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Mark Sanford Challenges Trump for Republican Nomination; Mark Sanford (R), Presidential Candidate, is Interviewed About Why He Joins the Presidential Race; Decades of Long Relationship Between Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner; Lily Tomlin, Actor and Comedian, and Jane Wagner, Producer and Director, are Interviewed About "Two Free Women." Aired 1-2p ET
Aired September 12, 2019 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK SANFORD (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think the Republican Party of late has lost its way. I think we're walking towards the most certain
financial storm in the history of our country and we're --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Another challenger arises to take on Trump. Republican candidate for president, Mark Sanford tells us why he thinks he has a shot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LILY TOMLIN, ACTOR AND COMEDIAN: Have I reached the party to whom I am speaking?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The legendary Lily Tomlin joins us with her partner in comedy and in life, Jane Wagner.
Plus, are we abandoning the children who want access to an affordable college education?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL TOUGH, AUTHOR, THE YEARS THAT MATTER MOST": The message that we're sending to these students is, "You're on your own, this is not our job to
take care of this, this is your own problem."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Author Paul Tough reveals how college can make or break us.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
And now, there are three. Mark Sanford has become the third Republican to challenge President Trump in his own backyard. The former governor of
South Carolina announcing his bid for president this week.
A fiscal hawk, Sanford is setting out his stall as a Republican looking to get back to traditional conservative values, like cutting the deficit. But
Trump might not be sweating just yet, because polls still place his support at around 85 percent within the Republican Party.
On top of that, the GOP is canceling some primaries altogether to help ensure the president does get the nomination.
Skipping the primary so far, Arizona, Kansas, Nevada and South Carolina -- Mark Sanford's home state -- which he's represented as governor and
congressman. And he's joining me now from Charleston.
Governor, welcome to the program.
SANFORD: My pleasure.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, with all of that, with this, you know, quite a lot of obstacles there to clear, why do you think this is your time?
SANFORD: Because literally, if not now, then when? I do earnestly believe that we are walking ourselves towards quite the financial storm. And the
friends that had encouraged this, their point was we can't wait another five years to have a national debate on where we go next as a country on
debt and deficit and spending.
And you know, it's once every four years that we have the chance, really, as Americans to debate what it means to be Republican, what it means to be
a Democrat, where we want to go as Americans at large.
And so, I think one, now is the time. And two, budget and financial issues are actually something that I actually have a lot of experience on. You
know, when I was governor, I inherited a billion financial hole in coming at office and dealt with that.
I was the first governor that actually pushed back against the then president's stimulus package. I was the governor noted for carrying two
pigs into the statehouse, decrying pork over a constitutional mandate.
I was on the Budget Committee when I was in Congress. It's something that I know a bit about. And I think, again, we are at a tipping point that
needs to be talked about.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, we're going to get into this whole deficit situation, because I want to know, is that your main pitch to voters, and is that what
you think in this day in age, in these times, voters actually are going to connect with?
And let me just ask you, in the context of what your own hometown newspaper has said of this bid, "Facing monumentally longshot odds, former South
Carolina governor, Mark Sanford announced Sunday that he will challenge fellow Republican, President Donald Trump, for the White House."
So, the lead is monumentally longshot odds. You know, they say it's quixotic.
SANFORD: Well, they say it's tough, and I would acknowledge that.
I mean, you look at the history since the 1950s in the United States of America, it has not worked out well for the challenger to a sitting
president in terms of challenging nomination.
But in every one of those instances, those challengers either changed the course of that presidential debate in the nomination process or, frankly,
they changed the occupant in the White House. And that because of a primary challenge, the incumbent went on to lose.
And so, I do think you can have much more affect than you might realize at the front end. I have said up front that it's a long shot. I know that
But again, I think it's worth the conversation on behalf of my four sons and a lot of other kids and grandkids that are out there based on the debt
deficit problem that I am trying to elevate.
But I also think that there are some other issues that are important in terms of where we go as a Republican Party.
Do we -- now, does it mean to be a Republican you're looking inward versus outward? Do we believe in free trade, which used to be a cornerstone to
the Republican Party?
Do we believe in some of the institutions that have held our political fabric [13:05:00] together for more than 200 years? Do we believe in the
president's tone versus a different one?
And I think that, you know, there's some real questions to be asked in terms of what it means to be a Republican these days that I think is
important and worthy of a debate.
AMANPOUR: And again, we're going to get deep into those issues in a second, but I wanted to pick up on two of the things you've just pointed
One is this idea of an incumbent and being challenged and you know, winning and losing, et cetera.
You were primaried, if you like, last year, 2018, because President Trump supported your opponent in the primary for Congress, and he tweeted, "Mark
Sanford has been very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA. He is MIA and nothing but trouble. He's better off in Argentina. I fully endorse
Katie Arrington for Congress in South Carolina, a state I love. She is tough on crime and will continue our fight to lower taxes. Vote Katie."
Well, anyway, Katie won, and it's the only election you have ever lost. So, are you not concerned that the president, you know, if he comes out for
your opponents, that it's going to be really tough for you?
SANFORD: Well, I think a couple things.
One, that moment in time that you're describing was indeed a moment in time, and I think that there's been, frankly, erosion to much of the
president's support since then, and that's worthy of a conversation.
But I first want to go back into the fact that what the president tweeted was I had been not helpful to his cause. That's not the case.
If you actually look at my voting pattern, I am a very conservative Republican. I voted with the administration more than 90 percent of the
time. And I think this is, in essence, in a capstone, one of the real problems that many people have with the president, and I think that that
discord is growing, and that is, it's unbelievable and inconceivable in the world of business, in the world of education, military world, even in
family life, to think that you could agree with somebody 90 percent of the time and not have them on your team.
I mean, I love my brothers and sisters, but I don't agree with them all the time. I don't agree with them 90 percent of the time, but we still love
each other. But in this instance, it is not an issue alliance, he wants personal loyalty, and that is a very different system than what we were
raised in here in the United States in terms of being a nation of laws, not men.
