that, the ways of thinking and the goals of what you are doing are pretty divergent. >> let me expand that a little bit. at the trial level, the theory is that diversity of all kinds on a jury will help in fact finding. jurors from different backgrounds all bring different
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life experiences to the table. that is what you are talking about today. there's been some talk in the press and other places about the lack of that kind of diversity on the court. is there any room for a theory that more diversity on the supreme court would be good in legal decision-making, as opposed to fact finding? >> i do think -- i would like to be a might -- a more diverse court in some ways. the way in which i think you are very polite not to say so, but the way in which the court is


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