Skip to main content

tv   QA Mark Farkas  CSPAN  December 31, 2018 1:44pm-2:47pm EST

1:44 pm
and democrats have come up with a plan to reopen the government when they take control of the the first day of the new congress. their proposal will fund the development of homeland security until february 8th and all other closed agents through theember 30th legislation would continue border protection funding at current levels but does not money to build a wall at the u.s. mexico border. something president trump has been seeking. the bill is essentially the same as the one the senate passed unanimously the week before christmas. ♪ ♪ walk. >> this week on q&a, c-span producer mark farkas. he talks about c-span's new documentary, "the senate: conflict and compromise."
1:45 pm
brian: mark farkas, c-span producer for 34 years. new documentary on the united states senate. why? mark: the genesis of it was actually mitch mcconnell had done a tour of his office for american history television, went so well, he got in touch with us. he's interested in history and brought to c-span a documentary on the senate. we looked at it and we said it might be a good idea. met with his folks, hammered some details out, and then we started moving forward slowly, like the senate moves. brian: when did all this start? mark: 2016. brian: so we're talking three years ago? mark: about three years ago. middle 2016 when we got the proposal. we started shooting at the end
1:46 pm
of 2016. brian: the purpose of this hour is to talk about the documentary. not to show it, but to talk around it. i'll ask you how it came together. first of all, if you're going to watch it for the first time, what is the time and date? mark: it is wednesday, january 2, 8:00 p.m., the night before the senate comes back to session. brian: if people are watching after that, they can find it on our archive. mark: or the archive. brian: here's what you have as the opening. >> i've been asked several times today, will i agree to this version or that version of the amendment? no! >> let's follow the constitution. >> sometimes it seems that nothing is happening on the senate floor.
1:47 pm
the action is going on elsewhere. >> senators offices. in the offices of the senate leaders. but that's all preliminary. sooner or later, everything has to come here. here is where the final say, the final act takes place. here is where the law is made. brian: alan cranston on your screen, deceased, but formerly from california. so, why that start? mark: two reasons. one, ted stevens, starts out with no. storiansthe heist he said it easier for senators to say no, so he encapsulated the power of one senator. a lot of people make the argument that senators have more power than any legislator in the world, most unique legislative body in the world.
1:48 pm
the other thing is, on c-span, part of this is because of television, there's a lot of time in these quorum calls and it looks like nothing is going on. in actuality, there's a lot. they are hammering out details, things are going on in press rooms, there's always something happening outside of the floor. then they say we need to show it, which everything does come to the floor. that's where the law is made. that's where things have to be voted on. they have a different way of voting. brian: back to the senate floor, here's senator rob portman of ohio talking about resolution 642 and i'll ask you what this is about in a second. >> consideration s-res 642. earlier today. >> senate resolution 642, authorizing taking pictures and filming in the senate chamber, the senate wing of the united states capitol, and senate
1:49 pm
offices for production of a film and book. >> without objection, the senate will agree proceed the measure. >> without objection. brian: what did this have to do with your project? mark: the first time a television network gets inside the u.s. senate. we had been in there for the capital, but when it was not in session. it took us a long time to get in there, but it allowed us to get into the senate chamber an hour and a half before they begin, and then during the session, we were in the chamber and able to get shots of what you can't see from the government cameras, all the politicking, the backslapping. some of it is bipartisan, a lot of it is not. and then during the session, we were in the chamber and able to get shots of what you can't see from the government cameras, all the politicking, the backslapping. some of it is bipartisan, a lot of it is not. you see a lot of groups of senators sitting around. it was a real education into what goes on in that room you
1:50 pm
cannot say on television because we're getting a feed from the government. brian: how long is it? mark: an hour and a half, just about. brian: and what did you try to do in this hour and a half? mark: a lot. probably too much. the senate goes back to 1789. we have all those years. we tried to weave in the body today, and hopefully people can make their minds up after watching the hour and a half, if they think the senate is doing the job that the founders laid out for them to do. from impeachment, to advise and consent, to legislating. the senate is just a unique animal. so the idea is, how do they operate? what do they do? a lot of people think, a lot of people think, today, historians, the senate is broken. senators have said that themselves. take a look at the farewell speeches. a lot of people think it's broken.