And so, I think that part of our back-and-forth that has lasted for a number of years now is based on an issue of personal loyalty, rather than
issue loyalty, which is quite the departure from the American system.
AMANPOUR: Now, the other issue in that tweet is when the president said he's better off in Argentina. Now, you know what this means. He's
referring to the values issue, the fact that there's a 10-year-old scandal around you in which you said you were, quote "on the Appalachian trail,"
when in fact, you weren't, you were in Argentina with your girlfriend.
And you told the untruth, or not the truth, to your family, to your constituents, to the public. So, some say that that's what you're best
known for, some political awkwardness in Iowa, for instance --
SANFORD: Well -- yes.
AMANPOUR: Yes, that's a lot of baggage.
SANFORD: Sure. Well, I mean, I've got a carry-on bag, I think this president needs a private plane to carry on his baggage, but we won't go
I think that there is a bigger issue, though, which is, indeed, an untruth was told on my behalf, and more importantly, I was living a lie in that
chapter of my life. I fell in love with a woman I shouldn't have, but I did, and it was entailing the dissolution of a 20-year marriage. It was
indeed 10 years ago, and I went on apology tour here at home.
And I believe in the Christian model of repentance and rebirth and a second chance at life. I've been on that journey. And what's most interesting
about that story is in the wake of that event 10 years ago, in the wake of that, the people who knew me best, the people who I had represented here on
the coast of South Carolina where I grew up, they said, look, we don't approve of that chapter, we don't approve of how you handled it, but we
know you and we trust you, and we want to send you to Washington, D.C., as our representative in Washington in the United States Congress.
That's a very different story than the one that the president lives, where he says, I'm not sorry for anything I've done, though he lives in something
of a glass house on that front. But will I be hit on that? Yes.
I think the more instructive part for the voter out there is, did I learn from it? Now, I think you can become a better person in the wake of
failure in terms of humility and empathy and a whole other set of things that I think are important to relating to other people that I've certainly
learned in the wake of that 2009 episode for me.
AMANPOUR: And as you point out, you were elected after that episode. But I want to ask you this, because it, again, goes to the sort of values
issues of politics in general. An associate of yours explained to POLITICO why you lost the congressional race, you know, the one that you were sort
of primaried [13:10:00].
And about you, he says, "He made a calculation in the post-Trump election that he was going to stand on principle. In this race, the ideas didn't
matter nearly as much as whether he had been sufficiently loyal to the president in the eyes of the voters."
So, again, now, Governor Sanford, you are standing on what you call the principle of conservative values, particularly fiscal values and others.
Do you think that's going to be a winning strategy, standing on principle in this case?
SANFORD: If it's not, we're all in trouble. And so, I mean, I was not unaware of the danger of going against the president as I did when I was in
the United States Congress.
And I did it a handful of times. And from a voting standpoint, I overwhelmingly voted with the administration, but I did stand up on a
couple things I disagreed on.
And I said to my political folks, because they said, look, this is dangerous. I said, I get it. I'm not unaware. But I've been granted a
second chance in politics that few are granted, and I owe it to my voters not to look for a fight, but if one comes along, not to back away from it -
- to just shoot it right down the middle, and that's what I did.
And that's what I'm trying to do in this particular race is say, look, here are some ideas that I believe in, here's the data behind those ideas,
here's why I think they're important and will impact your life -- and then I let the voters draw their own conclusions.
And I think that voters are wary of the promise one thing and do another and -- with the president, who said, if you elect me, I will eliminate the
debt over the eight years that I might be in office.
And instead, what we've seen is record numbers in terms of debt and deficit and spending that drive both.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, now we have to dive into this, because this is really important, and we do find quite a lot of candidates, you know, say one
thing and doing another over these issues.
You, again, have positioned yourself as the fiscal conservative fighting this ballooning debt and deficit.
So, you, though, did vote for the Republican massive tax cut bill of 2017. And as you know, because you know the figures better than I do, you're the
expert, since that bill went into effect, the U.S. budget deficit is growing by leaps and bounds -- 40 percent deficit growth this year, even in
a healthy economy. Trillion-dollar annual deficits for the first time since 2012, when the economy was, as you know, recovering from that major
So, I guess, again, it's -- there's sort of like a disconnect. How do you describe yourself as fiscally accountable when you vote for the thing that
causes the deficits, these big tax cuts?
SANFORD: Well, I would respectfully disagree with you. In that if you look at the numbers on the tax cuts -- and I said at the time, I said,
look, this is a mixed bag. Here are the pluses. Here are the minuses.
The minus was, if you look at our corporate tax environment relative to the rest of the industrialized world, at that time, the United States was not
And so, we had corporate aversions, we had corporate relocations, a lot of things that were job-losing in complexion.
And so, the bet of Former Speaker Paul Ryan, of Kevin Brady, of others who had built the bill, was ultimately based on a Democratic bill from Ron
Wyden, actually from the West Coast, was how do we make our corporate structure more competitive, more inviting for capital around the world?
And that was the basis of the bill.
And I said, OK. That's what we're aimed at, but you know, it could be you have corporate buybacks, you could have a number of other things other than
investment. I put out the pluses and the minuses.
But if you look at the overall income stream to the federal government over the last 50 years, it's been about 18 percent of GDP. This bill did not
materially change that. If it had, I would have voted against it.
If you look at the overall numbers over the next 10 years, and I don't want to get too technical, but over the next 10 years, the federal government
will take in, is projected to take in $43 trillion. That's without the tax bill. With the tax bill, they'll take in $41.5 trillion. That's a 2.5
And so, you can be for or against the tax bill, but to blame quote, "the giant deficits" on the tax bill, I don't think is accurate because a 2.5
percent difference, at the end of the day, does not drive the train.
And what I find particularly interesting about that are the number of people who will make great, you know, mileage and noise and whatnot about
the tax bill but not mention the fact that, oh, by the way, we're running a trillion-dollar deficit.
