Skip to main content
Internet Archive's 25th Anniversary Logo

tv   History Bookshelf Lea Berman and Jeremy Bernard Treating People Well  CSPAN  February 15, 2021 6:25pm-7:31pm EST

6:25 pm
former white house social secretaries lieberman and jeremy bernard talk about their book, treating people well. the extraordinary power of civility and work in. life they share stories from the white house and their thoughts on profession and public stability. miss berman worked for the george w. bush administration and mr. bernard for the obama administration. the ronald reagan museum hosted this event in june, 2018. it's a real treat for us to have not one but two former white house social secretaries with us today. and i am sure that they are very grateful that they don't have to plan and execute this white house luncheon. one of our guests today is a democrat. one a republican. they are not afraid to be friends. they support one another and they even show up in public together. imagine that. originally from a small town in ohio, lieberman served as white house social secretary from
6:26 pm
2004, to 2007, under president and mrs. george w. bush. prior to, that she was chief of staff to second lady lynch, amy and before that served us social secretary to vice president cheney. when asked how she landed those jobs, i believe she will tell you that she was at the right place at the right time. and having known of her for many years, i can tell you that she was most assuredly qualified for all of those rules. as she tells, it she has been an event planner for her entire adult life including as a wife, full-time mom to two, and a couple of dogs. -- which i now have secretly book marked on my own computer at my desk, don't tell anybody. she offers up hints on travel, home, life and food, glorious food, and tips on entertaining and etiquette which she says
6:27 pm
quote is not just about knowing what's fork to use. it's about treating each other with kindness, even, and especially in the anonymous abyss of the internet. i'm a second yesterday originally hails from san antonio, texas, and now he's a fellow southern californian. jeremy bernard served as the white house social secretary under president and mrs. obama from 2011 to 2015. jeremy is the first man ever to serve in this role in the white house. and while that was big news at the time, he managed to keep a very low profile in order to do his job, which is all white house staffers is advised to serve the president and first lady of the president of the united states of america, not yourself. he earned a reputation of being both affable and extraordinarily efficient in managing literally hundreds of events with the very young staff, and dare i say, it a lot of laughter. before serving in the obama
6:28 pm
white house he earned his stripes as a campaign fund-raiser for presidential candidate, barack obama, and then was rewarded with a job as the white house leads on to the national endowment to the humanities. from, their jeremy served as the senior adviser to the u.s. ambassador in france. and, again after being in the right place at the right time, he landed his role as the white house social secretary. it's a real pleasure to have him today, and i hope you will ask some questions later. it isn't, gentlemen please join me in welcome former white house secretaries, liebermann, and jeremy bernard. >> so we are going to get settled in. before we get to the book, i'm sure i'm not the only one in the room that is very interested in your backgrounds.
6:29 pm
so can you tell us -- how do you get to be the social secretary of been added states? we will start with you. >> it's a different for every person who has had the job. traditionally there were daughters of the governors or senators or their families were in politics in some very formal, and aristocratic way. it hasn't been like that for some time now. jeremy and i can surface examples of that. i grew up on a small farm in ohio. i went to washington after college. and i worked at the center for strategic studies, i went to graduate school, there and i was a full-time mother for ten years which incidentally was the best possible experience to be social secretary. after, that a friend of mine said you know vince cheney is looking for a social secretary. you should talk with her. and that is kind of how it all happened after that. and i found myself going from the carpool line one day to learning how to use the white house email system, and
6:30 pm
learning how to clear people into the vice president's home, working with the secret service so it was a big learning curve, but also i felt very fortunate that i got pushed back into the workforce in that way. >> jeremy. >> i had just moved to start working for the u.s. ambassador and i got a text or email that said, would you be willing to throw your hot for the job? on the million years, but i thought sure. i went to washington d.c., and had meetings with all the senior staff in the west wing. then i was going over to the east wing to meet mrs. obama, i realized that things are going really well, but what am i getting myself into if this were to happen? and after mrs. obama came in, we were talking a bit, and i said i have to be really honest with you, i am not good at
6:31 pm
arranging flowers and i do not know china patterns. i'm not certain on the right guy for this job she said no don't worry about that, you will have people there that will help you with that. i need someone with good political judgment, and how do we get more people that have never been here, into the white house. so when i got it i was kind of like, this is very surreal. because it's never been a job i thought it would have but i loved it, and it was very exciting. >> so i am interested, most white house staffers, do not interview with the boss. the interview with the boss of the bosses moss underneath but with you to, you interviewed with the boss. so i'm interested what is their standard interview question? >> i was asked to come see mrs. bush in the family residents. i only ever been in that part of the white house once before. and i was dazzled.
