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Inspired by "strategery," a term coined by SNL and embraced by the George W. Bush Administration, The Strategerist podcast series highlights leadership and compassion through thought-provoking discussions.
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Aired 2 months ago 20:49
Carly Fiorina is the first woman CEO of a fortune top twenty company, she's also relentlessly optimistic leader who believes to solve problems we have to unlock everybody's potential. One woman is like a pebble dropped into a pond. The pebble may be very small, but the ripples go very far. That message echoes our beliefs that the Bush institute is at the heart of our women's initiative. Carli has also recently become a podcast or taking her brand of leadership to the internet airwaves with by example, a show featuring leaders from all walks of life. So let's talk leadership. I'm your host Andrew Kaufman in this is the strategic presented by the George W Bush institute. What happens when he crossed the forty third president late night, sketch, comedy and compelling conversation. This strategic has a podcast form from the word strategically which was appointed by us. The now in braced by the George W Bush administration we highlight the Americans feared of leadership and compassion through thought provoking conversations. And we're reminded that the most effective leaders are the ones who laughed. The Bush institute believes that developing leaders that are committed to solving problems as critical, and so does our guest Carly Fiorina who has a long history of leadership in both the for profit and not for profit realms. And I think it's also important to point out that she is a fellow optimist Carly, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you so much for having me, we're also joined by the Bush institute's expert on all things leadership policy and so much more executive director, Holly cues Mitch great to be here. So Carly you lived in Africa in one thousand nine hundred sixty nine as your father took a sabbatical at the university of Ghana and acros to teach the New Guinean constitution to law students. Can you tell us about that time, and how it shaped your perception of democracy and has that perception changed through your lifetime? Well such a great question to start with. So the thing that I remember I I was a teenage girl fourteen fifteen and we landed at the airport in a cry. To a totally different world. We were the only white people, obviously. However, I remember sitting in this wonderful brave new world to me where everything was different and exotic and strange, and yet everyone was so welcoming, and so warm and once a week, my father would invite some of his law students to our home, and we would sit around the table, my father, my mother, myself, my sister, and brother and all these law students, and I would watch them talk about their new constitution. And they were these law students were so passionate about what they were doing what they were building. This was a country that had just overthrown a dictator. This was their first real experience with democracy. And so it was a palpably emotional and uplifting experience. That's what I remember. About it. I didn't spend all that much time thinking about our own democracy until I got much older. I just you know, we're a democracy. It was like the air we breathe through the water. We swam it. If we were fishes unlike something brand new for these Ghanaian laws dunes. So I didn't really think about Ariza until much later. But there are features of ours. That are quite unique in quite powerful. The fact that we're a Republic, actually, not a democracy. The fact that so much of our constitution is focused on preventing the concentration of power. The fact that in our country, we believe local problem solving is better problem-solving. The fact that individuals have in Illinois, -able writes that don't come from government. These are things that are unique about our Democratic Republic. So Carly you just mentioned that what you when you lived in Africa. You you are often one of the only white people in the room. You've also often been the only female in the room. What's your advice to people? Who find themselves in these kinds of scenarios, and how did you handle that? Well, in short, I would say I've learned over the years that in some ways if you're in that experience a lot it's more uncomfortable from the for the other people than sometimes it is few. I remember when I was running for the presidency and standing on a debate stage, and I used to get the question all the time from remorse. What does it feel like to be the only woman on the debate stage? And I said, I feels like the rest of my life. I actually think the guys are more nervous about how to deal with me than I am about how to deal with them. And that turned out to be true more seriously. However, what I would say is the advice. I give all the time is don't get a chip on your shoulder. And don't hide your light under a bushel. And what I mean by that is when you're the different one, whether it's because you're a person of a different color or your different gender. Whatever the case may be when you're the different one. There are people who will. Will tear you down and those kinds of people can give you a chip on your shoulder, which in the end hurts you not them. But there are also as many if not more people in my experience who will lift you up. And so go to the people who lift you up. Don't get a chip on your shoulder about the people who tear you down by the same token. Don't hide your light under a bushel. And by that what I mean is don't be different than you are to try and accommodate the fact that you're different from everybody else in the room be as good as you are as brave as you are as strong as you are let them figure out how to deal with you. Don't change yourself to deal with them, as you know, the Bush institute were committed to investing in women and girls and most recently we've brought nineteen women from Afghanistan. Egypt. Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia to the Bush institute to empower and equip them to become more effective leaders into advance economic opportunity and their communities and countries you spoke to these leaders tell us why. It's important that we empower women globally. Well, I want an amazing group of women. I was so uplifted by each of them in their stories. So let's talk about it at a macro level. And we'll talk about it at a micro level at a macro level. The data is unmistakable when you get women and girls more engaged everything gets better. So it's true. I mean, the data's inescapable illiteracy poverty conflict all those issues. Get better when women are engaged, and the reason is because women girls have half the brain power in the world. So we got a lot of problems. And the only way you solve problems is by applying human potential and brain power to those problems. If you have half of the brain power and the potential in the world sitting on the sidelines. You're not going to get as far as if you have one hundred percent of it engaged at a micro level. I'll tell you a story at the human. Level personal level. I was engaged with an organization called opportunity or national which is a microfinance lender. And you know, that microfinance is lending a very small amounts of money. The founder of microfinance a man named Mohammed Yunus began microfinance in Bangladesh. He wanted it to be sustainable, and he started by lending to men because that was the culture in Bangladesh, you lent to men, but what he figured out over time. As the men weren't always the best investors are the best credit risks. And over time. He learned he had to engage women at opportunity international ninety three percent of our clients were women not because we had a quote or to make the Moines women. But because we learned with experience that they frequently were the best investors. The best entrepreneurs they didn't invest just in themselves. They invested in their families and the communities around them women and girls make a difference for everyone. One women and men because something we've seen a lot through our work is is it always comes back to that principle that women invest back into their communities. When women are powerful the community is power. I think we have a common history in a way to with Dr Condoleeza Rice. Yes, who obviously is a is a strong force in the Bush administration. Also was connected to you. Yes. Kind of Lisa, and I form something called the one woman initiative where we focused funding on small grassroots organizations in majority Muslim countries, and we were looking to lift these organizations up to give women and opportunity for access to Justice access to economic opportunity and access to leadership training, and we called it the one woman initiative because we know that one woman can make an incredible difference in her community. In fact, the analogy that I used. Was one woman is like a pebble dropped into a pond. The pebble may be very small, but the ripples go very far. Let's go back to your lessons in leadership. You've talked about how it can be lonely at the top. What advice would you give to others for how to deal with that challenge? I often say that leadership is not about position and title, and it's not the fundamentals of leadership or not about the position of the title. You hold. It's what you do. With them. However leaders who do have position entitle for them frequently the buck stops with them the decision has to be made by them. Ultimately, when you have finished getting all the ideas and all the input, and you've collaborated with everyone who can help you make a wise and well-founded decision. Sometimes the final decision is up to you, certainly something President Bush knows so much about and at that point after you sifted and weighed all the evidence and all the input. You alone must decide. So I is to recognize that recognize that that comes with the territory the fact that as President Bush one said, he's the decider in chief that sometimes you're the decider in chief the second thing, I would say is recognize that no matter how you choose. Or what you decide you will be criticized. So no going into it that not everyone will agree with you. Not everyone will be happy with what you've done changes difficult. I think sometimes people expect when they make a tough decision. They hope for the agreement and the accolades in what they get instead is the criticism, and they get deflated, but it goes with the territory, so just know that going in you're going to get criticized how do you deal with that criticism? When it when it starts coming in. Well, and of course, criticism in this day and age is so much harder. Because it's omni-present I mean, soc. Well, media everybody's criticizing in the most personal cruel terms. Sometimes