We've now had a multitude of Democratic debates and zero conversation on debt and deficit and it's not being addressed on the Republican side where
the president's described himself as the king of debt and basically ruled that action on the very things that drive our debt and spending (ph).
AMANPOUR: Yes. I mean, you've identified a big issue. I just want to know, you said Paul Ryan as speaker made this bet about what corporations
would do, but they didn't really invest to the extent that everybody hoped they would.
And let me just read you -- so, do you think that was the wrong --
SANFORD: I think that's a fair point.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, that's good. You've said [13:15:00] that's a fair point.
SANFORD: I think that's a fair point.
AMANPOUR: So, let me then read these things then. U.S. budget deficits -- and we had this graph up. In 2016, on the last year of President Obama,
the deficit was $585 billion. In the first year of President Trump, it was $666 billion, in 2017. Then, $804 billion when the tax cuts take effect in
2018. And it's projected at $896 billion in 2019.
I mean, the picture tells a story.
SANFORD: Well, no, but that's not the whole picture. I mean, if you look at, for instance, the debt deal that was just signed, you know, a little
more than a month ago, what it did was add $300 billion in new spending over the next 24 months to the federal coffer.
The bill before that added roughly another $300 billion. That was the last debt (ph) deal where the president said, I'll never sign another bill like
this again, and he signs one just a couple months later that's even worse. That bill added an additional $2 trillion of additional debt to the 10-year
So, I would certainly see the point that some of the erosions based on the front end of the tax cut as they take effect, but a lot of it's based on
spending. And if you look at the numbers, with or without the tax cut, we're going to unsustainable numbers in terms of debt to GDP, by any
And so, the bet of the tax cut was, boy, we've got to look at regulation, we've got to look at corporate environment, we've got to look at a whole
host of different things that are important to growing the economy of the United States so that we can avoid that, because if we don't, with or
without the tax cut, we are in real trouble based on, again, CBO and OMB projections.
AMANPOUR: OK. Next, I want to go to some other issues. And I want to ask you this, because we've already established that, you know, it's a pretty
difficult thing to challenge an incumbent president. You're one of three. There's the former governor of Massachusetts, Bill Weld, and a former
Congressman of Illinois, Joe Walsh.
Now, a Republican campaign, you know, professional with experience in some of these primaries and other things say, that to run against President
Trump, you have to kind of mount sort of a guerrilla insurgency campaign. You can't really fight like with like.
What does that mean to you? Do you take anything from that piece of advice?
SANFORD: You know, I'm only a couple days into this and I'm still trying to figure out exactly what that looks like.
I do believe in Sun Tzu and "The Art of War" and the notion of guerrilla and asymmetric warfare. I think it's going to be particularly important in
this endeavor because you're right, I mean, they've got the high ground and they've got a lot of armament around that high ground.
The question is, you know, how do we, again, affect voters and talk to voters on things that matter to their lives? I think we're on to something
given what happened in this very congressional district that you alluded to just a moment ago. The woman who beat me, indeed beat me in the primary,
but for the first time in about 50 years, this district went Democratic. And it did so in large measure because, you know, soccer moms, working
moms, suburban moms turned out in droves against the president. Young millennials did the same.
And so, I think that there are some groups out there that are disaffected with, in particular, the president's tone that I think are worthy of
conversation, and we're going to look for ways best to reach them.
SANFORD: So, let me ask you a couple of other issues that are very front and center. Gun legislation. Obviously, in the wake of this never-ending
crisis of shooting sprees in the United States. Obviously, you know, Congress or the Senate, Republican leaders are waiting to see what the
president might say. There's been talk on background checks. There have been other things mentioned but -- and a conversation between the president
and some very important bipartisan senators, but nothing's come out yet. What is your position on sensible gun control legislation?
SANFORD: I would say that, you know, for most of your viewers, it's a little bit different just because America has a very different tradition in
the way that we wrote the Second Amendment into the basic rights that go with being American, which you don't see in many other countries around the
globe. But what I would say is, there can be things that are done.
I particularly like this notion of risk orders. It's being talked about and it's being massaged. But if you look at what tragically occurred in
Parkland, it could have been avoided if people at the local level had been able to encroach, as you would with, you know, a domestic violence threat,
and a local judge could say, "No, you're going to lose on a temporary basis your Second Amendment right." I think that that's something that makes
And so, I'm in favor of that as an added measure that's not currently on the bill (ph). I've also come out [13:15:00] in favor of what's known as
the Charleston loophole. There's a three-day kickout period currently wherein if you go to purchase a gun, it's not been processed, then you can
automatically go purchase that gun, whether you've been identified or not within the federal registry. The idea of lengthening that slightly I think
makes sense as well.
AMANPOUR: And let me just ask you one other question. It's basically on foreign policy. As you know, President Trump fired his national security
adviser. The national security adviser said he had quit. But nonetheless, he was known as a major hawk. Some might have nicknamed him Bombing
Bolton, I don't know. But everybody knew that he had pretty interventionist ideas about various issues. And yet, somebody like Mitt
Romney, who does not agree with the president on much, supported John Bolton.
Are you amongst those who would support a Bolton policy or are you among those who might be breathing a sigh of relief that, you know, he's not
urging intervention in Iran and other such places?
SANFORD: I would say right outcome, but I don't agree with the way of getting there. I think that what you saw with the Bolton firing or
departure, whatever it was, is more of the same. And you look at the caliber of some of the people that have left this administration based on
frustrations with the way in which it is just chaos there on a daily basis, I think it's raised alarm.
I mean, one of the keys of the executive branch is a degree of predictability, a degree of stability and knowing what will come next. And
so, whether it's with General Kelly or General Mattis, we'll go down the list, a lot of noted and talented professionals have left the White House
based on the mercurial element of the president's managerial or lack thereof style. And so, I have a problem with the way in which it was done.