6:32 pm
there is this big fan window, but you see it on the sun was shining in and everything was beautiful, the artwork is amazing. and mrs. bush was so warm and welcoming unpleasant. she start talking about the job as if i already had it. saying things like i want to entertain a lot more, i need to work with the chef because he has some issues, and we've been trying to work with him, but i think you should try and it was almost like a list of things that i should expect to do. and i went in thinking, maybe i was talking to her about this in going to recommend someone else. i was so dazzled, that honestly she said we needed upstairs made can you take that over i would've said yes. so after it came out, it's like wow i said i have a job. >> the interviews in the west wing, with one advisor after another. so one would be 15 minutes, and the president was very brief. very reassuring.
6:33 pm
and then mrs. obama, that interview lasted one hour. and i can honestly say, i had no idea how it went. i didn't think it was a disaster, but i didn't think like when i was in the west wing, like this is knocked out of the ballpark. and i called my mom, on my way back to the hotel and said, you know, this is a day i will never forget. i had meetings at the white house, and i interviewed with the first lady and the president. it wasn't an amazing day i will remember it always. and i went back to paris, and i did not hear anything, and i didn't see all the articles that were in the washington press. so when i got a call, a couple of weeks later saying would you fill out this paperwork, you already have security clearance but just in case it is you we fill this out? and then i start to think well maybe there was a chance. but i was surprised i got that
6:34 pm
call. but she is a good interview or, it wasn't tough but she has a good poker face. so i had no idea. she said later she told me i knew from the moment you know that yet was you. and i thought wow. can >> will they say that you know in the first five minutes? >> i didn't. >> okay now let's talk about this new book, that the two if you have coauthored. and it's called treating people well. the extraordinary power of civility in work and life. so how did you turn from being the top socialist at the white house, and how did this book come about? and with your distinctly different political views, how come you decided to write it together? >> well we have been friends, since we met there was this wonderful network, of former white house social secretaries and they get together regularly, and they provide resources to ever is the current social
6:35 pm
secretary. so when jeremy became social secretary we met and we clicked and we stayed friends. and it was helpful to me at the time that when i was social secretary, to be talking to the person who had worked for jacqueline kennedy, and have her tell these horror stories of things that happened when she was a social secretary than. like when she first began, mrs. kennedy told her that she wanted a french chef in the white house. so she had heard about this wonderful french chef, who was working in the french fc in london. she called and offered him the job. and the chef reported this to his boss, who reported it home to the palace. and the french were offended. and she found herself called on the oval office carpet, and was no and and basically president kennedy told her skin no under no circumstances she was supposed to poach any french chefs.
6:36 pm
so social secretary maneuvering, she found another french shaft, and she worked with immigration and customs, and she had him made a u.s. citizen overnight. so mrs. kennedy got her french chef, but she did not violate president kennedy's rule for this. >> a bit the good old days, were you could get something like that then overnight that was have changed. and it is a great resource [laughs] . i would call on lee, and i would call on gayle, and i'd say is just the right avenue? is this what's gonna happen? >> and they said okay okay. >> and there was just comfort in knowing other people went through the same horrible or miserable experiences. and i hate to tell this over lunch, but i will make it as pleasant as possible. but i said, did you ever have
6:37 pm
problems in the holiday receptions with people getting sick? and the eggnog, at the white house is really strong. >> yes really strong. >> it hit you very quickly, and you're drinking and thinking this is nothing. then the third one you're like wow, and what would happen is people would be drinking and drinking, then suddenly would hit them, and it would feel themselves getting sick, and they did want to get sick on someone else, so they went towards some of the christmas trees. and it was like oh yeah we had vomit trees. you know how many would get hit, was almost sort of the game to figure out. how many trees would get decorated by visitors. but a lot of it you know like don't worry this is happened before so don't worry. >> the politics really didn't matter, because we had similar experiences, but the
6:38 pm
administrations might might have been different. but we found that we are changed by the job, because we are very focused on making sure that all the events go smoothly, they reflects the style and policy of the administration. and that made us conscious of getting everything right, so we didn't do anything that would embarrass the president or first lady. and worst possible if it would be in the news as a negative press story. that is how we came around to writing the book, because we knew so many of the same things about getting along with people more effectively, so we can make sure that our events flowed well, and people felt happy and welcomed. >> and cook and in all credit, i had dinner with a friend of ours mutual friend, who is a reporter at the washington post, and she said over there, you know you are close to all the former socials but you're
6:39 pm
especially close to lee, but you guys should make a book together. and you know if you got a covered new together at the great. and i thought that was a great idea and it took us a while to figure out what to write, because it did you know there was a bit of time to figure out what we wanted to write, but what we really figured out was what book do we wish we had had, before we started this job or any job. a lot of it is common sense, but it helps when it's built out. we >> will which leads me to my next next question, which you said it's a great book to have for your jobs, but i can tell you it is not just for the jobs as social secretary. it's filled with great stories, and little hints and wonderful little tidbits, that really apply to all of us every day. with your stay at home mom, or you're the ceo of a company, or you are somewhere in between.