the first thing that I would say is I have learned over time to distinguish between criticism and feedback criticism comes with the territory, if you are changing the order of things for the better, if you are solving problems if you are challenging the status quo. If you are making difficult decisions, you are going to get criticized. So don't be surprised criticism is distinguished from feedback in this sense feedback is input that you need to hear from people who actually care about you the decision you've made in the outcome. You're trying to achieve and so when someone gives you feedback and says, you know, maybe you miss something. Maybe you've made a mistake. You're listen, very carefully criticism is just resistance criticism is just people saying, I don't like it. I'm throwing stones and over time. I've come to learn to. To ignore criticism and seek feedback. I would say you're quite an optimist, and we like to think of ourselves at the Bush institute is Optimus and one of your famous phrases is is leadership is seeing possibilities. Can you tell us about your outlook? So I think that leadership requires equal measures of realism and optimism realism is required. So that you see the problem as it really is sometimes leaders most important role is to hold the mirror up. So that people can see the truth. The leader speaks the truth, and therefore you can act on the truth. So realism is you can't be pie in the sky rose colored glasses, you got to be realistic on the other hand optimism is the belief that things can get better that people will rise to the occasion. And unless you believe that you don't start solving anything you just sit and wallow in the way things are seeing possibilities. Is being able to look at the realities of where you are. But nevertheless, see the possibility for improvement and particularly see the possibilities that the human potential all around you can provide to get you to a better place. Is there something you're particularly optimistic about the you don't think others are necessarily seeing or paying attention to. Well has such a great question. I think our culture right now celebrates fame for fame sake. I mean, honestly with all due respect what is Kim Kardashian. She's a famous person, that's it fame for fame sake. I think we celebrate outrage. I think we felt celebrate controversy. I think we celebrate the nastier is the better, it is certainly our politics reflects that it sort of our public discourse our social media feels like worldwide wrestling and so. I think it's easy to get numb to that. What I think people are missing is the enormous potential that every human being has and the fact that we have so much untapped potential all around us in our communities in our schools in our nation in our world. Truthfully. Human potential is the only limitless resource. We have it's the only resource we need to solve every problem big or small, and we've got a lot of it lying fallow. And so that makes me optimist it, but it's also why I applaud the work of the Bush institute for teaching leadership and lifting leaders up. And it's why I focus on that. Same thing myself. So the unlocking potential foundation, and you can learn more about that Carly Fiorina dot com. But we are United in our belief that people are capable of far more than they realize and leadership is always the catalyst the secret sauce. To go from what is to something that is better in terms of education for the past thirty five years since a nation at risk. We've all been bemoaning educational performance in our own country. And how we're lagging in terms of the rest of the world. You have a perspective as a businesswoman. As somebody who's run for public office to be able to see that we have really not made very much progress on this that issue talk about why you think that such a big challenge. The business community has been calling for this for decades. And we haven't really gained any traction. Now, you know, one of the things that I think it's important to be realistic about is the power of the status quo. Whatever the system is even when it's deeply unsatisfying and everybody knows it the system the status quo is very powerful the status quo in education is very powerful dislike the status quo in politics is very powerful. And the reason the status quo is all. Always powerful because because people are invested in it. There are so many vested interests not to mention political alliances around the status quo and education in order to solve education. We have to realize how powerful that status quo is. And I think as President Bush tried to do wanted to do when he came into office. We have to go back to first principles. And I think the first principle is the student is who we ought to be focused on the student is who we ought to be focused on principle number one principle number two. We cannot afford to leave any student behind our nation requires all of us would be better off if we were lifting more students up and equipping them and preparing them to be productive problem solvers in their lives and number three the resistance that is encountered Israel. It's. Powerful. And so we need powerful change warriors on the other side. It's why I happen to think charter schools while not perfect are part of that lever because they provide choice, and they put parents more in charge. But all the way back to your previous question about what makes me optimistic. So a place where the status