tv Representative Democracy Panel at William Mary CSPAN September 6, 2019 3:29pm-4:54pm EDT
campaign 2020 coverage of the residential candidates at the new hampshire democratic convention. our live coverage is saturday on c-span eastern, or listen with the free c-span radio app app. former defense secretary robert gates, former house majority leader eric cantor, and former white house chief of staff andrew card talked about the future of representative democracy at the event hosted by the college of william and mary at williamsburg, virginia. this is about an hour and a half. >> it is my great honor to welcome our distinguished guests. so many here today at william enormouslynd i am proud to introduce our keynote speaker for today, william and mary's 24th chancellor, the honorable robert m. gates.
chancellor gates is the model for statesmanship we look to now and for the future. he had dedicated his career to public service, serving eight u.s. presidents. he leads with a restless monster his unwavering dedication earned him the trust and devotion of our armed services. his career of service began early at william and mary. not many know that he drove the and countiess city gold is when he was a student and he was assistant troop leader for our local boy scouts in that senator norman was one of his wife scouts as we discovered last night. after graduating from william 1960 five, he joined the cia as an intelligence officer and was the first career officer to scale the agency's director.ecome
he served as president of texas a&m university from 2002 through 2006. when president bush called him back to washington to serve as secretary of defense, as secretary, he led our armed forces at a time when the country was in the midst of two wars and a global fight against terrorism. he acceptede, president obama's request that he continued to lead and the cabinet, becoming the first secretary of defense to serve under president of different political parties. doesellor gates had receive the presidential medal of freedom for his commitment to the security of the american 2012, william and mary's board of visitors invested him as chancellor and were grateful that he agreed to be reinvested for a second just this term february. through his unparalleled career,
chancellor gates eliminates the meaning of judy and the 21st century. in his memoir he recalls the marks he gave upon -- they remarks he gave upon being reappointed and writes about his dedication to do what was necessary to protect the troops doesiven the equipment give them the acquit meant they needed to be successful in their missions and return home safely. as he writes, mindful that we are engaged into wards -- two wars and face other serious challenges at home and around the world and with a profound sense of personal responsibility to and for our men and women in uniform and their families, i they domy duty as theirs. how could i do otherwise? that call for duty has profound importance now at a moment when so many young adults in this country are hungry to be called into service.
as i know well from my time with students at william and mary, this is the generation that has our lead turned, dedicated to and dedicated to improving their communities, their workplaces, their businesses, and their world. as i have often said, the most important obligation of educators today is to teach the young people of this nation how to fulfill that call to their greatest capacity. chancellor gates recognizes the critical importance to our responsibility in this generation. he knows that their belief in democracy will be our country's most powerful asset if we cultivate it. we are so fortunate to have him as a teacher for this next generation to call them into leadership and public service , insight, andrity
compassion that he brings. please join me and recommend -- chancelloring channe robert gates. [applause] ♪ mr. gates: thank you for that overly generous introduction. it is a pleasure to be with all of you here at ym and mary on the campus. i have to tell you it is a pleasure to be anywhere but washington, d.c. we are here to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the creation of representative government in america. here to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of slaves on these
shores. the glory of representative government and the shameful together haveery shaped the history of our country. we spent more than two centuries making representative democracy more representative and eliminating slavery and overcoming its awful legacy. we have made dramatic progress in both endeavors but the paralysis in washington and signs of persistent racism demonstrates that for centuries after jamestown and 232 years after the constitution was has remained.s. very much a work in progress. so much that defines america first to read here in virginia along the banks of the james first representative assembly convened in the 30,stown church on july
1619 in response to instructions from virginia company to establish one equal in uniform government over all virginia and to provide just laws for the happy guiding and governing of there, the first assembly met from july 30 until august 4. and was comprised of the 22ernor, four counselors and chosen by the free white male inhabitants of every large plantation and town. getting the people's business done was often a matter of sheer survival. of course, that did not stop the earliest american politicians from behaving like politicians. richard burr kaiser wrote of jamestown, its leaders were always fighting.
the typical 17th-century account argues that everything would have gone well if everyone besides the author had not done wrong. of modern d.c.ot memoirs. a few weeks after that first assembly, the first africans arrived in tidewater. they were from angola, captured in wars between the portuguese , 350frican kingdoms africans were put on board a ship, the san juan batista bound for veracruz, mexico. the ship was attacked by english privateers who took 50 to 60 of the africans and they arrived not far from jamestown at the end of august 1619. by march 16 20, 32 africans were reported living in virginia. they would be the first of hundreds of thousands of african
.laves in british north america 170 years later in the first nearly 20% in 1790, of 4 million americans were african. roughly 800,000 slaves. from the first representative assembly 400 years ago elected by free white men to universal suffrage, has been a prolonged and tortuous path. during the colonial and waslutionary time, voting limited to property owners almost all of whom were white male protestants over 21. of americans were eligible to vote for george washington to does for president. only in 1856 did the last state abolished property ownership as a requirement to vote. the 14th amendment to the constitution in 1868 granted citizenship to former slaves in 1870.