As to Bolton's policies, I think that they have been too interventionist, from my perspective. I believe that the declaration of war is rooted in
Congress, and I think we've gotten away from that in the modern era, wherein you have these, looks like, feels like, seems like a war but nobody
calls it a war, and so you don't actually have declaration. I think that these operations need to run through the Congress. I think that there
needs to be an authorization for the use of military force and then the executive branch can be empowered.
AMANPOUR: All right.
SANFORD: I think we have our system a bit backwards currently.
AMANPOUR: On that note, Governor Mark Sanford, challenging President Trump for the Republican nomination, thank you very much indeed for joining us
Let us turn next to the much-needed politics of laughter, as we celebrate a hugely successful professional and personal partnership. New fans of the
beloved comic actor, Lily Tomlin, will know her from the hilarious "Grace and Frankie" on Netflix. But her signature role was perhaps in the Tony
award-winning play "The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe," a one-woman show written by her partner, Jane Wagner.
Their decades-long relationship has navigated extraordinary changing times, including, for instance, "Time" magazine in the 1970s trying to leverage a
cover for a coming-out confession story by Lily. Now, a major retrospective is celebrating their work at Lincoln Center. It's called
"Two Free Women."
And I spoke to the creative team of Tomlin and Wagner from Los Angeles as they prepared to fly cross country for this much-deserved honor.
Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner, welcome to the program.
TOMLIN: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So, this is really an extraordinary privilege. It's an honor. Lily, I -- you probably don't like hearing this stuff, but I did actually
grow up watching you on television in Iran, if you can imagine.
TOMLIN: Oh, I do like that.
AMANPOUR: And one of the first things I saw was Rona Martin's laughing and we're going to get to that in a minute. But what about this Lincoln Center
retrospective for both of you, "Two Free Women," Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner? Just both of you talk to me about just the title, "Free Women."
TOMLIN: Well, you know, that's -- the curators are Thomas Beard of Lincoln Center and --
JANE WAGNER, PRODUCER AND DIRECTOR: And Hilton Als.
TOMLIN: Hilton Als, right, of -- who writes for "The New Yorker."
WAGNER: That must be the way they perceive us.
TOMLIN: They must perceive us as two free women. Otherwise, we would have taken a shy corner.
AMANPOUR: So, let me then ask you, because this was, obviously, before you came out and before you got married. You've been married, but you've been
life and work partners for, I think, nearly 50 years. And you both really --
TOMLIN: Yes, very close.
AMANPOUR: Yes. I mean, your creativity, your writing, your performing is so intertwined. I can even see you finishing each other's sentences right
now. So, how -- did people not know you were gay? Did -- was it just not done? You couldn't acknowledge each other --
TOMLIN: Well, no, I was gay, but I didn't meet Jane until [13:25:00] 1971, which was a year after I had been on "Laugh-In." And no, of course, it was
-- I mean, even Ellen came out in 1995. That was -- they offered me the cover of "Time" at one point in 1975, but I didn't want to be on the cover
just for being gay. I wanted to be on the cover for being --
WAGNER: An artist.
TOMLIN: -- an artist, right.
AMANPOUR: So, they had said to you that, "We'll give you the cover if you come out for us"?
TOMLIN: Yes, they needed a gay person for an article in "Time," and they used one. They got a service person. I think it was September of '75.
And then I got the cover of "Time" with our first Broadway show, "Appearing Nightly," which was in '77. And that was lovely. Although, Jane and I
were there all the time interviewing together because we were on the road preparing our show for Broadway and --
WAGNER: Lily was already famous before I met you.
TOMLIN: Well, Jane was famous with the more discerning people.
AMANPOUR: Jane, do you think that had Lily done that cover for that reason in 1975, it might have actually been beneficial to the cause of LGBT or was
it just not possible at that time?
WAGNER: No, I -- and we've talked about it together soon and we think it should have been done probably. It might have accelerated something, but
then you don't want to think, well, it was so important either. But I think Lily was not quite as solid in your career and you wanted not to be
thought of --
TOMLIN: Well, my mother was still living too. And we -- I tried to protect her from too much publicity. She's a southern girl. She was a
WAGNER: That's true.
TOMLIN: And it would have been very -- it was hard enough for her that her daughter had gone off to New York and was cavorting around --
WAGNER: Living with me.
TOMLIN: Yes, living with Jane and everything else. And my brother is gay also, and my mother almost had a -- I'm sorry to talk about my personal
life like this, but my mother just about collapsed when she found out my brother was gay. So, a second blow from her elder, more sort of
responsible daughter would have been a lot for her at that -- she did know, she -- and she loved Jane very much, but she just assumed the neighbors
didn't carry on about it too much.
AMANPOUR: Well, you know, I really appreciate you being so frank and it's really important, I think, for lots of people to hear this and to see how,
by and large, society has changed. I know that there are still obvious issues and problems and prejudices. But my goodness, society has taken
such dramatic leaps forward.
So, let's go back, Lily, and play a little clip from "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In," which, as Ernestine, the telephone operator, you created, I
think, your first major, big, public impact. Here we go.
TOMLIN: Absolutely. Absolutely.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOMLIN: One ringy-dinghy. Two ringy-dingies. A gracious, good afternoon. Have I reached the party to whom I am speaking? This is Ms. Tomlin of the
telephone company. Have I reached a Mr. Aristotle Onassis? Good. Mr. Onassis, I was wondering personally, what does the "O" stand for? Oh. Oh,
my goodness. You Irishmen certainly do have a way with words.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Oh, my God. I'm just laughing watching it now. I mean, that is genuinely hilarious.
TOMLIN: And I don't even remember calling Aristotle.
WAGNER: I don't either.
TOMLIN: I should have used his private number.
AMANPOUR: That was, you know, the major, you know, comedy show of the time. How did that --
TOMLIN: Oh, yes.
AMANPOUR: -- propel you? What -- just what did it do for you and how much fun was it?