1:51 pm
a lot of people don't know what the senate does. so the production aims to tell people what they've done, some of the people who have changed it over the years, and hopefully at the end, like any c-span production, you're able to look at and make up your own mind. brian: the following is not in your documentary but it was spoken on the floor of the senate by senator mccaskill, who lost to josh hawley by about six percentage points. she made this farewell speech on december 13. >> i'd be lying if i didn't say i was worried about this place. it just doesn't work as well as it used to. the senate has been so enjoyable for me, but i must admit it it put the fun in dysfunction. an author said no family is complete without an embarrassing
1:52 pm
uncle. we have too many embarrassing uncle's in the united states senate. lots of embarrassing stuff. the united states senate is no longer the world's greatest government body. and everybody needs to quit saying it. brian: what is your reaction to that after spending all this time thinking about the senate? mark: well, it's interesting because if you listen to senator mcconnell and what he says, the senate has been arguing within the senate. so what the press does is cover the acrimony. they don't cover the bipartisanship. and i think one of the things that's really interesting, one of the clips in the documentary, william proxmire talking about television coming to the senate. he says be careful what we're asking for. this place is going to dissolve into what a lot of people think it's going to become, which is very acrimonious. what i think, there's a fair amount of acrimony, but just yesterday the bipartisanship
1:53 pm
showed up on the crime bill. again, you can look at it both ways, but even orrin hatch, who's been there for over 40 years, said he's never seen it as bad as it is now. brian: let's look at some video that you shot on the floor of the senate. people here that for the first time, on the floor. how many people were you allowed to bring into the senate to record what you wanted to record? mark: we had four of us, production assistant who was always upstairs, and then on the floor was myself, the director of photography, and bob riley, shooting the handheld camera. we had a small staff on the four, about an hour and a half to set up. you got the pages, the parliamentarians, and you've got this aura of being on the floor
1:54 pm
of the senate. you've been on the floor to the senate, but to be there as they are getting ready for a session, it's almost like a dance is happening. brian: how long ago did you do this? mark: that was in march of 2017. brian: what kind of rules did they have for you when you are on the floor? mark: the only rules we had, there is some reason we couldn't should the doors. there was a some prohibition against that. brian: can't you see the doors online? mark: you can go on the internet and you see the doors of the senate. in the end, we did shoot the doors of the senate and they ok'd it for whatever reasons. the other thing, they didn't want us showing anything security, anything concerning security. they didn't want us showing the faces of the pages. so we sort of had to move around. you'll see shots of page's hands.
1:55 pm
other than that, we could show whatever we wanted to. brian: the senate has pages. the house no longer has pages. here's video of you explaining what you're going to be shooting. >> we are on the floor of the united states senate. this is unprecedented. no one else has ever gotten an opportunity to do this. it's for production on the documentary on the u.s. senate on the floor an hour before they begin. we're going to ring around the chamber, get shots during the session, and then go back down to the floor. truly special. brian: what if somebody in the audience now is saying, so what? you had cameras on the floor of the senate. mark: less gray hair than this guy. so what? well, it's unique. two, a lot people don't know this -- i think as they are watching c-span for a number of
1:56 pm
years they might get it, but someone might not. when the senate goes on television, it is the senate's cameras showing what's going on there. and they're not showing everything that is going on in the senate. we're getting a chance to show people, especially during a rollcall vote, a cocktail party without cocktails, where everybody has to come together. it's different than it used to be, we were told, because television and enable them to watch speeches from their offices. they're not on the floor as much. but for a rollcall vote, they all have to get there. it is a combination between catching up -- you know, it's a combination between catching up, to hammering out legislation. it is unique to get in there and see some of that. brian: what is your training that allows you to be able to even do this? mark: most of my training has been done here. i had a father who was a producer for nbc, so i spent
1:57 pm
some time with him. and the ones we've done on the capital, the white house, and the supreme court have enabled me to learn the craft, i think. we also have a program here. i've got a team of video journalists that produce almost as many documentaries in each city that they go to. it's hard to do. this is the hardest one i've ever had to do. the capital, the white house, and the supreme court were about buildings. that was from the outside in. this is from the inside out. this is the goings-on of the senate. so you don't have all the visuals, but you've got a great story. brian: if mitch mcconnell suggested this, how much control did he have over the content? mark: zero. when we met with him for the first time, we had a couple conditions. one was, hey, you've got to grease the skids with the democrats. because if we have access to the republicans, we got to have
1:58 pm
access to the democrats. and two, you don't have any editorial control over this. he said that's fine, but you can't focus on the can't focus on the acrimony so much. we said well, no, you can't ask us to do that. we're not going to concentrate on it, but we can't shy away from it. we have to have a product we feel both on the journalism side and people watch the senate they didn't give a big wet kiss to the senate, but he also have to say we didn't do a hatchet job either. so in the end, they didn't have any editorial control. they may have wanted it, but they didn't get any. brian: here's some video of you and bob riley and sorenson as you're going about the floor shooting stuff, just to give some people some perspective on