to former slaves, and then the 15th amendment stated explicitly that the right to vote could not be denied by either the federal or state governments based on race. but african americans would have to wait another 95 years in many parts of the country until the act of 1965 or state level obstacles for voting to be removed. it took 301 years from that first assembly for women to be granted the right to vote. native americans would have to wait until 19 47 for that right. -- the right to vote. 333 years after pocahontas arried john. progress towards ensuring the representative government is truly representative of all of
the people has been agonizingly slow. and we know there are still various stratagems to suppress voter registration and turnout. the progress there has been an today virtually everyone 18 or older other than convicted felons who wants to vote can do o. after many long and painful struggles to expand voting rights, more is the pity so many choose not to exercise them. beset by rancor and division and later constitutional convention, the survival and progress of virginia and subsequently the united states would depend on finding ways to overcome differences. this balance, calibration of principle and compromise, was a feature of the early history of
the commonwealth of virginia, and the key of founding and success of our republic. bold and compelling statements of principle are found in documents in virginian's declare informedf rights, which america's declaration of independence and virginia's declaration of religious freedom, before the establishment clause of the first amendment. the principles behind these declarations are turned into structures of governance largely through deliberation and compromise. the virginia plan for example, a compromise sought to balance the interests of small and large states in a bicameral legislature. another critical compromise, the agreement to tolerate slavery
even though the slave trade would be thought prohibited in 1808. ithout that compromise the southern states would not have agreed to ratify the constitution, and there would've been no united states of america. with the compromise, a great wrong was embedded in our foundational document and the seeds of the civil war were own. the founders even many of the slave holders acknowledged slavery was an abomination, and antithetical to the declaration f independence, and most hoped it would disappear for economic reasons. for 80 years americans would live with the contradiction between the existence of slavery within its borders and the first principle of the declaration, that all men are created equal
and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. that contradiction was resolved only by the blood of more than 600,000 americans. i recount this history not for its own sake but because i believe in the example of the founding fathers standing on principle whenever they could, yet compromised when necessary to sustain the nation as important lessons for today. it is a lesson i am afraid to many of politicians today, members of the presented devs assemblies --have failed to understand in an era of zero-sum olitics. neutral respect, putting country before self, country before party, virtues that seem today to be historical relics, to be put on display at the mithsonian perhaps next to the sweater of mr. rogers.
after 400 years of representative government we recognize the nastiness in politics, that's nothing new, nor is the failure of our political system dealing with ssues that deeper divide the country. recently crises such as assassinations and vietnam, and contested presidential election have all convulsed the political system, but in each case, however painful, our governing institutions recovered equilibrium. what of the future of representative democracy? i believe we are in uncharted
territory when it comes to this dysfunction in our political system. with the polarizing trends in our culture, we have lost the ability to execute the basic functions of government, much less effectively address the most difficult problems they ing our country. the politicians in congress do make easy targets. george washington wrote of congress in terms that sound quite relevant to today, party disputes and personal quarrels are the great business of the day, while great and accumulated debt ruins finances were postponed from day-to-day as if our affairs were the most romising aspect.
james monroe wrote to jefferson in 17 80 five, the demote -- geordie of the u.s. and n an even more acerbic note, mark twain once labeled members of congress as america's only native criminal class. will rogers noted, i don't make jokes, i just watch the government and report the facts. our problems go much deeper than ndividual personalities. the predicament we are in today is a result of several structural changes over the last several decades. first, a highly gerrymandered system to create -- both democratic and republican, this means that in all but a few dozen congressional districts, the primaries are the real election, and that is making most elected representatives in both parties beholden to their parties most
hard-core base. second wave elections sweep one party into power after another, each seems with ideological zeal and the righteousness of its agenda, and then to make it difficult to sustain policies and programs or even foreign commitments consistently beyond one presidency or one ongress. this at a time when addressing our very real and very deep problems here at home will require continuity of effort over many years. thirdly, we are seeing the transformation of our political parties. to increasingly ideological movements or to stray from orthodoxy results in shunning or ex-communication, a transformation from pragmatic flexibility to political
conformity. we confront a phenomenon our founders fail to foresee, career politicians. many women who spent decades in political office and are determined to remain there until they die. there are too many men and women in congress for whom washington, d.c. has become their real home. men and women for whom staying in office is their primary goal and getting elected is more important than doing what's right for the country. the distinguish historian gordon would wrote in his book that the revolutionary leaders did not conceived conceived -- conceive of politics as a profession pretty quoted jefferson that in a virtuous government public offices are what they should be, burdens to those appointed, which it would be wrong to decline, though for seen to
bring with them intense labor and great loss. fifth, a 24-7, digital and cable now provides ant forum for a wide dissemination for the most extreme and vitriolic views leading to dumbing down of the national political dialogue. as a result the foundation of our clinical system is not holding. moderation is now equated with lacking principles, compromise means selling out. our entire system of epresentative government since july 30, 1619, has depended on compromise. not only is the constitution
itself a bundle of compromises, it creates a system of governance, checks and balances that can only work through compromise. critical ideas and progress in our history have come from thinkers and idealogs on both the left and right, but the laws and the policies that have implemented the best of those ideas have come from the vital political enter. at a time when this country, our democracy, needs more bipartisan strategies to deal with our most serious problems, most of the trends are pointing in the opposite direction. i entered public service 53 years ago next month. i worked for eight presidents and i've known many politicians over the last five decades. and i never met one who had a monopoly on revealed truth. at a time when our country faces
problems at home and abroad, we have too many leaders across the political spectrum whose egos are coupled with undersized backbones, people who think they have the right answers, to demonize those who think differently, and who refuse to listen and to take other points of view into account. despite all of the problems i have just described, strangely enough, i remain an optimist about the future of representative government and the future of the united states. i am so partly because of historical perspective, from the beginning we have periodically gone into a funk believing our best days are behind us that we have no worthy leaders. one of our most esteemed statesmen wrote, we have not been fit for the times, we are deficient in genius and verything, i feel anxiety.
