tv Capital News Today CSPAN April 7, 2010 11:00pm-2:00am EDT
of the first three chapters of the book have to deal with and the first chapter of this book is about madame curie. why are we talking about madame curie? mechem madame curie comes to the united states in the 1920's and the reason she comes is remember she had discovered radium, the radioactivity, the problem was she didn't patent it considers these american chemical producers making all of this money on a region and she can't even afford this much of it so that she could do her own research. so she talks to this publicist in the united states aimed missy maloney and she helps her up because what she does is start a campaign and all of these american women are going to raise money so that madame curie can have her reading them so i tell the story about this campaign. what is so funny about this, this little tiny campion says
everything about not just how american women are getting defined in the period but also help american science is getting defined because she comes to the united states and of course all of her american handlers have to try to deal with the contradiction that is madame curie. here is this one who is really good at science, the only person in the world who has to nobel prizes in science at a time but the problem is she's a woman and women are not supposed to be naturally good at science. so how do you talk about her in the american public? and the way that the american handlers deal with this is the suggest to americans, you see it in the newspapers, you see it in all of this discourse, the reason she is so good at science is not because she was selling its for science's stake like many do, it is her maternity that makes her good at science. the reason why she discovered radium was because she wanted to cure cancer for humanity.
century there are still pockets of engineering and physics that are not just very male but they are masculine in their culture. this is exactly the case in industrial engineering at the turn-of-the-century. the reason why i write about her, she is fascinating, a fascinating woman but the thing about her is she is one of the most subversive women in this book, because those really strange dichotomies between scienticity, domesticity, she completely turns them on their head or go i don't know that she does this knowingly or wittingly but she does because what she does is she defines science as something that can be done in domestic space and she defines domesticity is something that can be scientific. she turns all of these things on their head so i had to write about her and she does at 55 different ways to map. that is chapter 2. chapter 3 is looking at a group of women who we call computers at the harvard observatory at
the turn of the 20th century. these women have to deal with this paradox that comes with professionalization in a slightly different way. they are going to feel like the choice to be married with children and the choice to do science are completely mutually exclusive. you do one or you do the other and this was the case for a lot of nationals as they are professionalizing but you really see it with these women because all of these women choose to basically be married to that observatory. they don't have children, they don't get married but the problem is now that they have made that choice and are in that observatory, the way that they get talked about in the observatory is as these domestic housekeepers. the way that their science gets described as always in the sort of domestic and a force. these women are doing busy work. they liken it to sort of needlepoint or doing the dishes or something like this. now i have to say, this is a very important point to make. i've been talking in a sort of
extractions, talking about domesticity and discursively doing this and that and you might not understand how meaning in metaphor and language actually gets mapped out into the real-life real life experiences of these women but i am telling you the meaning that comes out of these metaphors has everything to do with the way we come to value women's scientific work and these women are spoken about as domestics and it is funny because i value domestic work and you guys might value domestic work but culturally it always brings women down a peg to talk about that in domestic terms. always, always always. just to give you a sense of this, let me ask you does anybody know who maria gephardt maher is? who is maria gephardt maher? she is a physicists. you know why she won the nobel prize? peschel orbit. the nucleus, exactly.
my husband who is a physicist, he knows now but he didn't know then, did you? [laughter] she went in 1963, she wins the nobel prize in physics. the way that we metaphorically speak of science, there is hard sciences like theoretical physics and fees with masculinity and then we have a soft scientists. this is the stuff that is squishy the women deal with. those are always sort of lower on the hierarchy. she is in one of those fields that is higher in the hierarchy because she is in theoretical physics but the interesting thing about it is that it's not the way the american press talks about it. and actually when i was going back and looking at all the clippings when she won the nobel prize in 1963, she actually won the nobel prize in physics with two other men. one guy is at princeton and then there is another guy named jensen who actually won it at the same time for the show orbit very but the thing was he
figured out independently. frankly he figured it out after she did, but she demure to come so the two of them get the nobel prize for this at the same time, and it is amazing because when the press talks about the show orbit. in johnson's hands it looks appropriately masculine. this is something to to do with atomic science and science that kills, and then you see it in her hands. totally different. so if you guys don't mind let me just read something. i have to find gephardt maher. is funny because normally when i'm reading about people in science you go to a one chapter period but this whole thing is about women so i have to sort of look around and find her. this is what i write about her when she went nobel prize. upon men's discoveries we hear of pats on the back or shelves of eureka, the end result of masculine contest in exploration. the terms with which the press
can-based e-mail discovery has have been no less stereotypical. sheet entrance over her radius and as a mother would stand over a sleeping child. 1963 journalists seized in language they claimed she used to describe her shelf very to her teenage daughter. i've yet to prove this anecdote is actually true that the press seized on it. think of couples waltzing around the room she allegedly told her. they spin is individual couples as they orbit the ballroom. some couples spend in one direction and some in the other just like the electrons that orbit the nucleus and everybody who is ever danced a fast waltzed knows it is easier to dance in one direction than in another. that is the way they describe the theory and her hands. it is funny because the other way it looks very masculine. this way looks dainty and in fact i would argue it doesn't even look like science. and i think that is the cultural intention, because what is going on here is for her to look like an appropriate woman and to
still be this competent scientist, she always has to be painted in the sort of glowing domestic shades. you cannot talk about her is confident and not as domestic at the same time because then she doesn't look appropriate. it is funny because i was looking at the press coverage of maria gephardt maher when i was doing the research and when she wins a prize in 1963 every single clipping said, dr. wigner, dr. johnson, mrs. joseph maher. she of course had it ph.d., please note that this is how she gets talked about. when she wins the nobel prize, and it is funny because the journalist felt compelled to tell everybody that went all the other physicists were in the room talking about science she took herself off to downtown stockholm to do a little christmas shopping because the worst that is what an appropriate woman would do. this is what this journalist says about her big night when she won the nobel prize. and professor maher a tiny shy
devoted wife and mother who speaks so softly she can barely be heard, science and femininity have achieved an astonishingly graceful union. less hundred 57 she received the highest honor that the man's world of atomic science can bestow. i would argue that is getting paid for the first time but that is not what they are talking about. on her spectacular night of triumph in stockholm and the glittering nobel medal became hers, maria saw everything through the starry eyes of romantic woman. it was a fairytale she says, the king of sweden gave me his arm after the ceremony and my husband joe looked enchanting in his white tie and tails. he had her of the trousers from her son peter. months later the magic still brings a special light to maria's bright blue eyes. it is funny because a year before this james watson wins the nobel prize in biology. no one talked about the glint in his beautiful blue eyes. it is amazing how you can't talk about them in the same way.
and then this is not the turn-of-the-century. this is 1963 and the reason why i am making a point of this is because this association with domesticity still stigmatizes women and science in the 21st century. it still does and this is why it to make a point throughout the entire book. list this doesn't make a lot of sense to people because we know women who are domestic. people who keep house and do this and that but it doesn't matter. and a woman, single, married, dead, a slob it doesn't matter. every woman falls under this rubric of domesticity as the discourse is getting produced so i just wanted to make that very clear why this is such a big deal and every time women in science, nobel caliber women in science gets talks in these terms it demotes science at this is how it gets talked about in american culture. getting back to this historical scheme i had in mind, that was
the first section of the book. the second section of the book is what i party describe. it is what i describe is the age of the heroic scientist. this is the occult at the atomic physicists. this is when science gets infused with its greatest prestige and this is of course because of world war ii. you get the rise of atomic science and you get the atom bomb and all of a sudden all the men that were working on the atom bomb are on the front covers of "newsweek" and time in every newspaper and have tons of cultural authority in this period. chapter 4 of this book is women of the manhattan project. i cannot tell you what this problem did when i came to write this chapter. you cannot find these women. i was looking for all of this great juicy archival evidence of these women. they are there and they are not just big players. they are women who literally were setting off the triggers at the trinity test site in new mexico. they are next to tell her, they are next to fare in a. all these guys my dad venerated,
they knew women and operated with him on a daily basis and i couldn't find good juicy article evidence about these women because the weird thing about it is these women themselves started to internalize this and visibility. they wouldn't talk about themselves in those terms so this is the problem. i had a very hard time finding them so i spent a lot of this chapter, chapter 4, sort of trying to diagnose this dearth of evidence and trying to diagnose this visibility. the very last moment historical moment, in this book is really looking at women scientists with the rise of the second wave of feminism. i don't think it is a coincidence that at the very same time women are starting to question gender roles we also start to see interesting epistemological ruptures going on in science itself. at the very same time you have people like betty for dan writing the feminine mystique and literally within the same year you have people like thomas
q. and who are starting to talk about science in terms of revolutions. he is starting to question the missions of the masculine scientists in all of these things are happening at the same time. this is when rachel carson is writing silent spring. this is not science as usual because first of august got an ethical posture and she doesn't apologize for it. she anthropomorphize is the nature she is writing about. this is a no-no in the period of masculine science but she is starting to do this this and all of a sudden people are starting to question not just the admissions of the scientist, but now they are saying this guy probably has a subjectivity he is bringing to the science. he is probably asking certain questions because he has got that subjectivity. so people are starting to question this. it is funny i have to say back in the 1950s, there was this fascinating study done by our great need and she and this other woman went around t all
of these high school students and they asked them, they said draw a scientist. in 1956 the vast majority people when nature the scientists, a lab coat, the spectacles and bearded. this is how the scientist was getting imagined in american culture. not so much so in the 60s. we start to see people, particularly with the rise of the sociology of scientific field. sociologists are saying all those things that were imagined to the 40s and 50s, this idea of the lone male maverick who sits by himself without anybody bothering him and he is hunkered down and comes up with these nobel theories. all of a sudden people are poking holes to that. all those nobel prize ears were done in a collaborative way and those culturally feminine traits, playing well with others, maybe a good thing in big science. all of a sudden what we start to see is that science itself, epistemologically is getting
culturally feminize. i don't want to overstate that but it is starting to happen. what we see in chapter 6 is that the women, i show sort of a generational perspective. i look at women who have come to the professional age right on the eve of the second wave of feminism and then i talk about women who start to get a feminist consciousness with the rise of radical feminism. i talk about rosalyn gallo. she comes into being right before the feminist turn and then i talk about people like evelyn fox keller who gets completely politicized and she is really radicalize. she starts to have a whole different idea about what her identity is as a scientist. i also talk about women after the feminist turn and what we find is these women are not only starting to see themselves differently but they are starting to accept that maybe they are bringing different methodological, different perspectives, they are bringing different questions to science, and this is all happening right
in the late 19th the 60s going to the 70s and you see this with these women i talk about pretty early with harper mcclintock. the one thing that are from oakland take's science was, it was a big no-no, was intuitive. what we start to see here is that maybe some people are looking at this and saying you know, maybe that is not a bad thing to bring to science. so that is chapter 6. chapter 7, this is the last chapter. i husband tells me this is the most interesting chapter. i don't know. these are women, there were three women in this chapter and this is the chapter, basically there is this paleontologist. he has these protéges who recalls his lady try mates. they are women climatologists and when they started in the field of climatology it was largely male. but then in the 1960s, 70s 80s and '90s it becomes
completely feminize. by 2000 they are 78% of climatology going to women. so i talk about these women who are fascinating, fascinating people in their own right. but what is so interesting about this chapter it is the last chapter of the book and i write it first. completely the first thing they that came to my mind and the reason why is because the one question that was in my mind first, when i first decided i was going to write this book, these women are very very thoughtful about responses to this question. i don't know if they knew that they were thoughtful about it if you can't look at their science in the way they lived their lives and not think that they weren't. this is the question. is there such a thing as a feminine or feminist science? and if there is, do we want to package it this way for women in the 21st century? this was the question that was always in my mind when i was writing this book.
