tv The Contenders - 16 for 16 PBS October 25, 2016 8:00pm-9:01pm PDT
election 2016 on pbs - one. - what's wrong with my running for president of this country? - i almost resent, vice president bush, your patronizing attitude that you have to teach me about foreign policy. - ahh! - i'm doing this because i love you. - tomorrow night my name will go on nomination for presidency. - i will beat al gore like a drum. [cheers and applause] - i want my country back. [cheers and applause] - mr. president, you were elected to lead. you chose to follow. and now it's time for you to get out of the way. female announcer: "the contenders: 16 for '16" is made possible in part by the ford foundation,
working with visionaries on the front lines of social change worldwide; the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build measurably better lives; the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. - but let me help you, ms. ferraro. iran--we were held by a foreign government. - you see her face tightens up. - let me just say, first of all, that i almost resent, vice president bush, your patronizing attitude that you have to teach me about foreign policy. - the next vice president of the united states... [cheers and applause] - we didn't know if the rocket was gonna blow up on the pad or get all the way to jupiter, but none of us could resist the idea of lighting the match. - sarah palin. - who? [cheers and applause] [upbeat hip-hop music] ♪ - back in 1984, the selection of geraldine ferraro
as the first woman of a major u.s. party presidential ticket catapulted walter mondale's struggling campaign, taking it from dull to dazzling. sarah palin knows that same feeling. brought on to john mccain's 2008 campaign to add a little energy and excitement, she did just that. both women dealt with attacks that were not just political but personal. nevertheless, these two trailblazers were arguably the two most consequential vp picks in all of history. [upbeat funk music] ♪ - ladies and gentlemen of the convention, my name is geraldine ferraro. [cheers and applause] - geraldine ferraro was a congresswoman from queens, new york. she was feisty. she was outspoken. she was from the district
that archie bunker from tv lived in. it was that kind of in-your-face, tell it like it is, no holds barred-- she had a perfect new york queens accent. - my father was an immigrant. my grandparents, my mother's side, were very poor people. my great--my grandfather was a street cleaner in new york. and all of a sudden, his granddaughter-- not even his grandson, his granddaughter-- was going to be in a position to run for vice president of the united states. i mean, this country that they loved. - we got, for the first time, a woman running for one of the top two offices in this country. she was qualified. she was a lawyer. she was a former prosecutor. she was smart. she was proud of her sex, and she didn't back down. - geraldine ferraro had a background as a prosecutor. she started the special victims unit in new york. - everyone knows about these units now because of the popularity of the tv show "law & order."
- you're as guilty as he is, okay? you're gonna be charged with kidnap, assault... - she was olivia before olivia was olivia. but back then, to have a woman prosecuting these cases involving the most heinous crimes imaginable was, you know, unheard of. [lively music] ♪ - 1984 was a time of great cultural optimism in the united states. the country had gone through what at the time was the deepest recession we'd had since the great depression in 1981 and 1982. and now, it was in the middle of a great, rapid recovery from that recession. you had the triumph of the los angeles olympics in 1984. you had all kinds of corporate innovation, technological breakthroughs, going on in the computer industry, which added to that sense that it was, as the reagan campaign would say, "morning in america."
- there was a lot of passing of the torch, and, you know, in a sense, the passing of the torch from ibm to apple has some resonance with the passing of the torch from men to geraldine ferraro on the ticket. - i remember the apple ad. and, you know, it's the woman running as the olympian, and it was this symbol of american womanhood-- you know, the power of american women. - we shall prevail. - reagan had beat us in '80. carter and i ran against him. at one point, it was close, but we were defeated pretty handsomely. - vice president bush and i would like to have your continued support and cooperation in completing what we began three years ago. i am, therefore, announcing that i am a candidate and will seek reelection. - and then as i thought about running in '84, i was trying to come up with something more dramatic.
- walter mondale, back during that presidential campaign, was up against, you know, ronald reagan, who was incredibly popular. - so i will not make age an issue of this campaign. i am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience. [laughter] - by 1984, i believe the gender gap for reagan was something like 10 or 12 points, which means men liked him 10 or 12 points better than women liked him. and there was a real falloff there. and the democrats said, "let's do something about this." - the walter mondale campaign thought they needed some pizzazz-- something that really sort of injected passion and injected interest. - i looked around a lot, but i decided that if i could get a really strong woman who would be a good vice president, that might make a big difference in the elections. - i don't believe that the democratic party would have come up with this idea all on their own
if it hadn't been for pressure from women's groups. - there was a period of time at which-- during which fritz met with women representatives from around the country. he also invited out a whole bunch of us to talk to him about what our views were on the vice presidency-- went out to minnesota. but when all that was going on, i never really thought that it was gonna happen. i just kind of thought it was a nice thought that we would at least talk about opening doors of opportunity for women. but i never actually thought it would happen, and i certainly didn't think if it did, it was going to be me. - tip o'neill, the speaker of the house, called me and told me, "you should take geraldine. she's very good." and she filled in a lot of holes for me. we were losing with ethnic americans, and she was a good catholic. - why do i get the feeling that you really want to be the vice presidential candidate? - i have no idea. why, do i have a look on my face? - yeah, you look-- you look as thought you'd really like that more than anything else in the world.