6:40 pm
and i will say the first time i looked at it, i looked and i said civility, is not really a sexy topic. but i've had people say, that this is not your grandmother's etiquette book, and i read where some people called it -- . oh they called it d.c.. so we all love a little dish every now and again. -- so why don't you tell us what was their most frightful situations or your white house days and you couldn't get your names if you want to leave out the names? >> there are a lot of them, but one is that gayle had warned me, that at one point in all administrations, somebody that is an entertainer and is scheduled to perform is they will cancel essentially last-minute. and they had no contract because they are doing it for free.
6:41 pm
and you are paying for anything, other than sometimes transportation hotel. so it was just their word. and they were going to show up. and i thought well we have no problem getting entertainment. well one time a week before, one of mrs. obama's favorite events which is a kids state dinner. which is really a lunch. i got a call, that the entertainment for this person, to appear they need to have a private jet, for all of the backup dancers as well, and there were 60 people. at 60 people, we have to throw some of the kids out the east wing is not that big. but they demanded at the demands essentially were outrageous. and i said we could never do this. if we could do it would be bad press for both. and he said well we will have
6:42 pm
to make it happen another time. let me make this quick, the white house will never pay for entertainment, and that was basically at tell mrs. obama, because the feeling was how did that happen? and i had texted mrs. obama, and i got a text back saying, talk to barack. he will have some ideas. >> she just said that very casual i just texted mrs. obama. >> so i went over there and said, can we talk about the kids thing. and he was like oh, let me see maybe there's a military plane, and he wants basically 60 people. and we looked into it, and what was the show? the lion king, was at the kennedy center, so we had them
6:43 pm
come to perform. but even that when i talk to the president, it's like oh ok you're going to tell mrs. obama. so it was awful but, it was really a shock that someone would commit to performing, and i don't want to say the name, because it's for real. >> those are the rules. >> and i know that i'm glad to know that we're not paying for entertainment the taxpayers not paying for entertainment at the white house. >> i'm sure you have a good one. >> i would have to say the most difficult guests guests are members of congress, because there's a sense of entitlement there. whether it was an individual senator, or the whole congressional party, i remember waiting to greet a senator that was coming to see president bush and i saw him pull up, and
6:44 pm
he opened the door and i saw him take a bottle, and he drank something and swished it around in his mouth, and spit it out on the steps of the white house. then he was clearly very lead very drunk, he stumbled up, and i took him up to his meeting and i thought it was so appalling. and then you go to this annual thing with them, and it's all the members and their family, and they will defy the rules and shock with not only their kids, but they're tents and and different people, and they're angry that all of the guests cannot be cleared in immediately. and we have work rules to follow. the name of data and date of birth, six social security number, all that information has to be sent to secret service, and then the has to be cleared through them. and then these people with the senators would be irate, and then they've come to this picnic which was almost 1200 people. it was always very hot and we
6:45 pm
just smothered the president and the first lady surrounding them and it was quite unpleasant for them to be out there for hours an hours many of them would be over served as they would, say and i have trouble finding the porta-potties, and finally they would stumble home with the centerpiece is tucked under their arms and we would be thinking, oh good riddance. i'm sure there are wonderful members of congress but those are the ones who stand out. it's funny because in talking with my predecessors everyone had the same reaction and that is the most feared event every year is the national picnic because it happened in the summer. it was hot. there were so many people. to your point, as everybody was leaving as the sun starts to go down you push people along, it is time to leave, i noticed one
6:46 pm
congressman, he was heading towards a food warmer and i thought what on earth, i realized he thought it was a porta-potty. there was a moment where bad jeremy said oh just sit back and watch. but i got a hold, i said sir, the exit is over there, if you need to use the exit, and he stumbled on out. but, that i go back and forth about whether i should have just let that happen. >> little double on your shoulder. >> you know, i think that a lot of people think that the white house social secretary is meant to deal with the politics of the event. that certainly is one of the toughest job that is never discussed in a interview and certainly not on the job
6:47 pm
description, but it seems to me that it is not so much about the politics but about the people, as we've been talking about. we do want names this time or have an event or occasion during your white house that gives us hope. >> my favorite story. let me get more generally. for most people coming to the white house is a really important milestone in their life. they tell their family about. it they want the pictures. they want to take home napkins with the presidential seal. they're very proud of. it my favorite thing was watching people walk into the white house for the first time. they look around at the portraits and the columns. and you can just see them thinking you know, i share a common heritage as an american with all the people who live in this house. and they often become very emotional. and it is a very lovely, reinforcing thing to see this kind of pride in america and
