Skip to main content

tv   Huma Abedin Both And - A Life in Many Worlds Virtual  CSPAN  December 28, 2021 5:53pm-6:42pm EST

5:53 pm
>> welcome to the free library in of philadelphia and thank you very much for being here.
5:54 pm
i'm honored to be here. subeighteen began as an intern for the former first lady in 1996. in the interim she has served in the u.s. senate as senior adviser to senator clinton worked as a traveling chief of staff since 2008 in the presidential campaign was the deputy chief of staff in u.s. department of state and vice chair of hillary for american 2016. in her memoir she merges political history and command of her own story. tonight we will be joined a conversation with award-winning journalist tracey matisak. thank you both so much for being here. it's all yours. y >> thank you so much and good so much and good evening and thank you so much for being with us on this friday night. we have lots of round to cover.
5:55 pm
if you have questions you can just click on the question icon and we will get through as many as we can before we and the evening. subeighteen welcome -- huma abedin welcome to the free library. >> i look forward to her conversation. >> why want to get into the conversation. i'd be remiss if i didn't mention the fact that you were born in michigan and your parents started their american journey right here in philadelphia trades that that's exactly right. when i first heard i was going to be able to speak to the library of philadelphia was jumping up and down because it's a very special city to my family. my parents were both emigrants. my mother is from india and my father some pakistan and both fulbright scholars at the university of pennsylvania. almost didn't happen because my
5:56 pm
mother almost picked berkeley that she picked penn and from my earliest memories my parents would tell us about their house on chestnut street and in the book the picture my parents that i share of the family in front of the house. and there was a pagano's pizzeria and i don't know. still there. they loved it. i'm so happy talk and you tonight. >> we are delighted to have you with us. you mention in the book you're referred places in the background behind the scenes so here's a question, what made you decide tohe write this book ando put your story out there? >> you are 100% right tracey. i don't like to be the primary person and i was comfortable
5:57 pm
there. it was the cause of the mission in the work i was doing. i didn't care about in the center of attention. i felt uncomfortable being the center of attention. i did feel as though i spent 25 years in public service and much of it in the public eye and other people were telling my story and sharing things about me and finally i decided to take control of my own story and tell my truth because if i don't somebody else's writing my history and so i e did. >> in telling your story it meant resurrecting anthony story and all the kent -- pain that came with that. tell me how you work through that. >> anthony has a story to andy does and their things in the book that i don't share and i
5:58 pm
saved anthony story to tell her they do t try to tell it from te perspective of how it impacted me and the relationship so i take the readers down memory lane so people are captivated by this dynamic smart hard-working public servant and then to go through a marriage that quickly turned into a nightmare and the ups and downs we went through as with tried to navigate ringing a child into this world. i was pregnant after the first scandal broke and tried to figure out how to navigate or mental health and how to find help. we didn't know how to make it work and it took us a long time to get to that place and it took me to a pretty dark place before it got to the other side in order to write this book and share my story and one of the
5:59 pm
reasons i did it was i think there were plenty of people in the world that had to endure or are enduring what i had to and maybe i can help them in some way. >> you mentioned that it was therapeutic. >> it was, tremendously and the reason i started it in my early life i think my father i was believed i would be a writer. when i was 10 years old my father came back from a trip to london ando he brought me a book by george elliott. ieo was 10 years old and i didnt understand the material. when i read the introduction i realized women were not taken seriously but it said don't worry. when you write your book everyone will take it seriously so part of it is honoring that.
