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ROSE: We're at the Kennedy Center for a symposium sponsored by TIME Magazine and CBS News talking about a very interesting subject? Who was the most influential leader or revolutionary of the 20th century? What man or woman has had the most influence on our times, the most influence on events and on people in our century? We have assembled here very interesting people with some ideas about this. We have some standards sitting on stage with us, an audience here at the Kennedy Center, to talk about a very fascinating subject: Who has made the most impact on our times? We begin with the panelists. Dan RATHER: is here from CBS News, anchor and managing editor of the CBS News. He had interviewed almost every president, perhaps every president since Eisenhower and virtually every major international leader, travelled around the world to talk to people about politics and about the events that shape our time. From TIME Magazine, Walter ISAACSON:, the managing editor of that magazine. He has initiated a series of innovative special projects including the TIME 100 and the development of on-line services for the company's magazines. Our other panelists include distinguished scholars, and academic officials and a political leader. We begin with Condoleezza Rice. She is a former member of the National Security Council during the Reagan Administration. She is an historian, a scholar of Russian politics. She is now Provost at Stanford University. Also here, Doris Kearns Goodwin. Who doesn't know Doris Kearns Goodwin, because she has written about Presidents including Roosevelt and Kennedy and Johnson and she is now working on a book about Abraham Lincoln. Also here, Irving Kristol. Irving Kristol has been one of the people who has been part of the conversation in America about our political development, one of the leaders of the Neo-Conservative Movement. He is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Also here, Governor Mario Cuomo. Governor Cuomo, as many of you know, is a man who thinks about history, has written about Abraham Lincoln and other men and women who have influenced our time, written about their speeches and written about the influence that they have had on our country. I want to begin as we talk about leaders and revolutionaries to direct my first question to Dan RATHER:. As we think about this, Dan, is it the times that make the leader or the leader that shapes the times? I think of Roosevelt. Would he have been so influential and considered so great, in everybody's top list of great American Presidents without the Great Depression, without World War II?
RATHER: Charlie, I'm struck by the names that have been left off. I, frankly I think a case can be made for all of the names so far. But we've yet to discuss Winston Churchill, a very strong case could be made
ROSE: Let me just let you know we're going to discuss those in the second segment, a little bit later when we talk about foreign leaders, both good and bad. But go ahead.
RATHER: If we're sticking to domestic leaders, I'm not so sure that 500 years from now, who can see 500 years, that the only name, the only American name, perhaps the only name worldwide that will be in the history books won't be that of Neil Armstrong. If the past is prologue. what do we know about the 1400s? Most school children when they read their textbook, there's one name mentioned out of the 1400s that is Christopher Columbus. So, I wouldn't underestimate, you say, well, a leader, Neil Armstrong was a leader. He wasn't a political leader, he wasn't a religious leader, very brave leader and if you want to argue revolutionary, I might have a more difficult case. But 4 or 500 years from now I, I believe that there will be, have been humans on every planet in our solar system, exploration of the outer galaxy will be under way and perhaps we will get into other galaxies. And what the history books are going to say is it began when Neil Armstrong put his foot on the moon. Now, other names we haven't mentioned among Americans, Philo Farnesworth , generally regarded to be the father of television. What makes the 20th century different was Philo Farnesworth figured out a way to make television for better or for worse and it will have reach, it will echo into the centuries ahead. Not a name particularly well-known but one. I do think a case could be made among American leaders for Dr. Martin Luther King. When we discuss foreign leaders, I think a strong case could be made for the person of the century being Mahatma Gandhi, who was the forerunner of Dr. King, but if it were an American it would be a mistake to underestimate the effect on his time and on future times of Dr. King.
ROSE: Let me stay with Presidents for a second. Do you, you've written about Teddy Roosevelt.
RATHER: Theodore Roosevelt, a case could be made for
ROSE: You think Theodore Roosevelt is for you because he was there at the beginning of the century. I think [unintelligible] could help me, Doris, in 1908?
KEARNS-GOODWIN: Well, McKinley dies in 1901 so he becomes President in 1901.
RATHER: Well, here's the case for Theodore Roosevelt. The 20th Century was the American century. And without Theodore Roosevelt it very well may not have become the American century. He teed up, he set it up. Many of the things Woodrow Wilson, Ronald Reagan, Franklin Roosevelt, flowed from Theodore Roosevelt's accomplishments. He was also a man far ahead of his time. Talk about someone with vision. I was struck by Mr. Kristol saying, strong leaders, important leaders in history are people who have visions. And Theodore Roosevelt you can argue had as much or more vision than any other American president.