i have got to tell you you cannot look at these women and not start to think about some responses to these questions. so i write about them last, so this order makes the whole thing backwards but i have to tell you the whole process was, it is funny i was having a glass of wine with carol birkin and carol birkin was also writing this awesome book about women. there were three different biographies of women in this book and women talk about her process. she was telling me that she came across these women because she found this little nugget of something in each of these women that was absolutely fascinating. didn't know what she wanted to do with the gap but she knew these were the women she was going to write about so she started exploring -- you got to know these women better and more intimately suddenly she started cc this larger metanarrative. she wasn't sure at first i want to tell a story of tragedy? she didn't know yet that she got
to know these women the packaging of the life story started to come to view. she was telling me this and you know i have got to say that sounds reasonable to me. i think that's probably how most biographers operate and yet for me the process was exact to the opposite. i completely knew the metanarrative. from day one i knew the overall story or was going to tell. i was going to look at women at this moment of professionalization and a moment of science that is masculine in mid century and all the epistemological changes in science and the second wave of feminism and see where one fell in that. i had this clarity of my mind of all the different gender dynamics i wanted to show. i knew i wanted to talk about nepotism policies and what this does for married women who try to do science in the 20th century. i knew i wanted to talk about the phenomenon of biological clocks in science. very very different than say it feels like mind.
in history the whole idea is you get better and better and wiser with age. you are supposed to get better and better like a fine wine. presumably. but of course presumably in physics very very different. there's this whole idea that you, the age in your 20s and 30s. that is when you do your best work. really everything is done by the time you are 40 and your support those 100 hour weeks and this is where you get your dig rain child idea. it happens in your 20s and 30s and then you win the nobel. of course this completely happens to coincide with the women's biological clocks. this is where the sabotage begins for women in physics. so i wanted to talk about that dynamic and i think the most important dynamic i wanted to talk about was the fact that science is so totally social. all these people break down, in the 40s and 50s they talk about science is the solitary
thing. he did not get what is going on with women if you do not see science as social and i wanted to find people that would literally tell the story of notches the sociology of science but you get to see literally the geography of the lab, social politics of the web. this is what i wrote the story of roslyn franklin. you get to see science as social and she is not part of that party this is why people are usurping her data. i knew the dynamics i wanted to talk about, knew the metanarrative, didn't know the people. had no idea who i wanted to write about so i had to go back and find the women that helped me tell the story in the most compelling way. totally backwards. i am just telling you this is exactly what happened. so that is pretty much the process. i guess if i could just tell you what i want you to leave with, i want you to understand this book is about the gendering of
science but told to these women who are fascinating in their own rights, hopefully got to tell a sob story. i think a lot of people say they were so many ways you can describe how to screw a woman. i don't need that. yes you have to tell that part of the story but ultimately i want people to be mindful of the way that science and culture is gendered and how we can reconceptualize this for the 21st century. anyone have any questions? [applause] thank you. >> juliet want to thank you for your presentation and i know you would like to answer questions but we would appreciate if questioners could come to the microphone for better audio quality. i will start by asking if you sent a copy of the book to lawrence summers? [laughter] >> i have not personally, no. i don't know about the press.
>> hello. >> hi, how are you. >> i'm great. i'm actually very happy to be here. i am actually one of those theoretical or nuclear physicists in a very masculine-- and i've been working in many groups where i was really the only woman, so. >> you know the plight. >> imagine the drawing of the figures. i think that is still valid. i get that i'll but. you'll look like a theoretical nuclear physicists and i'm asking like, how does a theoretical nuclear physicist woman you expect to look like a naked exact a what you are describing. >> those presumptions are not benign. they do impact your real-life. >> they do and i'm trying to actually make a point in my life of not falling into that trap and get out of bed and just be myself and embrace myself the way i am and just try to be a role model, because
unfortunately i don't have many role models. people in nuclear physics who are in higher positions. >> mentoring, mentoring mentoring and if you don't have the mentors this is the problem in the radical physics absolutely but we should let everyone no, this is what a physicist looks like. [laughter] i am so glad you came up to say that. >> i do have a question but i do want to say i am very much looking forward to reading her book because i'd think it is going to ring a totally fresh air, because you are not a scientist. and you are not inside of the same problems that we can talk about and feel victimized and feel mad and feel it is unfair, but i think i am really looking forward so i think it is going to be fresh air and inspiring for me.
my question is that, you mentioned it several times, focusing on the american way and do you find that elsewhere, let's say in european countries, this issue would be different, like if polish news would write about madame curie differently for all the issues? >> it is a good question and i've got to say it is sort of a little bit out of my realm of expertise but i can tell you there are different cultures particularly say in italy. a very different scientific culture for women. much more medical. i think i was telling you glory of that pierces wonderful prize winner. she actually wins the nobel prize for work she did with nerve growth factor here in the united united states at washington university in st. louis but even when she won the nobel she went back to italy because it is just a little more amenable. with that said any of the women
in this book, sort of speaking historically actually they come to the united states because they are having such a hard time in europe. [inaudible] so you know, marie gephardt mayor came to germany. she came here and didn't get paid for the first 25 years she worked as a physicist. the dirty cory, the same thing. she followed her husband from prague. a lot of people come from europe but with that said there are pockets of amenable spaces and there are certain institutes in europe that are very amenable to women. >> thank you for a wonderful presentation. i'm actually the science director at the local high school here in new york city and i also teach a research program. for the high school students, i would like to inform me that more than half of my class
compiles a female students of all races but my question i have for you is students i work with oftentimes i find that when you work with younger students they don't usually have the concept that science is only meant for one gender or the other however what i find myself combating are the parents, because i have a number of cases where the female students in oftentimes, i never encountered male students having this kind of issue. in the female students parents are demanding and questioning why is my daughter spending so much time in your class and inner laboratory? where is the male students i have never encountered this kind of question. instead they ask a different question, that is i don't want my son to study psychology because it is not hard science. >> that is the problem. >> i'm wondering if you could provide any type of insight or advice when i try to handle these cases and convince them that it is absolutely crucial to help your child realize their potential no matter what gender they are or what subject they
are pursuing. >> the reason why do you see it in the parent is because they have the punch already. these kids when they are younger we see this, test scores in math for girls and boys, fourth grade fifth grade, girls are doing a little bit that are at that stage and by middle school, it goes like this in high school and college, the pipeline starts to drip madly after that. i don't know if i have great advice but one thing i can tell you is some of the women in this book, they did things that little boys are supposed to do. they played with gadgets. they did all these things -- make they weren't the ones that were doing the tea party. they were putting things together and taking them apart, that sort of thing and the ones whose parents let them do it, i will give you an example, barbara mcclintock was one of those. and there is no doubt that we fall into these expectations of what we think girls and boys are supposed to do and it is funny because i have a daughter who i actually think is very science minded.
and i had teachers that call me and think that some of the stuff she does is a little inappropriate. so i know this still. i still get this and you know what? he does this to the poison in class too and they are not getting phonecalls. so there is no doubt that you are fighting a battle here but remind them that so many of these women who did do very well in science were the ones that did this antisocial behavior and they were sort of to themselves. all of these things that girls are not supposed to want to do, these are also very successful scientist. takes all types to make the world go around right. they just need to be a little bit more accepting of it. absolutely, yeah. >> high. i am another physicist here. >> another one, hey. they come out of the woodwork. >> i have never worn a red dress before so this is the perfect day.
i work in my office you no. >> you are hunkered down like you are supposed to be. >> my question is, i have many questions as i have fomented all this year and two my classes and everything, but i just wanted to see if you he could see any differences and different science branches like social sciences and natural sciences. it seems to me they are very different. it is much more normal if you are a social scientist for a woman and it is much more abnormal if you are a woman in natural science, especially physics. >> there is no doubt one of the reasons i talk about women is because i want you to see the variation in different disciplines. not just in numbers but in the culture as well. are you talking about differences in numbers or are you talking about some cultures being more amenable?
there has been a ton of research done about climatology and what it is that makes more women come to climatology and a lot of it has to do with the fact that you can use climatological arguments to make feminist arguments. a lot of women are drawn into the study of eggs so they can see things about human nature so this is drawn women and that the other thing to his is the strong tradition of women working in the fields is filled comfortable entering that space as they had seen it before. physics, very different story. one of the women write about evelyn fox keller, she is a grad student at harvard in the 50s. she leaves physics and goes into biology. very hostile. >> when i was a freshman. i did not stop there. i continued on with physics but i was thinking about changing. >> i can understand it. it is still there. >> i just wanted to be normal. i wanted to be a physicist but i
felt so a normal. i wanted to be a normal person. i did not want to get these weird questions like, why are you in physics? i don't want to see that change of pace when i say i am a physicist. everybody looks at me like i'm not a normal person. >> do you guys see what i'm saying that the problem is alive and well? it is funny because if you look at the statistics of numbers look great. there are tons of women entering science and it always has been in biology but the numbers look great even in physics. at mit there are lots of women walking around with the numbers don't tell the cultural story. that is why do you feel the way you feel because this is a cultural problem. >> i don't think any men heard the question like why are you here? wire to married? man, i think they never hear such a question.
i was like well, i might marry in the future. i'm just here to be a physicist. >> you have to question your normality because you want to be a physicist. i think some people think this is just some old to start a problem because it is in the history book and i really feel like this is a resident issue, and it is hard because i'm trying to-- but it is alive and well so i'm very glad you are sort of this living embodiment and i am sorry that you are living embodiment. >> actually like i friends, there are lots of examples you can find. i was at summer school and there was a girl from austria. i said, the restrooms-- a feminine issue again i guess that the restrooms are looking so old, like 150 years. i was surprised that the lady
next to me said well, be glad at least that they have a women's restroom. i said, what do you mean? she said i am the only woman in the whole institute so they don't have a restroom for women. i use the men's restroom. i was like, okay. you are from austria. >> out of bounds. thank you for sharing that. >> thank you for writing this book. i really feel, thank you. i was always thinking behind my mind that there should be such a rule. i was thinking about writing it myself but i'm a physicist. i know i can do at. >> thank you. >> high. >> you are painting a picture of a historical trend and the influence of the feminist movement into the science, but then i have difficulties in understanding the computer sciences for example which are very new, and they have
blossomed in the '90s especially but they are probably more masculine than i would say physics. how do you explain that? >> computer scientist science is this weird exception to a lot of the rules going on and people thought women should be getting traction in computer science and the funny thing is, as things that are generally newer, and newer field, women generally do better at them because they developed later. this is not been the case with computer science and i am not an expert on this. i know this is a very big issue. i'm a historian so i need a good 20 or 25 years of perspective but i think i do-- a lot of it has to do, is not a coincidence that if you look like the areas we congregate in it is usually the areas of science that are not paying that well. i don't know which came first, the chicken or the egg. in computer science, it is racy,
it pays well, there is lots of resources being pumped into it. i do think women will have their time in computer science but i think right now, lots of men have flocked and they are sort of getting first serving. i do think women are going to come in time. >> thanks. >> sure. >> i think that will conclude the questions. julie, thank you and i want to remind you all that you are invited to the reception in room 5406 where julie will sign copies of her book. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you. 's be our primetime p. booktv programming continues with mark halperin incheon high levin on their book, game change about the 2008 presidential campaign.
is here on c-span2 at 7:00 p.m. eastern. at 8:00 p.m. professor nell irvin painter on the book, the history of white people. and former assistant secretary of education diane ravage talks about the effects of testing on schools and students. her book is the death and life of the great american school system.