- i don't know if i'd like it more than anything else in the world. i think you have to admit, barry, it's rather heady stuff. - it is indeed. - you know, the first woman to be on a national ticket. my goodness, the first... - i heard a lot of rumblings that there was going to be a woman, and so i started doing my research. and everyone i talked to said one name, and that one name was geraldine ferraro. - i was in san francisco. i was giving a speech-- going to give a speech, and i got a call from fritz, and fritz said, "i would like for you to be on the ticket. i would like for you to be my running mate." and i said to him, "i'm terribly honored," and of course i said yes. and then after i hung up, i kind of was in a state of shock, and one of my staff people from my congressional staff was outside of the office. and i opened the door, and i said, "guess what? we're making history." [chuckles] - she's smart. she's tough. she's got a lot of energy. and she will carry the fight in an impressive way to the republicans. - a year and a half ago in this chamber,
i announced my candidacy for president of the united states. [cheers and applause] and today, i'm delighted to announce that i will ask the democratic convention to nominate geraldine ferraro of new york to run with me for the white house. [cheers and applause] - the audacity of this selection of geraldine ferraro is very hard to appreciate today. keep in mind, 1984, there were 24 women in the entire united states congress-- 24. we already had women flying in space. we had women doing lots of things. but no woman had ever run for a major party ticket. - when you think about it, isn't that an anomaly that half of the nation's population have never been seriously considered for the vice presidency? it was an all-male show. - when he picked geraldine ferraro,
did you think that was a winning move? - obviously, i think ms. ferraro was a very qualified person, but i didn't have-- i didn't realize what kind of an impact it would have, pro or con. we were--at that point, we were in a pretty strong position. she wasn't gonna make up ten points, which is what our lead was. - fritz mondale knows that america's really back. and i'm honored to join him in this campaign for the future. thank you. [applause] - this is not identity politics where you're just gonna say, "well, i got a woman. vote for me." that was not it. i'm looking at a talented candidate who happened to be a woman. [applause] i give to you our choice-- your choice-- our next vice president of the united states, geraldine ferraro! [cheers and applause] - in my office, the abc news office, the newsroom off of the convention floor, one of the producers held a meeting,
and he said, "okay, guys, "give your floor passes to the women. it's their night." [upbeat jazz music] ♪ [cheers and applause] i don't think i've ever been in a place where the air was more electric, where the excitement was more palpable, where the feelings were so good. - the place could have floated to the moon, i think. everybody was so excited about it. - she could barely begin her speech because, "gerry! gerry! gerry!" crowd: gerry! gerry! gerry! gerry! gerry! gerry! - i was fascinated watching the audience. i mean, i was as taken by them as they were by me. when i looked at the floor, i mean--
i would say 80% to maybe 90% of the people on the floor were women. - finally the audience simmered down, and she was able to begin. - i stand before you... to proclaim tonight: america is the land where dreams can come true for all of us. [cheers and applause] people sensed it was historic. and so you'd look out, and you could see the people smiling. you also saw tears running down people's faces. tonight, the daughter of an immigrant from italy... has been chosen... [cheers and applause] has been chosen to run in the new land my father came to love. - she spoke about being the daughter of an italian immigrant-- the opportunities that she had in the united states of america
to pursue education. - if you work hard and play by the rules, you can earn your share of america's blessings. those are the beliefs i learned from my parents. and those are the values i taught my students as a teacher in the public schools of new york city. it isn't right that a woman should get paid 59¢ on the dollar for the same work as a man. [cheers and applause] - and the entire place erupted. at one point i saw betty friedan and bella abzug, who were not the best of friends. dancing in the aisles together. there was just such a sense of excitement and joy. and this was a feeling-- never mind politics as usual. never mind the nitty gritty of who deserves what. there was a feeling that this is something that now made everything possible.