TOMLIN: Well, it was just -- it was absolutely literally overnight. I aired on a Monday night. I was in New York, because the show was already
done some time before. And people saw me on the street and they kind of recognized me as the new girl on the show, but many people didn't realize I
was Ernestine. They would say, "Oh, you're the new girl on "Laugh-In. Oh, you're so funny or cute," or whatever they would say. And then they say,
"And the girl who does the telephone operator, she's hilarious." I would say, "I do the telephone operator." They would just be sort of nonplus,
you know. And I kind of had hated to tell them because they were so let down. They were kind of excited. But people started --
AMANPOUR: Yes, but you know - and it still holds up. I mean, that comedy, it still does, you know, hold up. It hasn't perished on the vine at all.
"Appearing Nitely" was sort of women on - it's been described - on the spectrum of feminism, right? It wasn't about women versus men or whatever,
but it was really looking at the difference between the way different women behaved in this - in this sphere (ph) of feminism. Just describe for us a
little bit. Take us back to the heart of that story.
WAGNER: Can you do that? (inaudible)
TOMLIN: Yes, I can do it, but it'll kind of - it'll kind of belie what Christiane is saying. What happened is I was ding one-nighters because I
was so well-known from Laugh-In, and I just hated it. I wanted to sit down in a theater and do something for an extended run. And Jane said, "Well,
you've got to legitimize yourself. You've got to go play a theater and have an extended run."
So we began to put a show together and we made the art - in those days, it was very hard to get a theater for a short run. And so, we had the art.
The art was ready to go and we did all the preparatory stuff, and Jane said, "You've got to have a title." And so, she plumbed "Appearing Nitely"
our of the air - N-I-T-E-L-Y. We felt it was a compilation of just humans in the spectrum. We've always thought of it that way.
You know, like Crystal (ph) the quadriplegic and there was the 60s monologue and so many different - and we - and it was loosely tied
together. So when we did "The Search", I hate - I'm just being so aggressive here and -
TOMLIN: -- and dominating the conversation -
-- but when we did "The Search", Jane wrote that from the scratch, and it was sort of stunning on Broadway at that time.
WAGNER: Because much - not much was being said about women.
TOMLIN: No, and about - and all these different culture types. Of course they were predominately women because I'm a woman and it's easier for me to
do women. I do a lot of men, too, but not as definitively as I might women.
And so, when came time to do "The Search", Jane surprised me out of nowhere. She's - I was on the road and she sent me a bunch of pages. And
it was almost - it was Agnes Angst doing a huge performance piece, and it was Trudy, the bag lady, talking about a bunch of stuff. It was so
wonderful I just about died when I saw it. I said, "This is so great. Just send me more stuff. Send me more stuff." And eventually she sent me
AMANPOUR: Yes, and this is a perfect place for me to play a clip from "The Search", which as we say is "The Search for Intelligent Life in the
Universe". So let's play this clip. I'm not sure it's exactly the scene you were describing, but we'll talk about it.
TOMLIN: In this chair, I role play Peter Wright (ph), in this chair, I role-play myself, and in that chair you role play the doctor. Peter (ph),
I am sick of this suppressive you do as I say, macho number you have been putting me through. Now I'm me. Oh, no, no, no. I'm Peter (ph), and I'd
like just a glimpse of the nurturing female you and your butcherard (ph) fem friends hop on so much about.
I want a woman, not a feminist. Ah, all it is with you is sex, sex, sex. And all it is with you is sex, sex, sexual politics. I have had it.
AMANPOUR: It really was ahead of its time, not only hilariously funny, but very pointedly political. And I think, Lily, you insisted on producing it,
right? I mean, you - did you have to take ownership -
TOMLIN: Well, yes. We had a lot - yes, we had a lot of experience by that time. We had always produced ourselves on one-nighters. And so, yes, and
I was so well-known that we could easily go and hit a town and we'd just leaf it (ph). The show was just so wonderful.
When I - we played it the final time. We were playing it in Santa Fe I think at The Lyric, weren't we? Something or the first time. I can't
remember, but we got the most wonderful letters from men especially, and it was a very feminist -
WAGNER: Well, that was the first time. That's when we knew that we had something -
TOMLIN: Yes, and we got all these great letters from two or three men. It sounds like a bunch of letters, but there weren't that many people writing.
So there were two or three people and they were all - they were men and they were very thoughtful and intelligent. And we said, "well, this is
just" - I couldn't believe it that we had scored with men that well.
WAGNER: And I had wanted to write something about consciousness, so we were using the feminist movement, of course, about consciousness, and it
was wonderful to know that people were showing that they were getting that higher consciousness aspect of it.
AMANPOUR: You know, Lily, because you have been so famous in the public face of this couple, you, as you've said before, tend to, you know,
dominate the conversation.
You get all the glory, and I just want to ask Jane what it's like to work in that kind of a couple. You're obviously 1,000 percent committed to each
other and love each other and respect each others, you know, professional qualities, but how do you, Jane, navigate that sort of tricky bit about
Lily getting all the public glory?
WAGNER: Well, really I just feel I've been very, very fortunate and very lucky to find somebody who loved my work that much, understood it, although
as I say it's getting a little more critical as we go along. But I feel like I was just very, very lucky to have this happen to me in a fairly
early - after J.T., I wasn't sure what I would do. And then to have the whole world of Lily through comedy open up, it was - it was such a gift.
Now, today I have to write about dark narcissism I guess.
(LAUGHER): And, you know, it's all - it wouldn't be quite -
TOMLIN: Not on my - not on my front.
WAGNER: -- exuberant. Not on your front, no, but sort of light gray. No, and I didn't mean to imply that you're a dark narcissist. You're a
narcissist, but not anywhere near dark.
AMANPOUR: So let's talk about this incredible film, "9 to 5", that you did with the other Jane, Lily - Jane Fonda - and it's so ahead of its time, and
it still holds up because it, you know, resonated with all the sort of me- too issues, you know, so many years later. Let's just play this clip.
