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. Former President Gerald Ford is interviewed on a golf course. Ford discusses his close friendship with Rostenkowski, despite belonging to different political parties, and Rostenkowski's ability to "get things done" in congress.
00:00Copy video clip URL Tape begins with a black screen.
00:16Copy video clip URL The video finally comes through. The crew is on a golf course. The camera operator gets footage of a golfer making his way through the golf course on a golf cart.
00:45Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of videomaker Tom Weinberg and former President Gerald Ford as they make small talk before the interview begins.
01:47Copy video clip URL Weinberg begins to talk to Ford about the fact that he and Rostenkowski are golf buddies. Ford responds to the comment in a very calm, monotone tone of voice, looks directly into the camera, and proceeds to give a summary of his relationship with Rostenkowski, both politically and personally. “When I was in the White House, Danny was one of those 435 members of the House who I could call, and say, ‘Danny, I need your help. Danny, this is a matter that is over and above any partisan political considerations,’ and without exception, Danny Rostenkowski would respond.” Ford goes on to say, “I’ve had the benefit of getting to know Danny even better since I left the White House, and it’s always a pleasure to see him, and especially to play golf with him. He’s a tough competitor. He hates to lose, and quite frankly he hates to pay when he does lose.” Weinberg then asks Ford whether Rostenkowski is an “honest eighteen.” Ford responds by complimenting Rostenkowski’s golf game and by saying, “If he plays with an eighteen, I want him on my side, not on the other side.” By this time in the interview, Ford is basically done and ready to stop talking with Weinberg, and hints at it through body language and speech.
04:48Copy video clip URL Weinberg then begins to ask Ford another question about Rostenkowski, but makes a point to thank the former President for his time before going on. Weinberg then asks Ford to comment on Rostenkowski’s reliable traits. Ford says, “In Washington, there is the tradition that one good term deserves another. So, I can visualize how Danny would be able to get things done, as you indicate, and they’re always done, I’m sure, in the right way without any bad effects. … Danny is a terribly honorable, forthright, hard-working, decent individual and somebody who has all those characteristics is able to get things done in the nation’s capital.”
07:20Copy video clip URL Ford ends the interview and heads back into his home on the golf course. The crew then captures some more footage of the course before the tape ends.
08:47Copy video clip URL Tape ends.