- clearly, the democratic party is something that-- they used that message to focus on the audience that they wanted to attract: women, immigrants, essentially working-class and middle-class families. - i believed, the night she was nominated, that they had a chance to win the white house. i believed it because of the energy, because of the excitement, and because of the possibilities. i believed it the way everybody believes that when you're in the midst of something, and it's exciting, it could really happen. - i happened to be in the white house the afternoon that it was announced that geraldine ferraro was going to be the democratic pick for vice president, and people were concerned. there was the whole issue of the gender gap in those days, and it was believed that putting a woman on the ticket would really help mondale. - the public really reacted very powerfully. when we got ready to hit the road after the convention, all the polls were up dramatically.
and she was at the center of that new confidence that we built. [dramatic music] ♪ now comes the big test: the debate with her opponent, and none other than the big george bush. - the bush-ferraro debate, which was in philadelphia, was supposed to be her big moment to shine. - there's legitimate reason for the cia to be in existence, and that's to gather intelligence information for our security. but when i see the cia doing things like they're doing down in central america, supporting a covert war, no, i don't support that kind of activity. - ferraro didn't know a lot about foreign affairs, foreign policy. this had not been her thing. she was a quick study. but at one point in the debate, vice president bush said something like, "well, well, let me help you with that, mrs. ferraro." - i think i just heard mrs. ferraro say that she would do away with all covert action. - they could never wrap their minds around the fact
that ferraro was the name she went by. her husband's name was zaccaro. she was ms. ferraro if anything, nonetheless. - and if so, that has very serious ramifications, as the intelligence community knows. this is serious business. and sometimes, it's quiet support for a friend. uh, and so i'll leave that one there. but let me help you with the difference, ms. ferraro, between iran and the embassy in lebanon. - she went crazy. you could see--you can see her face tightens up, her eyes start to narrow... - let me just say, first of all, that i almost resent, vice president bush, your patronizing attitude that you have teach me about foreign policy. i've been a member of congress for six years. i was there when the embassy was held hostage in iran. and i have been there, and i have seen what has happened in the past several months-- 17 months-- with your administration. secondly, please don't categorize my answers either. leave the interpretation of my answers to the american people who are watching this debate.
- she went after him. she said, "you know, don't talk to me that way. "i've earned this as a national candidate, so don't ever get condescending with me again." and i think-- i think-- [laughs] i think he felt he'd been spanked. - i think that george herbert walker bush felt it was beneath him to be debating this woman. and, of course, the next day, he runs into a bunch of longshoremen in new jersey or somewhere and says, "hey, we kicked a little ass last night, didn't we?" well, come on. - did i win that debate? [cheers and applause] [dramatic music] ♪ - there was certainly a period of time when she was covered favorably. but then, that soon fell apart. and her marriage was scrutinized, her role as a mother was scrutinized, certainly her looks were scrutinized.
- as you start getting into the background and the life-- and we didn't have to do much of anything. it was all there. we knew she couldn't be a very viable factor, because just the scrutiny-- the scrutiny pulled her back and distracted the campaign. - the press, on an ongoing basis, comments on what geraldine ferraro is wearing and on her dress size. what is the last time that you've seen commentary on a presidential male and his suit size? there was also a controversy about whether ferraro should raise her hand holding mondale's hand or not-- whether that would be appropriate. - they didn't want the american public to get the wrong idea. it sounds absurd to be saying this in 2016, right? but that was the rule. - it's never just enough to be as good as a man in public life. and ask any woman who's run and has been elected-- you always have to be a little bit better to prove you're as good. - in the case of geraldine ferraro, you have a person who was attacked for her faith, you know-- her stance on abortion-- being a pro-choice woman,
being part of the democratic party, but also being a catholic, presented a real problem for her. - if congresswoman ferraro or anyone else states that abortion is not absolutely, categorically forbidden by the catholic church, then that's wrong. - as a devout catholic, does it trouble you that so many of the leaders of your church disagree with you, and do you think that you're being treated unfairly in any way by the catholic church? - [sighs] let me tell you that i did not come to my position on abortion very lightly. my personal feeling's that i would never have an abortion, but i was not quite sure if i were ever to become pregnant as a result of a rape--if i would be that self-righteous. that's my religious view. i will accept the teaching of the church, but i cannot impose my religious views on someone else. i truly take an oath as a public official to represent all the people in my district, not only the catholics. if there comes a time where i cannot practice my religion and do my job properly, i will resign my job.
