John Dingell

  • Aired:  06/03/13
  •  | Views: 12,440

The longest-serving congressman in American history explains how Washington has changed over the last 80 years. (5:52)

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK,

EVERYBODY.

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS THE LONGEST

SERVING CONGRESSMAN IN AMERICAN

HISTORY.

I'M GOING TO ASK HIM WITH WHAT

EISENHOWER SMELLED LIKE.

PLEASE WELCOME JOHN DINGELL.

[ CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ]

JOHN DINGELL, THANK YOU SO MUCH

FOR BEING HERE.

SIT DOWN, SIR.

GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE.

THIS IS AN HISTORIC WEEK FOR

AMERICA.

>> THANK YOU, STEPHEN.

Stephen: YOU'RE WELCOME.

YOU ARE WHAT THEY CALL THE DEAN

OF THE HOUSE, KIND OF HISTORY,

THE MEMORY OF THE HOUSE OF

REPRESENTATIVES BECAUSE IS IT

THIS FRIDAY...

>> THIS FRIDAY.

Stephen: ... YOU'LL BECOME

THE LONGEST SERVING MEMBER OF

CONGRESS IN HISTORY.

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

[ CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ]

>> IF I WERE PRESIDENT I'D BE

CALLED THE FATHER OF THE HOUSE.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

BUT YOU'RE NOT.

>> I'M NOT.

Stephen: ALL RIGHT.

WHAT WAS IT LIKE IN 1955 WHEN

YOU STARTED IN THE CONGRESS.

WHAT WAS IT LIKE FOR A FRESHMAN

BACK THEN.

>> WE WERE SUPPOSED TO BE SEEN

AND NOT HEARD.

BUT ON TOP OF THAT, I WALKED IN

THE DAY THEY WERE HAVING A

COMMEMORATION OF MY DAD'S

SERVICE.

>> Stephen: BECAUSE YOUR FATHER

REPRESENTED THE SAME DISTRICT

BEFORE YOU DID.

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

SO I HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF

GETTING UP AND THANKING HIS

FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES OF WHOM

HE HAD MANY IN THE CONGRESS ON

BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE.

>> Stephen: WHAT, WHAT, WHAT?

IT HAPPENS, STEPHEN, IT DID.

Stephen: WE CURED THAT.

(LAUGHING).

Stephen: BUT GO AHEAD.

I HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF

TELLING THEM HOW DAD WOULD HAVE

FELT TO HEAR THEM SAYING THESE

THINGS ABOUT HIM, HOW GRATEFUL I

WAS TO THEM FOR THEIR

REMEMBERING MY DAD AND ALSO HOW

GRATEFUL I WAS TO THEM FOR

WELCOMING ME TO SUCCEED WHAT I

THOUGHT WAS ONE OF THE GREAT

AMERICANS.

>> Stephen: YOU'RE IMPLYING THAT

REPUBLICANS -- YOU'RE A

DEMOCRAT.

>> YES.

Stephen: DID YOU RUN AS A

DEMOCRAT OR YOU A WHIG OR A BULL

MOOSE BACK THEN?

BECAUSE THE PARTIES HAVE CHANGED

OVER THE YEARS.

THE PARTIES HAVE CHANGED OVER

THE YEARS.

>> THEY HAVE.

THEY HAVE.

>> Stephen: YOU ALWAYS RAN AS A

DEMOCRAT.

>> I GOT MY DEMOCRACY WITH MY

MOTHER'S MILK.

I AM A DEMOCRAT.

>> Stephen: IT'S A FAMILY SHOW.

IT'S A FAMILY SHOW.

I THINK WE HAVE TO DELETE THAT

PART.

BUT YOU WERE ACTUALLY IN

WASHINGTON BECAUSE YOU WERE

THERE BEFORE 1955.

WHAT YEAR DID YOU ACTUALLY GO TO

WASHINGTON.

>> IN 1933 WHEN DAD WAS SWORN IN

IN THE HOUSE.

>> Stephen: HOW OLD WERE YOU AT

THE TIME.