6:00 pm
>> you worked for hillary clinton and going all the way back to the time when she was the first lady preview in an intern at thee white house and during her run for the presidency and during the 2016 campaign. you have had a history that most of us could only dream of. >> you know and i write throughout the book the gratitude in part because i've had the privilege to serve in the obama administration working with senators like john mccain. and not just telling the story by showing what it was like in showing what it was like to w be in those rooms on the airplanes
6:01 pm
traveling in those countries being on the inside and feeling these patriots doing the best they could to advance the causes.ti sometimes i have moments like you can't believe the stories and that's why the book is so long and i put so many of them inin there. >> you enter the white house right around the time the story was breaking and hillary clinton was going through a very difficult crisis that was playing out in public and of course at that time you never would have known that years down the road you'dl have your own marital difficulties playing out on the front pages of the papers. going back to that time whene yu first entered with your own story how did hrc as you referred to her in y the book hw did she help you through those
6:02 pm
difficult times? >> as yes you said i was a 21-year-old intern and i was constantly in awe of these people c and. i think everyone goes through their own challenges. back then for me my job was to take care ofy her. as that story broke i chose to ride a chapter about the impeachment inpe part because al of my professional dance months along signed that. my job at the time the way i handled it i wanted to figure out how to make her life easier. she was under so much stress in so much pressure. in my situation she is always
6:03 pm
approached our conversations with and with the advice she gave me i'm here to support you no matter what you choose to do. i'm here to support you so just know you have that. there was a confidence in our relationship. >> you stood by anthony side for a long time. some people in your orbit felt that maybe you shouldn't happen after repeated scandals and all of that became front page stories for a while why did you make the decision to stay as long issue did and even to go so far as to publicly defend him when he was running for mayor i think in 2013? >> i think a lot of people look at my relationship with anthony from 2021 perspective and that is why a rhodes it and as i was writing the book someone was
6:04 pm
helping me research those headlines about me during that period of time. i put in the book what i was thinking and why i made the choices that i made. when you are and it you were just trying -- i was trying to make the next right decision for myself and really for my child did when it was in the conversation i was nearly 12 weeks pregnant. we were just living a life, we were living an extraordinary life. i o open the chapter from the scene at buckingham palace. it was carrying his baby and i was deeply in love with my husband and i thought i had the perfectt husband. and in the years following as things change and they got worse i understood it. i grew up with family, my
6:05 pm
parents are happily married and i didn't know anybody who is divorced and they didn't know how to handle it. i had anger in the head rage. i couldn't figure out why and i didn't understand. therapy took a long time. all the things that anthony did do on the one hand he took care of me and he took care of our household and our schedule and their child and on the other hand he's living this life that was just shocking. there is the struggle in an 2013 i was trying to figure out, is trying to fix things. because they had encouraged him to run i thought i needed to deal with the consequences and stay with him when the mayor's
6:06 pm
race fell apart. and he talked very honestly about that time in the>> immedie aftermath and those in hillary clinton's over to felt like you had become a liability so much so that you feared losing your job. how did that play out? >> i was told i was going to lose my job. it was. even at the time people said you're making a mistake and i don't believe i made a mistake by standing up at the press conference because i felt like i was takingng responsibility fors dry. byatt understood u clearly been the mental health challenge that he was having and falling into this behavior on social media that had not been available before and all of a sudden it became available it was
6:07 pm
something i couldn't stop and i broken the book i don't understand why can't you just knock it off? if you're in a i relationship wh somebody and you can't stop it's hard to navigate that space. i drove to i hillary's house and she didn't letet me go to she td me she valued the work i did officially for her and she did not leave that i should pay for my husband's mistakes. stay there was a point where you said you might lose your son because everything that was happening with anthony and this unwelcome attention from the child welfare services office in new york and it seemed to add a whole other dimension to the crisis that you are facing at that time. >> it did. it was six months of terror.