quo was incredibly powerful, California. Incredible vested interests a group of parents banded together. In sued their local school board, and the teachers unions took them on those parents one in court, and what they were suing for was give us a choice when our kids school is failing. Wow, how fundamental if that happened in California that can happen in a lot of places. The other thing that you're doing to unlocked potential things is little interesting is that you're you're launching a podcast, and we were talking a little bit before about. So your first guests such as baron. Davis was not someone you would expect. How how did that? To happen. Well, what I wanted to do to the point of what am I after mystic about what I want to do through this podcast is to show people the leaders that are all around us because we do get so focused on fame and controversy and people with big titles and positions. When there are leaders all around us all the time and the truth is there are leaders problem. Solvers people who are changing the order of things for the better in every walk of life baron. Davis has happens to be an incredible leader in problem-solver most people who know him know him from basketball, but these folks are all over and speaking of unexpected we're looking for a little bit of an unexpected answer where we ask some of our guests this question. What is no one talking about that we should be talking about? I think what no one is talking about. And so honestly, I've started talking about it that we should be talking about is the role and the power that each of us as citizens have we started with a question about democracy in this country. The citizen is sovereign. Not a president not a government on a congressman not a mayor the citizen is sovereign. And I think as citizens we have spent way too much time looking up to somebody else. Dallas where we are today is a fantastic example of a community that has come together citizens that have come together to make a real difference on problems that afflict this community, the private sector, the nonprofit sector government. Those are all citizens who said you know, what we're not waiting. We're not looking to Washington. We're just going to tackle this here. I think we as people in some cases, we as citizens certainly need to reclaim the power that we. Have in this country and use it to solve the problems that are right in front of us and quit looking to somebody else to do it. For us. Carly Fiorina has a book coming out in April. Find your way, you can pre-order it online at Carly Fiorina dot com. She also has an upcoming podcast, and is an incredibly busy lady who he can't take enough for taking the time to talk to us. If you enjoy today's episode like to help us spread the word about the strategic to please give us a five star review until your friends to subscribe for available on apple podcasts Spotify and all the major listening apps if you're tuning in on a smartphone tapper swipe over the cover art. You'll find episode notes with helpful information and details he may have missed the strategic was produced, but you Anna Pappas at the George W Bush institute in Dallas, Texas. Thank you for listening.
Aired 6 months ago 2:02
Larry Magid: Presidential Alert
Larry, refresh our memory about how this thing is going to be used. Well, they're actually two different types of alerts if something called the wireless emergency alerts, the w. e. a. and the emergency alert fifty or the ES may look and found the fame, but they're different. You may have already gotten a real w. e. for example, in the case of a missing child, an amber alert or dangerous weather. Certainly people in hurricane country have gotten those WEA's when hurricane and other theories weather patterns happened in. I've gotten amber alert to not too long ago. The one that was tested today, the af. It's something we hope we never have to see in real life to get that thing national public warning where the president needs to communicate with a population about a significant national crisis. I'm quoting from government website right here. So that would be a very serious situation where the president had to give a message to the population that had an impact on life or personal safety. Think some folks were surprised that it was called the presidential alert. Is coming from FEMA is accurate is coming from FEMA, and I know that it was initiated by George Bush, but President, George W Bush after the Katrina filtration. He really, or his administration really started the process of wanting to move alerts over to smartphones. Now, the we hear our KCBI are very aware of their all broadcasters of the alerts that we carry on our air and you hear on television. And so this is really an offensive digital sibling or child. You might even Fe of type of alerts that we all grew up with in the we hear tested on broadcast stations. Larry, I heard from some friends who didn't get the alerts that they'd be worried well, no, they shouldn't be worried I, I'm not sure why they wouldn't have. I certainly did some work during. I think the eleven o'clock hour from not mistaken. It's possible that they might have had a carrier that's not part of the fist. I'm not all carrier are, or they could have had a phone that's not compatible probably an older phone. But any of the recent smartphones that you would bought in the last couple of years should be compatible as are the may. Carrier like AT and t. and variety.