yorker editor at david remnick on his look, "the bridge" the life and rise of barack obama. he was interviewed for a little more than an hour at an event hosted by politics and prose bookstore. [applause] >> this is such a treat for me because david and i are old friends. we worked at "the washington post". you always knew when you wrote a
particularly delicious piece of copy because david would send little notes and i still remember that years later. this book was so wonderful to dive into. most people in this room have read much about barack obama. and every chapter you learn new things about him but you will also learn much about this country. when i first talked to you about this it wasn't clear that you were writing a biography so i want you to tell me a little bit as we begin david about the process, how you came to write this particular book. was at the book that you actually plan to write? >> i think it was a less ambitious book and maybe even more focused on the question of race and less biographical but it became clear and researched that the more it became a biography of full-blown, and i had fully expected 20 years from now, some new robert caro would
come along and write the six volume biography with all the requisite archives of the presidency and all the rest. that goes without saying. but in fact i saw you at the enough duration. it was a party for gwen ifill who had written a terrific book called the breakthrough about this generation for younger american politicians not just obama but cory booker and arthur davis and all the rest. and, it was just terminating in my mind. i did a piece called the joshua generation for "the new yorker," trying to get a handle on what had happened, which was an astonishing events just after the election, and started going to chicago as often as they could which meant we can send little bits of time here and there. i ever attempted writing a full-blown book while editing the magazine. it just became more and more and more interesting. the more i spoke to these old
acquaintances whether it was harvard law school, chicago, hawaii, all the obvious but. >> you do much to fill in-- i don't want to save langston to fill in spaces in his own book, because he is told us his own story but you learn much more in researching this book. did you find that it was difficult to get people to open up and talk to you about this? one thing that many of his friends and acquaintances have been guarded with historic. >> i didn't find it fantastically. what you get into the political class. once you get into the area people who are running campaigns and have present mature vendettas or reasons to stay quiet it becomes a trickier transaction. then the background and the quotes in the washington new york stuff comes into play but going to chicago and talking to former community organizers were particularly women who worked with him in community-- there
was no hesitation at all. it was fun. that is the kind of reporting i like best, the whole transaction off the record, on the record and all the gradations in between. it is tedious and also becomes very tricky in terms of whether you are being told the truth are being spun like a top. >> there are few people you meet along the way who really help us develop a much fuller picture and i want to begin in hawaii if we can because there was her friend of stanley dunn who you talk to extensively. >> stanley ann dunn was the mother, not a common name for a mother and his author wanted the name-- she eventually went by ann. his name was wait for it, stanley.
she decided to be an anthropologist and at a certain point. particularly in the area of it and the nation studies and javanese craftsman and the rest and she found an academic mentor at the university of hawaii who happen to be the granddaughter of john dewey. her name was alice dewey. you asked about the difference between his memoir and autobiography in this book. they are radically different. i think the memoir and autobiography is a story. it is the story we tell ourselves. they can be deeply research. i know you have been working on one. i think obama did research for his but it is a highly shaped thing, litter rarely shaped. he doesn't do the work of a reporter or a historian. he is doing personal work. literary work of self-understanding in and his book has no politics in it whatsoever. his logins when politics begins. is the book of the pre-political
plan. but to go back to hawaii, the other big missing piece or one of the larger missing pieces and autobiography is the mother of. it is called "dreams from my father" and it is about in any ways somebody trying to do battle with, learn about, reconcile with a ghost, a missing, utterly missing father who leads the household after infancy, in infancy, reappears for 10 days when obama is a kid and disappears again, and obama hears all kinds of stories about him the way kids do, but can't get his hands around him. that is the big drum of the book there are three big sections of the book. it is a highly structured young man's literary attempt and it is very good, but it is highly structured and each of these three big sections, he ends
weeping. one of the sections he is weeping at his father's grave. his mother comes off i thought, and maybe you disagree with me in the campaign and from the journalism as kind of flighty, certain kind of 60s character with a skirt and interested in left-leaning politics of international developing sort, kind of pathetically trying to help her african-american son understand being african-american by giving him mahalia jackson records are certain kinds of books. what could she do? in my view of him, in my research of it and in talking to obama's half-sister who spent even more time and many other people, she is an immensely interesting figure. >> and very complex. >> extremely complex. obama adores her and get us confused by her absences during
high school and probably suffers from them. he is being raised by his grandparents, not something everybody loves. i just found her to be an immensely richer character in life than she was in his autobiography. >> she was trying to help him deal with being an outsider in many ways and yet when she brings him to indonesia, they have to basically move out of the house. >> it is exactly right. she started doing research and java. they lived on an old palace grounds, and because there was a relation bear, the second husband had memorial relations, so they were allowed to live on palace grounds near jakarta. when obama, barack junior would make his occasional trips to java to join his mother on vacations, they had to move off the palace grounds, because it
was one thing to happen american and quite another to have an african-american. this is not a guy who suffered the slings and arrows in nightsticks of john lewis, but as ct vivian one of the greats there will be rights union said you were born in this country at any generation as african-american and you don't escape the suffering it also barack obama, what is the night he becomes an international figure, he comes in the summer of 2004 in boston. he gives a speech. he is a state senator. if you are in d.c. you don't have a state senator what you go in front of an audience and raise your hand if you know who your state senator is. six hands will go up and five of them are lying. [laughter] he was a state senator of promise and he is running for senate seat. he makes the speech that knocks everybody out. everybody knows who he is. he is on every national television show and radio show and in the newspapers and magazines.
his profile is here. he goes to logan airport this campaign manager, a white southerner and he is pulled aside for extra searching. that did not happen to jim cawley. colley says barack, what the hell? obama says, and i quote in the words their colley says, dude, not to worry. i have got it. this has been happening to me all my life so they are not the nightsticks of the moses generation. nobody is suggesting for a second that he didn't have access to elite institutions, occidental, colombia and harvard law school but he didn't escape that experience either. i don't care if he grew up in hawaii. even in hawaii which prides itself on multiculturalism except for one thing, all the black people are on military bases except for a couple of kids here and there. so it was a really difficult struggle for an. >> how does that inform his
personality, his outlook, his worldview? chris was a good friend of hers -- is often described the experience of living in america as a black man to experience something he attends to deep tissue muscle bruising. not the kind of thing you might be able to see but that kind of thing you feel, and make that makes itself present in the way that you might feel arthritis. what is there and it services and lets you know that it is there from time to time or go to the extent that he has that how does that inform? >> chris edley who is the dean of law school of berg weight and his non-obama for quite a while, and it is chris edley who once said race ain't rocket science. is much harder than rocket science. one of his friends at harvard law school practically from the first day of harvard law school was a woman named cassandra butts and cassandra butts worked with obama.
she describes obama as a translator because of his unique -- the way you have an interpreter when you go to a foreign country and that person becomes your lens, and because obama grew up in a multiplicity of of worlds in a way that most of us do not, he is able to do that in a political sense. he can go into an african-american church and claim a credibility there because he has spent, and he had to go achieve that. he didn't just walk through the door as a child. but he can go also to all kinds of other communities and translate that community to them , therefore the metaphor of the bridge is maybe not found. is not just a historical one but obama himself acts as a bridge. again, i don't want to dive too deep into the dew of psychohistory. it is a dangerous than muddy and inconsequential place but there
is no doubt that people's backgrounds and their associations in the way they grew up and away they were educated in and the historical moment they are in affects who they are and that affects their presidency. i'm not suggesting for a second that he is thinking about race when he is in the situation room talking about iran or afghanistan. but it has its effects both politically, personally and intellectually and otherwise. >> there was a meeting, several meetings actually in the lead up to his decision to run for president where he was surrounded by friends and advisers. in my particular meeting he talks about what it would mean to run for black america and he talks about how he would, he would envision what that moment would feel like for young people to wake up the morning after the election and realize, i wasn't was in trimming the night before. the united states just elected a black man to the presidency. he thought about that and
articulated and talked about that. do you get the sense that he also was thinking about what that moment would be for white america? particularly for various segments that might be resistant to that? >> i don't want to be glib but would is the difference? african-american history is american history. there is no american history free of african-americans. african-americans were here a lot earlier than my relatives who had have been around for generations. there is no american culture without african-american culture where they are just music, literature etc. this is just too we are. so it affects all of us, and you were seeing the difficult side of it now. you are seeing. >> that is what i'm asking about though, was he thinking about some of that element? >> whether he got elected or not, you see in the tea party and i'm not suggesting for a second that everybody in the tea party movement is racist or the majority or even remotely majority.
there are real economic concerns that bubble up and it caused this throughout american history, these kinds of movements happen. but at the far end of it, you have seen and heard some pretty ugly things that it can't be by coincidence that the nature of these ugly things are this combustion of economic uncertainty and anxiety and an african-american president and it creates a kind of certain vocabulary and a certain kind of outrage. we saw a phone message left on john lewis of all people, a phone message left on his machine. again i don't want to suggest for a second that one phone message paints an entire movement as racist. that would be outrageous. but there is clearly, clearly some small part of the country that uses terms like we want our country back. now, what does that mean?
that there is a kind of nostalgia for an imagined lost valhalla of a time when the president, like barack obama is inconceivable in part. 's b-day but i want to reach back to those early years because upon reading the book, some of you haven't purchased the book so we don't want to give too much away. buy one for your friends if you want. upon reading the book barack obama comes across as someone who is eight deeply ambitious man and was a deeply ambitious young man and actually was a deeply ambitious child and actually talked about the presidency much earlier than many of us no. >> i think i was kid talk. i think it is probably not apparent in the room who hasn't told his kids or should have told his or her kid that you
could grow up to be anything. >> but when he was running for congress. >> when he ran for congress he got so-- beat so bad that he almost never went back into politics. he gets serious about himself in terms of ambition when he not only gets into the harvard law school but he becomes president of the harvard law review. that is when you begin to tell yourself that you are possessed of a healthy or in large story been than angkor gee, that not only am i in this unique place, the birthplace of the supreme court justices and senators and so on, but i am now the best of the best and in his case because the first african-american president of the harvard law review the next morning it is in the times and on the wires at all over the media. wow. so even when he is running for small potatoes offices, there is
an enlarged sense of where this could all go. the problem is he shows up in chicago and even though that has given him anything chicago doesn't immediately throw open its arms to him politically and say you want to be the mayor comet is yours. he had to contend with the fact that there was no way he is going to be mayor because the guy he would have run against and waited to leave, he is still in office now. [laughter] and he ran, and his acts of writing more acts of impiety. he ran for the state senate in 96, thanks-- thanks to a sex scandal. she lost a net and ran back and try to get back in that race and wanted obama to step aside. obama wouldn't do it and when she tried to get the signatures on the ballot he got her thrown off the ballot. speedy cleared the field. speedy cleared the field. he ran unopposed on the democratic side and as you know from chicago all it takes, the
republican side might as well be spartacus. he ran for congress, and unbelievable act of piety and ran against former black panther and very popular congressman, maybe not the greatest congressman but certainly a popular one, bobby rush. and he was defeated soundly not only because bobby's son was killed in an act of violence violence in the street a couple of weeks after the race began and then his father died. but also because he had, he didn't have the routes that bobby rashad, and bobby rush's campaign and another opponent put it out on the street that iraq, who is barack obama they asked. those questions did not begin with sarah palin and john mccain. who is barack obama? they began much earlier. who is barack obama? he is not one of us. he is a white other.
he is from hawaii. he is backed by the university of chicago, highly controversial institution on the southside especially for black folks and also his money is coming from white people, from jewish. it got really really ugly and he got beat so bad that certainly michelle obama was not eager to repeat the experience. and really almost left politics for a life of a little of this, little of that, writing, teaching and maybe running a foundation. he was that close. >> people who are successful often say this because they have failed if they learned the proper lessons. what did he learn from that and how was he able to move forward? >> he is not a bobby rush. he learned he is not a guy who is going to succeed by trying to out bobby rush bobby rush. he starts to go on trips throughout the state. collar counties, the suburbs around chicago.