>> I WAS SIX.

Stephen: SIX YEARS OLD IN

WASHINGTON D.C.

HOW HOW YOUNG ARE YOU NOW?

>> 86.

Stephen: 86.

FOR 80 YEARS YOU'VE BEEN IN

WASHINGTON.

WHAT'S THE BIGGEST CHANGE YOU'VE

SEEN IN 80 YEARS IN WASHINGTON?

>> I THINK LOSS OF COLLEGIALITY.

Stephen: WHAT IS

COLLEGIALITY?

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

>> GOOD WILL.

GOOD HUMOR.

A WILLINGNESS TO WORK TOGETHER.

FRIENDLINESS.

>> Stephen: BUT A WILLINGNESS TO

WORK TOGETHER IMPLIES TO ME THAT

YOU DON'T BELIEVE IN YOUR

POSITION, THAT YOU HAVE A

POSITION AND OPPOSE YOUR

POSITION.

NOW, LISTEN.

IF YOU HAVE A POSITION ON A LAW

OR SOME ACTION OF CONGRESS AND I

HAVE A DIFFERENT POSITION, IF I

WANT SOMETHING ELSE TO HAPPEN,

IF I GIVE YOU AN INCH, I'M

TOTALLY WRONG.

IF YOU'RE RIGHT AT ALL, I'M

TOTALLY WRONG.

AND THE PROOF OF MY RIGHTNESS IS

YOUR COMPLETE WRONGNESS.

>> I DISAGREE.

Stephen: YOU DISAGREE.

YOU'RE TOTALLY WRONG FOR

DISAGREEING WITH ME.

>> WELL, THERE ARE 435 OF US

UNDER THE CONSTITUTION WHO WERE

SENT TO WASHINGTON AND WE'RE

TOLD TO WORK OUT AND TO SOLVE

GREAT PROBLEMS OF THE NATION AND

TO WORK FOR THE PEOPLE WE SERVE.

AND AT SOME POINT IN THE MIDDLE

OR SOMEWHERE THERE IS A POINT

WHERE WE COULD COME TO AN

HONORABLE AGREEMENT.

COMPROMISE IS AN HONORABLE WORD.

[ CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ]

>> Stephen: YOU MEAN COMPROMISE

ON HISTORIC LEGISLATION, WHAT

ARE THE ACHIEVEMENTS OR WHAT ARE

THE THINGS THAT YOU WERE PART

OF, THE BILLS THAT WERE PASSED

THAT YOU'RE MOST PROUD OF.

>> THE SINGLE ONE IS 1964 CIVIL

RIGHTS ACT.

[ CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ]

WE STOPPED THE NATION FROM BEING

TORN APART.

AND JUST A FEW YEARS LATER IF WE

LOOK WE CAN SEE IN THE WHITE

HOUSE WE HAVE AN

AFRICAN-AMERICAN WHO WOULDN'T

HAVE BEEN ABLE TO VOTE IN MANY

STATES BEFORE WE PASSED THAT

LEGISLATION.

>> Stephen: THAT BRINGS ME TO

ONE OF MY BIGGEST BEEFS WITH

YOU.

AFRICAN-AMERICANS GET THE RIGHT

TO VOTE.

I'M NOT A BAD GUY.

I'M A GOOD GUY.

BUT YOU'VE BEEN IN CONGRESS

LONGER THAN HAWAII HAS HAD A

CONGRESSMAN.

>> AND LONGER THAN ALASKA.

Stephen: LONGER THAN ALASKA

TOO.

DID YOU VOTE IN CONGRESS TO

INCLUDE HAWAII?

>> YES.

Stephen: SO WE CAN BLAME

OBAMA ON YOU.

>> (LAUGHING) STEPHEN, WOULD YOU

GIVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER A

LITTLE CREDIT.

>> Stephen: YOU ARE THE FATHER

OF THE HOUSE.

CONGRESSMAN, THANK YOU SO MUCH

FOR JOINING ME.

MICHIGAN REPRESENTATIVE JOHN

DINGELL.

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

Loading...