Raw footage from the 1981 documentary "Rostenkowski," a portrait of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski, a powerful figure in Chicago (and national) politics. In this tape, Tom Weinberg interviews former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Al Ullman, who describes the role of the chairman and the committee.
00:00Copy video clip URL Footage of the Capitol from afar.
00:20Copy video clip URL Shot of Rayburn House Office Building
00:35Copy video clip URL Conversation between Rostenkowski and Weinberg. Only the audio can be heard.
01:03Copy video clip URL Conversation between Weinberg and Rostenkowski staff members.
02:28Copy video clip URL Quick cut to Al Ullman, now the former Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. Weinberg and Ullman begin to discuss Rostenkowski’s new chairmanship of the committee and what that job entails. Ullman also goes on to talk about Rostenkowski and his work ethic. “[Rostenkowski] has had the training to handle the committee, and he also has a native talent that a lot of others don’t. He has a political expertise far beyond what I’ll ever have because of his political training.”
07:32Copy video clip URL Ullman’s office phone rings. He answers the phone after one ring and replies to the person who called him, “I think I’ll skip this vote.” Ullman goes on to talk about the attributes that are required in being the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. “It’s going to require a degree of concentration, being tied down to a finite responsibility system that almost enslaves one.” Weinberg asks Ullman how one would deal or counteract with the external influences that may influence the committee. Ullman answers, “You can no longer, you no longer have the privilege of being for or against an important segment of America. You’ve got to accommodate every segment of America.” “You’ve got to know that they’re a part of America, and that your tax system governs their very existence, and you can’t afford to do things to destroy a segment of America that’s important.” Ullman goes on to talk about the chairmanship position in greater detail through the duration of the interview. Ullman ends the interview by saying, “Finally let me say that, Danny is going to run the committee differently than I run it. He’s a different personality. He’s going to be a good chairman. He has what it takes to be a chairman.”
18:14Copy video clip URL Tape ends.