6:48 pm
i'm sure that every social secretary has seen that many times. >> most of the experiences were, it's more fun to talk about the negatives, i will never forget, we had the portrait unveiling of the bushes, george w. and laura bush at the white house, and we had a lunch for the family beforehand. and about a week later i got a letter, a hand written letter, laura bush called my assistant and said laura wants to send something to jeremy, but if you ever get it a takes months. also anything that comes to the white house becomes public record and she wanted this to be delivered to me. so i got home one day. i had this beautiful
6:49 pm
handwritten note from mrs. bush saying how welcomed they felt. she noticed china. i used to personal china from upstairs and she noticed everything and the chefs were making enchiladas which is one of president bush's favorite. getting something like that. thanks a moment for summit right but it is thoughtful and it really means a great deal. >> that leads perfectly. it's in the book. it's one of the topics in the book. going through it, being consistent, having self confidence, using humor and charm, you've called them the great equalizer's. being loyal and honest, listening, first acting later, a few of the examples illustrate in the book as the cornerstones of trump people well. they all sound obvious. common sense. but not all of them come easily to most people so i'm going to ask each of you if you had just
6:50 pm
one place to start, which practice would fall at the top of the list and why? jeremy. top of the list. because of the times that we live in. now we have a lot of the benefits of technology. getting information so quick. but i feel like, becoming accustomed to immediate response sometimes people don't step back and really listen. and one of our chapters is listen, listen first, and speak last. it's really hard in this day and time to get people to really listen to someone else. when i see someone in a store, and they are on the headset or something, talking to someone, in the midst of conversation and they're at that cashier, i find it so unbelievably rude
6:51 pm
because you're not even acknowledging the person right across the way. but it has become very normal these days. and i think it is one of the more important things for these times. >> i agree. i also think that humor is a incredibly powerful tool. we often say i'm not naturally funny or i'm not naturally charming, but all those behaviors are learned behaviors, while there are naturally funny people like jeremy, there are people like me who have had to find a way to learn that. one of our most beloved presidents, -- were so honored to be here by the way, to tell my favorite story that i tell every event that we do and it is probably apocryphal. we've never been able to prove that it happened but it's a story of ronald reagan riding horses with queen elizabeth, and one point the queens horse
6:52 pm
had a prolonged bout of flatulence and he said i'm sorry. he said it's quite all right your majesty, i thought it was the horse. that kind of natural humor relaxes, everyone it is an intense meeting and say that one correct funny thing that makes everyone or lacks and be able to work together again. that is a very powerful thing. >> that's great. i can't confirm the story though i know the president very well. it sounds just like him. i'm going to go with i think that's true. we're going to open up to questions in just a minute, but i want to ask each of you without getting yourselves in trouble politically, is there one person in washington d.c. today that you would like to have a yearbook? and if he or she only has time for one chapter, which one would you recommend? >> we have no idea who she is talking about. >> i would like to give it to
6:53 pm
virtually everyone in washington d.c., especially congress and the press. there is a built-in animosity, and i think that bad behavior is unfortunately very, very contagious. and when you see someone acting rudely, or acting in consider it seems to grow because it is giving permission. so one of the things we felt very earliest that it takes a conscious effort to be nice, to be kind in this world. because there are so many things that go contrary to that. and so, even though it is fairly obvious, you have to think about and even once we start writing this book, i'm living in l.a. now in l.a. traffic and someone would cut in front of me. don't honk the horn. don't scream. unless you're putting your life, your car in danger, what does
6:54 pm
it matter if it's going to take another 30 seconds? but it took a real conscious effort because my reaction was kind of what i have learned. and that is scream, honk, and curse. >> yeah, that doesn't work. >> does it work. >> okay we're going to open this up to questions. we have some with a microphones please wait until you have the microphone, because we are live streaming. >> hi. thank you for being here today. this is great. >> have a shallow question. when people go for dinner at the white house, do they ever like the silverware? >> it's been known to happen. >> there's some beautiful old silver that says it's engraved at the president's house and we just upped using it because we didn't have enough pieces to use, it because it had been taken. whenever you something that you would see at any caterer so that there's less desire to take it. >> but president obama would
6:55 pm
actually sit at holiday parties, take the napkins, take the towels downstairs in the restrooms. you don't take the silverware because it is rented. it is not from here. because it is somewhat natural. also liu told me about this. for the name plates at each place, and eagle that is very attractive. yes they would take it. so i was told very early on to pick up those before desert. because most people don't think about it until it gets towards the end. now one of the problems was when we would be short, there was no budget to buy that. it was pulling teeth. 50 dollars each. if we were short it wasn't like we will get the slush fund to pay for it.
