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. The beginning of the tape seems to be a Channel 5 (Chicago's NBC affiliate) news report about the coming of cable television. At about four and a half minutes, the screen goes to bars & tone. "Rostenkowski" starts at around six minutes. Election day, 1980. Rostenkowski is interviewed in his office. He discusses: public transportation; dealing with the late Mayor Richard J. Daley & President Lyndon B. Johnson, including a funny story of how Daley convinced Johnson to take federal money meant for an "L" line through Rostenkowski's Northside neighborhood, and reallocate it to a project that put an "L" line through Daley's Southside neighborhood; and the power that Illinois representatives hold in the U.S. House. Around twenty-one minutes, "Rostenkowski" ends, and is followed by what appears to be a made-for-TV movie starring Richard Chamberlain.
00:00Copy video clip URL Tape begins with a news segment on the coming age of cable television.
04:30Copy video clip URL Color bars.
06:01Copy video clip URL Cut to Rostenkowski at his desk talking about the importance of younger people and their vitality to the development and conservation of specific neighborhoods and communities. He then goes on to talk about the allocation of funds for what would become the Blue Line along the Kennedy Expressway.
08:43Copy video clip URL Weinberg asks Rostenkowski about his relationship with Richard J. Daley, former Mayor of Chicago. “He’s a man who in my lifetime I’ll never meet his match.” Rostenkowski goes on to say that Daley Sr. was like a “political father” to him, and talks about how they interacted and relied on each other during Daley’s time as mayor.
13:08Copy video clip URL Rostenkowski tells a story about the confusion as to where the “L” train line extension along the Kennedy Expressway was going to go. Rostenkowski had just talked with Lyndon Johnson, President at the time, and had been assured that money was allocated for the Jefferson Park extension out to O’Hare Airport. When he talked to Daley about it, the Mayor seemed to be a little lackluster on the idea. About twenty minutes after talking with Daley, Rostenkowski received a call from President Johnson saying that the money was actually meant for the Dan Ryan Expressway (on the South Side of Chicago). Daley had apparently called Johnson to insist that the money be re-allocated to his side of town.
16:32Copy video clip URL Weinberg talks about the fact that when Rostenkowski backs a certain issue or bill in Congress, a good amount of Congressmen tend to latch on to and back that issue. Rostenkowski responds by explaining why this is the case in a lot of instances and the power that many Congressmen hold while in Congress. “If that’s the way the game is played, you gotta play it, and I’m not ashamed to go up to somebody in Mississippi or Texas if they’ve got something before my committee that they’re interested in, I’m not ashamed at all to tell them that there’s something in their committee that I’m interested in. And if you don’t move, I don’t move. You know, that’s very political, but you get things done.” Rostenkowski goes on to say, “If I enjoy anything, I enjoy, I think from my colleagues, an appraisal that I’m frank, I’m forthright, and if I do get behind something, I’m not going to just succumb to some argument, I’m gonna try and win. I try to win. That’s the name of the game!” Rostenkowski then goes on to talk about the one and only time he lost an election for a third term as Caucus Chairman in 1970.
21:05Copy video clip URL Rostenkowski segment ends.
21:09Copy video clip URL Cut to footage from a made-for-TV movie starring Richard Chamberlain.
22:20Copy video clip URL Tape ends.