[Rostenkowski raw #115]

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, Rostenkowski discusses air travel while on a United Airlines flight to Chicago. He tells a story about getting to Chicago's Midway Airport from his home on Chicago's Northwest side (he had to take two trains and a cab to get there). He goes onto discuss the benefits of the seniority system in congress. He also says that he would like to get rid of the TV cameras in the House of Representatives because House members tend to use the TV coverage as an opportunity to "get some free TV time."

00:00Copy video clip URL Tape begins with footage from United Flight 727. Rostenkowski and the crew are on their way to Chicago.

00:16Copy video clip URL Tape goes through a rough patch. The audio comes through clearly but the video gets very static-ridden. Footage is of Weinberg pointing out that Rostenkowski is flying coach.

02:09Copy video clip URL Weinberg makes a comment to Rostenkowski about being organized. Rostenkowski very adamantly states that he is very organized and begins to joke about his organizational skills when it comes to keeping all of his Chicago and Washington paraphernalia separated when he travels. Weinberg then brings up the fact that the now former Chairman of Ways and Means, Al Ullman, said that the job would change Rostenkowski’s life. Rostenkowski responds to the question and talks a little bit about what he believes will change for him and what it was like traveling to Washington in the past.

07:28Copy video clip URL Rostenkowski tells an amusing story about a flight he took to Milwaukee with his family and Congressman Charlie Boyle. He then speaks a little bit about his home near Lake Geneva.

09:36Copy video clip URL Weinberg asks Rostenkowski a more serious question about the seniority system in the House and how Rostenkowski would change that if he could. The Congressman responds, “I have seen the seniority system work. We’ve changed, over the last decade, the attitude, really of the new member, but then again the new member has changed.” “We’ve created a participatory legislative style. We encourage members to participate more.” Rostenkowski goes on to talk a little bit more about ethics within the system.

15:03Copy video clip URL Rostenkowski states, “I can’t say that the seniority system was as bad as it was depicted by you people in the media. Let me say this: If it was so good, over the last ten years we’re starting to change the rules again. As opposed to having an open caucus, we’ve gone to a closed caucus, with two-thirds of the members now have to vote in favor of opening the caucus. It means that now, when the gavel is dropped, only those members of the caucus, only the members elected are entitled the floor privileges of the caucus. That’s what it means when we change it.”

16:01Copy video clip URL Weinberg asks Rostenkowski about his thoughts on television in the house. Rostenkowski interrupts Weinberg mid-question and fairly vehemently states that he thinks it was a bad idea and that if he had the opportunity to vote on it to change it he would. Both Rostenkowski and Weinberg debate about the subject a little bit.

18:28Copy video clip URL Tape ends.



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