6:08 pm
also defiance. i felt judged. i write in the book i was a working mother and to say because you are not question your capacity to care for my child i took that very seriously and obviously was really relieved when that -- >> on top of all of that there was the decision by then fbi director james comey to reopen the investigation into hillary's e-mails and the reason additional e-mails were found was because they were investigating anthony and as you write and as we remember the investigation was quickly closed but you write in the book about how you spoke with anthony are for the phone and if you said if hillary loses the election will be because of you and you went on to write the following in
6:09 pm
your note look. i do not know howno i'm going to survive this. helpo me, god and of course you go on through the election. that is a heavy load toto carry. how did you get through that? >> first god, faith and one part of the book is on the american-muslim and my faith hab been central to my life and i'd do think god carries me what true in many ways.g i that conversation and in that moment not knowing what was going to happen because this announcement was so unprecedented and so shocking and particularly when i go cooperated and that's why writing the book that i cooperate with the investigation fromte day one and when i read n the paper there was an investigationer that i had been asked to provide material i went down to my office and call the friends of mine said no one has
6:10 pm
asked me to provide anything. it was so -- so poor -- tracey i write in the book i couldn't even feel any more. it was all about the mission was and the mission was the election is in 11 days and obviously we know how that ended but it took me tond a very dark place after the election and i really had to get professional help to get to worry am sitting in this chair talking to you today and i'm glad i got the. i needed it. >> you read about james comey that he was a daily nightmare. you said it felt like he was playing god.
6:11 pm
>> that was a choice that was made that affected the outcome ofof the election. i don't believe it was necessary to make that a nimetz meant. i had to let go. it was the feeling that she had single-handedly lost because of me. it was too much to bear and i did work my way throughgh that. no one has asked me this. would still creeping up on me is when your woman in this world things that happened in this country that i don't believe that would have happened if hillary clinton were president. i don't think we would have set the deadline to get out of afghanistan.
6:12 pm
>> fast-forward to 2019 and a time that you described as one of the most difficult periods of your life and you read about how you can eat and how you couldn't sleep and you considered stepping off the subway platform. take us back to that time. it was a really dark time for you but it was also a major turning point foror you. what happened there? >> it was a very difficult time because i had this notion of community and support in knowing that you have support, to me was so important for most of my life i talk about it in my early life what we call in the muslim world the community. you always have the sense of support that if you need
6:13 pm
somethingpo somebody is there. i landed america and then i joined hillary which really was a community. i write in that chapter lets help you fix fix it. she really cultivated support. i was surrounded by groups of people in 2019 was very9 different.t. i had a brief period where was a single parent and why do i believe that single parents are heroes. juggling work and motherhood and not going into big office everyday. i was so low and it told me in that instant i needed help. i needed help.
6:14 pm
we went through a process called the disclosure process and for me it was the only way through. it was the only way i was able to get to the other side and come out healthy. >> he wrote that anthony was incarcerated for period p of ti. also he was diagnosed with. you mentioned a few years prior to the people you're working with use that term. i was just wondering what do you want people to know about and what that is? >> from my perspective and we were seeing therapists fairly regularly and the biggest thing i learned in that period was when i embrace the process.
6:15 pm
i had to let go of this notion that somebody who has so much control of their life i'm very good at organizing t and iowa success with their something you can control and i learned in therapy people with addictive behavior they do things and they consider things that they never would when they are anymore present -- so i had to be open to that. i could be open to it and i dcould understand it and i could go to therapy. it's a long process and for him you have to remain committed to the process. for me it's less about whatever they are diagnosed with and it's about how do i keep them in a
6:16 pm
place where he's a good partner and he didn't parent. i know that's the most important thing to both of us and hopefully with us versus mental health and addiction i prefer not to talk about that. to make your talking about your son jordan who is now nine. how does he deal with especially the book coming out and her minders at that time in your life? how is he handling all of this? >> on the one side, on the one hand he's a typical 9-year-old. like what's for dinner and then sort of wanders off. in some ways i think it was a bit of a benefit that he see his parents as public and is used to
6:17 pm
seeing photographers around. i wrote a story in the book how early on if i remember correctly he says mommy why do strangers talk to you and daddy onal the street? we didn't really know what to say in a r moment. so he knows his parents are public and i think p he does hae memories of reporters chasing t us down the street and when i told the mommy had a book coming out he's the first thinga he said was dissent mean that people are going to come back so he has some memory of it. our intention -- i hope when he reads this book when he is old enough to be proud of his mommy. >> you talk about in your book and writing about hillary clinton's political career is the ongoing struggle that women leaders have and being charged
6:18 pm
by heather -- and how they modulate their voice and not so much by what they do. you write at some length about how you witness that firsthand in your time with hillary clinton. stay and occupy it the chance to write about all the different periods and how sexism was displayed and frankly everyone for e campaigns. my first experience with it i was watching her in a debate in her senate campaign against then congressman -- where he marches over to herit with a piece of paper demanding that she sign it and it was the first time we saw this in your face moment. we thought it showed weakness and we were thinking oh my gosh what's going to happen and it turned out to be a benefit.