- as a catholic who was pro-choice, geraldine ferraro faced very, very hostile demonstrations and crowds and probably more scrutiny than any other candidate might have, given those circumstances. and it also, i think, was a turning point to some extent in the coverage. we were at an event, and the opposition demonstrations had been particularly ugly that day. - during the new deal-- [indistinct shouting] - what about the unborn! what about the unborn, gerry? what about civil rights for them? - wait, wait, wait. just let me finish. let me finish, and i will meet with you afterwards. he obviously feels very strongly, and that's fine. let's meet afterwards, okay? - i concluded my piece that day by saying something to the effect of... ferraro said she believes she's been targeted in part because she's a woman. in other words, the first national candidate who can talk about abortion and use the word "i." lynn sherr, abc news, with the ferraro campaign.
the men on the desk at abc news went crazy. "you can't say that!" i said, "what did i say? "i'm not saying whether i am pro- or anti-choice. "i'm simply making the point, "finally, here is a candidate who is talking about abortion, "and she's a woman. "and the people that have abortions are women. and she used the first person singular." and they finally agreed, and the piece went through. but it was a first. [uplifting music] ♪ - one you get a nomination, the clock starts running for you to file your financial disclosure forms. and during that 30 days, people wanted to get my income tax returns, my husband's income tax returns. they wanted the financial disclosure. and my lawyers and accountants said, "we've got 30 days. "we're gonna take the full 30 days. "and we are going to look into each one of your--
"the things that you've reported, "all your past reportings-- "make sure everything is all right "before you go and release any of these forms and before you give a press conference on it." i didn't handle the 30 days well. - for the most part, i think ferraro did well with the scrutiny. there was, however, one terrible moment. one day she announces, "nope, "i'll be releasing mine, but my husband, john zaccaro, will not be releasing his." and we all said, "what do you mean, you're not releasing his?" and here is where she stumbled. - the reaction was, you know, "gerry, i'm not gonna tell you how to run the country. "don't tell me how to run my business. and at this point, no." so you people married to italian men, you know what it's like. - boom. all of the goodwill went away. all of the feelings that this was a woman fighting on our behalf-- this was a woman who was a feminist, this was a woman who stood her own ground-- totally went away. it was as dumb a response
as i've ever heard. and it hurt her very badly, because it turned her into a politician, and it turned her into a "wife," which was not the way she wanted to be seen. - i was not very comfortable before the national press. and if i were to look at some of the mistakes i made, dealing with the national press was probably the biggest. i just didn't know how to do it. i had never gotten attention like that. they were insatiable about getting information, and they were-- they didn't want to wait. i'm not gonna tell you that. i'm not giving a press conference at the airport, okay? - when will you be? - we'll decide. - people thought, "well, they're covering up something-- something bad." - when we were ready to release the financial disclosure forms, by that time, things were really getting almost out of hand. and so the way to do it was to have a press conference-- have everybody attend. [indistinct chatter] one at a time. one at a time. that conference was, at that time,
the longest press conference in the history of the country. there were over 200 reporters. there were not only national, but international reporters. and it lasted for over two hours. i don't mind answering any questions just as long as they're not redundant. there are two pieces to that. in queens county, we never... we had both agreed that full disclosure... i truly regret that this has been in the forefront for the past couple weeks. - as it turned out, everything got released. there was nothing wrong with her tax filings. and there was also nothing wrong, and-- despite all the innuendo with any of her husband, john zaccaro's, business dealings. but it hurt her very, very badly. - the newness that made many find her more exciting than her running mate and the factor that was supposed to energize the ticket to victory hasn't translated into votes. polls show the women's vote, which used to be with mondale, has reversed. more women now prefer the president. ferraro and her staff say the polls don't measure the depth of feeling that will turn out large numbers of women
on tuesday. - i don't think the polls are actually reflecting what's out there. i don't think they're reflecting the enthusiasm of the people, and i still think that women are an unknown element in this race. - if there is no hidden women's vote, it may mean that despite her popularity, she is, after all, only the vice presidential candidate. - it's not gerry ferraro they're voting for or against in this election. it's walter mondale or ronald reagan. - i think the country was ready in 1984 for a female vice president. but it wasn't ready to switch horses and dump the republicans when things seemed to be going quite well for the country. - it was a wipe-out. it was a total wipe-out. - at the end of the day, people don't vote for the vice presidential nominee. they vote for the person who's at the top of the ticket. and so unfortunately for walter mondale, it worked for a moment in time, and i think an incredibly important moment in time from a historical perspective, but it was certainly was not enough to give him what he needed to overcome ronald reagan.