he starts going south into the state with an old political hand from the state legislature named dan shulman and he has been visiting and he starts to see that white people at vfw's in the southern counties, who are culturally may be closer to the southern states that they are a lot closer to then chicago, aren't dismissing me. i'm getting a friendly reception here. i translate, and so when he decides to run for senate, it is not as if he wins the southern part of the state but he does alright and he does very well clearly in liberal suburbs like evan sent. he sweeps the black vote, and he gets a little lucky. he gets a little lucky, wait for it, to more sex scandals. as you remember blair hull who was certainly the richest candidate if not the most skilled, goes down in flames
with his divorce records and they are not an edifying spectacle. [laughter] .. gone off to fund a really good school on the south side, he has now done well and now he's going to do good and very handsome. and his divorce records are open to and they involved a french sex club and, you know, we are on c-span so we don't want to go too far but they are not an edifying spectacle. and barack -- barack obama and sap running against alan keyes, the most sacrificial of sacrificial. [laughter] so i think the first time barack obama is an a really competitive race in his whole life besides the harvard law school presidency is the iowa caucuses against hillary clinton. >> but he has -- we are going to get to the iowa caucus in a moment but i want to reach back before we get there in his biography.
you are lucky in life if you get one really good mentor who will put their hands on your shoulders and give you advice and tell you the kind of things that you may not even want to hear. when the fairy godmother started passing out mentorship or good mentors she was abundantly blessed. judson miner, emil jones, i could go on and on. >> larry tribe, martha minow, newton minow. it is a very long list. >> how does this happen? did they choose him or in some ways did he find his own mentors? >> there are certain young people. i remember kate boo wrote a piece about elbe or a long time ago, and she wrote that eldora is the older person's idea of a younger person. [laughter] and barack obama was more much more than the other students at
harvard law. he was more pleased. he wasn't sort of feverish and his ambition. he was the most overused word in the world about obama come he was cooler about it. and he is also smart and laurence tribe was attracted to him and made him a research assistant. before that, when he was a -- and this may be the most important mentor of all and certainly somebody who's been unbelievable amounts of time with him when he was a community organizer he was hired by a guy named cherry kelman from new york who converted to catholicism who is working with all of these catholic parishes and other churches throughout the south side and he desperately, desperately needed a black organizer. it was three hard for him to for obvious reasons march into these black churches and expect everybody to drop before him and do what he wanted in terms of community organizer. and he found this skinny kid who
had applied after reading an ad in the new york public library, and little tiny newspaper called community jobs and jerry kelman really was his coach, his teacher in the place where he finds -- and he's not responsible for everything because jeremiah wright is also very important in this. it's the place and the time where he finds seriousness, a sense of idealism, the sense of community, and sense of home. jakarta and indonesia, that wasn't home. that was a sojourner. even hawaii to some extent, he wasn't going back there. there's nothing for him there. what's he going to be? the congressman from honolulu? that was not going to happen. south side chicago -- not just chicago, south side of chicago -- was home. he found a church there which was important, and chair meijer by is and the central figure in that early time frame. >> and he found michelle obama.
>> he did an internship at a law firm firm and there was michelle obama who preceded him. she was the same age but because he had been an organizer they were not together at harvard. and he was knocked out by her. she, not so fast. [laughter] >> and she's an interesting character because she keeps him grounded when the world is going crazy and the world seems to rise up and greet him wherever he goes. she is always saying things like i hope at some point he does something to earn all these accolades. which sounds -- as you describe it is part of the chemistry and the relationship. >> the schtick is that she is the observer and the one
puncturing his lot in considerable self regard at certain times. [laughter] but in the end, all along the way she is very reluctant about electoral politics. i mean, she came from a family and from a city where the view of electoral politics is the daily. greg triumph of harold washington, they were excited about that as everybody was in the community, but very weary of electoral politics and the whole idea of running for the state senate and she was right he gets to the senate, the black caucus can't stand him. the work is boring, he is bored, he finds it trivial. he has a very low boredom threshold, which also speaks to a certain ego as well as intellect but also ego and then he runs for congress and gets creamed and she says enough is enough. we can do well and good at the
same time. we've got all these loans. enough is enough and he has to give it one more shot and he wins the senate seat. >> she is as committed to community service as he is. >> but in a different way. she played that out as a professional woman in chicago with the hospital and the rest, but electoral politics i think is something that she came far less willing and obama himself pursued it really hard. >> what explains his restlessness? >> well, again, i want to be careful of this psychoanalytical couch. but there's a lot of his character that's created -- and he said so himself so there's no reason not to indulge -- did is deliberately and counter distinction to the father. once he actually learned about his father's career he reacts to it. his father thought that he was going to be at the very pinnacle
of postcolonial kenyan politics. he was quick to go on this airlift as a young man to the university of hawaii, get the education he could get in the united states. he then went to harvard and got a higher degree in economics and he thought he was going to be back in a nairobi in the circle of kenya and all the rest and he was going to have an extremely powerful voice. somebody on the left spectrum of the kenyan politics. and it just all went south. politics didn't work out, it was a long story. politics didn't work out as he thought. he was extremely erratic in his personal life. he's a terrible husband and not a very good father at all. at one point, it's even one of his children who now lives in china has said that obama senior beat one of the wives and he becomes a terrible drinker and the life ins with him drinking
and cracking open a car and a daunting. this is the erratic life that obama simply would not stand for in his own life, barack, jr.. so i think this kind of meticulousness, the reserve, the careful less he describes -- this is not me psychoanalyzing him -- he describes at least in some part a reaction to this erratic father. >> how did people misinterpret or underestimate him when he first began that presidential run? and let's consider the first primary in iowa. >> in iowa. well, remember there are very few black people in iowa last time i was there. [laughter] why did he win on iwo? well, i think two big factors, a lot of complexity goes into this. you run for this tiny caucus for
forever. two things were important, and let's leave aside hillary clinton's own a campaign problems and it's a sickness in that campaign and all their miscalculations. barack and organization. barack an organization. real discipline and a kind of innovative organization, and barack has something to separate himself and capture left-leaning democratic party faithfully in iowa. very different from the victory in south carolina which to me is an incredibly interesting drama. but once he wins iowa people wake up. who is this guy? he beat hillary clinton. and suddenly they are on an almost equal playing field and everything is gangbusters after that. >> i'm wondering if one of the things people didn't fully realize was the importance of community organizing and what he
learned from the brief period of time she spent as a community organizer and how he applied that to his candidacy, and i guess how he might even apply that to now how he operates in the white house. >> i think he's constantly using the metaphor of community organizing certainly in the campaign, less so now, but in the campaign as the metaphor for how he imagined he would be a politician. when he ran for the state senate yesterday giving his first interviews to the chicago reader and the tribune he would talk about all i imagine a politician as a come emt organizer in office and so on, so forth. but the truth is, you know, we learned a what about the life of smolinski and obama was not his style of organizer. he was about a confrontational and rough figure as you could imagine, very much of his time. obama was not that although community organizing as such in
chicago is associated with the legacy. so i think community organizing gave more to barack obama than barack obama could give to the community organizing in that short period of time. he had modest accomplishments, this victory that eventually came to pass. the set up a job recruiting center that collapsed under its own wheat after a while. there is just not much and i think part of what he learned is the frustration and limitation of community organizing, that he looked around and he looked at harold washington's unfulfilled promise. here's somebody that spends his entire first term completely embroiled in a battle with the city council. he gets to a second term he's going to get better and donner is at his desk and cleaves behind not the kind of political legacy of organization that he could have or should have. obama was as he is leaving heading to law school he realizes or thinks to himself and says in these round-table
discussions he has that you can dig up if you're so inclined or you can find in this book she says i've discovered in order to make change at any level despite the corruption's and hypocrisies and involvement of money you have to get elected to things so off he goes to the harvard law school to get the tools to get elected to things. >> and his friend who actually once worked for a meal jones who went to work for him realizes after he loses to bobby rush the politics really is in his blood. he describes it almost as an addiction. >> he does. this is a guy named stan showman who was a former journalist in springfield and worked for a meal jones and then kind of kicking and screaming at of meal jones's direction said to him,
amile is the head of the state senate, very powerful state politician. and a classic party regular type. this is not an innovative joshua generation. this is an old-style dealmaking and he says to dan showman whose white by the way could you please show him around because he is getting a little lost. he's not coming off well. some of his colleagues think of him you've heard before professorial and distant and maybe a feet in all these things he had a hard time with when he would first enter springfield and so he helps them out and gives him his kind of illinois education. >> we are going to bring all of you into the conversation that just a few more questions. one of the things interesting exercise is to look at the early writings or the early speeches of presidents and in this case barack obama left a particular gift with the columns in the
south side and one in particular which is the column he wrote after 9/11 which is so revealing in his world view and his view of america but a confidence expressed at that time when many people sort of have an instinctive reached word patriotism. >> michele is referring to a column as more or less steady column obama would write for the hyde park paper, the local paper in the herald, and most of the columns were here's why i am for a health care program and working on racial profiling bills or whatever and they are fine, they are not spectacular, it's not exactly mengin or anything at that level. after 9/11 a lot of local
politicians were asked to weigh in on their feelings about it and what this suggests for the country. and most of them are utterly in the mode of the words of consolation they are in on a remarkable and obama writes much longer than anybody else and prides himself on his writing, and he's taking a kind of horrible tragedy and we must punish the guilty and so on but, and these are words and other people's mouths right after 9/11 got in trouble, suzanne and others in certain ways although the expression is not like some others. we must be very careful in our grief and anger not to go too far and we should be careful to adhere to the norms of american
law in pursuit of the guilty. i think i'm remembering this right. so in a way he was in a state senator then was called for by the structures and customs of being a state senator and but after awhile he can of the against the limits of that office and was no way he was quick to stay there much longer. spinning before we open to questions from the audience i want to ask about a decision that you made. early on in the administration wins the white house welcome a group of young children to the building, michelle obama said something in an offhand manner while talking to the kids you know this building was largely built by sleets and this was something the kids in the body is sort of not in their heads but much was made of the remark because it is a historic fact but it's not something that is talked about much. you actually go back and spend a lot of time looking at the history of sleeves in the white
house and sleeves who built the white house and i want to know why you decided to put that time and muscle in the. >> pretty close to the end of the book he's been elected and the narrative is credited as to the amount of asian and stop the negative and began a section about precisely this that slaves built the white house and go into some granular detail about their names, how much they were paid. well, they were not paid a they were paid and the money went to the masters obviously. much of the katulis built by slaves. much of the dredging of the city that we are sitting and now was done by slaves. slaves were sold outside in lafayette park. there were slave auctions by the virginia company right there and they went from lafayette park and were soon put on riverboats and sentenced to the south. and i spent considerable time
recounting the story of african-americans in the white house which until barack obama and modernity black people in service. elizabeth is one figure i get some space, elizabeth ackley was mrs. lincoln's the five seamstress and wrote a memoir and was closer to the lincoln in some ways than almost anybody in the white house, she had an absolute bird's-eye view. she became a free black and wrote her memoir and mrs. lincoln felt betrayed and ended her life in a home for the colored indigent i think the name of the institution in the washington area and also i recounted meeting at the same time between frederick douglass and lincoln debate it's interesting henry louis gates became famous in the obama story
a little later for reasons we all know in the presidency described for me it has a long description of the book about his impression of obama and he said the most radical thing about barack obama is he's african-american and in a way he is post-modern frederick douglass and what did skip gates mean by this? eni and he is somebody who is able to tell the story as we are talking about this before, frederick douglass had unique capacity to tell his story that can forth across the racial lines. that he grew into -- and anthropological terms he's a trickster figure that he's able to translate just as cassandra butts was describing barack obama. this is a remarkable figure. however you feel left out his mistakes and his faults or his politics, wherever you come down
on that this book is by no means a huge geography but this happening, some of the african-american and by this name becoming president is to paraphrase joe deal. [laughter] >> let's invite the audience. [applause] raise your hand and we can we get our -- make a weighty with a microphone and we will start with this gentleman in the gray. >> we have about 20 minutes for questions and i would urge you please wait until you have the microphone to ask the question. >> negative angelo. i'm looking forward to your but because the personal nature. i've been fascinated by obama as a person since i read his book. i grew up in kenya and i met his
father at 67. >> where were you when i needed you. [laughter] what you say about the father and the mother is valid in the sense the father was never present so when you look at obama them and it's interesting, not the politician, what you see is what i call genetic qualities from the father, the height, his voice and his father's case a deep baritone, and above all the supreme self-confidence which in his father's case was in your face self-confidence and in this case it is much more contant because he doesn't have to prove himself. with his mother comes to environmental side, the capacity to get into somebody else's had if you see in the first book of the discussion with his half-brother in china who at that time is the senior coming back asking to come back to
kenya. what i'm trying to get at is you get the two sides of this person, one genetic, the acute intelligence, the physique, the self-confidence because it always struck me about obama which enables him to dominate a group of people all of whom are more senior. he's in 1990 senator for goodness sakes. he's able to do what he does. i would be interested in your sort of -- >> i can't argue. i think my only caution is -- my only caution is to be careful as with any of us we are not absolute products of just the ingredients provided by genetic or parental qualities. but i can't argue with what you say, completely accords with other people i interviewed who describe obama sr. as extraordinarily the deep voice, his self confidence beyond
cockiness into a kind of unattractive frustrated defeated brenda argeo. a lot of crying into his beer. it's not a happy sight but your description is completely in accord with certainly what i think a lot of us know and certainly my own research. >> thank you. this question right here i feed your shirt is purple. maybe if you stood up. yes, thank you. >> my name is carol heineman from the u.s. foreign service, and i just wanted to ask you briefly what do you mean by the joshua what generation? >> in a 2007 shortly after announcing for the presidency, barack obama accepted the invitation of john lewis and others to go to selma alabama for the annual re-enactment of
the beginning of the march from selma to montgomery. the seminal moment that loosened the floodgates for johnson to put forward a voting rights act. selma alabama being the scene of also bloody sunday and it just constant turmoil by design of the civil rights movement and every year they reenact this and obama accepted this invitation and quickly thereafter hillary clinton accepted the invitation to come and they both gave speeches both had very president churches in the cellblock. obama in his case brown chapel where king spoke all the time. in a speech he gave on like the announcement where the metaphor was lincoln and the associations were all about lincoln and general american, this was a speech directed toward almost exclusively to the african-american voters and
population because if he's going to get anywhere in his endeavor he has to win huge proportions of the black vote. the terms he used were, and this has been in the black churches since forever, this metaphor of moses and leading people out of the promised land and people used to call martin luther king when they were not calling him the law they were calling him a moses figure. he was saying that the previous generation x implied by joe lowry and john lewis was the moses generation. they suffered for us, and they have brought us this far but the journey is far from complete. we are the joshua watch innovation. you could follow this biblical metaphor and awfully implicitly in the speech am far ahead of this joshua what generation. it is an act of great rhetorical gall to say this and he did.