1:59 pm
this. what was the hardest part of this -- by the way, where are you there? mark: we're on the rostrum, they mark: we're on the rostrum, they gavel he's taking out is actually not a gavel. it is a smaller artifact they use each day with. that's the parliamentarian, the legislative clerks talking to us about what they do each day. it's interesting, actually, then we're walking around the floor, getting shots of papers on the desk, people getting the chamber ready, doing microphone checks, getting things ready. it's a window into some of the people that make this place work. and the parliamentarian really has an incredibly important job. they know the rules of the senate better than the senators do. one of the senators on tape said it takes about a full term to
2:00 pm
get the rhythm of this place. that parliamentarian is really, really important. brian: how did you approach this for the audience? and what do you envision the audience to be for this? mark: hopefully the audience is anyone who's interested in what they used to call the world's they used to call the world's greatest deliberative body, the most unique legislative body in the world. the powers that the senators are given are different than any other body in the world. not only do they legislate, but we've seen with the kavanaugh hearings, the supreme court hearings, advice and consent, impeachment, they really have powers given to them by the constitution that no other legislative body has. and even the constitutional convention, the senate was the big fight. some people didn't want to have a senate. jefferson didn't want to have a senate. it really is what makes our government different. it's a huge part of the checks and balances system. if you're interested in how your money gets spent, what these
2:01 pm
people do, you should watch it. brian: most of the video we are going to use is not in your documentary, but here's senator dick durbin, who is the number two senator in the democratic party, on the floor. >> [inaudible] history of diabetes or surviving cancer. we changed that. we said -- because of -- brian: that's what it would sound like if you're sitting in the gallery. explain what you're trying to do there. mark: we were trying to capture the senate in action, or not so much action. you could see he's really playing to the gallery. there were no other senators in there watching. that's part of what we're trying to show, as well.
2:02 pm
if you had watched the senate's feed of that, you would have seen a tight shot of senator durbin. you wouldn't have any idea there's nobody else in the chamber at the time. we're trying to give a realistic impression of what that place, how it works. brian: when did you, and i'm sure the senate wouldn't particularly like this question, but when did you find yourself having fun doing this document? mark: fun... it went from fun to i'm done to fun again. when you're over there and on the floor, you understand that you're getting to do something historic. the other times are when you're in an interview -- we interviewed seven senators and historians. when you know you're getting
2:03 pm
something, for a producer, that's cool, that's fun. the real fun to this was the archival material that we went through. we used -- i think you counted it up, we had 80 to 90 clips of senators over the years from 1986 on. but going back in the archives and looking for the material that's going to make this one, have some tension, two, have some reality. and the other idea is to track the senate in the television era to see what television has done to the senate, and those moments in the television era that really represent what the senate does and how they've changed the senate, as well. so the archival material was just -- i mean, i can't tell you how many times kimberly, the editor and producer, she and i -- there were some great times we were laughing and laughing and laughing at bob dole, really funny guy. senator byrd, of course, he gets out there, and he is talking about poetry week.
2:04 pm
the senators are supercalifragilisticexpialidocio us. that's not in there because we don't have time for it. but all the archival material really takes you back. it's really a treasure trove. brian: the current senate historian is in your documentary. here she is for a little bit over a minute talking about humor and senator byrd, senator kenny -- senator kennedy, and others. >> groucho marx said he found television to be educational. because every time someone turns on the set, i go in the other room and read a book. great. i like that. i say be like groucho. let's have more groucho.
2:05 pm
>> humor is very helpful. i remember one-time senator byrd was on the floor, and he was giving a speech. i was in the gallery. it was clear there was something going on behind the scenes, and they were playing for time. >> i have memorized poem after poem after poem. >> senator >> i thank the senator of west virginia, courteous as always. i would love the opportunity to continue to listen to his very, very fine statement. >> i want to give my friend a second chance. i want to warn him that this is poetry week. >> the senator may be even more reluctant to interfere. we have the good prospect of listening to him quote the poetry. >> this went back and forth for half an hour where he would recite poetry and kennedy would come back, i love that one. how about this one? it was clear there was something going on. they were working on a compromise in the cloakroom, and they were just playing for time. brian: senator robert byrd spent 51 years in the senate.
2:06 pm
mark: longest-serving senator. brian: in history. mark: in history, yes. brian: so how much of robert c. byrd do we have in our archive? mark: in our archive? my goodness. a lot. let's just say that. i don't actually know how many hours of robert c. byrd we have, served for 51 years, but he cast more votes. he's number one on the all-time voting list. you could spend -- it would be a great documentary just doing it on robert c. byrd on the floor of the senate. brian: he died in 2010. is there anybody like him in the senate now? mark: you know, i'm not sure there's going to be anyone like him ever again. again, he was out there reciting poetry.