6:56 pm
we really didn't have a account to pay for that kind of stuff. so it wasn't just that we wanted to be greedy with it but we really couldn't part with it. >> the butlers would go to someone and very politely say excuse me, sir i think you put the place card holder in your pocket and actually stays here with the white house, and they fish it, out >> the place cards. you allow them to take them. beautifully hand calligraphy. they were in our white house. those alone are so special. i have a place card from the white house, you are a very rare person to have that. so it seems to me that they would be happy with that, anything that is not wired down sadly, even people who attend white house events thinks that host means take anything on the table. a question over here. >> after questions. one general and one specific. first general one is if you were to hire the next social
6:57 pm
secretary, what would be the tough qualities that you would look for? >> that is a good question. i think that there is something about, we both when we started these jobs, we talked about it, we were like how did we get here you play it off as if we belong. we all have our insecurities but one of the important things is to be confident enough in yourself that i think everyone in the white house feels like when are they going to find out the mistake that they made and i'm going to be thrown out of here. so it is common, but you don't want to in front of your staff appear to be uncertain. so that and a sense of humor, it is hard to say. one detail is important. it's kind of a combination.
6:58 pm
sense of humor is really important. most of all because when someone says or does something, it could be a guest or someone at the white house to have to let it go. and sometimes they can be caddie or rude, you just have to let it go, and that is not always easy. >> for various reasons which we can get into more, as children, neither of us were particularly extroverted, and when you go through a stage in your life where you feel like a outsider i think it changes how you deal with people afterwards and i think we were both better social secretary for having a sense of how uncomfortable and intimidated people would be when they come to the white house so we but take the extra effort to make them feel welcome. so i would say that every social secretary really needs to be able to reach out, and make people feel comfortable there because that is actually the most important part of the job. >> so you really the bridge between the guest -- >> for a lot of first-timers.
6:59 pm
one time for the kennedy center honors, before the ceremony you have the family members of the honorees go out and sit in the east room, where the ceremony is going to take place. so meryl streep was being honored that year, someone took her family out, she said i'm glad you got rid of them, but come down and sit with me. i'm so nervous. she goes you're nervous? she goes i'm so nervous. i think the president is more nervous about you meeting him then he meeting you. she wanted comfort. it doesn't matter who it is. everyone has that and it is important to recognize and be sensitive to. >> recognizing that everyone is a person. we all have emotions. a question over here. >> did you ever have anybody tried to change their place cards, and how did you handle
7:00 pm
if they try to change the place cards? >> if it was last minute, no one changed tables. that's a problem. because then someone's gonna go to the wrong table. they would change places, and you know, it was annoying, understandably. yet i usually you know unless it was at the president or first lady's table, you know i wouldn't go if somebody move themselves let next to him well that is too much. >> and as social secretaries we often look at the goodwill, because many people think they should be invited to the white house, and when they're not they tend to blame us. likely took them off the guest list. so for years afterwards there
7:01 pm
people you know i know jeremy had heard from people who said i was never invited when you are there. and at one point, there is a restaurant in washington called the palm. and there washington types on the walls. and i went to dinner with my husband, and this was about a year after working at the white house, and somebody had taken their four cause i had character in the wall, and somebody had stuck their fork in it. so you know you have to be extra special nice to people when you can, because honestly it's not the social secretaries who picked the guest list. other people do. >> and we can't exactly say, well someone so said no. so we were off in the bad guys. who >> so you have a question over here? i thought i saw a hand. >> a very shy crowd. >> it is a tsai crowd.
7:02 pm
can >> i have a question regarding a couple that snuck into a party to one of the parties, how did that happen how did did they not get checked? how did they get in faye work on the guest list? >> li knows that better than i do, you know so let's make that clear. >> but it wasn't fact, on june 7th of 2011, it was my first state dinner. and that was out in the rose garden. and it was gorgeous, but i could not relax for anything. because you know anything that goes wrong, is what makes the story. and that gate-crashers, certainly did put the fear in the white house that lasted the entire administration.