obama not lacking self-confidence but he is after all running for president and to get the democratic nomination it would be nice if he got some proportion of the black vote and the clintons remember at that time had an enormously deep relationship with many african american leaders and the population in general. i mean, some people not this is a diverse population and he is, this is a range of political opinion but obama could not assume the black vote so that's where that vocabulary comes from, and the joshua what generation of politicians as gwynn eiffel talks about and others includes the present mayor of philadelphia, michael nutter or alabama, artur davis or curry booker in newark. there is a lot of them. these are all people in their 30's, 40's, maybe now in their early 50s who are too young to
have experienced the civil rights movement except television. >> he was subjected to racism and discrimination because of his skin color. he was not subjected to the legacy of slavery and the chance of generational transition which often involves strong self-destructive aspects and one's life. first issue how important do you think this is? some people say he's not african-american, he is african and american because of his distinction. second quick point. apart from the tea party movement, do you think that there is some -- that the opposition to him which is typical but maybe more so during
his administration derives from unconscious and conscious racial aspects? no black man should have -- this much privilege. he is uppity and we have to give him. >> to answer the last question, to say that everybody who opposes barack obama has conscious or unconscious racism is immensely unfair. if barack obama were white, if he were john kerry pursuing more or less the same politics or hillary clinton pursuing the same politics whether it is in foreign policy, domestic policy and face this kind of opposition in congress or on the street would die immediately as fried to racism? i could and sexism, i think people have real political disagreements and concerns and anxieties. there is such a thing as a panoply of opinion. but do i think that some of the opposition and some of the uglier voice is directed at
obama have something to do with racism? i think it's undeniable. i don't think you can deny that at all. as for his racial identity, you know, in a large measure this is something given to you but you also have something to say about it and when he filled out his census report who am i to argue with that? is especially me. i don't know what michele would say, but these are distinctions its distinctions at all with a very slight difference. yes, that he has an african legacy although he played a role mainly in memory that in his life he experienced life as an african-american. you know, when he goes to get his car keys had keys thrown to him as if it were assumed he was quick to pick up the car as the guy that gets the valet parking. wind skip gates gets arrested in his home and handcuffed, i would guess this would not have happened to me.
so these things happen. there is racism in this country. there are reasons for the racial profiling. it is not the same as 1964 and 1964 was the same as 1865. there has been progress but to think that we live in a post racial utopia i don't know where this idea ever came from it's just unbelievable folly. >> how about right here because i think i know her. sprick in reading the autobiography i was interested in the part of the movement from occidental and the columbia and particularly the purpose of columbia where he is withdrawn and seems to have been very reflected and i wonder in your research if you uncover anything particular about negative period and people who influence and and when you made of that time because it seems important.
>> that is a great question he spends his first two years at occidental which is a small college in los angeles but not downtown it's kind of closer to pasadena and he wants a more open school, a bigger school. he wants to be closer to an african-american population center and as you know columbia is in harlem. and when he gets to colombia by his own admission, his own description to be in an interview but also some classmates all the way out is the hardest period to report fully and there's a reason for it he becomes not just serious but solve serious, righteous almost monastic he reads a lot and takes runs in the park and takes walks, at first he is a roommate named phil berger with whom he kept a correspondent for years after but he is really, he isn't a month to become a monk, he has a social and academic
life although not a spectacular one. he lives a fairly quiet but he decides to get serious, the parting part of his life starts to recede. i think that he made no secret about this. when i first interviewed him in front of an audience like this in phoenix on the book tour i asked him about the passage about drugs and i asked him if he inhaled and he said that was the idea. [laughter] a fair point. but because the life that he lived in columbia it was i found it easier to report about occidental about chicago, hawaii, and number of things, colombia was a little bit more involuted. >> i teach medieval history. i teach at george mason were obama recently came and spoke about health care and at one
point he was saying he didn't know how health care would be held in his reputation as a president and i believe him when he says that and i was just wondering is that his modus operandi where he just does what he thinks is going to be the best thing and is recalculating -- >> he made no secret about the fact that he was for health care in fact probably a plan more far reaching that we ended up with and he was elected so this notion he is in proposing something on the nation by fiat as if this were a kind of dynastic situation is wrong. i think that he's being a little bit so modest. i think the way that he would like this self-deprecating. i think that what he would like to happen is this is seen as a domestic policy initiative and success on the scale of social
security or the big domestic policy initiatives that in place in this country but because the nature of the politics right now and the program itself will have to be worked on and improved as time goes on some of this is up in the air and is also going to be interesting to see what the effect it has on the november elections. the republican party is completely committed to the idea that the passage of health care will be an albatross around the neck of congressional democratic candidates. obama is betting otherwise. >> time for to more questions. >> i have a question based on the political nuts and bolts of his ability to win. was he the genius behind the
idea of using the internet which no one else had done and the rest of the mall were absolutely of in the air about what in the world was going on or did he just body into these ideas and others for them and then become reflective and go with them? in other words did he delegate or did this idea come to him and then have him work with them to do it because it really was the genius of the campaign. >> my former colleague at "the washington post" sat two seats away from each other for a couple of years. thank you. i don't think that he was an internet which is infecting the 2004 senate race in illinois he was deeply frustrated with the lack of the internet presence and they put up a chat room or wherever, it was a pretty primitive use of the net and illinois, it was much more traditional television advertising and once they got a lot more money they were able to reach markets they didn't think they were going to have. how did he win that race?
the biggest opponent fell apart and obama himself kept proving himself to be a better and better candidate. that is the story of the democratic party and then the republican party faces a joke. he was giving money to other campaigns -- in the presidential race in 2008 a lot of credit for the internet initiative has to go to other people like david plus without a doubt. i don't think barack obama -- i don't think there is a threat that when obama leaves office he will take steve jobs chair. [laughter] he likes a blackberry's that's fine but he has other things to do. >> last question. >> sure. >> he started with this idea and you said who is barack obama and much of his power and for his
critics and his fans as they can project what ever they want on to him and you can come he can be of every magazine cover and the president of the united states yet he still remains elusive so it is curious what is it about him and what is it about us that makes that so? >> to some extent all people are elusive to each other. that is why we have waffles to go even deeper than biography can never go to deeply cut you are totally in the weeds of betraying verifiable fact reporting or archives or whatever it is. i think -- and historical figures that are long gone and bought more eggs and and and obama may not amount to date. this is why we are still writing books about i don't know how many books and here come out about abraham lincoln. so the fact that there is
elusive aspects of barack obama it's a natural it is the other aspect of the so-called elusiveness that is troubling to me, the notion that he wasn't born -- we are still hearing this stuffmo say in my own booky he was born in this day in this hospital because it is a verifiable fact there is a professor to ticket and to be obsessive beyond that after awhile is to indulge the fantasies and the craziness of this fevered pursued and it's obviously not just limited to that moment. that said, obama clearly because remember he was mainly a state senator for five minutes before the question started coming are you going to run for president and the experienced question i thought was completely legitimate. how could it not be? when the biggest political battle was dealing with ricky in the state set and you are in the
senate for a year making the first trip to russia this isn't a spirit so his story, his projection of his own story, his projection of his own family as a metaphor and the direction it's going in its diversity, you could see where that was driving the clinton campaign crazy because they had been deep into politics and policy for so many years. they thought was their turf. >> i have one last question and will be brief. thank all of you for coming. and david, thank you for the time and muscle you put into this book. we are going to learn a lot about barack obama in reading this book what we also learned something about the country and this is my last question. working in this project what did you learn not just about president obama, what did you learn about america?
>> it's e3 short in-store long run. the essayist and novelist on race that means not just to me but many other people as ralph ellison and you would always hear the passages from him about african americans is being indivisible and i think fear is no soft on american life that makes that plainer than the story of obama's asad whether you are a fan of his politics or not. that the fact of his election and the fact hillary clinton's election if it happened and a woman, god willing be elected a very soon, and i hope a deeply qualified and wonderful one -- [laughter] i didn't mean that as a shot against hillary at all i mean
that. that this is an important moment in history. it is not everything. it doesn't solve our problems in iraq and afghanistan and iran. it doesn't fix anything about race but it's enormously important if you care about america and what that means. >> david, thank you. [applause] [applause] [inaudible conversations]
all this month see the winners of c-span's studentcam video dutrow to competition. middle and high school students from 45 states submitted videos on one of the country's greatest strengths were challenged the country is facing. watch the top winning videos every morning on c-span at 6:50 eastern just before washington journal. and at eight thanks 30 during the program, meet the students who made them and for a preview of all of the winners, visit studentcam.org. coming up next, book tv presents "after words," an hourlong program where we invite guest hosts to interview authors this week former education secretary bill bennett discusses his new book, "a century turns
new hope, a new fear." looks at culture at the end of 20th century and the start of a new millennium. nationally syndicated radio talk-show host begins with a 1988 presidential election and takes the reader through 20 years of merrill defense and cultural changes concluding with the election of barack obama could he discusses the turn-of-the-century with aspen institute president walter isaacson. >> host: hello. it's my pleasure to be here with bill bennett, an old friend, someone who's written now a third in a trilogy of history books. there were too great volumes you did on american history that ended in 1989, and now you are doing a slightly slower volume to continue it to the present; is that how you see it is part of a trilogy?