that was john adams in 1774. in 1897 harper's weekly said it is a gloomy moment in the history of our country, not in the lifetime of most men have there have been so much grave and deep apprehension, never has the future seemed so uncertain as it done at this time. the political cauldron bubbles with uncertainty. it is a solemn moment for our troubles. o man can see the end. the historian james mcgregor burns who wrote in 1963, we are at a critical stage of a somber and a psych that seems to have gripped the public affairs of the nation, mired in government deadlock, we underestimate the extent to which our system was inaction.or
looking at the future from a different angle, we should also take some comfort from the fact that from the convening of that first assembly 400 years ago, american politics has been a contact sport and a fairly dirty one. ounding fathers we revered today tore each other apart and press and behind closed doors. ohn adams was called a hideous hermphroditical character who has neither the force and firmness of a man nor the sensibility of a woman. his sex life was fodder for gossip. our first treasury secretary alexander hamilton was killed in a duel following a dispute with the former vice president aaron burr. even george washington was not immune to to the critics, and he monarchical
aspirations. i am optimistic for other reasons, today more than any other time in the last four hundred years, all americans have the opportunity to participate in shaping our future. to put their shoulder to the wheel, to get america unstuck and moving forward together. our diversity has deep roots in pain and prejudice, from african slaves to the irish fleeing the otato famine, russian jews fleeing, chinese coming to build our railroads, vietnamese fleeing oppression, mexicans and others seeking opportunity and afety. others who have come here from every continent, country and island, and the founders adopted our motto, e pluribus unum, one out of many.
although they were referring to the 13 colonies becoming one country, the model applies think in a different way today. it captures the reality that people from many lands have come here over the past four centuries, some voluntarily, ome as slaves. today in order to survive as a country, it must be as when people, americans. e pluribus unum. i am optimistic because of young eople. as president of texas a&m, second day of defense under two wars, and national president of the boy scouts, i have some claim to interacting with more young people from every walk of life than almost anyone. they fill me with hope. they are involved in their
communities. they care about issues, willing to put their lives on the line for our country, and they are committed to building a better america. they have values. --they detest hypocrisy. they want integrity in our leaders. i am encouraged to see veterans of our wars being elected to ongress. they put on the uniform to serve their country when they are young, and i believe their sense of purpose will be a great asset for all of us. finally i am optimistic because even though we have a lot of work to do, we have the power to overcome our problems, just as our country has overcome hallenges in the past. but it will take embracing those attributes of the burgesses 400 years ago, a willingness to make tough decisions, realism to see the world as it is rather than as we would like it to be, the
inability to see and understand other points of view and the wisdom to calibrate principal and compromise for the greater good of the country to read it no country in the world is as openly self-critical as the united states. -- no other country has been -- as successful as performing itself. sometimes, at extraordinary cost of love and treasure. way andome a long extending representative government to make sure it .epresents all the people
america continues to be a work in progress, to ensure liberty for all.tunity the french nobel prize recipient anatole france once wrote took on this great things we must not only act also dream, not only plan but also believe. we must dream, believe, and we must act to realize the full potential of representative government, to achieve the aspiration of our founders to form a more perfect union and preserve what abraham lincoln called the last best hope of the earth. thank you. [applause]
♪ >> did someone say robert gates for president? our next topic focuses on one of the great challenges of any democracy, reconciling the principal of the majority role with protecting individual rights. the interest of those who constitute the minority as well as those who comprise the majority, how do we really ensure liberty and justice for all? here to lead our next path on exploring that is our moderator of the global private equity firm the carlyle group, please
welcome david rubenstein who will also bring out the panel and will introduce them. -- and we'll also bring out the panel and introduce them. >> thank you. this will be the best panel today, if you are wondering. make sure you pay attention to this because no panel will be better than this one. let me introduce the people we have on the panel before we
begin. on my immediately left, a graduate of dartmouth and harvard and she is now the professor at the history department at harvard. and she is also the winner of a genius award from macarthur foundation. she wrote a book on thomas jefferson which won the pulitzer prize and she is an author of many others as well, but one of the most regarded scholars in the area of thomas jefferson and slavery and other things relating to the beginning of our history and relating to legal history as well. annette, thank you very much for coming. on her left is congressman bobby scott. he has been a member of the congress for 25 years there he is not the chair of the education and labor committee. he previously served for about
15 years or so in the virginia house of delegates. he is a graduate of harvard and boston college of law. [applause] to his left is eric cantor, he served for 25 years in the virginia legislature and rose up to be the house majority leader is a graduate of george washington university and william and mary school of law. [applause] andrew car is a person you may remember serving as secretary of transportation under george h w bush and he has served as the acting dean at texas a&m and as president of prank them hears college where he now resides in -- thank you very much for coming. we were going to have opening statements but i thought they would be too boring and long, so i got rid of that. we will just go to questions and
try to make this a lively conversation about the majority rule and minority rights. obviously democracy, you can say it started more or less in ancient greece where they recognize the bayou of majority rule, but their gannett -- but figuring out how to protect minority rights is not easy. thomas jefferson wrote we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, but how could he have written that when he had 200 slaves, how could he have written that and what did he really mean? annette: i think he was born into a slave society that he was