JANE FONDA: Excuse me. Could you tell me where the coffee shop is, please?
FONDA: The coffee shop.
TOMLIN: The coffee shop? No, I'm new here. I don't drink coffee.
FONDA: I'm new here, too. Where do you work?
FONDA: In the morgue.
TOMLIN: That's right.
TOMLIN: Yes, yes.
FONDA: How did he -
TOMLIN: Coffee. Too much coffee. I'm just taking him out for some air. I mean, some fresh air for me. He's just coming along for the ride. What?
FONDA: You're a doctor. I didn't see your badge. Sorry.
TOMLIN: I'm a doctor, and why the hell am I talking to you? Piss off.
AMANPOUR: So again, you know, it changed the landscape at the time, but Lily, apparently you didn't really like parts of the script at the
beginning. What did you like and what changed?
TOMLIN: Oh, I don't want to say that because it -
WAGNER: Did that make your part bigger?
TOMLIN: The line stayed in the script and they got quite a big reaction in the theater.
AMANPOUR: \And there's - I think there's going to be a sequel maybe? There's certainly a play on in (inaudible) right now.
WAGNER: Yes, we're working on that.
AMANPOUR: OK, so let's fast forward now -
TOMLIN: We're hearing that (ph).
AMANPOUR: -- to what is, again, all the rage, which you, again, seem to be, along with Jane Fonda, on the cutting edge, and that is love, life, sex
with the older woman for the older woman. Gracie and Frank - Frankie and Grace which is absolutely taken everyone by storm. I'm going to play a
clip of that.
FONDA: And I mean, shouldn't older women have it better than that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Couldn't we fight for the right to masturbate after lunch?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Seriously, mom. How do I explain to my children that their grandma makes sex toys for other grandmas?
FONDA: I'll tell you what you can tell them, honey. We're making things for people like us because we are sick and tired of being dismissed by
people like you.
TOMLIN: Mike drop. Let's go home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, if you guys are going, I should probably go with -
TOMLIN: No, no. You're going to have to do your mom and coyote time somewhere else because we got a lot going on in our house.
AMANPOUR: Tell me, Lily. What was that like and how much fun did you have with Jane Fonda?
TOMLIN: Oh, we have a lot of fun. We really - I mean, Jane and I are very good friends, and this - Grace and Frankie sort of dropped out of the sky
right into our laps. Marta made up the - created the show, Marta and Howard, and she had us in mind. She had Jane and me in mind for the parts.
And so, my agent called and said, are you and Jane looking to do something on television? And I said, "Well, we are now," because I knew that meant
somebody had called him.
Anyway, so yes, we - and we've done seven - six seasons and we're going to go back and do our seventh, and I think today they're announcing that it's
our seventh season and our final.
AMANPOUR: Jane Wagner and Lily Tomlin, thank you so much, and congratulations on this honor.
TOMLIN: Thank you. We're very excited and very pleased.
AMANPOUR: And today, that retrospective "Two Free Women" opens at Lincoln Center in New York. Earlier in the program we addressed America's
staggering deficit, and students know a lot about debt. On average, a graduate racks up $28,000, but is it worth it?
In his new book "The Years That Matter Most", author, Paul Tough, reminds us that the university system is already tilted towards the wealthy, and he
sat down with our Michel Martin to discuss how inequality has come to define higher education.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
MICHEL MARTIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Paul Tough, thank you so much for talking with us.
PAUL TOUGH, AUTHOR, "THE YEARS THAT MATTER MOST": Thank you.
MARTIN: The big story for, I think, the rest of the public is this college admissions scandal.
MARTIN: Where celebrities were literally making up profiles for their kids, paying huge sums of money as bribes. what did you think?
TOUGH: I think by the time that it happened, I had been so immersed in talking to admissions people who can be a little -- I mean, in lots of
ways, they're very idealistic, but they can also be skeptical or even cynical about how the admissions process works, that I wasn't all that
I mean, obviously, like the details are crazy and incredibly surprising, but the depths or lengths that certain parents will go to, but that sort of
world view, that higher admissions, is this cut-throat competition, that there are no rules, that you can do whatever you want, that it's an unfair
system and our only job as parents is to, like, get the unfairness to work for us instead of for somebody else. I think that pervades a lot of
admissions, and especially admissions at the most selective institutions.
MARTIN: I don't know if you intend this, but in a way you sound like this is a moral failing of the upper middle class and the wealthy, that they've
sort of changed their minds and just said college is about aggregating more of what we already have.
TOUGH: I started from the premise that things were out of whack and I thought I could find like, yeah, this was the person, this was moment, this
was the organization that had thrown things off, and it's really not that way. I mean, I -- you know, I feel like things have changed in this country
in general over the last few decades.
In an earlier era, we did believe in collective good more than we do today. We're much more competitive. We're much more -- I mean, I think it's an
angrier time than it has been in the past, and I think that plays out in higher education as well.
So, you know, like, who is to blame, where it started? I don't even think just saying like this is an upper middle class problem is fair. That class
certainly is the one that -- they makes the headlines, but it's not just about them.
I mean, the real problem, when I look at higher education, that it's the public institutions, the public sector where things have really fallen
down, and that's all of our responsibility.
MARTIN: How does that play out?
TOUGH: So, the big picture is that over the last couple of decades, since 2001, we have cut per-student public funding on higher education by about
16 percent across the country, adjusted for inflation. So, that's like a big cut, right?
And it's a big cut at a moment where all of the signs from the economy and from the labor market are that our young people need more higher education,
not less. So, that's what we've been doing as the public.
What effect that has had on our institutions, I think, is two things. So, at the more selective public institutions, the flagship institutions like
University of Michigan, University of Virginia, the sort of the great public flagships in this country -- they have been behaving more like
So they are taking more students from out of state, they are charging more, they are using the same kind of admissions metrics, putting more focus on
having -- admitting kids with high SAT scores. And as a result, they are like private institutions, educating more rich kids and fewer low-income
Then, when we're talking about some less selective institutions -- and there are a lot of those public institutions that are less selective,
community colleges and regional public universities that are mostly designed to take anybody who wants to show up -- the problem there is just
that we're not giving them enough money to do their job.