Tech Reports by Larry Magid
Aired Last month 25:16
Mary. Martha Corinne Boggs Roberts has had a front row seat to history. So you probably know her as Cokie Roberts, the award winning journalist has witnessed a lot of change during her career, including watching the world get a lot smaller. We live in global society where what happens in some Todd square can affect your 4._0._1._K. We sat down with coke in the fall to chat about the transformation of Washington journalism for the better. And for the worse. We also cover what studying the early women of American history can teach us and how Cokie ended up in Tanzania interviewing first, ladies, Laura Bush, and Michelle Obama on very little notice. I major Kaufman. And this is the strategic just presented by the George W Bush institute. What happens when he crossed the forty third president late night, sketch, comedy and compelling conversation. This strategic has a podcast born from the word strategically which was coined by SNL and embraced by the George W Bush administration. We highlight the American spirit of leadership and compassion through thought provoking conversations. And we're reminded that the most effective leaders are the ones who laugh. Well, I'm excited and thrilled to welcome a living legend to the strategic just and actual living legend as defined by the library of congress. Not. This is not my words, this library of congress this defined as that, and she's NPR and ABC news commentator Cokie Roberts, Cokie. Thank you so much for joining us, let a treat to be with you. We also have Bill McKenzie editorial director of the George W Bush institute. Also joining us. Thank you. Glad to be or so coke you've been inducted into the broadcasting and cable hall of fame you've won countless awards, including three Emmys, and you've been cited by American women in radio and television as one of the fifty greatest women in the history of broadcasting. So the cool thing about that was that Lucille ball was one of the other. So that was neat. That's great company that I think I'd put you above her as far as interviewing skills, but I haven't seen too many shows. View events. We're missing. So you've seen the landscape of journalism change during your career. How's it changed for women? Specifically it's much better from women in when I was coming into the business in the dark ages. It was a very very difficult. People said out loud. We don't hire women to do that even after that became illegal, and they often said it with their hands on your knee. So it was not an easy time at all. And but then now you do see at the entry level many more women than men, and that's something of a reflection of women coming out of journalism schools women coming out of history and political science programs. But, but then as you move up it still is tougher and you see it not only in anchor positions. But you see it in senior and executive producer positions. And you certainly see it at the top of the heap. The big bosses and much more important. The most important you see it in the boards of directors. And that's where the decisions ultimately get made. And that's still a very bleak picture, frankly. I don't know where they find all these old white men. There are there's a percentage of the population this tiny. But but you'd never know that to look at corporate boards of directors. What kind of obstacles remain for women and getting getting more of those positions in in the boards of directors and at the higher higher levels? People don't like to give up power. It's not complicated. So they people who have the power want to keep the power and don't want to share it. As you have progressed in your career. How have you seen women in radio change and women in television? Well. You know, there's radio and radio and at NPR where I've spent my most of my radio career at a brief stint at CBS. Women have done quite well because NPR started. After women were legally required to be treated equally. So that is a big difference. Because if you're starting from scratch, you don't have to kill somebody to put a woman in his job. And so that makes things easier, but it was also true, quite frankly that NPR paid badly and women would take lesser salaries. And so that also made a big difference. And then in television, I've worked in both commercial and public television. I've never really seen any difference of the way women are treated between those two and again, you do now see women in anchor positions, occasionally, not that often, but occasionally, and and you've occasionally seen women heads of news divisions, and that kind of thing, so it's it's definitely it's it's nine day difference from when I started, but there's as with everything aways to go, and what about young women coming into the profession. Are you seeing more easing of them? They're all over the place. And and they're great. I mean, they're they're go getters. They're busy. They the greater getting stories. They're brave just today and advisory went out about covering make America great again events, which is dangerous for jer. Journalists and quite dangerous and particularly dangerous for young female journalists. And so they have to be willing to do this. And they are you came up in the sixties, which was also a tumultuous time. How does the environment today compared to that of the