used to. i think he meant that we were moving towards an ideal. jefferson believed in progress, but he was not at the place where he wanted to be on the subject, but he saw himself as a person of the enlightenment. he thought we were on a journey that with education and time that people would come to see the right and understand that slavery was wrong even though he did not at his particular moment have the will, whatever, to rid himself of the institution personally. i think he met all men are created equal in terms of their basic worth. obviously they are not all created equal in terms of their talent, but people should have equal dignity and that that was the sort of lesson that enlightenment that was supposed be teaching people. >> why didn't he say all men and women? >> because he thought of men and women together, including every particular person. he didn't think men and women were equal in their capacities, strength and so forth, but their
basic worth. >> if you could have dinner with him, what question would you really want to ask thomas jefferson? >> if he was going to make white men send their children back to africa. jefferson did not believe that -- most people in washington -- he never said anything about that, but addison, marshall, did not believe you could have a multiracial society, for the reason we are talking about now. i would ask him, given happened in virginia were so many people are not just slave owners, but people who have their families involved, would he make them go back to africa? >> i should've said you were the first african-american to be elected to congress since reconstruction in virginia, when he first got elected, when you
got there, did you say to yourself, how did i get here, or how did these other people get here? you impressed with the quality of numbers that you ran into in your first year? >> the joke is, when i first got here, i was wondering how could i have possibly got here and then after that six month, he was wondering how these other people got here. i had served in the legislature, so i knew the political presence, and i knew it is a great training ground. you could see a lot of the older members back then had a different attitude, different ability to work together, a lot more friendships, a lot less partisan. it was also at a time when there were concerted democrats and liberal republicans so you did not have the party divide that you had, so it was a different group.
it has become since then much more partisan and occult to work together. >> that they're behind majority rule is that it should protect minority rights, the way the house of representatives networks, the majority does not pay attention to the minority. republicans didn't pay attention to democrats, and democrats didn't pay attention to republicans. do you think there is any way that could be changed into teacher? >> a few years ago there was strategy from the republicans not to participate, and we had a health-care crisis and something needed to be done, and the staff people will tell you negotiations with the other side, they were always told
there was nothing you could put in this bill that would get support. so you had no vote in the house or the senate. when you have a crisis and have to deal with it, and the other side not participated, you have no choice but to go forward. today with the house being republican -- democrat and the republican center --senate, there is no purpose in developing a partisan bill, but if it is a partisan democratic bill it will not go anywhere in the senate. you have to try to work together today so that your legislation can work. >> when our founding fathers were creating the constitution, they did not think the average person was educated enough to vote for president of the united states, so they did not have a direct popular election. this electoral system can result in the majority not getting
elected to the president of the united states could do you think this system should be changed? >> first of all the college now is not a nation of representatives to make their individual choice. it is essentially the electoral college just reports the results and you have a state-by-state election rather than a popular vote. the first thing you need is a national rule, registration rules vary from state to state. qualifications for elections vary from state to state. you need a national elections. i think the discussion on be not whether there is a curiosity whether you can win one or you lose the other, a baseball team could score 10 runs in the first game, and then lose the world's
series. that is because the rules are set that you have to win games. the rules on electoral colleges, what kind of candidate would do better -- is this good or bad? when you have things that you want to consider in an electoral college, independent candidates can't do well because they have to do well all over the country. you don't have heard parties doing very well and so you have -- if you're going to have a straight popular vote where you have regional candidates all over the place,, will you require a majority vote or can somebody win with when people discuss this, they don't have
any discussion -- the president said that had it been a straight popular vote, he would have run a different campaign. he wouldn't have wasted his time in wisconsin. hey were that she would have been worried about alabama and mississippi. one thing that frustrates me is the discussion is just about radical curiosity about whether you can win one and lose the other. >> would you be in favor to change it? >> i would want a discussion first of all. you haven't said what happens to third-party candidates? whether you would have national rules? you just jump to let stewart without any analysis, i think that misses the point. >> you would like to have a study of it before the bill? >> and then know what you are doing before you do it. >> that's what congress does always, doesn't it? now you are in the business
world and the investment world. there are a lot of big egos in that world. are they bigger in that world or in congress? >> i would say there's equal opportunity there. i have seen them both now, and i would say in the commercial world and the private sector, there is sort of a you later on ego, and that is the search for profit. in the end, and returns, and that is your world and i live it every day, and in a way a business deal, it's all about trying to find winners on both sides. i am reminded of why this guy is so good because in the deliberative way that bobby scott goes about thinking of issues, i can tell you in congress there isn't a lot of ego because it is really about
power, about credit, not with somebody like bobby, but in the forces that work in congress. it is very difficult now to get away from just one way or the other, my way or the highway, so you don't have these separations of ego from the results. >> when you are first elected, you were in the minority? >> in them majority when i was first elected to congress. >> the point, why is that when republicans control congress, they say to the democrats, we don't care about your views. why not just kind of like have a more collaborative system where it is bipartisan? >> i looked to my left, andy card, when he was chief of staff, if you remember the 2011 election was fairly contested, it was the bush gore election, if i remember, nightly you would have them an already coming to the floor protesting until 911.