7:03 pm
and mistakes happen, and it you know unfortunately the people that really suffer are the guests now because it's such a process you have to show your i.d. multiple times, really. >> it's worse than flying. >> yes it's awful i mean it's a shame, and it was the first state dinner and they were dress you know and the secret service did not have them on the list but they were convincing in the got through and unfortunately had to call the secret service agents, and it was really the bad actions of them trying to get attention are getting attention. you know. >> did you ever tell the jokes, there was a production company
7:04 pm
that was trying to start the real housewives of washington d.c. at the time, and the couple the gate-crashers try to get on this show and they tried to impress the producers by saying we got invited to a state dinner. and their whole plan was just to get inside and get some photos, and leave before the dinner started because they would've been discovered them because they had because they had no seats, and a washington reporter, saw them and thought it was odd. and as some of the staff. but they didn't have time to focus on it, until the next morning. when they fully posted these pictures on facebook. and people had realized when it happened. so it was inconceivable that any white house could have ever foreseen somebody trying to do this. because they did not care about coming to the white house, they care about the tv show. >> i think we had a question right here. >> i'm trying to figure out the logistics, because there's so
7:05 pm
much going on. on so many different levels, how could you coordinate with the activities that were going on -- . we >> have okay well first i drank a lot. [laughs] >> i had advised my predecessor, about the job, and i basically said you should have a big board that tells every event of every day. because we would have from 300 to 400 events a year. some days there were three events sundays there were not there was nothing. but it was never spaced out the way you would want to be. and so, it was keeping an eye, and it was difficult, and i tell my staff we are so busy going from one event to the
7:06 pm
other, and making one event happen, do not forget to enjoy the history of it because when there is a middle of honor, or middle of freedom, this is an historic moment, and something you are not going to see most likely in your post-white house lives. but it's difficult because you're going from one to the other to the other. and i looked out, and i actually know change some of the staff when i got there, there was turn over. and i had a great staff, and people, you know and i'm mainly hired people who had been interns for the social office, because they work the most, and had longest hours. and if they can make it through that, i thought well, staff will be easy. >> and social secretary is responsible for every event that happens at the white house, except for the oval office and the press room.
7:07 pm
so coordination point in the social office, you know we work with the ushers in the butlers, and the white house staff and our bosses to make sure that everything is organized. we all know what we're doing, and so there was never a time when i walked on to the grand floor, and found there was an event going on that i didn't know about. >> multitasker. the supreme multitaskers. >> someone over here has a question? >> how did your office, you know how did you go through protocol in the state department? >> we did it regularly when they were foreign visitors, and state visits required more interaction with them. we also had a lot of interaction with the -- staff. there were luncheons with the president, are visiting head of state, and so we would get all of those names and the order of
7:08 pm
preference, so i could pass those on to the calligrapher, and we can put things in place but it was almost always flawless, and they were almost always right. there was one occasion, when i remember the amir of kuwait was coming for lunch with president bush, and i got the list from the nsc, and when the kuwaiti delegation arrived there was one extra person there. and he looked around, and there was a flurry of issues and he left he was escorted out. the next day the kuwaiti ambassador wife left, and she said you cause my president because the president ambassador problems yesterday. so now he has his political problems at home because this person was mostly at the lunch but it was an extra personal list. so i went back to the nsc and they were apologetic, they did whatever they needed to do to try to smooth things over, but that's why being a social secretary, it could be nerve
7:09 pm
wracking because something that small could blow up in your face. >> by the way and i see is the national security council. >> they are the coordination point for foreign policy within four nation the white house. >> i worked with the office of protocol almost on a daily basis. which is a benefit for me, which was a chief of protocol had had my job during the clinton years so patricia marshall was great in my first months and i would ask her and she would be there and say what do you do about this or did you ever have this law. >> and they are assigned to the state department right. >> yes they are white house death. >> and the it was great because they would tell us right away when we found out a leader was visiting, whether it's for a meeting or a luncheon, or a full state visit. what their likes and dislikes were, what colors would be
7:10 pm
offensive if we had flowers that were white, was that you know could that be offensive to certain cultures? what food allergies they had? so we relied on state department and the office of protocol a great deal. just you know that was one thing that we didn't have to worry about because we knew they had that information. >> during the reagan administration we did have one social office event, a state dinner overseas, and it was during the visit of the president and mrs. reagan in moscow. and they hosted a state dinner in moscow. did either of you hold a state dinner, or a state event outside the white house? >> it's a very rare occasion. >> whenever we did you know basically one of the summits, or the apec, or the g7 you know or if russia was coming, it was
7:11 pm
those were usually out of town. one was at camp david maybe, one was in hawaii. and there was one in chicago. so if it was a white house event, we were in charge of it. we always had to do the united nations reception, when the president would go speak at the united nations. and he would host all the leaders, so if we are the host country, then we would have to be there. and it made us realize and appreciate, how much we enjoyed doing things at the white house. where you don't know you have really control over any, think we have a lot more control then you know in new york we had to deal with my first my first trip there we did the new york library, which was beautiful, but unfortunately because secret service had to block off so much with pipe and drape, the president and mrs. obama