>> guest: is part of a trilogy. the book is "a century turns" but it's the third of a series america's last best hope. i was reluctant. you know, you've written history books. this is close to us, was worried that perspective object to the but because america last best hope first two volumes are now in schools, available in public schools, teachers like to believe they are going to get up to the present. i say that because usually they don't make it but they like to believe they are going to get their students to the present so they asked me. >> host: america last best hope in some ways tried to in your mind right the way we teach history a little bit from i think he felt there was what he would call leftist or buy a used didn't to glorify the triumph of american exceptional listen; is that right? >> guest: i would say the biggest problem i have the most of the history looks out there or not they are called social studies books is that they are
boring and put kids to sleep and this is odd because as you know books about american history, historical figures sell very well. you've written a lot of them, the franklin book is a great book. david mccaul of's books always sell biographies of hamilton so why do we kill students with this stuff. this is the worst subject by the way so my major argument was that they were boring that yes, sometimes political usually to the left. >> host: give me some samples that you felt were wrong in the we were taught american history. >> guest: i can't remember the look of the famous six and was when i was the secretary of education and that was in new orleans, was in a school we came across a sentence in the book that they were using that talked of the puritans as englishmen who took a long trip search of new places to live. they wouldn't want to but the religion part in the and violates the first amendment but other books, howard zinn, enormously successful book and
it's gotten great scholarship, but the people's history of the american republic is a pernicious book. it means left. he is explicit about it and says this is his perspective and point of view. he would be pretty depressed about america at that was the only book you read. >> host: you got your doctorate from the university of texas in philosophy actually. nowadays texas is engaged in a bit of a struggle over new textbooks for history and how to teach six and history better. what do you think of the school board i guess it is a state school board trying to dictate new types of standards for the six tavis? >> guest: the debate is fine. the texas thing is larger than texas because texas sells so many textbooks. what happens their echoes around the country. many of the debates are worthwhile and some of it is silly. what he should do is to delete
could teach the truth of what happened and talk that the people who mattered in american history. you shouldn't leave out the liberty bell or the alamo and when there are important sides of the story to tell you should tell the importance sides. there's a kind of reduction as some might find in a lot of the journalistic accounts of the debates that makes them seem simple minded. always before i enter into the debates particularly this one try to find out from the people what they actually said and it's usually different from what is reported. this may come as a shock but he would notice. but these debates are -- look, the education of the with children. plato said the two most important questions, who gets to teach the children and what we teach them? so, have at it. >> host: to me it is lifeline to the decline, its glory as some people argue how come what for wilson gets more than ronald reagan for example who was a better president can are giving
over what robles and ronald reagan who shaped the republic more is great which oversight you come down on. >> guest: absolutely. now what's interesting everyone in folks the founders of course, the left and the right. i just would like people to read the founders. read the federalist papers. >> host: speaking of invoking the founders particularly the or are invoked on those religious side of the argument. how do you see that debate? >> guest: in what sense? >> host: people were invoking saying we are a christian nation, that is in the texas issue as well. >> guest: i don't think there is any question the people who wrote these documents were riding out of the judeo-christian tradition. again if you read the federalist papers this is what the references are. it's pretty hard to understand a phrase like we hold these truths to be self evident in all men are created equal in doubt by their creator it's certain inalienable rights the key i think is to understand that
although most of these men came from a certain perspective in a religious background and orientation we established the first sensible way of dealing with these issues in a large open society, think of washington's letter to the hebrew come corrugation in this country we shall sit and none shall be afraid. >> host: in fact even the sentence in the declaration of independence as a wonderful scene of the three great directors of the declaration franklin, adams and jefferson doing that in jefferson's first draft sentence had they are endowed with certain inalienable rights and it was adams who wrote in doubt by their creator with certain inalienable rights and then jefferson had to behold the truths to be sacred and franklin eckert will them to be self evident so we get a careful balance of their almost a deal stick balance where they make reference to a creator but not necessarily to a christian god or any particular god.
>> guest: fair enough but i think when i was reviewing a lot of the textbooks in preparation for writing my and i noticed they tried, several of them seated to expunge any reference to god, christianity, the history of christianity, judaeo-christian traditions. i like edwin corwin's s.a., remember from princeton, the higher law background of american constitutional law. the great sentence in there he says religious liberties are the residuary legatee of ecclesiastical animosities. these were fought elfgin churches. >> host: white puritans became such that travelers they were fighting the churches of the whole notion. >> guest: but this is a great topic for debate in a school board and for discussion in the classroom as well as before the supreme court. but i would say i am in partial to america. american exceptional was on that we have pretty much a power
struggles but we have pretty much worked this out about as well -- >> host: the way we've worked it out is the founders gave to america one of the greatest gifts that was on usable especially for the well-traveled putative founders which was a good natured religious tolerance that even if you are the mostly of constantinople you would get to preach in philadelphia, and in some ways these debates seem to downplay this notion of tolerance instead to try to push a more religious view of america's founding or am i incorrect? >> guest: i don't see it, i hear the charge, but i don't see it. i spent a lot of time in the home-schooled community and a lot of time in conservative communities. i hear the claims of bigotry. i saw more bigotry myself when i was at harvard and i saw when i was in texas. a psalm or intolerance toward southern christian young people
and i saw people in this house being intolerant of people who had no faith or other trees. it is more complicated now and i don't know if you want to get into this but it's more complicated now because of this and because of 9/11 and frankly it is harder, it is harder to support the notion of islamic faith and islamic religion which will condemn these acts of violence when we see so few professions by islamic leaders and spokesmen on this issue. i still think it's the case americans are enormously tolerant that they are worried about this business and they are right to be. host to the struggle we are engaged in the world today after 9/11 opened our eyes to this struggle was against the fanaticism and jihadism of intolerance of islam and in
favor of the notion that all people should be tolerant of different views and that is the basic to fight in the world today between those who believe and pluralistic societies and those who believe in imposing their own mortalities. >> guest: sure. i don't know a lot of christians for example and they are usually the object of criticism from the left who want to impose their religion in america in the schools and elsewhere. i do know because we could go to the tower and a number of great books and see this as part of -- part and parcel of wahhabi islam. and the problem is it may not be the majority view of the votes, but by gosh it seems to be the one with all of the energy and passion. now, when someone in my church -- i am a catholic, shoots someone at an abortion clinic we condemn it and the church condemns it and the pope condemned it and that is
absolutely right. what we have the same thing in a consistent way in islam? >> host: the struggle we fighting against terrorism and jihadism much -- let's call it -- you talk about in this new book it's starting with 9/11 and how bush gets involved in the struggle of it. do you think it became partisan after 9/11 or was there a period there was unity on the issue? >> guest: there was unity on the issue. i don't think there's a question about the country was together. there was by the way back to this earlier point there was the believe americans would turn against muslims and there would be terrible acts of retribution. nothing like this happened. or if they did they were very isolated. there is a restaurant not far from here run by allen virginia run by a muslim and apparently two weeks after 9/11 this guy
couldn't get anybody in. people wanted to show their support. it's typical of americans. remember president bush went to the national cathedral and then went to the mosque and some criticize that that again this is a very american response to increase rather than condemn. there was unity but then it broke apart largely because iraq and that was the casses of that crisis of disagreement. but i think -- i actually think the closer we are getting now is encouraging. some people are maybe for getting what they said earlier that there does seem to be consensus that we have worked through this and when things may be working out all right still fingers crossed not done. but that is where the rancor and fighting was. >> host: you have to deal with iraq in this book. how do you think history will look back on the decision to react to the 9/11 attacks by
invading iraq? >> guest: great question, 64,000-dollar question. ryan crocker was our ambassador said peter de a lot of criticisms about going in there, how we went in there. he said and we can discuss that, but he said what matters most of all is how we left it and what we left. i think that will probably be the determinant of how we see what we did and if indeed a doxy is established that can sustain itself i think it will be a double plus, double sums up. there will be the result. joe biden the other day -- notte my team or party but joe biden together they settled it looks very good. it looks promising and we can take some -- we can take some pride just as long as that "we" is inclusive of a larger group i think i could include that. remember, too, and i try to
point this out in the book, that there was a lot of unity in the decision. there was an awful lot of support as candidate will, kept reminding hillary clinton she was for this, john kerry was for this, john rockefeller was for this. so, people operating off the same assumptions than what they thought were the facts on the ground all very much took the same position with few exceptions. >> host: one problem i have, looking back on american history and what we are doing now was not with our struggle against jihadism and even the struggles we have in iraq and afghanistan. it's that getting too close to nation-building and occupying other territories can be problematic. and i say that with reference to history because it's in our dna, one of our forgotten amendments in some ways of the third which is we don't like courting troops in our home by foreign governor ed. that notion that we are not going to help ourselves in the world by getting too much
do george bush said ministrations the elder and of the younger and they had the most divergent philosophies of foreign policy the older was the realistic who eject iraq from kuwait seems so reason to nation builder go to baghdad and very, very carefully choreographs the end of the cold war. i think you quote him as saying there will be no dancing on the berlin wall we will not be triumphant and celebrate we will be careful and cautious and celebrate the under george bush seems to be the ideal stand crusader someone who wants to promote democracy the difference between the two same unnoticed in this
book between the two george bush's. >> different styles and different approaches i had the pleasure to be in the office with both of them i was with a drugs are as a first on but this did as a journalist and talk-show host with the other president bush. there are stylistic differences and of course, there was the very different reactions to what happened in iraq and the first goal for he had more difficult issues to do with them hw. there was the interest of nation building but again i am a little bit skeptic but if this holds i think it is great. i remember during the purple some campaign it was a hard not to get excited about that. apart from our dna "the
washington post" "new york times" interview some by living under a t.a.r.p. in haiti what is the solution? he just said for the united states to take it over. no think you. but people know that if you are in desperate circumstances what is the one country if you would like to do every year likely has no other ulterior purpose is most likely the united states. >> host: speaking of the elder george bush, h. w. bush, he was in my mind a line of the best perhaps most underrated foreign policy presidents whether how he handled cautiously and the end of the cold war and the berlin wall or how he handled the kuwait situation and persian gulf and middle east tell me about george h. w. bush the
person and his philosophy t. y. in the first a guide to peoplesoft deprive would have thought much better of him. he was very much like dana carvey in public but in private was very eloquent. weaver in portland for a dedicated police memorial and we were going to jog very generously. [laughter] >> host: i read the party were in the hotel room and he wants to go jogging with you. with all due respect i did not think if you. >> guest: he slowed down. of rebranded houston and when we finished the press corps said how is the drug war going? he saw that i was out of breath and he took the first
question morale i got my eight braff. that is a good boss. but there was a demonstration he said that is the one thing that makes my blood boil i cannot bear that. the constitutional protection for this? i cannot bear that. i thought if people could hear that it is not a town tied guy. the nicest generous bosses think i ever had. he did not have the distance with him that you had with ronald reagan whom i revered and served it was nancy inner circle. >> host: may be because i covered both of them and did not know them nearly as well but he with reagan you felt there was a shield or glass where he would lapse into a
jack warner movie studio story but not really engage where george h. w. bush was eager to engage intellectually. >> guest: there was always the distance. ronald reagan and i talked all the time he had a tremendous interest in education and did use the story he loved to use the story. that is how he communicated. but president bush had that the natural geniality, at an easy familiarity. president reagan was very friendly and accessible but there was always the distance. bush broke down the distance. remember sitting a off of the oval office. but we're watching is the "today show" with ross perot and he was railing about
president bush and him disrupting his daughter's wedding and the secret service and president bush turned to me and said where does he get this stuff? it was just a matter of fact. i a agree with foreign policy the experience showed. i try to be fair for doped i think the business was not a good i know people made a lot out of the toast and there was more going on with the brent scowcroft toast to the chinese leadership but tiananmen square was horrible. >> host: that was a downside of the realism that if you're the idealistic and tiananmen square happens you react and push back on china. if you are a realist to say that is an internal affairs. >> guest: i tended to be critical of democratic and republican presidents both on china i don't think the case can be made when we
cooperate with china things get better. i don't think the case can be made out was one of the only people and by a organization was rumsfeld, jack kemp, from global trade relations but i didn't. they should be tougher and they should be tougher now. we are way too easy because what they are doing is bad. the policies are bad. they killed girls. that is a terrible terrible thing and other oppressive things. >> host: i also think it in a oppressive society suppresses free flow of information will end up losing to win in india which is a messy economy but allows a free expression that will be a struggle coming up in the world that. >> guest: i agree. interesting polls lately that americans are not sure