6:19 pm
every time someone make a comment about her clothing or how she spoke or i don't like your jacket or your hair is so big, relax. i giggle lid off and it was accepted that this is the price you pay to be in the game including us. we were in the game and we played it and obviously everyone knows how it ended. president obama was a phenomenal candidate. i wrote a lot about what it was like with his team and working with him and it was incredible. in 2016 fast-forward it was everything and the stories of people constantly and i write in the book -- she looks angry and you should give it a picture of her grandchild so when she looks down in her speech she will be
6:20 pm
happy because it's something she beso make her happy and she will appearar happy. i'veve learned in that campaign it's impossible to please everyone. it wasar hard. a qualified woman running for president. until we have a w national reckoning that we can see women as leaders and it's hard for women in this country, forget commander-in-chief, the tough hill to climb. you worked around-the-clock for the better part of 25 years. you knew everything that was going on with anthony and there were those who resented your success. what would you say to someone
6:21 pm
who loves their job, loves their family and a struggling trying to keep it all together? >> might father had this thing and i open my chapter with this. the chapter where i talk about making a choice. a job at the white house a family wedding in new york and i get a call saying come to argentina. i stay at this wedding and then i get on a plane and leave for work. i chose the plane every single time in a part it's because i had a job that was all-consuming. i told myself that the day i woke up and did not want to go to work is the day i would give notice and that day was 25 years ago. i had the extraordinary privilege of having that job. in hindsight this was after
6:22 pm
jordan was born. am going out to save the world. it was really hard. balance is good and balance isis important. hillary was the one who said to me and i write in 2017 she says focus on your child. >> the other thing you write about is the power of female friendships and you mentioned hillary a few minutes ago. talk a littley bit about that ad what you saw and the power of what you learned about female friendships. >> i feel as though going back to the point i was making in talking about my job i took my friends for granted in my 20s and 30s.
6:23 pm
i would land at 11:00 at night. i was working out the time and as an adult i recognize that i rarely maderi them a priority. i was always the party. i had amazing friends. i wrote lost friends and i realized friendship was precious. i think of my friends any bound to book tour my friends would laugh at me and say let me fix your top.ra it's just nice to have somebody at 11:00 to text and bofa i just am feeling well let's go to eats and those are precious relationships. when i was struggling with writing i'd would call and say
6:24 pm
any. together we created a book that i'm really proud of. >> on january 20 the watched kamala harris being sworn in as her first female vice president and i wondered to you as an woman f yourself what that momet felt like for you? >> it was so incredible and awe-inspiring with the possibilities and just the power. when she walked out i just could not sit still. she represents everything about the possibilities of our future.
6:25 pm
we are really excited that the vice president. >> you were asked earlier this week and one of your tv interviews if that he would consider running for office yourself and you didn't totally rule it out. i wondered what that might look like for you. >> debra -- tracey i was so nervous and i was shaking. i've broached my whole book to her in my epilogue originally included all the women and men who inspired me to write my story. when she wrote her book her whole approach was -- hear him thinking i'm being brilliant. i don't even think i heard her. i said yes. the answer is no.
6:26 pm
i should have said yes. there are some conditions. >> yes one question before we go to audience questions and that is on the other side of what you've been through and you have been through a lot you find two things resilient and -- so the question is where are you on that journey? >> i am on that journey to finding bliss. i don't have it yet. i certainly have a lot of entertainment and there's a story in the book where i was in india and someone said you got a lot of entertainment in your life. there's a lot of it difference between entertainment and bliss and i'm on that path. one of my colleagues told me this morning he had never seen met so light and unburden.