We're spending less on -- much less on a year of community college than we're spending on a year of high school, so the public's like, OK, we're
going to spend a lot of money on you, or a decent amount of money on you when you're 15 and 16 and 17, and then like you're 18 and 19 and suddenly
your education was -- is --
MARTIN: Why is that, because we didn't think they were important?
TOUGH: I think that we just think about higher education differently than we think about K-12 education, that we think -- we still have this idea in
our head, and I think we feed it ourselves, the media feeds it as well, that, like, yeah, after high school is real, like public education, right?
But then after that it's -- it's like extra, it's a luxury, right, anything that happens after that, and that that is a moment where kids are supposed
to just fend for themselves, they're supposed to pay for themselves, they're supposed to figure it out for themselves. It's not really the job
of the institutions to help them graduate.
I think in some places, that is starting to change, but we've drawn that line, and that line doesn't really make any sense. It doesn't make any
sense that we would just say, you know, after you turn 18, your education is your own responsibility, and partly because a high school education's
not enough. Like, there's just no question that you cannot just with a high school education get, you know, achieve the building blocks of a middle-
MARTIN: So why don't we talk about the kids, some of the kids you spend time with. You know, I'm sure you interviewed a whole bunch of people and
you chose to focus on a few because they illustrate some of the points that you want to make.
So why don't you just tell me about a few of them, tell me why their stories are important?
TOUGH: Sure. So in the first chapter of the book, I describe this one remarkable, sad afternoon that I spent with a young woman named Shannon
(ph) from the Bronx who was going to high school in Harlem and was an unbelievable student who had worked incredibly hard in her last couple of
years of high school, especially to get into an Ivy League school. That was her goal. Then she sort of had been focused on it with incredible
And so, I was with her at the moment that she was going to hear, you now hear (INAUDIBLE) did this on your phone, instead of getting an envelope in
the mail. And what was incredible to me about that moment was not just her waiting for those results and getting those results, but it was her coming
to terms with that idea that this whole question of whether mobility works, whether higher education works, whether it's a meritocracy, was for her
playing out at that particular moment.
MARTIN: But -- how old is she, 17 at the time?
TOUGH: Yeah, 17, 18.
MARTIN: So here's a 17-year-old basically saying, my whole life hangs in the balance. Spoiler alert -- she gets -- she's already been admitted to
MARTIN: With a full ride, not an Ivy, but a very fine school.
TOUGH: Yeah. There was a part of me that wants to do what us adults often want to do, which is to say, oh, don't worry about it, it's not a big deal,
right? Because I think the reality is, whether you're at a super ultra exclusive institution or just an ultra exclusive institution doesn't make a
huge difference, and she's putting way too much pressure on herself.
So, yes, all that was true, but what was important to me about that moment as well -- and I had just come from spending time with this economist in
Silicon Valley named Raj Chetty, who had been studying mobility, is that she was kind of right in all of these important ways, that especially for
low-income students, what kind of institution you get to really does have a big impact on the trajectory of your life. So, she was right in all these
MARTIN: So, hold up. It's not just about going to college, it's where you go to college.
TOUGH: Yeah. I think what happens to you in college makes a huge difference. I think the difference between, you know, for her it was Penn
and Davidson. I don't think that makes or breaks us. I think Shannon (ph) is going to be great no matter where she goes, right?
MARTIN: OK, but generally speaking - I totally take your point that you don't want to tie the whole policy to one kid, but what you're seeing is
generally speaking, because you looked at -- you talked to people with huge data sets --
TOUGH: Yes, it really does make a difference where you go to college, absolutely. And what makes a bigger difference for me is that when you look
at those institutions, the institutions that, you know, the data shows are the most -- do the most to help your social mobility or the most to help
your future earnings, those institutions are almost entirely populated by rich kids, by kids who grew up in the top economic quintile and that kids
like Shannon (ph) mostly aren't going to the Penns or the Davidsons; they're mostly going to community colleges or nonselective public
institutions that we have totally underfunded.
MARTIN: One of the things that I appreciate, though, about this -- and I don't want to be -- I want to be very clear that, you know, poor and
minority are not synonyms, OK?
MARTIN: But I do -- one other thing that I found fascinating was that there are lots of programs out there or different strategies out there to
try to diversify these campuses and attract kids from different economic backgrounds.
And there are white kids who don't feel particularly comfortable on these campuses. Can you just tell the Kim (ph) story? The reason why -- I just
found that fascinating, because Kim (ph) is a white kid who didn't feel all that comfortable either. Could you talk a little bit about her story and
why it matters?
TOUGH: For sure. I mean, this was some of the reporting to me that was the most interesting that I got to do, was in this town called Taylorsville,
which is in the Appalachian foothills in western North Carolina. And it's almost all white, almost all Republican and not a lot of money in this
county or in this town at all.
And so, Kim (ph) was this young person who was, like a lot of the kids I talked to, super ambitious, working really hard. But when it came time to
apply to college, she did not have a family structure that was supporting her at all. Her parents and extended family weren't going to pay any money
for her school, and they also, like, weren't very supportive.
She had uncles telling her, like college is a waste of time, you should just join the Marines like everybody else in the family, saying they
wouldn't pay for anything. And this was really, like, hard on Kim (ph) on all sorts of levels. Obviously, it was hard financially and practically,
but it was also hard emotionally, right, to not have -- like, it's one thing when you're achieving that social mobility and changing where you
came from, but you have a push from behind from your family. That wasn't her experience at all.
And I think it made things even harder, and she was -- I mean, part of what made we (ph) reporting with her so interesting is that she was very open
about the -- that kind of family strife that she was going through and these little fights that she was having with her brothers and with her mom
as they were trying to figure out, like, do you belong, are you part of the family, do you want to be part of the family, are you trying to leave us,
are you trying to leave Taylorsville, are you trying to leave our class? Like, that stuff just goes really deep, I think.