that was my first year in congress, and i recall the leadership that was expressed by the white house, president bush, and how we really did see a congress that came together for a while. as you say, now the rules in the house allow for if you have central majority, absolute power. hasn't now devolved in my way are the highway, and then we do not work together. are you asking, is it that way? yes. i think the issue is will it change. bobby talked about the fact that if you have a divided congress, you will either not do much or you get to a point where you are going to have to compromise. >> when you were in that
minority as well in the house, right? >> yes. >> you are also a minority, like me, you are jewish and there are not that many jewish republicans in the house. so were you a minority minority and why do you think there are so few jewish republicans there? >> we could have a whole panel on that. i think i will say one thing about being a virginian and being a religious minority if you will. it was maybe something that was meant to be that when -- my
first seat in the chamber of the house of delegates was right under the statue of religious freedom, that was carved into the granite behind my head. every single day i would come into the chamber and look at that. i always was in a minority in a minority. in fact i never served in the majority in the house of delegates. listen, you know that the american jewish community is one made largely, let's just say more recent immigrants, and the last century or so, and there is some mentality about where the democratic party i think that a lot better job at reaching out to the jewish community. it is much more liberal on the spectrum, to not be so conservative as i am, but i think now there is unfortunately just some solidifying of that, to my dismay. >> before we talk, andrew, about the issue we are supposed to
talk about, you are going to be remembered forever for a scene that is played over on television from time to time when 9-11 happened, you are with president bush in florida. >> in sarasota. >> you whispered in his ear that something had happened. what did you whisper in his or her and what were you thinking when you were first told about it? >> i will put things into context. when we arrived at the school, there was a buzz in the air. karl rove said anybody hear about this plane crash? we were in this classroom had been converted to the white house command center. the president was going to sit with second graders to see if it
was ready. i saw them lined up ready to come into school, all excited. i saw the press gathering getting ready to come in. i stepped into the holding room and i was standing right next to the president and the principal of the school when the navy captain, who was the acting national security advisor on the trip, came up to the president and said, it appears a small plane crashed into one of the towers at the world trade center. the principal and the president and i had the same reaction, that's horrible. the principal then open the door to the classroom and she and the present walked into the classroom. the door shut, and i'm standing there, and the captain comes up to me and says, sir it appears it was not a small twin engine
plane it was a commercial jetliner. my mind flashed to the fear that the passengers on the plane had. they had to know it was not gaining altitude. i don't know that -- i don't know why that's where i went trade then later the captain came up to me later and said another plane hit the other tower. i stood at the door and my mind flashed to three initials, ubl, bin laden. i knew about the attacks in 1992, and i performed a test that staff have to perform all the time, does the president need to know? that was an obvious test that passed, yes. i decided i was going to pass on the facts and make one editorial comment and i was going to do nothing to invite the president to have a conversation with me. i presumed he was sitting underneath a microphone.
i knew he was center stage of the classroom and that there was a press corps watching everything. i thought about what i would say and open the door to the classroom and as i stepped into the classroom, i came in from behind the president. he did not see me. the teacher was conducting a dialogue between the students and the president. i did not want to interrupt this dialogue. the press pool included ann compton, and she saw me enter from behind the president's back -- she looked at me and said and i responded [indiscernible] and she responded. then, the teacher told the
students to take out their books. they were going to read with the president. then i walked in and walked up behind the president and he did not see me coming, did not know i was there. i leaned down and whispered into his right ear, a second plane hit the second tower, america is under attack. that was all i said to him. i stood back from him so he could not ask me a question. he never turned around. i could see his head bobbing up and down. i paused. he did not get out of his chair. he did nothing to introduce fear to the second graders. he also did nothing to demonstrate fear to the media. i then went back to the holding room, and i could still see the president. i saw the students completely engrossed in their books,
oblivious to my comment to the president. i saw the press pool had all turned and were now talking to terry fleischer, not looking at the president. and i saw secretary ron page and the principal of the school in the white house staffer, and education expert, and they were asking, what's up? i then stepped into the holding room and the door shut behind me and the first thing i said was get the fbi director on the phone. he had only been director for 10 days, get a line open to the vice president in that situation room, and then i said go back and get on the plane. we will have to get out of here. to the secret service i said prepared to get the motorcade going.