7:12 pm
you know the this is well they could've been in an airport hangar. so it's like analysts just do it at the hotel. and what he just kind of learned by mistake, because it wasn't your footprint. it wasn't the usual, which is being at the white house. >> so we have time for one more question. >> speaking of state dinners, it is my understanding that now you have state dinners, you serve only american winds? and since we are in california, really interested in knowing how those ones get chosen? >> yes. >> well there was an usher, who just retired who is a sommelier, and he had connections with all vineyards up and down the west coast, and he was very clever about it. he would not just find the winds that fit the food, but he
7:13 pm
would find winds with really interesting names. and there was a foreign visit, with china which was always problematic for us, because you know the countries are always at loggerheads. and he called each owes a wind called conundrum. so i think there's someone else doing it now but. >> i actually drink a lot of that. >> and so we would have, wine tasting because he was there when i was at the white house, and feel i would have a tasting with mrs. obama and her mother, and we would especially mrs. obama and i would be drinking the wine, and and it was the ability to choose a great selection so you know that was a big plus for us. >> we have a question right
7:14 pm
here? >> i'm anne-marie from pasadena, i enjoyed hearing it but so sad to hear about all the alcohol and bad behavior, so did they ever reduce the alcoholic drinks, or the alcohol in the eggnog, and on that vein we're talking a protocol, you hear so much about protocol that took place with the british wedding recently, and the etiquette they chose to wear certain things and speak a certain way, was that also that type of thing when people visit the white house? >> well for the first question, we started having i think we start having nonalcoholic eggnog, and the recipe is such a tradition, that there was this you know you can't mess with the recipe, but we would have the person that was serving it, warning people like this is really really potent. and just be careful because you
7:15 pm
know people used to drink a lot more years ago, and now i think for a lot of people it hit quicker. but we did certainly offer other alternatives and we were very careful on serving alcohol. what the st. patrick's day event was a particularly liquid event every day but fun, after a non knock down one of the military aides in her zeal to get to the president and shake his hand, we stop doing that as well, and had a lovely irish themed event. but we're probably are making it sound worse than it is because you remember the bad behavior. you don't hear the good stories about people being, kind, honest and faithful, and so forth.
7:16 pm
people like to hear some of these more unusual stories, i understand that there are a lot of adults here, i want to say thank you for your service, we had the military, and non-military volunteers, without them i don't think we could function at all. >> that's true. absolutely. >> okay just a couple of minutes i know in the book you have something called permanent touching moments in the white house. i know there was a story about somebody getting arrested at one of your events, and some dicey stuff it to your events as, well i wonder if you could share one pro moment. leave us with that. certainly not all of the bad stuff because as you say, there are so many wonderful days and moments at the white house. and to be there, to work, there to attend an event there is an extraordinary opportunity. >> we just witnessed yesterday
7:17 pm
what happens more often than is usually reported, though it's not terribly common. when you submit your information to come into the white house, the secret service check it. and if you have a warrant for your arrest they are going to know it. now how this idiot showed up at the white house after giving his information and didn't know he would be arrested is kind of shocking. it goes to one of the dumbest possible felons. sometimes i would get a call from the secret services and say look, they are a do not, admit we don't want you to be embarrassed by -- i would call the person and often, what did you get a
7:18 pm
speeding ticket somewhere? -- it doesn't go away. they attach, and if you are pulled over and they are checking, they will see you have a unpaid parking ticket. and i don't want you to come to the white house and get arrested for having eight unpaid parking ticket. speeding to get. so it was always scary to get those calls. the other thing that happened a lot is that people would be stuck at the gate. and i will try to figure out what it was that went wrong. how did the information get mixed up. and they would usually to say to the secret service, i was actually born in 1953 but my husband thinks it's 1958. >> i had a particularly bad day when we had a official visit from the chinese president. i will only tell you the last part of the horror.
7:19 pm
it was only as the luncheon was about to begin and i was approached by easter state department employee who said that the chinese owned was tried to push the translator out of the way. president bush has to have his own translator summation that doesn't happen. so i walk over to the presidents table, and people are slowly starting to come into the luncheon. and i see a chinese woman sitting in the american translator seat and the american translator is nervous and troubling and saying she won't let me sit in my seat. i explain to her politely that she needed to move over one. seat the translator protection and speak english so i could see the presidents were coming down the hallway, and the thing was about to happen. so i said to the american translator when i get the seat open sit in it and don't, leave until the election is over. so i pushed her chair a little, bit she -- i could see the chinese chief of political coming at me looking very nervous, i shoved
7:20 pm
her in the, chair i was literally saved by the marine band who walked in the dining room otherwise i don't know what would have happened. but that was a pearl clutching moment. >> we believe everybody with one of your best moments at each of your white houses. so if you could help us out with that. >> you know, at the end of a state dinner or the holiday receptions, it, was you could see how happy people were. i remember prime minister cameron and his wife turned to me and said thank you for the most amazing special night of our lives. we were taken aback. thank you. but moments like that, you see people that had never been there before leaving, and they are so happy and excited, that was always a great moment.