MARTIN: You know, you've got a message for lower-income kids or kids from different backgrounds that aren't so advantaged. Part of your message is
don't lose hope, right?
MARTIN: But what's your message for people who are from these backgrounds already who are middle class and, you know upper middleclass? I mean, the
people who are probably--
MARTIN: -- listening to this program are probably more likely to think I don't feel unrich. I've done the best I could. It's not that I want my
kid to be super rich; I just don't want my kid to be poor.
MARTIN: OK? So, what's your message to them? I mean, is it just don't opportunity hoard? I mean do you have a message--
TOUGH: No, and--
MARTIN: -- that isn't just about your moral hazard or whatever.
TOUGH: Yes. I think you're right. I mean not only is it just no fair to say like it's all your fault parents, but it also is not effective. It's
not an effective way to change to blame individual parents, especially when they feel so caught up in this systemic pressure to help their kids, right?
It's totally natural to want to help your kids as much as you can. But I think -- but I think two things, one is that I think having --
understanding what you're doing.
Understanding if you are an upper middleclass or upper class parent, that the higher education system is already tilted in your favor, right? Even
if it constantly feels unfair to you and fair to the kid down the block, it is already tilted in your favor. So, at least be mindful of that.
And at the same time that you are trying to help your kids do well, I think understand that you can change the system in all the ways that we change
systems, the way we vote, what we say to the institutions, where we work.
Or if we're an alumni of a institution or if we're a parent or if we're a student, there are ways that we can try to pressure them to change. And I
really think that both of those things can happen at the same time.
MARTIN: Who are you saying as rich? Are you talking about Lori Loughlin rich who was alleged to have -- given some guy half a million dollars to
get her kid into the school of her choice. Or are you talking to a dentist married to a teacher?
TOUGH: I mean when you look at (inaudible) data, like the top -- so he talks about the top economy quintile, the top 20 percent of families whoa
re well off, right? And I think a lot of those top 20 percent do not feel particularly well off.
And partly that's just a natural sort of American or human reaction. Like we always conceive a person who's making a little bit more than us and
they're rich, we're not rich.
But I think that it's important for those of us who are in that top economic quintile to recognize like being in a top economic quintile,
whatever the number is, whatever your expenses are, that means something. You are in the top economic quintile, right? So you're in -- you have
privileges that the other 80 percent of the country doesn't have.
MARTIN: One of the things about your book though is you talk about that other 20 -- top 20 percent quintile and what that's like for their kids,
right? And tell me about that.
TOUGH: It's hard too. I mean I feel like it's hard to spend more time I think with low income kids. But I -- there was this one SAT tutor in
Washington D.C. named Ed Johnson (ph).
I spent a bunch of time in his tutoring centers in Washington. He makes $400 an hour. He's in--
MARTIN: Wait, wait -- say that -- $400 an hour?
TOUGH: And he's worth it. He's an exception (inaudible)--
MARTIN: Are we in the wrong business? I think we're in the wrong business.
TOUGH: I don't know that we could do this as well as (inaudible) though. And he's amazing, watching him work with this incredible privilege because
he's really good at his job. And a lot of what he does in his job is tries to calm down these incredibly stressed out (inaudible) kids who he tutors.
So, when I was there, I felt like I was understanding two things. One is I was understanding that this admission system isn't fair even before you get
to Lori Loughlin and photo shopping your kid's face on a water polo player.
It's like the degree to which these kids test scores were improving because of the tutoring they were getting was remarkable. They were getting all
sorts of opportunities that they didn't have before they walked in and started paying $400 an hour.
So any system that bases their admissions on that or whether you can afford Ed, is by definition not fair, right? But then I felt like I was having
this other experience which is like the actual students who were there, they were great.
They were like these really super hardworking very intense young people and I like them all. But they -- the one thing that sort of linked them al
together is they were under enormous stress.
That they had dedicated at the very least the last couple of years of high school and some cases much more to this relentless pursuit of one number,
what their SAT or ACT score was and that was in pursuit of one school usually or one set of schools.
And so there were lots of ways that their lives in that way were a lot like Shannon's, the woman from the Bronx. They were all stressed out. And it's
-- the stakes were different. The opportunities were different. The experience was not that different.
MARTIN: Partly the problem here is that you've got too many people competing for a scarce resource as part of your problem is it shouldn't be
TOUGH: Yeah. I mean I think our choice to make higher education scarce is a choice, right? And other moments in American history we have chosen
differently and other countries right now are choosing differently.
There has been at certain points in the American past this moment where technology changes and the workplace changes and communities get the
message our kids need more education.
And we respond in -- responded in the past in this pretty rational way. Not to say like well let's ration it and figure out how we can get it for
our kids and not give it to other kids. But to say like OK, our community needs more education.
We're going to build -- I read about this thing called the high school movement in the early 20th century where suddenly workplaces changed,
communities realized that kids need a high school education and all over the country people built -- communities built free public high schools.
And in just 30 years we went from having about 9 percent of kids getting high school degrees to about 50 percent of the kids getting high school
degrees. It was this huge change.
And it made sense. And there weren't a lot of fights about like who should go to high school and who shouldn't. It was just understood. This was a
And the same thing is happening right now where we -- there are all the signs from the economy, from the labor market place are that our kids need
more education and we are responding now in this very different way. And the message that we're sending to these students is you're on your own.
This is not our job t take care of this. This is your own problem. And that's just a different kind of response, it's a different kind of -- I
mean it's a much less American response in my opinion.
It's a much less -- it's a much less collective response. It's just we've forgotten this idea that higher education, public higher education benefits
MARTIN: Paul Tough, thank you so much for talking to us.
TOUGH: Thank you very much.
AMANPOUR: And that's it for now. Thanks for watching. Goodbye from London.