- there is the map: blue for ronald reagan... - ferraro lifted the democratic ticket at a time when there was every reason to believe that in that '84 election, the democrats would just be humiliated. in the end, i think the mondale-ferraro ticket wasn't humiliated. it was defeated. - every victory are to be found the seeds of defeat, and in every defeat are to be found the seeds of victory. - i think her presence on the ticket really gave the democrats a credible argument that they'd made a step forward. - for two centuries, candidates have run for president. not one from a major party ever asked a woman to be his running mate till walter mondale. [cheers and applause] he opened a door which will never be closed again. that is a victory in which every american can be proud. - she actually lost her congressional seat. she wound up getting a post with the united nations in geneva working with human rights, which is something she cared deeply about. she wound up being a commentator for fox,
which she actually quite enjoyed doing. she was, of course, on the left every time. - it's going to be republicans versus democrats, and nobody is gonna be... - and she was diagnosed with a terrible illness. she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. she fought very courageously and very hard. it's a killer disease. and she died in 2011. - she took down the signs that said "men only" on the white house. and the sad thing was, it would take another 24 years-- sarah palin--to be on the ticket, vice president. - i think the campaign did make a difference in this country. i'm not talking about me. i'm talking about the candidacy of a woman. and we've got women in the traditional places from which candidates come. we've got women in the united states senate-- not enough, but i would like to see a woman running for the job of president. and i think that you can-- we can all look back to 1984 and say, "yeah, that's when it all started." [uplifting music]
- here's a little news flash: i'm going to washington to serve the people of this great country. - i was at the republican national convention. it got my attention. it got everyone's attention. - something happens to me, would she fill in as president? [dramatic music] ♪ - i will carry myself in this spirit as vice president of the united states. [cheers and applause] - sarah palin was someone in a moment in time with enormous potential-- enormous potential and enormous talent. but the tragedy of sarah palin is her not being able to grow beyond her limitations. [energetic music] ♪ - in 2008, mccain is the nominee. and he's looking at the general election, and it's gonna be challenging.
you've got this wonder candidate, barack obama. - iowa, i need you to stand up so that our children have the same chances somebody gave me. - he's super charismatic. the media is totally in the tank for him. so i think there was some depression inside the campaign of "wow, we've got to do something big." - friends, i've spent the last few months looking--looking for a running mate who can best help me shake up washington. - the mccain campaign knew they needed a jolt. the unpopularity of president bush was so severe that they couldn't get out from under it. - she's exactly who i need. she's exactly who this country needs to help me fight. - and they reached outside the normal calculus and way out to alaska. - the next vice president of the united states... [cheers and applause] [wind rustling] - sarah palin is a native of wasilla, alaska,
who from early on in her childhood is described as this very rambunctious and ambitious personality. she played on her high school basketball team and earned the nickname "sarah barracuda." - she was a working-class person paying her way through school. parents were teachers. husband worked up in the oil fields. had a family with all the problems that people have in families. - she loved to hunt. she is a lifetime member of the national rifle association. and later on, she does enter politics by running for mayor in a long-shot bid in her hometown of wasilla. - she did a lot of good for wasilla. she cut the budget. she assisted in bringing business to the area. she raised money to build a highway so that shops, stores could open up. - joining us tonight are the top three republican candidates for governor. - she basically took on the elites
in the republican party up there... - thank you, governor. ms. palin? - thank you. i see alaska on the cusp of great opportunity and great progress. - and beat 'em! got herself elected as governor. - why not alaska fueling the nation? why not alaska leading the world? these are perilous times in our world. [applause] - she had a record of success as governor, taking on some of the corrupt special interests in alaska and was extremely popular. - the state of the state is strong, with challenges ahead. so the foundation of our administrative decisions rests upon what i believe alaskans what. that's fiscal prudence in the use of public resources, saving for our future, and not burdening alaskans with new taxes to support any overgrowth of government. [applause] - sarah palin was seen as a reformer in alaska-- somebody who'd taken on the establishment,
who'd taken on both parties, who'd taken on the oil companies in alaska-- and so had a little bit of that independent, maverick brand that mccain so valued. - the decision was made that we ought to vet sarah palin. - when you think about, "what's the mccain campaign looking for?", it's looking for a narrative for the ticket but it's also need to find an attack dog that can go after our first viable major party ticket black candidate for president. and that's typically what campaigns use their vice presidential candidates for. - the next vice president of the united states... [cheers and applause] governor sarah palin of the great state of alaska. - a woman, for the first time on a republican ticket, who had taken on both parties, seemed like she fit the bill for them. - senator, i am honored to be chosen as your running mate. - sarah palin, you know, embodied the american dream.
the notion that you're only fit to serve if you're a graduate of harvard or yale, i disagree with. - i can't begin this great effort without honoring the achievements of geraldine ferraro in 1984, and, of course, senator hillary clinton. - there was a sense a lot of hillary supporters were not willing to support barack obama. - hillary left 18 million cracks in the highest, hardest glass ceiling in america. but it turns out the women of america aren't finished yet, and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all. [cheers and applause] - she was clearly a fresh, sexy, aggressive face within the republican party that was everything that john mccain needed. - my fellow americans... [cheers and applause] come join our cause.