sixties? Well, it's different in terms of the vitriol in the sixties what we had was policy fights over civil rights, and Vietnam, and yes, they could get horrible mean sixty eight convention was one of the least pleasant places you'd ever wanna be. But but it was not the world of social media, and that's made all the difference. And so you didn't have people anonymously going after you or issuing death threats and. And also it was not so personal today. It's all personal from the president on down. It's not about policy is not the people really disagreeing about immigration or something that they are in K ups and their disagreement with the other camp and not just disagreement. It feeling that it's evil and should be a Radic aided and. And that anybody who represents that camp or is perceived to represent that camp is evil and should be denounced. And that is a very big difference from any time in American history. How do we get past that? I don't know. I don't know. I think that you know, we're here today is turns out to be remembering Barbara Bush and the soul of civility and and president George H W Bush one of the most decent human beings that ever walked the face of the earth. And how how we got from them to this. It's really a very sad story. And I think we just have to have people decide enough and and throw throw their hands up and say, we're not going to do it anymore. So you grew up with a prominent mother and father, and they they were in congress as you were starting your journalism career. How did you find it was in congress from my birth? He was in congress my whole life. And then my mother went to congress when I was in my twenties. How did you end up on the opposite side of the aisle from them? So well, they had they actually met on the college newspapers. So they had had their stamp in my father had worked for the New Orleans newspaper as on the side while he was in law school. So they weren't they weren't ignorant of this line of work. They weren't they weren't always thrilled with it. But I'm not always thrilled with the press either. But my husband who I met when I was eighteen it was always going to be a journalist. It was something he wanted to do from his babyhood, and it would have been a little rough on him if I had gone into politics, did, you know from babyhood, I think where you put it that you wanted to go to journalists. Yeah. Yeah. No. It was you know, I'm woman of a certain age. You know, we are lives. We're not lives that were planned out. We we wanted to get married and have families and maybe do something good. But there was not really a sense of career. So having seen the political side of this discussion that ever entice you to to be in politics. I mean, if if I hadn't married my husband, which is an odd thing to say being married fifty two years. But if I hadn't married him, I probably would have gone into politics. I'm real long line. All right. So what was that like covering, Washington, congress, etc? When a particular your mother was in there. Well, actually, it was a big benefit to me to have grown up knowing the institutions of Washington, so well, I had a leg up and people trusted me because they knew that I fundamentally respected the institution. And that I didn't think that politicians were evil people. And and so it was really an advantage to be able to have had that kind of background before. I before I started covering congress in politics regularly. It's also true that politicians when it comes to being interviewed by people who who's broadcast. We'll get out to the world are the most modern of men because they just they don't much care who you are. Or what you are. They just care about getting getting themselves out to the public. So you're you are a child of Washington in effect, Washington, an Louisiana, but you grew up in in Washington this little bit different from today. So how do you characterize Washington versus the time you're growing up much less friendly place? Certainly when I was growing up. I was just I just finished writing a book review of biography, Betty Ford, and Betty and Gerry Ford, and my parents were very good friends and Gerry Ford was the minority leader of the house when my father was the majority leader of the house, and that's a Washington you just don't. See it all today, and some of it has to do with the fact that families aren't there? So that they don't have the kind of comrade that they used to him. Some of it is some of this lack of civility. My mother always said actually that when they first got to Washington they were twenty four and twenty six when my father was elected, and that that President Bush's father press good push was very very kind to them just reached out to them. And and try to be gracious to them, and he didn't have any connection to them. He was just a nice, man. And that's the way it was then and people didn't much care. What party you from? Now that doesn't mean that they didn't have partisan battles. Of course, they did. But it was it was over policy. It wasn't personal. So you're a New York Times bestselling author written extensively on first lady's. How did that how did you get into first lady's? What pike you're interested is not just first lady's women who influential women in American history. So they're in a variety of walks of life. Some of them are first, ladies, but. I