2:07 pm
he knew the rules of the senate. there are so many times we were going through videotape and watching him just either wax poetic about what the institution is supposed to do, or take on a senator who doesn't know the rules as well as he does. i'm not sure there is an institutionalist now that does that. brian: 92 when he died, he was still a united states senator at the time. kind of explain to the average person that may not be in the television business, how do you do this? what kind of days to you have? for instance, how many edits are there in this document are? mark: well again, hats off to kimberly, who did the editing for this. there is a screenshot, i don't know if nick is able to show it,
2:08 pm
but if you take a look at the timeline for the documentary, which is about 90 minutes long. you're seeing it on screen there. there are over 10,000 edits that have been rendered on this thing. brian: what are we looking at? mark: that's the timeline, from beginning to end, of the program. embedded in there are video effects, edits, dissolves, graphics, you name it. you've got a back time music to make sure the music ends when somebody is going to begin speaking. so, it is laborious. i haven't the earthliest idea how she does that or how a professional editor does it. i roughcut stuff at my own desk and then give it to a professional editor. you've got to script it out, and then be open to change. and believe me, this one had some changes. there's something in the senate called unanimous consent. and we, here at c-span doing a program like this, you need some sort of consent from your bosses and everyone else that the program is ready to go. it's a hard one to do because
2:09 pm
we're not making a judgment on the senate, but we've got to present something in 90 minutes that tells everything the senate does and moves. the problem with that is the senate moves slowly. that's what they're designed to do. so one of the big challenges is, how do you make something move very quickly in a body that moves so slowly? brian: robert byrd, on the floor of the senate in 2002, talking about the war powers act. sen. byrd: we should also recognize that the administration's new approach to war may also pose serious problems for our own constitutional system. in the proposed use of force, the white house lawyers claim that, "the president has authority to use force to defend the security interests of the united states." it says no such thing. i dare them to go to the constitution and point out where
2:10 pm
the constitution says where they say it says. they cannot do it. they cannot do it. brian: after senator byrd opposed television for the first seven years, he then was responsible for leading the way to opening it up. and then we saw a lot of him on the floor. mark: sure. interestingly enough, senator mcconnell voted against television in the senate. full interviews with our senators are on the website. but he said he made a mistake. he said television has been good for the senate. brian: how do people find the full interviews if they want to watch more of this? mark: you go to, and we've got a trailer and then we got four different areas. the full length interviews with
2:11 pm
the senators, farewell speeches, which we use a number of farewell speeches in the program. we have highlighted farewell speeches. if you're watching the senate, some of those recently, like senator mccaskill, were easy to watch. from our capital documentary, we've got an area where we show special spaces of the senate. you've got the president's room, the vice president's office, lbj's taj mahal office. then we've got historians corner. we interviewed, betty you mentioned, don ritchie, dick baker, kate scott. daniel holdt. edna medford. brian: before edna, they are all in the historians office. mark: or used to be in the historians office. dick baker has a much different take on the senate. now that he's out, he's able to talk a little more fully. although i would say, i found all the ones, betty, kate, and daniel, who work for the senate now, they were very honest, some of the most honest commentary in the program comes from them.
2:12 pm
talking about the dissatisfaction from members these days, that everything is more controlled by leaders instead of the regular order and the committee work and it gets hammered out like that. they were very, very honest. brian: again, people watching saying, what's wrong is they waste time talking about poetry. how do you explain that and how much of a day on the floor is the kind of thing that irritates the public, and why the percentage of approval is so low? mark: well, the public is very irritable, obviously. the senate, the ratings for congress normally hovers in the teens. their approval ratings. interestingly roy blunt, the senator in the program -- brian: from missouri. mark: from missouri. he said leadership positions in both. he said teens are better than the low teens. interesting perspective. people have sort of expected it.
2:13 pm
don ritchie said the approval ratings, they're often rated lower than car salesman. i think orrin hatch said that. but they get reelected at a high rate. it's an interesting part of our system. ben sasse, when he made his maiden speech, said i went back to my district, and what i hear is a pox on this country from both parties. if my constituents had a chance to throw out all of us instead of elect me, they would throw out all of us. brian: ben sasse is a republican from nebraska. mark: correct. brian: here's some video, again, of robert byrd and al d'amato. al d'amato got out of the senate in 1999. he's still alive. watch this. >> i want to make the point that this is out of order. if we're not doing this party any good on this -- >> i ask for regular order.