i said the president will have to say something to these people, but we can not say anything that we do not know to be the truth. the president came in after about seven and a half minutes. the first thing he said was get the fbi director on the phone. i watch the president stepped up to his responsibility. i'm convinced he focused on his oath of office, preserve, protect and defend. that is what i believe -- that's when i believe he became president. i feel no here in raising this with you because we all promised that we would never forget. this is an iconic photograph. i am not iconic, but it defines a day, and i don't want you to remember the day because i whispered in the precedent here,
i want you to remember it because of what i said to the president, the world changed. 3000 people died that day, and many of them were heroes, civilians, and many of them were emts and responders, and that thousands or more joined the military because of what happened that day and many of them made sacrifices so we could be here today. everatever -- what happened to that fbi director. >> bob mueller? he went on to have a distinguished career. he will now be known for many more things than just the fact that he was director for 10 days when that happened. >> you worked for the
presidents, bush and reagan, and which one was the smarter? >> i think george h to view bush was probably the smartest most intelligent. >> who was the nicest? >> ronald reagan was the nicest. george bush was the nicest all the time. ronald reagan was a fabulous communicator, very inviting, a great understanding of how to make things simple that are very difficult. he could describe things well. he was a joy to work with. please understand people asked me frequently due to compare them, and i have to compare them in the context of who i was at the time. i was a young staffer for president reagan and working as special assistant to the president. my liaison with the governors was the primary job. ronald reagan had been a governor. and i was dealing with his friends. every time i saw him i felt as i
was going to see my grandfather. you know if you disagree with their grandfather, you usually don't tell them. george h w bush was kind of like my dad. i had a close relationship with him. i could not --i could tell him i disagreed with him, but then i felt guilty the entire day. and then the other bush was like my brother, and i could say what were you thinking? he would yell back, what were you thinking? we would have great conversations. the context was very different. george h w bush, truly the nicest. ronald reagan, the one who could translate very well. would make you feel comfortable. at making decisions and had the courage to make a decision and
did not wring his hands in the process. >> of the three, who was the best painter? >> george w. bush, loved winston churchill. winston churchill's bust was in the oval office. when he found out that winston churchill, after he left office, became a painter, i remember him saying, i think i'm going to become a painter. i remember thinking, right. you should want to buy one of his paintings or at least get him to donate one to a charity you can auction off. >> let me ask you about students out of harvard law school. a student from harvard law school occupied a dean's office for some time. why is it that students seem to not want to let certain speakers express their views on campuses when their views are not the ones that the majority of students actually have? >> some students feel that way.
this is a a rite of passage. i protested when i was a student. didn't you protest? >> i cannot remember that. >> that is unfortunate. permitting people from speaking is not the way to go. people see it as part of activism. youthful sense of passion about their conviction of ideals. that is under challenge. >> when slavery was prevalent in the united states, what were way people think that blacks were not the same species -- how could they justify slavery? >> you are white. you should tell me what they are thinking. [laughter] >> my people were not here then. >> they were thinking that africans were different. it started out with africans as heathens. people who were not christian. therefore, you could enslave people who were not christian. some of whom are captured in war. they were seen as different. that has been the problem.
as mr. gates was talking about, having the history of incorporating people who were seen as different as part of the community, part of democracy, part of the reason you go with majority rule. you think the majority cares about the minority. you can have friends and groups of people that you can have power over, but you do not exercise potent power over them because you care about them. the difficulty we have had is having a community, all americans thinking the children of other americans are their children, whatever color they are, whatever religion they are. having a community, all americans thinking the children that has been the difficulty in how you get this community together and at the same time, the majority not exact to much power over the minority. >> he won the pulitzer prize --
you won the pulitzer. for those have not read the book, what was thomas jefferson's attraction to sally hemmings? did she remind him of his wife? what was the nature of that relationship? >> we do not really know how these two people felt about each other. they never wrote about that. sally hemmings was the daughter of john wells. jefferson's wife was also the daughter of john wells. they were half-sisters. it is clear that he thought sally hemmings and her five siblings were different to him. he treated them differently than he treated the other enslaved people at monticello. he saw them through the prism of his feelings about his wife. they were marked different for the life at monticello. how they actually felt about each other, we do not know. this is something that went on -- >> how many years?
we have some 20,000 letters from thomas jefferson. does he ever mention her? >> only in passing. once he comes back from france, she disappears off the radar screen. that is a part of the thing about slavery that people do not think about. it is not just people making others work for nothing. it is the creation of tangled bloodlines that created a lot of complication for people in virginia and all over the south. >> some people say that thomas jefferson did not have a relationship with sally hemmings. they say it was his brother. what do you say to that? >> there is no evidence to that. other than that people do not want it to be jefferson. even if they are, these are still family members who are enslaved. that is the big part of the story. >> a lot of people would like to be a member of congress. people are running all the time. why do people want to be a member of congress when the compensation is so low. you have not increased
compensation for more than 10 years. you have 60 members of the house living in their offices because they cannot afford two homes. how do you do you deal with the problem yourself and what do members of congress say about it? wouldn't they like to have more compensation to justify the work they are doing? >> the problem emanates from the fact that members of congress are the only employees in the country that travel as part of their job and not get a per diem spending the night out of town. if there were a perdiem, if housing were reimbursed, you would not have the problem you have today. having to maintain two homes and the washington expenses -- there is a special deduction that members of congress get for housing expenses in washington. the special deduction is up to
$3000, which is about a month's worth. the rest is not even deductible. after-tax expenses, housing in washington. it makes the arithmetic problematic. i am single. i do not have the problem. if you are trying to have a family and somebody is in college, the arithmetic is very difficult. if you look at ever compensation levels, members of congress used to be paid the same as federal judges. they were connected. judicial salaries raised congressional salaries. you can figure out what judges ought to make. that is what you get. we delinked a few years ago as you have indicated, we refuse to even do living increases. judge salaries have gone up. they are now a third higher than the congressional salaries. judicial salaries are way under what they ought to be. it used to be a federal judge would make the same as a law
school dean at a modest law school. that is about $400,000 now. if you look at who you're picking for judges, somebody around 45 years old. they have been in the law firm firm for 25 years. somebody on a partner track. seeing what somebody in 20 years experience makes, that is half $1 million. the problem is, salaries for professionals are so far out of line, as jim webb would frequently comment, 30 or 40 years ago, a ceo would make 30 times in the average employee. now it is about 300 times. the salary differential is so far out of line. if we had compensation for housing, i think we could easily make do on the salaries we are getting. >> your former colleague is now in the business world. would you ever consider going into private equity or something
like that? >> i have saved money, -- i look at what i am doing is more fulfilling than making a lot of money. >> let me ask you a question. be very serious about it. when our country -- in 1776, we had 3 million people. half a million slaves. roughly two and a half million white people. you had one and a quarter million white christian males. out of that, you thomas jefferson, james madison, benjamin franklin, john adams, among others, alexander hamilton. now, we have 300 already million americans. where the thomas jefferson and, the benjamin franklin's, -- are they all in the investment world? where are these people? where the great leaders?