- there was such an appetite from the consumers, from voters, for any tidbit about her. so from a journalistic perspective, it was like being in a candy store. - sarah is a straight shooter, right from the heart, and she will not miss. - palin, who was deeply socially conservative, particularly on the issue of abortion rights, was very popular. i was on the floor of that convention. and it--all the media's like, "oh, she wants to drill in alaska," or she wants to do, you know, energy stuff and that. no, on the floor of that convention, i was talking to delegate after delegate who said, "she is really pro-life." - i think america was absolutely ready for sarah palin, who stepped from that middle class, gun-toting, but successful world i think was not represented anywhere in american politics. - i will be honored to accept your nomination for vice president of the united states. [cheers and applause]
- when she gave her convention speech and she talked about hockey moms, that brought the house down. - you know, they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull-- lipstick. [laughter] - she performed. when she showed up on that stage with her winking and her "lipstick on a pit bull" and the whole deal, it's perfect. it's brilliant. - it was a way of trying to take her persona and have that translate to women voters. she was able to speak to life for the average woman who's raising a family. - and our family--it's two boys and three girls in between. and we were so blessed in april. todd and i welcomed our littlest one into the world, a perfectly beautiful baby boy named trig. [cheers and applause] sometimes even the greatest joys bring challenge. and children with special needs
inspire a very, very special love. - to have a child in a case where there were concerns-- i think people who are opposed to abortion found that an honorable choice and respected her for that. - before i become governor of the great state of alaska, i was mayor of my hometown. i guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities. [cheers and applause] - did you know that the teleprompter didn't work? - really? - and nobody has gotten her a clean copy of the speech. so she has to pull out of her purse a mashed-up copy on which she has marked the changes in the last version of the speech. there are glitches in it. so she has to make the transition between the teleprompters and the hard copy in front of her, and she gives one hell of a speech. - she was folksy. she was funny.
she was acerbic. she was tough. i thought, "wow, this woman is gonna get a lot of attention and may very well change the dynamics of the race. - hey, if i were a democrat right now, i would really be concerned. - it showed that she is everymom america but a true, proven leader, and we're very excited about it. - sarah! sarah! - what exactly is our opponent's plan? what does he actually seek to accomplish after he's done turning back the waters and healing the planet? - sarah palin's gonna have this unique ability to take on barack obama as an african-american candidate because of who she is-- a white woman that's just way less threatening than any white man. palin is probably gonna be able to get away with engaging attacks that from mccain would have looked,
at minimum, like loud dog whistles-- possibly even like overtly racial attacks. - did you see it the same way-- that the convention was a rousing success? - she was greeted with enormous enthusiasm, particularly by the conservative wing of the party. crowd: usa! usa! usa! - thank you so much. crowd: usa! usa! - wow. - she did exactly what needed to be done for a vice presidential candidate, and that was energize the republican base. - you're all joe the plumber and we're all in this together. so it doesn't like too many of you on november 4th will be supporting barack the wealth-spreader. [crowd boos] - it was absolutely astounding. she gets named, and she energized the campaign in a way that was like, "whoa!" drawing gigantic crowds. - two mavericks come together on a team to take on the tough challenges america faces: john mccain and sarah palin! - in that moment in time, you know, in that frozen moment,
we believe that this is working-- this is doing what we intended it to do. but we just didn't know until about three days after we picked her how manifestly unqualified she was. - her first engagements that were not scripted very quickly revealed to a lot of people that there was a problem, at least a potential problem, with this nomination. - do you agree with the bush doctrine? - in what respect, charlie? - i remember sarah palin being interviewed by charlie gibson. and his glasses were low on his nose, and he was looking at her as the patronizing professor, and her answers were awful. - no, the bush doctrine, enunciated september 2002, before the iraq war. - i believe that what president bush has attempted to do is rid this world of islamic extremism--
terrorists who are hell-bent on destroying our nation. there have been blunders along the way, though. there have been mistakes made. and with new leadership-- and that's the beauty of american elections, of course, and democracy-- is with new leadership comes opportunity to do things better. - the bush doctrine, as i understand it, is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense. - i don't agree with the bush doctrine. - and i don't know what that is. [laughter] - "saturday night live" probably did more damage with one routine than most of our-- you know, most of the political strategists and theorists ever could. - what insight into russian actions, particularly in the last couple of weeks, does the proximity of the state give you? - they're our next-door neighbors, and you can actually see russia from land here in alaska. - i believe that diplomacy should be the cornerstone of any foreign policy. - and i can see russia from my house. [laughter]