2:14 pm
i know enough about the senate rules to know -- that i have not violated rule 19. and the senator can just -- >> i want a ruling on the floor. i think the senator now has gone beyond what is provided for -- >> if the senator would shut his own mouth and let the chair rule -- regular order. brian: what would you say to this? if the senate was always that interesting and back and forth, a lot more people would watch it. mark: i would say that's probably true. of course. people are drawn to tension when they're watching television. that's just the way it is. if it was like that all the time, of course people would be watching more often. brian: but when you originally
2:15 pm
got into this thing, senators were not a happy if that's all you did. why? mark: that's not all they do. again, we've got to be a mirror. there's two sides of the senate. one side is the public side, where they are arguing. the other side, if you believe them, and you have to believe that part of what they say is true, or all of it, however much you want to believe yourself, but that behind the scenes, and again ben sasse said this in his opening speech. there's a lot of friendship and bipartisanship around here. you just don't see it on the cameras. and you think about the kavanaugh hearings and lindsey graham saying you picked the wrong town at the wrong time, my friend. that's what the public sees and what they don't see and what we tried to show a little bit of, as much as we could. we got in, but to get all the way into an institution like that, you've got to get buy-in from all 100 senators. brian: did they let you into the
2:16 pm
senators dining room? mark: no. brian: where they have lunch every day and only senators are there at the table. mark: the biggest ask we got denied for was the cloakroom. we wanted to go in just because it sounds like something nefarious was going on in the cloakroom. brian: why didn't they let you in? they didn't let you in when you tried doing a documentary on the capital. mark: i don't know. having been in there and seeing what goes on in there, there's nothing that's going on in there that's so earth shattering, good or bad. they meet, they go get a cup of coffee. there's a democratic cloakroom and republican cloakroom. brian: what is regular order? mark: you would have to ask a parliamentarian for a real specific regular order. they've got regular order. there's also lots of terminology the senate uses. their rulebook's about this
2:17 pm
thick. their traditions are about this thick. regular order is really more, you've got the president pro tem on the dais who is supposed to have order in the senate. brian: you mentioned bob dole and his humor. he used to be the majority leader, back in 1994. >> i understand the program is going to be, why are people so fed up with washington? here's example number one. number one right here. business as usual, spend a lot of money and tell people you're going to solve their problems. $30 billion. somebody has to pay for it. that's why people are fed up. oh, we don't want to stand in the way. we don't want to inconvenience anyone, so we're going to vote to move this process along. why not vote one time for the american people?
2:18 pm
brian: 95 years old, hasn't been in the senate since 1996, ran for president, what do you think? mark: we had him in the program a couple times. his farewell speech to the senate, he gets it in a nutshell. he says, basically, i've always been told differences are good. differences are healthy. he says, we're the healthiest people i know on the planet because we've got a lot of differences. he shows up in a humorous sort of way for some. but he was majority leader and minority leader at a time when the senate was undergoing a lot of change. if you take a look at the 1990's, when he becomes majority. again, majority, minority leader, off and on. that's when you got more house members coming into the senate than ever before. the 1994 election brings -- i think 40 members of the house come into the senate, the most
2:19 pm
at that time. that's when a lot of people, both historians and senators, that's when this acrimonious floor debate really began to take hold. because a very important reason, republicans have taken over. for so long democrats have controlled the senate and the congress. roy blunt tells us this is the first time he came to work and said they make a mistake, that can throw things our way. it became more contentious. brian: if you ask me, and you haven't, who i would remember most from this documentary other than mcconnell or schumer, is barbara mikulski. she talked to you for a long time.
2:20 pm
she does have a presence in this documentary you put together. let's watch a little of what she had to say. >> i'm tired of hearing we're too emotional when we talk. you know, when we raise an issue, we're too emotional. well, i am emotional. i'm so emotional about this, i am telling you if we don't pass this bill, i'm so emotional i'm going to press on. it brings tears to my eyes to know how women, every single day, are working so hard and are getting paid less. it makes me emotional to hear that. then when i hear all of these phony reasons, some are mean, and some are meaningless, i do get emotional. i get angry. i get outraged. i get full panic. and the way i am going to channel my emotions is by helping everything we can do to be able to pass this bill.