we used to have so few people. we had such great leaders. now, we do not. >> we always have had a relationship. i understand it is a hardship for members of congress when they are making $175,000 a year. you compare that to the median income in the u.s. it is significantly higher. that is part of the reason -- i cannot foresee it going up anytime soon. if you think about it, the vision of thomas jefferson, james madison, john adams -- it was really about -- especially with jefferson, somehow, that phrase citizen legislator connotes the vision -- we were not meant to make careers out of washington. your question about, when does one end and then go live under
the laws he or she passes? i think that is missing today. i always say -- i know that richmond has changed in a way since i have served there. there is this notion of a limited government because the legislative session is so limited in richmond. maybe that that would change. it certainly would change the fabric of congress to a great extent if the body would then assume some sense of limited power. again, i think we have a totally different context today about leadership. >> jefferson made a lot of money as president. he made a lot of money as president. >> doing what? >> being president. he got a salary being president. if he had saved that, he might not have been in -- he spent a lot of money entertaining people. that is the way he did politics. >> he died more or less broke.
>> he spent a lot of his own money entertaining in washington, having federalist and republicans come together at dinner parties. that was his form of diplomacy. it is a very different time. being a congressperson is in fact a job. it is a serious job. keeping tabs on all those kinds of things. it is not a gentlemen's occupation anymore. it is an actual job. people should be paid for their job. >> our founding fathers were worried about this. actually, james madison, when he wrote the amendments to the constitution that were required in order to get the constitution passed, not the least of which was the one talking about minority rights, our voices are free, our faith is free, our ability to assemble is free. we can petition the government
to address our grievances. a little known fact is that james madison wrote 12 amendments to the constitution. 10 were adopted. one lingered. it sat and sat and sat. it was submitted the same time the first amendment was sent to the states for ratification. it was not ratified until may of 1992. it is the 27th amendment to the constitution. it says congress shall not pass a pay raise without an intervening election. that is what our founding fathers thought about the pay. the reason that amendment was not ratified in the early days is that the legislatures did not want members of congress to ever get a salary increase after an election or before an election. eric, let me ask you this.
when you were in congress, you represented orange county. james madison's house was in orange county. if you had a chance to meet james madison, what would you want to ask him? >> it is a fascinating story. and talked about the will of -- andy talked about the bill of rights. madison came to that and promised to be for amending the document he had so much ownership over because he needed to get elected. he did not get elected in the new congress. it is a fascinating story about going out and understanding what is campaign plan was. those of us who have run for public office -- bobby can sympathize. it has now gotten very sophisticated. there is an overlay of digitalization. there are obviously these districts that have been drawn in a gerrymandered way. madison was the first victim of gerrymandering. when the legislature in virginia
decided -- the antifederalists decided they waited to keep them out and he lost the bid for the senate appointment -- when he went and ran and owing the district the way i do and how the district has changed, there is orange county, which is a very rural county outside of charlottesville. it was culpeper that was the anchor in his district. the story was told about how he went to play for those votes. he went into neighboring luisa, which was tiny. it was very energized by madison and had a much more and disproportionate turnout. to read about that, i would want to ask him about his strategy. today, to overlay what we do about campaigns, how we go based turnout.
how you go to get the independents in the middle to vote for you. >> for those who do not know the history, james madison was against a bill of rights under the constitutional convention. james madison said, we do not need a bill of rights because each state has its own constitutional bill of rights. in the end, he recognized you probably need a bill of rights. because he was in favor of the constitution being ratified by virginia and patrick henry was against it, patrick henry made certain the state legislature did not appoint madison to the senate. he had to run in a district that was gerrymandered. >> and, the discussion today about protecting minority rights and the right to freedom, right to assemble, it was the baptists he had to play to. it got into this whole discussion about the right to
assembly. it was his commitment to that group to get them on board with him and the pastors in the baptist community so he could gain elections. >> a recent supreme court case, you're talking about gerrymandering, gave a free license to partisan gerrymentoring. there was a suggestion that partisan gerrymandering could not be totally controlled. at some point, it gets so ridiculous, you're denying people a right. the supreme court said states have a free license on this. they can do whatever they want. whatever shenanigans are going on now may actually get worse. we have had a lot of comments about career politicians. being one, there is a view that the less you know, the better job you can do. there is something that comes with experience. you get to know your district. get to know the issues. get to become part of the debate.