7:21 pm
the holiday receptions. there were so many of them. one ended i was sad because it was the end of a season. it was just so special. >> you know every presidential administration has times when they are, up and times when they are down. as joy and can tell, you when you are feeling embattled within the white house it is a daily struggle to just move on and to the best possible job that you can do. and i was and the white house at the time when the iraq war wasn't going very well. it was before the surge. and the president decided to do a breaking of the ramadan fast dinner. it's a complicated dinner so all of the religious observance is were done properly by the white house, and we were very focused on. it the eastern was empty efren itch. or perilous were put down. and at exactly the moment of the sunset, he mom stood at the grand foyer and called all the clerks, ambassadors from
7:22 pm
countries that had muslim populations invited them to pray in the east room. a number of them went in, close the doors, they came, out and the dinner. again i remember standing there feeling so impressed and proud that i was working in this white house where yes the war was going terribly, they thought we couldn't do anything right, and yet we were showing this level of religious tolerance to people who had knock down the tower and we were able to make the distinction between terrorism and religion and i always think of that as my proudest moment at the white house. >> many of you know, ronald reagan is a man that absolutely understood the extraordinary power of work and in life. he always treated people well, even if he didn't agree with their political views. in fact he always treated people the.
7:23 pm
saying he don't care if you are the queen of england or the bus driver. he always said hello to you. and if there was time he asked how you doing. what was going on in your life. he stuck around to hear the answer. he didn't blow you off. one of my favorite ronald reagan quotes which was engraved in a plaque on a desk in his oval office it there is no limit to where a man can go, as long as he gets the credit. it reminds me so much of what is in this book, and i hope that all of you will get your copy, and it is a great gift for somebody in your life. a daughter, a son, a niece, a nephew, a granddaughter, i hope you will all take the time to do that, and in honor of the plaque i have one for each of you today. i want to thank you for coming here and joining us. >> thank you so much. >> we are going to take jeremy and lea up to the museum store.
7:24 pm
in just a few moments. they will be happy to answer questions as you move up the line. thank you for coming. we hope to see you all next time. >> thank you. thanks so much.
7:25 pm
the same punishment is applicable. section 23 87 of the same title provides for a 10,000 dollar fine, or ten years of imprisonment meant or both, or whoever with a tenth to influence, the morale, and discipline of the military advises council, attempts to encourage mutiny, or refusal of duty by any member of the military. distribution of offensive literature with the same intent is also a violation. the statute has been held to be applicable in peace times, as well as won a state of war exists. >> congress sent its wisdom
7:26 pm
took a right and out for a certain number of people who would otherwise caused a great deal of trouble for the armed forces. section 6j says nothing continued the title can constrain any person to be -- in the armed forces of the united states, who by reason of religious training and believe are conscientiously opposed to bore in any form. the session tonight is mostly about conscientious objection. the people to whom the section of the law pertains. -- the guy who doesn't want to have any part either in the designing of the weapon. >> it means finding out what
7:27 pm
each man feels about serving in the army and fighting in vietnam. and then explaining his choices to him. we help anyone who comes, and even though we think that men should choose not to go and many of us have already chose that option. >> you can go in there and say i'm not a member of a religious sect. did that make any difference? if they say yes. you can use that in the appeal because you can just say they are prejudiced. >> the country being in serious trouble. >> we've got to talk. this country's already in the. brink over the drain. you are talking about an america that no longer exists. >> what did you say? >> i said set. >> our commanders. they're in the building now. wrecking the place. don't try it.
7:28 pm
you're gonna be hit over the broken had. >> nothing. i never do. illegal dissenters. don't you know? >> on many of our nations platforms, radical speakers making a well he'd living, telling our young people what is wrong. on such a platform, we have seen many self proclaimed communists and revolutionaries. radical folks come from various documents and professions. sometimes prominent political figures adjoining in a movement with which the supposed communists hope to destroy america.
7:29 pm
7:30 pm
he's been listening to the wrong people. he's gone in for drugs, loose morals, and wants and destruction. he blames that on what is wrong with america. maybe it is time that some of us should start reminding him what's wrong with america. so you are now currently on the property of mr. howard hankison's, it's an industrial recycling area, and mr. hankison's has owned as much as 600 acres here, and has auctioned off some of it to a golf course. but this is a small sliver of what is

21 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on