- the statements that tiny fey made as sarah palin are believed to be sarah palin's statements. so in this study, the public was believing that sarah palin said, "i can see russia from my house." when you get that kind of comedy, an actress looking like standing in for, pushing the perceptions of an individual, it's extremely powerful. - she just wasn't ready for primetime, and it reflected in the now-famous interview she did with katie couric. - i went in thinking this was a good opportunity to talk to a really interesting person, a newcomer on the national political stage and to help the american people learn more about her. - you know, i'm the new energy, the new face, the new ideas... - we were walking and talking, and i asked her... what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world? - i've read most of them, again, with a great appreciation
for the press, for the media.... - but, like, what ones specifically? i'm curious, that you-- - um, all of 'em, any of 'em. - somehow, she felt that i was asking her if people in alaska read. i just wanted to know, philosophically, what things shaped her point of view. can you name a few? - i have a-- i have a vast variety of sources where we get our news, too. - i think her answer was more just out of annoyance and aggravation at me. - do you think that that fundamentally disqualified her in a major way in the minds of a number of voters? - i think this was this swath of undecided swing voters who maybe saw that interview and thought, "whoa." maybe they not only questioned her experience but perhaps john mccain's judgment in choosing her. - if john mccain wins, this woman will be one 72-year-old's heartbeat away from being president of the united states. and if that doesn't scare the hell out of you, it should.
- i defend the choice of her by john mccain. she was extremely ill-served by her consultants. they threw her out into the melee of the national media without ever briefing her, without ever coaching her, and she was ill-prepared. - we had occasion to have our first conversation about the world. i began it by saying, "governor, "the next big hurdle for you "is gonna be the debate against joe biden, chairman of the senate foreign relations committee." and 20 minutes after beginning that conversation, i was asking for a map, and i was pointing out, "this is iraq and this is afghanistan. "these are the people who attacked us on 9/11. and no, saddam hussein had nothing to do with 9/11." and it went downhill from there. - i do look forward to thursday night and debating senator joe biden. [cheers and applause] i've never met him before, but i've been hearing about his senate speeches since i was in, like, second grade. [laughter] - they just didn't clearly understand the kinds of things she was gonna say
and the ways in which that would really cause people to run away from her. - welcome to the first and the only 2008 vice presidential debate. - nice to meet you. - it's my pleasure. - hey, can i call you joe? - you can call me joe. - okay, good, thanks. thank you. - we see biden in the vice presidential debate sort of struggling with, how friendly does he need to be? "how do i navigate taking on palin "without sounding condescending because of her gender?" - the surge principles that have worked in iraq need to be implemented in afghanistan. - the fact is that our commanding general in afghanistan said the surge principle in iraq will not work in afghanistan. not joe biden, our commanding general in afghanistan. - well, first, mcclellan did not say definitively that the surge principles would not work in afghanistan. certainly, accounting for different conditions
in that different country-- and conditions are certainly different. we have nato... - that was one of the most difficult debates in the sense that had i not won overwhelmingly, it would be like, "whoa," you know? there was a cartoon afterwards showing her jumping over a bar and laying on the mat, and it's this far off the ground. - the first and only vice presidential debate is over. and governor palin either does not have accurate information a lot of the time, or she doesn't care about it. she called the top general in afghanistan "mcclellan" and misstated general mckiernan's position on an afghanistan surge. - it's really difficult to get dropped into a presidential race without having some more experience than being the governor of a small state. it's like a baptism of fire. - it was obvious to me, and i imagine it must have been obvious to her-- is how glaringly unprepared she was. - a vice president has a really great job, because not only are they there to support the president's agenda,
but also, they're in charge of the united states senate, so if they want to, they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes. - so the vice president is not in charge of jack, governor, let alone in charge of the senate. [energetic music] ♪ - "i, john mccain, am the only one standing between the bloodthirsty al qaedas and you." [laughter] "but if i die, this stewardess can handle it." - well, you can critique whatever she said. you can critique her issue positions. but don't make the assumption that because she's an attractive woman, she's not very bright. - when a relatively young woman is nominated for vice president of the united states, we would like to think that we would look at her and say, "what is your record?" but of course our media and our politics starts to talk about, "how do you look?" - is being perceived as good-looking a helpful thing? - oh, sure, up to a point. but there also is the disadvantage.