2:21 pm
brian: she's 82. she left the senate in 2017. she didn't run again. straight shooter. 30 years in the senate, 10 years in the house. did you interview her? mark: i was at the interview. susan swain interviewed her. i'm sure susan would tell you the same thing. straight shooter, doesn't pull any punches. historically, they did those, they canvassed capitol hill staff. she was one of the most difficult to work for. but on camera, and in the floor speech, she tells you how it is. brian: here's rick santorum, who left the senate back in 1995. he spent 12 years there from
2:22 pm
pennsylvania. sen. santorum: some have likened this chart to a depiction of an appendicitis operation. my god. appendicitis. that's not an appendix. that's not a blob of tissue! it is a baby! it's a baby! brian: other than the emotion of the argument he's making, the camera angle on that, it didn't show the whole chart. why not? whose cameras are those? mark: the senate recording studio that is funded and run by the senate, run by the government, controls the cameras and the camera angles. i think if you watch more of it, they do make a point of showing the charts. senators want these charts and the images to be seen. it popped up a bit later. it was very interesting. it was in the 1990's, which at one point, bob byrd takes up the
2:23 pm
floor. he does a speech about incivility in the senate. it's a very famous speech for senate watchers. he basically gets out there, and not by name, because you're not allowed to impugn a senator by name, that's rule 19. maybe we should have that in every workplace. but he gets out there and everybody in the senate chamber knows he is addressing rick santorum, and he's got a great line, "there's been giants in the senate. little did i know i would live to see pygmies." that's when tension really started to be amped up. again, it's for the viewer to make their own minds up whether that's the right way to do it, and whether it's the same today as it was in the 1990's. brian: i've got to mention a former employee by the name of bill gray, put together a website. mark: on charts. brian: on charts. he's got, i don't know, 700 charts on there?
2:24 pm
we call them screen grabs. anybody that wants to look at this, they can get online. go into google and type in bill gray and senate charts, house charts, and it'll come up. mark: part of the whole thing with santorum, he had a chart called "where's bill?" for 20 straight days, he brought that chart to the floor. you shouldn't be calling the president by his first name out here. but, sen. merkley's out here with his constitutional chart. brian: this man left the senate in 2005, classic from south carolina. mark: and i don't think barbara mikulski will like what he's got to say. brian: here we go. >> i don't believe that the idea of the senate is not what it used to be in the sense of the personnel. we got a way better group of
2:25 pm
senators. we had, senator, five drunks, or six drunks when i came here. there's nobody drunk in the united states senate today. we don't have time to be drunk. and we got more than that. we've got the women. we had one woman, she was outstanding, but she was outstandingly quiet. it was margaret j. smith from maine, wonderful lady. now we've got 15 or 17, and you can't shut them up. mark: told you. i don't think, senator mikulski might not like that. but there are 23 previously, now 25 women serving in the senate, which is an all-time high, i believe, for number. you've got 10 african-americans in the history of the country who have served in the senate. and so that's part of what we deal with in the program, as
2:26 pm
well. we look at when african-americans start coming into the senate, when women start coming into the senate. there's been 52 total women in the senate's history. we're at an all-time high now. but if you think about 25, 26, that's a quarter of the senate. and the population is 51%. brian: and you interviewed senator tim scott, african-american from south carolina. he's in there a lot. mark: he is in there, and it's really interesting because the first african-american senator elected is hiram reynolds, who comes in for reconstruction. the second one is blanche k bruce, and he believes in 1881. the next african-american center elected is edward brooke in the 19 late 60's, but the next african-american senator from the south is tim scott, 130 years after blanche k bruce served. so we track the senate and their role in the jim crow years, the
2:27 pm
anti-lynching. there's a lot of things -- it's a reflection of the country, and always has been. brian: joe biden, 36 years in the senate, was elected when he was 29, sworn in when he was 30, left in 2009. here he is in the work hearings. >> if they had evidence of a crime that's being committed -- >> how are they going to get evidence -- >> wiretap. >> wiretapping? >> legal wiretap. >> you're saying they're going to authorize a legal wiretap to find out if people are using contraception? >> they could. >> unbelievable. >> why did you use that? mark: we used the bork hearing as a way to show how the process has changed. robert bork got up there and the point is made, and it's a good point, he spoke his mind. you saw it in the clip. he gave them answers he felt he should give them.
2:28 pm
ever since then, and we even had mitch mcconnell on the floor saying, congratulations robert bork, you basically set the bar for everybody to come after you. and now what we have at confirmation hearings that people think doesn't inform the public are these questions from the supreme court nominees that don't get answered. brian: here is a man who lived to be 100 years old, 48 years in the senate. his name is strom thurmond, another south carolinian. >> i rise today in support of the amendment offered by my distinguished friend from north carolina, senator helms. they knew the design pattern for the confederacy. the congress began considering the extensions of design patterns early in this century.