my first big history book was founding mothers about women of the in period. And I really got into that. Because I spent I spend so much time with the founding fathers. You know, I know them all on a first name basis and. And that's what you should do if you cover congress and politics as extensively as I have because people are invoking them all the time, usually eroneous -ly. But. You need to go back and read what they actually did say about religion in the public square or the right to bear arms. Or why president has to be born in America, whatever it is constantly coming up. And so. Reading their works and their debates and their biographies. I started to get very curious about what the women of the time were up to because I knew from my own childhood how influential the women of the nineteen fifties and sixties were. And and I covered women I covered women in politics both as politicians in his voters. And I I just didn't know anything about the women of this crucial period in our history, except for you now, Martha Washington at Valley Forge and Dolly Madison saving the portrait. And so I went back to learn about them and discovered that was almost impossible to do with a couple of good biographies of Abigail Adams, is an exception. That's changed. I'm happy to say since then that was two thousand four when that book came out, and they've been some decent biographies quite good biographies since then, but. At that point, they weren't. And so in order to learn about these women I had to actually do the research myself, and and that got me into it. What did you find about them? That was surprising to you. I think the surprise to me about the founding period. Was how deeply political? They were. And how everybody just accepted that they were political, and that's was normal and even though they had no rights, no legal rights. They couldn't own property if they were married they were property of they were married, and they had no political rights. Certainly they still were highly highly influential and willing to make their views known not just to their husbands and brothers, but to the wider world and that did surprise me in twenty thirteen. Speaking of first ladies, use spend some time with MRs Bush, MRs Obama an Africa tell us about the data's fabulous. So what happened was this speaks to the great graciousness of Laura Bush, the President, George W Bush, and Laura we're going to be an Africa. Of course, you know, they've done a tremendous amount of work in Africa. And they had convened a first lady's of Africa summits. And then they discovered quite by accident that the Obamas. We're going to be on the continent at the same time. And so it was the obvious thing to do to invite MRs Obama to attend, and you know, she could have hijacked the whole thing. She could've come in. And given the keynote speech as the first lady of the land of African descent, and and it would have become her summit and speaking to her graciousness, she she chose not to do that and said she would be delighted to come. If it could be a conversation with MRs Bush. So then it was a lot of to and fro ING about who is going to be conduct this conversation, and I'm at the beach, and I get this phone call center from the from ear from Bush. Senator saying can you be in Tanzania next week? Talking about Tanzania. And then I went until my husband, and he said, why can't you be dancing the next week? I, you know, why not sounds great. And then I convinced ABC that I needed to be in Tanzania next week. And so off I went, and it was a wonderful conversation. It was so important to the first lady's of Africa because succession too often in Africa could mean death, and certainly not a peaceful transition and to have these two women of different political parties talking to each other in such a friendly and substantive way. I think was a tremendous example. And at one point I said in the course of the interview, I said to MRs Obama, you you wanted this to be a conversation instead of his speech. Why why did you? You do that. And she reached out to Laura Bush said because I love this woman. And she said, no, she's been such an incredible help to me, and I've learned so much from her, and and you can see it now when the two families together there's trust trusted tremendous report. And that was a great message to America, but also to the women of Africa, and they reconvened the next year in Washington. And so I was able to do it again, and it was straight shorter too much shorter trip just to the Kennedy Center, but and then they recently within the last year or so I didn't I wasn't the interviewer in this case. But I introduced him. They did it program together at the national archives about servicemen and my colleague Bob Woodruff, who of course, was injured in Iraq. Interview them. And so they they they're good act together. They do a great job. They are MRs Obama was even here just a couple of months ago. She was in. She was in Dallas for for another event and came up and spend some time with the staff, and it's great took some questions from us. And just really had. She's been shooting incredibly gracious. She's totally real, you know, there's nothing fake about her. But you know, but again at McCain's funeral when President Bush sort of slipped her a candy that became a national story is that that's