if we will be a dominant indians think they will be dominant but they may be right. >> if i have to bet china or india i would bet on it in the head just as we have been on colonial streets. >> guest: interesting to point* out, the third largest population of muslims in the world but this is a country that believes in democracy, freedom, business development. is it necessarily an obstacle? that point* needs to be made. >> when i was in india and a hindu prime minister got defeated by basically able my catholic woman who stepped aside in order to have a seat with a president two pluses owe i mean prime minister sworn in by the muslim president. to me cover that is the type of thing you have to pull
off in the 21st century to be a great country. you cannot imagine that in china or the u.s. >> guest: absolutely. >> host: different religions to balance the ticket. but george bush on domestic policy. read my lips. that is in your book. >> guest: it ended my tenure as the chairman of the rnc i was good designates after are less life to the drug czar's job i was in their two weeks there was the meeting and i said i cannot defend that. he just was not focused on it but it was such a big surprise i cannot remember who was on the panel will george bush be reelected and all of us unanimous yes although the approval rating
was 80 8% but then the surprise campaign by the surprise governor from arkansas and bush was flat on the domestic issue and people changing their mind. it was a surprise 37 a counter argument that was one of the last great bipartisan compromises that we have lost the art for in this town in which he does help to bring deficits down with spending and the tax situation. one of the great triumphs and laid the groundwork for the prosperity of the '90s. >> guest: it very well may have but don't think it was so much that it as his inability to address the domestic challenges in a way that was persuasive to people. clinton was the perfect
counter pert board george herbert walker bush where bush says i will ask jim baker to take up domestic policy and due for a domestic policy and president clinton said what are you worried about? i will do domestic policy in my administration. for that and other reasons the most policies that george bush pursued were good he was the most underrated and underappreciated president i wish you would have 13 he did not have run ask it of a campaign this is another thing about american politics and history that people like a change. let's try the other guy. >> let me push back the dead triumphant of george hw bush
with tip o'neill doing so security that is what made our country strong? data is what we lack kin washington the past 10 years you don't celebrate that the neff. you make it seem they give up their principal with and sometimes can make great democracy. >> and the willingness on the principle to compromise is on principal and i could certainly live with the first. reagan could do this. >> host: and gorbachev. >> guest: and dan rostenkowski. [laughter] not the ideal soulmates and
bush did it and clinton. i think i am fair to clinton but it is not going on out. >> host: that is why i think he brought us together with the passion. >> guest: this is the new hope of the subtitle love the book this is not my candidate or my team but this powerful canada say say -- canada see if barack obama were he will be the the fine president and transcend hope maybe he will be but without criticizing that indeed was the hope not about rice stayed service to states and people go to do
church that was a great speech and very promising. >> we have to go to a break but we will be right back. >> host: you were just talking about the breakdown of the bipartisanship and the failure of the hope of obama too not become a red stain blue state type of nation i agree. i think the last campaign the fact john mccain and barack obama got the nomination of the respect
good area they could work across the aisle aa negative barack obama talked about so eloquently in his convention speech four years earlier and mccain did across the aisle. what happened? >> guest: i think we will be back. what happens in this administration is it is not a centrist administration. health care which has been the 14 month issue now for president obama has been largely designed for high would make the contrast to 1994 when they did their health plan it was a white house operation the hillary clinton plan. it suffered i hop from being inside and not delegated out but if you look at the
papers today, next week, the major problems are democrats and democrats. the president has the white house all to himself, the senate and house of representatives they cannot get it passed parker the problem is in the proposal d that is not a centrist proposal that is his problem. but people look for common ground i am happy with common ground. i was on cnn with arne duncan and they said we have to secretary's 14 reagan and obama and they have common ground. you bet we do. why? >> host: in your book "a century turns" you talk about the clinton health care proposal and why they failed but that to, seems to be the beginning of a breakdown in bipartisanship. for a while look like it
could be a bipartisan approach. the clinton years in which there were not great ideological struggles we still have greater partisanship on the end. >> guest: yes but we had some models of bipartisanship. each of these is interesting in its own way. thinking of the clinton legislation you have a reduction of capital gains to say that went your way and the defense of marriage act and welfare reform. nafta was all things and i think she said i want to salute jack kemp and bill bennett and we thought this would give us into trouble but one of the reasons he was successful was that he did take an approach down the middle. one of the reasons you took
the approach was the elephants stampede of the 1994 with new gingrich for crichton novak happens to barack obama of a some people are predicting that will happen. if you get 35 seats, it will policy be more down the middle? i don't know. >> but where it breaks down is with the monica lewinsky and impeachment which i think historians will have some real trouble rustling trying to figure out was that a great moral issue that the republicans took on seriously or an amazing piece of insanity over something that should not have been the focus? >> guest: you probably know my view i wrote a book called the death of outrage i thought it was very
serious morally and ethically and legally because there was testimony, depositions, i remind people my brother represented clinton was paula jones so there were some interesting family discussions and debates about this but it was very serious. when you appear before a grand jury to take an oath with the american people when you step out and say i did not. >> host: did and did generate into the partisanship not to a serious moral discussions? >> guest: you cannot take politics out of politics and it did but i tried to remain high-minded and drive up the level of principle i remember going to the cpac meeting days after the story broke in their whereas a revelry in the year and we thought he would have to
resign i scolded and said we take no pleasure in this with the president being the ropes on this. it is not our team but it is our president and stop enjoying this the country is suffering. i thought the end a lot of people thought he would and should resign but he didn't and that tried it on. then people were more partisan for that incident to the lowest denominator i was endlessly on tv debating this with larry king and other shows. that was not a happy time and things were lost. then the stuff we talked about in the book and some people because of a media
reacting it is wag the dog he does this as a diversion it has always been my view when the president backs with foreign policy and the american troops you are with it until the evidence comes in and overwhelmingly you should not be. so some people had to be pulled back from the brink but politics yet. you cannot take politics out. [laughter] >> host: "a century turns" and the center of the book really is the clinton the administration because it is the transition between the two bushes and everything else but it is a period of peace, prosperity coming huge economic growth and a point* of welfare reform and the centrist policies but at this point* of this gandalf and a great partisan outrage.
how in the end do you think historians will assess the clinton administration? a great presidency? >> guest: may be midlevel lot to great. it will be on the good side regarded as a presidency where people work together on a number of things i think also i say this in the book one of the really very good ex-president sees an american history. whether he is a psychologist showing what a good guy he has done very good work whether overseas with the mideast for the four east the tsunami in haiti and one can see he is really working. hamilton is worried. >> but he wanted him to stay president for life. [laughter] >> guest: exactly that is
another problem but the judgment probably if you take out the moral side people say it was lost with the opportunity. are remember the people and a clinton the administration they think if we just did not have that we might have been able to accomplish great things so lost opportunities. >> host: during that period you were engaged partly in the notion of social morality and our was that "time" magazine we did a couple of cover stories about an hour movies, music and others degrading our social fabric. >> guest: that was interesting. you were there. we went after time-life inc.? >> host: en time warner. >> guest: i'm sorry. it was a coalition of myself, said joe lieberman lieberman, and tucker we
called ourselves the lots guard and their reached a point* where we said this stuff is crazy that cop killer stock. i am a fan of rock and roll and we said we want you we need to and read levier but i will/you and cut you in you will bleed and that is crazy. we were not for federal regulation of. >> host: do still worry about the worsening of our culture? >> guest: yes. but the amazing thing of america it is the capacity for self renewal and also convinced after secretary of education and drugs are that the key to make the key is a tuitions better families churches and schools but
anyway that was very interesting that was very pry a partisan and a bunch of people joined us and we had some success and it was a very interesting point*. but just telling the audience on the radio show i have a lot of people in despair six months ago the country is going into socialism. they were sending hammers and sickles. >> host: and we tend to write their ourselves. >> guest: i said wait. it is already shifting and correcting and coming back the other way if you like the way things are going to stick around. >> host: einstein wrote down one point* that is what amazed him most about america because he would get to all worked up weather before the war of world war ii or the nazi storm occurred the he writes at the end of his life for
there is some strange gyros go because just when it is about to go off the cliff that magically rights itself. >> guest: and can produce the greatest works of art of achievement by act up the same time i found astoundingly we can take slices of the brain and go around the country. right? [laughter] there is the brain. it looks like other brains 27 yes. roi don't think it was the brain cells. [laughter] but in writing this book with the first two volumes of the trilogy we talk about tucker and lieberman and you, you are in the book so hard to deal with the fact be a small player but a player? >> guest: a small player i did not want to be where's waldo but i felt i had to
disclose talking about drug policy i was the first drug czar i asked the president to go to colombia and he went and i talk about those troops. i got nervous as the writer i would be fair and objective. i pass a lot of perspectives to see if i was being fair but i thought there might be some advantage to some sense of what was going on and what the reaction was prepared mostly but myself and to the footnotes of less there is some parts of the drama but mostly i am a bit player. >> that was dramatic. >> but that was not self-serving. >> but as a talk radio host you have watched the changing of american media
from being the-- of walter cronkite too much more air fragmented and ideological is this generally a good thing or bad thing? >> generally good thing. there are some people out there who want to stir people up and i cannot stand it. hour show doesn't feel that people we talked about issues there were hardly pitchforks and churches one of the reasons i tried to do that is to show some in the media that conservative is not the oxymoron. but what you have is self whole spectrum of opinion and style and approach and information and journalistic authority is now radically decentralized and makes it harder to sort out the truth because you have all of these different things we do
with their rumor or urban legend every day did you hear some and so? this was during the campaign and usually not true. so you have to do more homework now i get up at three and go on line and read the papers for the show of 6:00 in the morning we don't talk about it unless we think we can confirm it but once confirmation comes it is very complicated as we tell the story of dan rather and cbs and the national guard's service this is very much the world in which we live now the internet to take stories that may not have made the news will go all over the internet and change a person's life. trent lott was probably the first victim of that. >> host: you mention that story in the book where it
is not mainstream media but the block this year that takes on his statements about race in the south, etc.. but it starts before that with the clintons scandal when "newsweek" didn't and after the oklahoma city bombing if i remember correctly, bill clinton said part of the problem is that we stoke up paranoia that came mainly men to right wing radio talk show host that it ends up in five men say you say he is overreaching and overstating the yet to some extent it would what is called the element of truth? people are paranoid and i don't go for it too and i
score it it is a talk show host also that spoke at cpac recently and i said i thought it was a bad set of remarks i try to be the honest broker i want to distinguish from people who do the acts of violence in the extreme so it is responsibility but this happens on both sides to there is a lot of stoking on the left as well as their right there don't think it helps much it is a free country and it makes the business of filtering and getting at the truth harder but again overall with the decentralization of this journalistic authority is a good thing and it has made for a much more even playing field. >> host: meeting you think the media and the '60s and
'70s and '80s was left-leaning now you don't think that is a problem? >> guest: not as much of lot of conservatives think that it is. first half fox the enormously interesting and consequential and borrow the popular cable channel. and you have of the on-line sites so people have their outlets. eight mongering is something is pretty old in the american tradition and can sway some although it rarely sways the mass of the american people which is very important. again it is interesting you said the center of the book is clinton i guess chronologically but to me it is the story of 9/11 because this event was so unbelievable and that was
not just one of good first days of american history and the test of our resolve obviously the transformation of the bush presidency to what he thought he would be doing but to what he ended up doing i think we passed bully only as a people we kept our measure and calm i have gotten furious about some things as we should be but i think it is a tribute to the country. >> host: the debate over the detention policies do you think that is healthy? >> guest: sure. >> host: how do come down? >> guest: i am not for closing down guantanamo. piper further military tribunals as the venue for the cases but buy all means have the debate. there is business going on
now about the al qaeda 749 lawyers who defended these defendants who are now in the justice department. maybe so. this is what elections are about we should be candid and not tied but it should now be surprising and it was the lawyer from the bush administration said what is the big surprise? there will be lawyers matter of said it will decide beside these things but for the most part we have steered their way very well but one interesting thing that has happened from your view and you talked a lot of people set out and will continue to impress the american people and win the respect of the u.s. military
and is well been very high regard and when you call on it take gets the job done even people who may not like the military will say they do it is not like the late sixties early '70s they say they report the -- support the troops but not the mission but the extraordinary things we saw in the gulf war petraeus, the surge what our faults could do, what is going on at. >> high node tiered the very -- other day is a part to give in to the training programs because they are over subscribed. >> you are right. the '60s and '70s said this change point* in which we were polarizing and attacking the military was done. later we got into a problem that i would call the
patriotism police when we talk about how things are going more partisan and ideological, we have gotten away from that. there is not as much questioning of the military or patriotism or whether joe biden is less patriotic than dick cheney even though they disagree fundamentally. >> guest: i am with you apart from some of my colleagues when people said you should ask questions about the iraq war and why we are there if you are in the senate and you're not there to talk about that why the heck are you there? if you're not supposed to ask questions about those issues what are you reduce two? absolutely if the white house cannot defend itself why is in iraq or anywhere else it will take the lumps absolutely.