6:27 pm
the thing that terrifies me is it being out there so i think i'm on a good path. >> on that note let's go to questions from our audience. she has pursuant to say that i'm so inspired by your story and i want to ask what is your relationship with anthony now and is he receiving help? >> my relationship with anthony is good and that we are both committed to raising her child. he is regularly in therapy and receiving mental health and it's important for him to recognize that hee is doing the work. i'm glad my son has two parents. i didn't have a choice when i lost my father. >> speaking of your son joe and ask what does your son currently understand about his father's
6:28 pm
past? >> we have chosen to share with him as age-appropriate and as we discussed he is nine and as he gets older he will have more access to information on the internet. we have sought professional help in terms of how to h talk to him about it and that structure is important. >> a question from david who says given the election on tuesday what is your relationship and the democratic party wheree is it to this point referring to virginia where terry mcauliffe lost that race and jersey senator murphy won one of the mixed bag in between. what do you think is the direction the democratic party should go?
6:29 pm
>> the biden administration is trying to do some verymi diffict things and they have t had these pills that can congress that they are trying to move forward and understandably people are frustrated at how long it's taking but it's important work and they are trying to do unprecedented things and covid is obviously not helping. i do think i like to remind myself that the year after one party is elected it's not unusual to -- we just have to keep our enthusiasm our energy. yeah we have some work to do. we have some work to do. if the key people engaged and the administration has to show results and they will. they are working on it. once we get a little bit more progress week can have a
6:30 pm
slightly different conversation. >> it's a -- and about your background. they ask what did you study in college and what led to an internship at the white house and how did hillary come to interview q. -- interview? >> i never got an interview with hillary and this is one of the things that she and i like to deny. i was not a sure shot. i was okay and i was anma amazi. when i was a teenager i write in the book i met christiane amanpour and i had a friend who went to the student union who is interning at the white house and she said i want you in the press office but you should apply. i never thought i would get the internship at the white house. .. like plant a but plan
6:31 pm
b boy did it turn out to be pretty spectacular. >> dennis asks how did you meet anthony to begin with? >> anthony i i met on martha's vineyard in the summer of -- bill clinton just lost the white had just left the white house. it was a balmy summer weekend female, hillary came over and said this charming man once to meet you. i was always working i never dabbled in these type of flirtations. i was working this man came over was ahi congressman it was not love at first sight. he made an impression he had such a big personality. we would see each other off and on. we became friends first before it was anything else. that was the first. time. >> do you have any advice from betrayal drama? what's the best advice i can give is only the advice that
6:32 pm
works for me which is you have to take the time to feel. i, for a long time did not allow myself to feel anger and bitterness a. and i compartmentalize a lot of my feelings is only when i allowed myself to feel and forgive myself. it took time at leastat for me it took time. >> ellen asks, how do you navigate raising a mixed raised child in the pot trump /post trump america? >> we lived in new york which i think is a blessing in some ways. thankfully it has not been a challenge in terms of how we navigate it. but itt i is something we are going to have to think about particularly after some of it as said the death threats at the hate mail i have had to receive. it is not something, i don't think about it.