if members of congress are in and out, and you see some of this in certain legislatures. the only people know what is going on is the executive branch and the lobbyists. i'm not sure that is a step forward. >> virginia used to be called the home of presidents. we had george washington, thomas jefferson, james munro, and others. why don't you guys run for president? >> with everybody running, -- >> it is not too late. >> you live in new hampshire. how has new hampshire been able to preserve being the first primary for so long? what is going to happen in to hampshire? >> the purest democratic state
-- and i am not talking democrat as a label. democracy as we know it. 400 legislatures in the state legislature in new hampshire. they get paid $100 a year. they have a hard time finding people to run. one out of every 20 citizens in new hampshire is involved in government somehow. local, state, -- it is the most democratically active state in the union. it prides itself on being the first primary for challengers to go through presidents of the united states. they like to say the road to the white house always goes through new hampshire. if it were not for being such a democratic state, lowercase d, candidates would not come to the edge would not come there. -- candidates would not come there. the secretary of state protects it at all costs. he is a democrat. does not make any difference. he is protecting the right of
new hampshire to vote first. he will continue to do it. it is a privilege to work there and live there. they do practice their democracy using all of the privileges they are given, especially the right to speak. they are very outspoken in new hampshire. politics is the dominant topic. it is the biggest stage in the world for about four weeks every four years. >> in your distinguished public life, who is the most impressive person you have ever met? >> george h w bush is at the top of my list. number two would be james a baker iii. number three would be former british prime minister tony blair. and margaret thatcher. those are the people. >> eric, who is the most impressive person you have met in congress or public life? >> some in here will remember his name.
when i was first elected to the house of delegates, i was young. >> still young. >> i just had a kid get married. i'm not so young anymore. i was 28 years old. in my first term. there was a democratic legislator from roanoke county, dickie kramer. he would have this country lawyer regime. there is no one i run into since. it could have been my stage in life that i was a kid in this process to see how he maneuvered at the time.
i believe he was leader at the time. just had the ability to affect an outcome and intimidate. he could be kind. it was pretty impressive. a very unlikely person. i saw him wheeled that progress. >> who is the most impressive person you met in public life. >> in the state senate, i worked with doug wilder and hunter andrews. if you're talking about skulduggery, it is those two. in the house of representatives, nancy pelosi because she can spot 218 votes from a mile away. she can keep this motley crew of democrats together under one tent other than anybody. if you want to be like somebody, it would be john warner. >> anybody you had as a student who went on to grief or fortune -- went on to great fame or fortune? is there somebody on the faculty with you that as may running for -- is maybe running for
president. >> maybe -- former colleague elizabeth warren. most impressive person i met in public life would be bernard jordan. i helped him write his memoirs. someone who is maddeningly always right. even if i disagree with them, five years later, i realize, he was right. >> the most impressive voice as well. >> a person who has such a wide range of experiences. that is why he can say this is what is going to happen. >> final question, are you optimistic about the future of the country? >> very optimistic. my daughter -- i see young people. my students, not the people who are protesting and stopping people from speaking, but are engaged in politics. they are active. jefferson had a real envy of new england because of that. this notion of participatory democracy. people getting involved. he wanted that for virginia.
that is what he thought the university would do, get people out. universal education system. i am optimistic. >> optimistic, pessimistic. >> i am optimistic about virginia. virginia legislators, when john warner was there and eric, we get along with ourselves better than any delegation. even massachusetts, all democrats. we get together on a bipartisan basis and work together better than anybody else. i have a great concern about some of the things going on now. i'm reminded of martin luther king. he said something to the effect of, this generation will have to answer not for the bad deeds of the bad people, but for the appalling violence of good people. people are being silent about some of the things that are going on now.
>> optimistic or pessimistic? >> i am optimistic. i spent a lot of time abroad. the admiration and respect other countries have for what we have, freedom. it comes down to what the discussion is about over these several days. it is about the construct of laws that we have that afford the individual rights. we are in countries -- even if it is in europe, much less in some of the autocratic countries in the middle east or asia, there is a huge amount of respect from business people the government people about what we are. i am very optimistic. >> i am optimistic because democracy is contagious. i want to make sure it continues to be contagious. it is only contagious if america leads the way. we have to infect others with our democracy. i do worry we do not have civil digital dialogue. our dialog is more civil than our tweets.
i worry about the social media aspects and the impact on our democracy because i want there to be free speech, but i want it to be reflecting -- i am going to say an invitation for participation rather than extermination. >> i want to thank all of you for a very interesting panel of conversation. thank you for paying attention. thank you. [applause] ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] camp in 2020an's coverage of the new hampshire democratic party convention. our live coverage is saturday at 9:00 a.m. eastern on c-span, online on c-span.org, or listen with the free c-span radio app.
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