2:29 pm
to protect and give by congress to various organizations by extension of design patterns has been the most common form of proud pattern act in recent history. brian: died in 2003, and he had a famous 100th birthday party. but unfortunately, somebody lost their job because of it. mark: trent lott, who showed up at the birthday party and what he had told folks, sort of an offhanded joke about i would have voted for strong. he lost his leadership position. i will to you one thing about strom thurmond is that there is a sort of new way of looking at him from the senate historians over there, in terms of, not so much his civil rights stances, but some of the other things that senator thurmond began to be known for over there. senator packwood lost his job because of some improprieties
2:30 pm
towards women. again, only 52 women have ever served in the u.s. senate. it's been a men's club for all these years. it's been slow to change. it's interesting, they have a different way of looking at senator thurmond than they used to. brian: how have aprocryphal are the stories of senator thurmond going into reception, grabbing a handful of shrimp, putting them in his pocket, going back to his office and offering them to staff? mark: i believe my friend bob riley, who witnessed it firsthand, saw him put it in his pocket. brian: you mentioned senator packwood. senator packwood left the senate
2:31 pm
in 1995. he resigned. he's still alive. he's 86 years old. here he is in his resignation speech in 1995. sen. packwood: it's my duty to resign. it is the honorable thing to do for this country, for the senate. so i now announce that i will resign from the senate, and i leave this institution not with malice, but with love. good luck, godspeed. brian: so, i know a lot of what we're showing, as you know, is not in your documentary. mark: it's not, but it is. brian: explain. mark: we wanted to go through the archives. again, it's a treasure trove. it's a rabbit hole you could keep going down. the more you find, the more you're amazed by what you got in this archive.
2:32 pm
it would be a fantastic idea to launch an interactive timeline. there are so many moments in our archives, we don't have time to use all of them, and all of them aren't pertinent for what we were trying to do, but we used anywhere between 80, 90, to 100 of these clips. it's constructive to know there's more where that came from. brian: if someone joined in the middle of this, we are talking about a documentary you did about an hour and a half. first-time run will be january. mark: wednesday, january 2, 8:00 p.m. on c-span. the new senate comes into session january 3, so that's why we wanted folks to watch it the night before the new senate comes in. brian: it would be the night before, or they can always go to our website.
2:33 pm
mark: there's a special website for the program. brian: here's some footage you shot, or your group shot when they went into senator mcconnell's office, and he's chatting with john korman, who's his deputy. >> [inaudible] told the texas delegation, they're told we're waiting on the continuing resolution. they said they think they're getting closer on health care. >> that's what i hear. >> yeah. >> don't be surprised if it doesn't look exactly the way it looks when we send it back. [laughter] brian: now was that spontaneous? mark: not really. we were following senator mcconnell to get some behind the scenes footage to put into the
2:34 pm
program, and what he said there may have been the most that he said as we followed him throughout the day. so he was not loquacious, i would say, but he let us in. we used some of the footage. and we wouldn't be doing this without his ok to do it, as well. brian: the minority leader is chuck schumer, and there is quite a bit with him. here's some video. explain this 20 second video. what is this? mark: we were supposed to be following senator schumer to catch his day in the life, but his press secretary said he's going to be briefed by staff, is going to be interactive. you really get a window into the senate and senator schumer's day, so we waited outside the door. he said are are you ready to
2:35 pm
come in? and we went in. brian: senator schumer has been in the senate since 1998. he also served 18 years in the house. here's that short video. sen. schumer: come on in. ok, welcome to my office. the best thing about my office is the fireplace. i'm from brooklyn. we never had a fireplace ever. in brooklyn, we don't have fireplaces. now i love it. when it's a cold evening, we have these nice logs. they even have these starter logs. even someone like me can start a fire without fail. mark: it's a tremendous window into the senate and how they work. we didn't use it because it wasn't about fireplaces. and we, i have some follow-up questions in there. sometimes it was not what we
2:36 pm
were told it was. we went in the first time, and senator schumer's wife happened to be in the room. he stopped it and said take two. my wife doesn't want to be in this. i'm back out there now going, ok, now i know what we're getting into. it's not a staff meeting at all. we didn't use it because we really didn't get much out of it. brian: here's some more video on the floor of the senate, senator blunt talking to barry black, who's an admiral. he's been a chaplain in the senate since 2003. this is only half a minute. >> [inaudible] >> how do you guys know each other? >> i'm a big fan of clarence mccartney, great presbyterian preacher, and of course his lyrical language is off the chain.
2:37 pm
there it is, one of my favorites. brian: do you know who the fellow was on the left? mark: he was the guest chaplain of the day. i'm not sure who he was. the interesting thing about barry black, tailing off the discussion of senator mcconnell's staff -- said about not focusing on the acrimony. it must've been a couple days after we had that meeting, and i'm watching the senate because i'm watching it every day. chaplain gets out there and his prayer, he is praying to the lord for the senate to be less acrimonious. forgive us for permitting the acrimony. so i called up my now friend, reb brownell now, who worked for senator mcconnell now, no longer with us. did you just hear what the senator chaplain's prayer was? he said, yeah. i think god outranks senator
2:38 pm
mcconnell on the acrimony. yeah, okay, fine. brian: who's elizabeth mcdonough? mark: elizabeth mcdonough is the parliamentarian, the aide of the senate, and megan is one of the legislative clerks staff there. they are in the senate chamber. that would be a fascinating interview to talk to the two of them if you get them to talk. we talked to them a little bit about what they do, but to hear what they must have seen, what they watched unfold in front of that would be a fascinating them and been a part of his fascinating. they're two of the many people who make this place run. brian: this is the last of our video, a minute and seven seconds long. let's watch them chat on the floor. >> we'll refer those up here at the desk, and then they'll get passed over to our senate journal clerk, who will log them into her journals. >> that's correct. the senate journal is the highest legal authority of the senate.