budget to raise those questions. >> getting to the subject of education we mentioned do and arne duncan have spoken together a few times and your education secretary for reagan. there was a major reform movement going on with common standards and involves a little more choice of charter schools and holding teachers accountable and this seems to be the one area that we have done in new orleans a lot we transcend partisanship. >> guest: it is fascinating i talk about katrina in the book but barney down 10 was attacked a couple weeks ago and i defended him when he said it may be one silver lining in this cloud of katrina is it gave the city a chance to
reinvent the education system. >> host: munn may say that michael use of the definition when you accidentally tell the truth. money say arne duncan is 100% right in your may as we have been able to rebuild a school system that is so much better than before the storm because we got the chance to say let's see how you would doing now with competing private schools and charter schools so i think that criticism of arne duncan was outrageous. he was totally correct. >> guest: for what i am observing and hearing i was a guest on the show today and he is looking look what is going on and people from philadelphia and paul past 37 he is the hidden st. and the mess he is a state
superintendent of education appointed by the democrat but retained by the current republican and he is driving reform and the state of louisiana. >> guest: this is what can happen with bipartisanship there is a ton of charter's, a ton of accountability they do not stand for schools that have not been operating for a long time with our results and experimenting with a lot but who is with measurement and accountability is sows like a dream that should be happening every where this is parted tonkin's plan it sounds like nationally your more politically adept then i was. >> host: there is a very famous line at all-out you to read the for those of us that believe there should be standards across the nation in new said? >> guest: we will never have national testing because conservatives are opposed with anything with
national and liberals are against the testing but we should come to agreement of common standards math is insane you you can read your you can't without having a national standards and this was a problem with no child left behind that when you let each state sen its own goals and standards. >> host: it is a race to the bottom. >> guest: since the enactment of that legislation and 18 states have lowered standards. >> host: that is why you need the common standard also common testing. >> guest: you do. that is perfectly fine. when i was secretary of education i beefed-up the national assessment of educational pride jeht -- progress and some people reacted hard as i a pointed and alexander brown
and they turned out to be 23 people for that job in this is one of the best national assessments we have to measure whether the kids are good in math. i think it is precious time and sputnik again because we now know what it cost us if we are focused on our fiscal house and economic recovery we know what it cost us not to have good sound educational practice. >> host: what do think the of the reauthorization then now turn out behind what? to my fear spending way too much money i think they are strangling with the d.c. scholarship program is a terrible thing to do. but if they are talking
about real evaluation, the normal constituents that are angry at them when you evaluate teacher performance you have to look s to the performance are their kids learning that puts the burden on accountability rich should be soggy prepared to agree with president obama from time to time. >> we started the show talking with competitiveness and china and the education and understanding history let me and let you sum it up and what worries you and encourages you about the notion of america being competitive than the 21st century the way it was in the 20th? how do we educate our kids and not fall behind the way we seem to be falling behind in k-12? >> what encourages me. what discourages may see as million assessments and heard the panel's i have sat
in on a few and here is what discourages me when a text hour kids in the fourth grade we're in the top third and eighth grade we're in the middle and in the ninth grade we're at the bottom. that is really discouraging at the longer you stay in the system dumber you get to that just all work not in this economy i talk to kids at harvard who are graduating with good gpa is losing jobs to other countries talking about "the world is flat" and in some ways it is in terms of the value of the sheer dollar value it has never been more important but what encourages me there is some common ground on an education wayne know what makes for good teaching now there's a lot of teaching with that them teacher is
the single most important person it does not matter bar resources were class size but the quality of the teacher but now we have a good knowledge may be the can do the right thing. that is what encourages me if i have pushed 30 years that will keep pushing. >> host: i am involved bring in new teachers and to the process and holding them accountable because the most important thing we can do is to run look at these talented kids and teach for america wanting to teach. >> host: and the book is "a century turns" thank you very much. >> guest: thank you.
>> hello everyone i want to think you all for coming. this is a great turn out for duly but nothing less than we would have expected. i am the executive director of the feminist press which is thought publisher of the "the madame curie complex." the book is part of our women 19 science series funded by the national science foundation. and you might ask your know the answer why do meg whitman writes chain science theories? the answer is of course, women still are not
encouraged by their teachers to enter the scientific field and to stay there which is important for attention. there not promoted as much. that now get the best jobs are the best brands and this is still despite many years of activism, something that is consistent throughout the scientific field. we put together a project and it to project directors who are here. who was also founder. [laughter] and also the program director of fell hold project which is also a website called under the microscope.com and a board member who has done a lot of work on the science project but this was put together because it seemed to us it
was really important to look at women and science and a different way instead of theoretical looking at things through a microscope we said let's do something that is partially and interesting and engagingly and toes a story because we know everyone likes a good story. not like the publishers for instance julie's book came along we were delighted to have all of those things. lively and accessible but tells an incredibly important story of the role of women in science. the heart of it is something we really think about or acknowledge but the fact the women's way of doing things is often different than men. not necessarily a biological
i don't think it is that all but our experience of of world and to make a very big difference so that means when women are excluded their experiences and understanding of how to conduct an experiment is gloss. what is greater but do these were kids she explores what women have contributed by the bringing you that i want to make a few announcements first of all, thank you adrianne and brian also on the board for the science and arts programs that is sponsoring this tonight and i want to thank the graduate
center and the auditorium for being open tonight that is not easy to find that at the graduate center and also to and $5.2 upstairs to the feminist press office is to have little reception in honor of chewy and she will be signing books as well. that is room 54 '06 goes to the fifth floor and follow the signs and you will follow your way they're. stay brief introduction she is a professor of history. and i think the fact that she is a historian is very important to the book because she knows how to tell a good story and this is the second but she is also author of women and historic call story of america. [applause] >> thank you. there is a lot of people and
i am thrilled park, of people line no. i have a couple of students hear that are great. this of the fact you guys are here i am thorough by now you have to our three jobs at a time and people from a feminist press also the science and the arts the feminist press the graduate center and of course, c-span and everybody else to put this together today. it is a very rare opportunity weekend to talk about the stuff that the right about propriety tshombe's glasses and talk about american history but never get to talk about the stuff i am actually right thing. is a very solitary business when you write a book and you hunkered down and i never get to talk about it. this is the process of opportunity i hope it is okay to talk a little bit about my a personal
experiences every team and look guess we will talk about that and cad into it but i think it makes sense of i talk a little bit about my a personal and professional experiences that brought me to write the booktv totally honest, i never would have written this six years ago. all of this happen to me about five years ago in 2005 when i think of them coming together if the book was a no-brainer but before that i was not even interested i looked and professional cultures, a professional historians but i thought this system of people could do the stuff of history of science i don't do that. there is a whole department that does that. but i will tell you what happened. 2005 very interesting year for me personally because this is the year that my dad died.
he is not a sign to is this is no homage to my dad but he was absolutely enamored with science and absolutely enamored and were shipped to the manhattan project and literally maybe seven or eight years old when he started to of amy stories and the nuclear chain reaction under the university of chicago and these are the sorts of stories i grew up with and he thought these figures are larger than life and a brave but true story when i was in high school we had to do these projects the skids of roman history and i have an identical twin sister and she was saying class and we had to do this kids and my sister had to go back to my house to work on this get if i was that somebody else's house and my dad came into the room and i am getting
this from my sister she is introducing my dad to all the friends in the room and she said this is alex. i did not know that my friend was actually the grandson of edward teller. my dad knew for sure this was the grandson of edward teller. my sister said that my dad was a kid the. sort of life and girls of the jonas brothers concert. he was beside himself and said how did you know, he was the grandson? what made you notice? he said the strangest thing it was so obvious it was all in the eyebrows. [laughter] and it is the funniest thing because it is so strange i used to wear makeup up, he did not notice but he notices the eyebrows?
my dad has the world book encyclopedia is from 1958 use of the ones you read when he was a child and sure enough if you go find it tells are you would find a picture of edward teller and other than the fact the eyebrows are a little more wiry and disheveled they are his eyebrows. they really are and the funny thing about that with the observation but i look back on that it would now with a historian i give it context and it occurs to me my dad was the boy that came of age in the forties, fifties, and that is a point* i called in this book. the colts of the atomic physicist and write about the time he has studied this for years and years and a realized this when people
start to a mad gin the scientist says the hyper masculine figure but what also happens is that literally women who were doing science at the exact same time are literally rendered invisible and this is a dynamic guy quote in the book was very hard to write about the women of the manhattan project because they see themselves as a bit players but these figures were larger than life growing up to my dad and he was larger than life and he passed away in 2005 and this was a very strange moment for me. i was in a lot of transition, i was teaching at but living in boston and going back and forth and my cousin knows because i was sleeping on his couch at all-time, i was between book projects i did not know i was doing but telling the
dean of the college i was writing about one in intellectual so she did not think i was sitting on my but. i can say that now because i have something but the other thing was the day that my dad died i was about five months pregnant. which is totally the interco part of this whole thing because i was already a little uncomfortable traveling going to and from boston and new york, a pregnant, but that would pay zero and comparison of a pregnant woman teaching at the city university of new york i would like to say unpaid maternity leave was the least of my problems as a pregnant woman at the city university of new york. lots of things happened because i have the baby not in june or july or august as the e