how weird we've become that. You can't just give your your colleague next to you a piece of candy without people thinking, oh, there's something going on. You her a cough drop, and it's a story because we're hungry for these for these warm stories though, I think that's true. I mean, in fact, when I did interview in Africa, I started it by saying Martha Washington because the role the first lady isn't very difficult role and Martha Washington had written early and her ascension to this unique position. And of course, the first she said people, call me, the first lady or the highest lady or something in the land. I think I'm the chief state prisoner. And and so I said to them do. So so do you have some sympathy for that you say for it? And they both laughed and said my dad has some prison aspects. But it's you know is nice prison. It's got a good chef and all of that and one of the conservative outlets wrote, Michelle Obama complaints, she's imprisoned. You know, you just can't get free from this foolishness. At the partisan rhetoric is is inescapable at times. And but it's still nice. We have these warm stories, which I think reflects where we aren't making the week of John McCain's brought that home on big why and MRs Bush to the delay the here for her passing, absolutely. That was very clear that that was something that people could feel good about get behind. You know? As I said, my father was a democratic leader in congress, and the my mother a democratic member of congress, but the families were always close and my mother, then became President Clinton's ambassador to the Vatican. And at that point Barbara Bush, the younger was in on study abroad program in Italy, and her parents came over I think at thanksgiving time or something they all had thanksgiving dinner together. Whatever holiday was, and you know, that's the way it should be. And that's the way it used to be. And unfortunately, that's not the way it is. So what's one thing totally different track? What is one thing that no one ever asks you that you wish they would? Like, I've been asked pretty much everything. Stays up to. I don't know. I can't I know they should ask me. How wonderful my grandchildren are. Well, how wonderful? I've sixteen eight grandchildren and I actually liked teenagers. I must say I like them better in their parents homes. But but they are a great group in. It's a it's a wonderful enjoyment in life. So I'll throw this one out is something a little bit more serious. So you started NPR kind of early days forty one years here. We are four decades later did you and your cohort envision it becoming this institution? It is today. No, I don't think so it became an institution quicker than most people realize by the time. I even that I got there in one thousand nine hundred seventy seven. It already had more listeners than time magazine, which was a big deal at the time had readers. So was it was making inroads around the country. But now, of course, it is the primary news source for millions of not just Americans people around the world, and it's one of the few mainstream media outlets that is growing not only in listenership and podcast listening and all that. But also in reporting at a time when others are cutting back on bureaus particularly abroad, we keep opening them. And I think that's just incredibly important we live in this global society where what happens in Syntagma square can affect your 4._0._1._K. And you've got to have knowledge of what's going on first-hand knowledge. Not somebody in pajamas writing a blog, you know, now. Somebody who is curated edited and checked telling you what's going on one. Finally, what should we as a country be talking about that? We're just not talking about you are talking about it. I think what we should be talking about is what we've been talking about here. We should be talking about a way of getting paessed, this vitriol and poisonous atmosphere to a place where we can disagree but understand that fundamentally we're all in the same team. And that we care about this country. We care about the institutions of this country, and that they need to be preserved and protected, and and celebrate it, and that is something that we really need to talk more and more about and when we do talk about it people agree and say, yes, that's that's where I wanna be. That's where I want the country to be. But we've got to make that much more. Majoritarian conversation than it is right Cokie you've been incredibly gracious with your time with the Bush center, not just today. But over the years, thank you so much for both this and all of that that was Cokie Roberts, and you can watch the aforementioned Bush institute African first lady summit featuring Cokie and MRs Bush and MRs Obama as well as other related content at WWW dot Bush centered dot org slash Cokie Roberts. If you enjoy today's episode and would like to help us spread the word about the strategic, please give us a five star review until your friends to subscribe for available on apple podcasts Spotify and all the major listening apps if you're tuning in on a smartphone, tap or swipe over the cover art. You'll find episode notes with helpful information and details he may have missed this your teachers was produced, but you Anna Pappas at the George W Bush institute in Dallas, Texas. Thank you for listening.