in a society that has a good, serious challenge as regard to sexism, i think a woman gets it a little different. - one of the things that really sticks out in my mind is that there was a photograph of her two legs, and in between the two legs was a young male. it was such a good example of framing, if you will, of a candidate. - i don't remember a whole lot of people getting too wee-wee'd up about the photos that were run of me, including the young man that looked like they were looking at my legs or up my skirt, even. so i think that is still kind of a telltale sign of a little bit of sexism in our society that we really need to overcome. all: sarah palin's not our choice! - when push comes to shove, i think she was really being judged by her intellect and by her understanding of policy and the various positions she took. but, you know, listen, television's a visual medium. - so the hard evidence of the feminization of palin as a candidate is the very public discourse
that we end up with about her wardrobe. - on the night she addressed the republican convention, governor palin was dressed for success, sporting a $2,500 valentino blazer. - now we learned she's just spent $150,000 in campaign funds on clothes and accessories. doesn't this go against her campaign's whole "joe the plumber" vibe? - there were too many stories about what she was wearing. and there were too many stories about her hair. and there were too many stories about her family. at a certain point, that adds up, and you begin to be treated as someone who isn't serious. [dramatic music] ♪ [cheers and applause] - it is so nice to be back here in the sunshine state, and quite warm, which i love. and grabbed a jacket this morning to put on-- my own jacket. yes. [cheers and applause] - a "lord of the flies"-esque split seems to be forming.
- does governor palin really believe john mccain would be a good commander in chief, and if so, why is she already disobeying his commands? saturday, politico.com, quoting four sources close to palin saying she has decided to reject mccain's strategy and "go rogue." - this whole thing with the wardrobe, i-- you know, i try to just ignore it because it's so ridiculous... - but she was a person who rejected out of hand any offer to try to help her. - she's a bright person. what she didn't pass was commander-in-chief test. it was like, can you look at sarah palin, and really is this the person you want to be-- take over tomorrow, dealing with foreign policy and the rest? - there you see people jumping up and down applauding and yelling with joy that their man, barack obama, has been elected the 44th president of the united states. - she should be nowhere near the oval office. however, the reason that john mccain lost
the presidential election is not because of sarah palin. the economic news was horrific. the country was panicked. - and across the nation, home prices have dropped 19% from their peak. - a wave of panic on wall street. - another government bailout. - we put forth a plan that was big because we got a big problem. - the incumbent republican president's approval levels dropped to 26%, lower than richard nixon's on the day that he resigned. and that's the reason the country made the decision to elect barack obama the 44th president of the united states. - i think the mccain campaign made a miscalculation thinking because women were excited about hillary clinton, they would be equally excited about sarah palin. because let's face it. some women were excited about hillary clinton; some weren't. some women were excited about sarah palin; some weren't. we're not a monolithic voting bloc.
- did you know as soon as sarah palin was chosen that you guys were gonna win? - no. [stammering] i didn't, because i thought, ultimately, it would get down to whether or not john, who i respected a great deal, could communicate that he knew what to do and he knew how to do it. - just being very thankful to get to hustle back to my governor's office here and get to work as the governor. i tell you, this is the-- this is the best job in the world. - i think she is strategic and very smart in some very important ways, - our goal was to achieve a gas line project and more fair oil and gas valuation and ethics reform in four years. we did it in two. - but she has made questioning, curiosity, asking big theoretical questions, as troubling-- as worthy of derision. - over the past nine months, i've been accused of all sorts of frivolous ethics violations such as holding a fish in a photograph or wearing a jacket with a logo on it.
so that alaska may progress, i will not seek reelection as governor. - there is a lot about her track record that says sarah palin is really good at doing what's good for sarah palin. - she was very vulnerable to the glamour and the seductive nature of fame and the national political machine. - she had the potential to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. but in the years that have passed, she's much more interested in occupying a space in the galaxy of american celebrity. - welcome to "real american stories." i'm sarah palin. - i think that she wanted to be a reality show star. and thus she is. - i'd rather be out here being free. this is what life is all about. and on a really clear day, you can see russia from here-- almost.
legendary producer/writer norman lear. -comedy was our business. -you know what i like about you, archie? -what's that, maude? -nothing. -he changed the face of television... -"all in the family" was the greatest. -...by making us laugh and think. -we were engaging in reality. -we could tackle any subject. -"the jeffersons" represented the american dream for black people. -meet norman lear... -just another version of you. -...on "american masters" next, only on pbs. - he'd go into a room of five people or 5,000, and he could light up the room. - i want our political party to match a conservative mind with a compassionate heart. - peter jennings said, "al gore won florida." - let me get this straight-- you're retracting your concession? - you came here because you believe in what this country can be. - i went to work for barack obama for free because i believed in that guy. i knew exactly what he stood for. - we will respond with that timeless creed: yes, we can.
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