6:33 pm
i just do the best i can to protect my son. it's one of the reasons why there's a pictures of him in that book. >> sheila asks, how hard was it to let go of the unfairness you have endured and not be bitter? >> i was bitter for a long time and as you read the book you will see it almost killed me. the only person it was hurting and affecting was me. i don't think i was my best self, the best mother i could be, but i had to let go i had to let go and understand friends it every time i was trying to figure what was going on i had to learn the true processes and move on it worked foror me. >> asks, what are the books you loved most growing up and whom do you like to read i know you talked about at least
6:34 pm
one of those books your dad started you off with. >> i s love them memoirs. i am staring at a stack of memoirs i want to get through katy couric they are all sitting right here. i love people stories are pretty open the book sing a group surrounded by stories. when i was a little girl i left all jane austin novels much readty everything. i read the brothers, my father brought back a lot of novels written by african writers. and i really, i sort of absorbed a little bit of everything. i would probably say jane austin. pride and prejudice sensibility i kindse of fell into those is a little girl. >> robert asks, in writing a new book with the hardest and happiest memory you have been for inspiring many women. >> thank you, thank you for
6:35 pm
that question. the happiest as will my little boy came out into this world and that is why i write i write about that experience. just becoming a mother. you can't explain it until it happens. and then you get it. certainly that was the happiest andrt the hardest. now you e are going to get me emotional. this book is really a leveler to my dad i lost him when i was 17 he was terminally ill, he was diagnosed with renal failure when i was two and only had five years to live. and the only time i broke down when i did the audio of the book was when i was talking about my dad. >> really, this book is for him. i want to share this book with him and say this is what i did i hope you're proud of me. it has been hard. everything related to my father, especially losing it was probably the hardest personally the hardest part. >> and will we be seeing a
6:36 pm
kids book in the future? >> i am going maybe somebody by publishing house. [. >> you'd never know you never oknow i loved the process of writing. so it may be maybe that's part of my year to say yes. it's so much easier than answering the politics question. >> robert also adds thank you and i'm sure your dad's and proud of you he says. oh my goodness so many questions from our audience here. >> this audience asks excellent questions. [laughter] tom was and if you ever work for another female presidential candidate if you are asked? >> i have been there, i have done that and i know what it takes. i don't know that i could. i will say this though female
6:37 pm
presidential candidate asks me too help her, the answer would be yes. >> let's see, will come or become into the san francisco bay area for a book signing? >> shut up listen i am doing a virtualnt event san francisco virtual event on tuesday but they aredo not doing a lot of in-person events there so unfortunately won't beor there. if i u do show up maybe laura can help connect me too you maybe i could sign m your book. >> let's see what else we have>> here. asks how did you like being on the view? and also i'm sad the book tours not in person. >> i am sad too. i would have much rather been next to tracy talking to all of you in person safely. but i am thrilled there is a book event a at all.
6:38 pm
let me show my gratitude for that. "the first part of the question? >> about being on the view. >> i love the view. it did not even feel like being on camera. it was incredible enjoyed the conversation. >> says thanks for your candor and for your service. would you walk us through your day at work and what can you tell us? a day in the life. >> my days start very early. depends on which section you are asking about. they startut pretty early and has change my priorities to make sure my schedule works so i can drop my son off to school everyday that has not been the case this week unfortunately. and it is usually in the pre-covid time i am just running from meeting, to meeting, i usually do not eat lunch. i am off on a plane
6:39 pm
somewhere.i covid has changed my work schedule rather dramatically. he spent a lot of time on zoom. but who knows after this book to her and hopefully the world is back open again. i will have a different answer for you. >> blake asks, what is the best piece of advice you've ever been given? >> i think the best piece of advice i've ever been given i have to go back to my parents this notion of a good life being a balanced life. finding the possibilities and g everything doing everything not getting tunnel vision about things which i tended to do. i'm trying to live intentionally i did not before. >> before wedb say goodbye, just a couple of comments here. seven says omg you were amazing on the view. many thank youse for your service. there is one other one i want to make sure i read that says
6:40 pm
we need homer to run for office if so much experience do you have a very. >> i agree. [laughter] agree with all those comments and ink am really humbled, thank you so much. >> it has been an absolute delight to have an opportunity to talktalk with you thank you so much for writing this book. i know a lot of people have been inspired and encouraged by yourr honesty and transparency in the book and i am sure those talked about there's a lot of people who have really connected with you. thank you so much for writing it for making time to talk with us at the free library tonight. >> tracy i have enjoyed this conversation so much it went by so quickly i loved all of the questions. i am really thrilled to have been with you all tonight thank you for giving me part of s your evening. >> before we say goodbye want to think the folks of t the free
6:41 pm
library laura and jason the author events team for bringing all of us together. we hope the conversation to be insightful and encouraging. have a great weekend everyone look forward to seeing you next time. good night. >> a new mobile video app from c-span, c-span now. >> ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on