2:39 pm
it tracks the major motions. it's something that's required by the constitution, a record of the proceeding. it's a journal we keep of meaningful pages on a daily basis used for our annual published volume. finally, those minutes, once the volume is published, will be sent to the national archives for storage. >> that's the journal role. >> thank you. >> we're considering a joint resolution on the congressional review act, statutory controlled time. one of the things we'll also do is use the timesheet to control time, what's remaining. this one is 10 hours equally divided. obviously five from each side. we had senator cruz last night, four minutes on that. lot of time left. brian: in the actual documentary, this has just been a chat about the things around the documentary and the documentary itself has a lot
2:40 pm
more substance to it. i wrote down all the different headings. constitution and the senate, legislative body, filibuster, these are things you put on the screen. impeachment, advice and consent, golden age of the senate, a myth talking about clay wester calhoun. and you get a lot of this from the historians. how did you break this down? and how did you pace it? mark: any good program like this, i think you need moments of tension and moments of levity. you need to have some sort of structure that lets people know where you're going and what the program is about. the easiest way for this one, because this is hard. this is a hard institution to wrap your head around. was to put up a chapter heading so people knew what we were doing and where we were going. just reading some of those, it
2:41 pm
tells you how many things the senate has to do. they've got legislation, they've got constitutional powers that they have for advice and consent, and a ton of other things that we had to explain. so hopefully, it all fits together and hangs together. it has been a labor of love, and other things for me, over the course of the time. brian: we only have 30 seconds. what are the other things? mark: the other things are, why doesn't this fit? i thought they would work. part of it is like the senate itself. it's slow, it takes time, it takes time to figure out what's going to work. in a way, the production of it was a mirror of the senate itself. brian: correct me if i'm wrong. you're a 34-year veteran of c-span, graduate of william and mary, and you majored in anthropology? mark: why do you say that -- [laughter] brian: perfect for this town. mark: study of different
2:42 pm
cultures and in this town, this is a study of differences. brian: worked on this documentary for three years. mark: i'm going to call it 2.5. brian: ok. this is "the senate: conflict and compromise." thank you for joining us. mark: appreciate it. ♪ [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] programs are also available at -- as c-span podcasts. >> next sunday, wall street >> tonight on c-span, a
2:43 pm
hall led byge town representative bernie sanders. talking about environmental policy. renewable energy and green jobs. >> the only way we are going to get out of the situation is by choosing to be courageous. way we are going to get out of this. that we are going to somehow lose economic activity, it is not just possible that we will create jobs and economic activity by transitioning to renewable energy. inevitable we are going to create jobs and create industry. can use theble we transition to 100% renewable energy as a vehicle to truly
2:44 pm
deliver and establish economic social and racial justice in the united states of america. do -- what wee are here to do. when we think about where we were when the new deal was established, we were a nation in depression, a nation on the brink of war. we saw the rise of fascism creeping across in europe. no one thought a nation so poured, so scarce and in such dire straits as we were could pursue such a bold economic agenda. we have the courage to do it anyway. >> you can watch the rest of this town hall tonight at 8 p.m. eastern right here on c-span. >> the 116th congress will have 100 new members of the house and senate.
2:45 pm
five represent the state of virginia. home to a number of military installations on the state's southeastern coast. andis a military graduate one of the first women to attend the nuclear power school. in retired from the navy 2017. she and her husband own a boutique known as the mermaid factory. in the fifth district, is an air riggelman force an intelligence officer and national security agency contractor. he retired from the intelligence community to open a distillery outside of charlottesville. he had previously run for butinia governor in 2017 dropped out of the race prior to the republican primary. careerne earlier in his succeeds chief -- retiring house
2:46 pm
judiciary committee bob goodlatte. he also ran a sales and marketing firm, in addition to .eing a public prosecutor he served in the virginia house of delegates since 2002. willrat abigail spanberger represent virginia's seventh district. she is a former postal inspector and cia officer. for a companyed now called eab enrollment services. and democrat jennifer wexton was elected to virginia's 10th congressional district. she was elected to the virginia senate in 2013. new congress, new leaders. >> we will talk with two house makers in 2019.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on