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America's First Black Female Governor;Stacey Abrams Hopes to Make History in Georgia;Glenda Jackson on Her Return to Broadway. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired August 17, 2018 - 14:00:00   ET



[14:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Coming up, we're looking back at some of our favorite interviews in this

year. And in this edition, from Atlanta Georgia, my conversation with the Democrat who could become America's first Black female governor. Stacey

Abrams on her historic candidacy means for the American south and the Democratic party. Plus, my conversation with the Oscar winning actress,

Glenda Jackson, about her stellar return to Broadway and how age 82 she is still winning awards and not ready to hang up her acting shoes just yet.

Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I am Christiane Amanpour in London.

The week has opened with the American allies from the E.U. to Canada and Mexico and politicians inside the United States trying to figure out how to

fight back against the Trump effect. Overseas, allies are figuring out how to retaliate the trade tariffs. While inside America, the Democratic party

is gearing up to fight back at the ballot box this November. And there are some signs base is fired up. Hundreds more women, for instance, are

running this election cycle. And the one attracting most attention is Stacey Abrams who scored a decisive victory in Georgia's governor

Democratic primary, rallying women, minorities and never before voters. And she's now on the cusp of history, potentially becoming America's first

ever Black woman governor.


STACEY ABRAMS, AMERICAN POLITICIAN, DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE FOR GEORGIA: We are writing the next chapter of Georgia's future where no one is unseen, no one

is unheard and no one is uninspired.


AMANPOUR: She would also become Georgia's first ever female governor. Abrams' history making moment is remarkable and her personal story is

extraordinary as well. Just a snipper, she has written several romance novels and she join me from Atlanta. Ms. Abrams, welcome to the program.

ABRAMS: Thank you for having me.

AMANPOUR: So, do you mind me starting out by saying you are the successful suspense romance novelist as you are?

ABRAMS: I am happy people know that I am a write as Selena Montgomery. But I will add that I'm also the recent author of "Minority Leader," "How

to Leave from Outside and Create Real Change," which was published in April.

AMANPOUR: Well, and that is you are the minority leader in Georgia. And what would you say writing has done for you as you reached this incredible

moment at the -- you won the primary and you are facing the general in November. What has is your books, whether they're novels or this political

memoir, done for you?

ABRAMS: My romance novels really helped me think the different lives that people lead and how important it is to tell stories so you can bring people

to the table and they understand why issues matter to them. And when I was able to do with "Minority Leader" is really talk about my journey to space

but in a way that I hope is more accessible and less about me and more of how other people can own their power and find their path to leadership.

AMANPOUR: So, here you are in Atlanta, I mean, you're running for office in Georgia but you did not grow up there. I mean, a lot of your childhood

was in Gulf Port and you described your childhood to an extent as one of gentile poverty, or at least that's what your mom said when you didn't have

running water or, you know, there was a lot of poverty but you, nonetheless, read and you went to the library. Tell me how your childhood

shaped you?

ABRAMS: I'm the daughter of two extraordinary people who I grew up in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. I grew in Gulf Port, which would have been our

south. My mom was a librarian, my dad was a shipyard worker, and they struggled to make ends meet. There are six of us, I'm the second of six

children. And it was entirely likely that my parents chould have simply said, "We did what we were supposed to do, it didn't work, let's give up


But instead, my parents raised us to believe at education, that faith and that service were really going to be the recipe for us to move forward.

And they told us all our lives that where we began was never going to dictate where we are ending up, that our economic privity was not going to

be a reason that we couldn't be successful.

And I want to give that to everyone else because I had two parents who made sure we read, made sure we had full experiences, who guaranteed that all

six of their kids went to college. And because of that, we grew up with a broader perspective, not only in what we are capable of, but what our

responsibilities was, to serve others so that they believe they can have the same chance.

AMANPOUR: And of course, you went on Spelman College, to Yale University, deputy city attorney at 30 and you've really sort of raised up that career

ladder. What do you - or what is your main issue for people if you are elected governor in November?

At the core of my mission is that I think poverty is immoral, I think it's economically inefficient and I think that we need a leader who believes

everyone should have the freedom and opportunity to thrive. That means focusing on education, on economic development and economic security and

focusing on making sure that leadership works for everyone and not just the privileged.

AMANPOUR: So, I mean, obviously you are doing this in a pretty Republican state and you're doing this in the south of the United States where, you

know, not to put too fine of, you know, word on it, it's hard to be a Black woman, it's hard to be Black in America today and get to where you want to

get to. And you vying to become the first ever Black female governor in the United States. Is this your moment? Do you feel that there is an

opening right now, and if so, why?

ABRAMS: I think there is an opening because America and the south is changing. And it's not just the demographic changes that I think have

certainly come to Georgia and made this possible, but it's also a change in the ethos. We saw in November of 2016 that voting matters, that your voice

matters, and it does indeed make a difference who gets elected.

And so, I think my opportunity is to harness that energy but also just to harness the urgency of this moment. Every single day we wake up to news

about a new atrocity and a new quiet bigotry. And what I want folks to understand in my campaign is that this is about them, it's about their

voices and their opportunity to actually change the direction of the south. It's going to be hard but it's absolutely possible.

We saw in the primary, people turned out who have not voted before. And if we do this right with people at the core of our campaign, we will win in


AMANPOUR: So. give me the strategy then. Because, obviously, we read and we -- you know, we sort of observe a lot of these races and obviously, a

lot of Democrats feel that they should go after this sort of voters who voted for Trump, try to peel them back or peel them away.

But, I think you are going off to a different demographic, right? Explain us the strategy and who the numbers are.

ABRAMS: Traditionally there has been a tendency to spend more money on Republicans who have disagreed with us than to invest in those who share

our values and share our beliefs. My goal is to go after democratic leading voters and any independent thinker who wants their voice to matter.

And that can sound sort of, you know, naive but here's the reality, we know that people want their children to be educated, they want good jobs that

pay well, that government that works for everyone, including expansion of Medicaid, which is something we just saw what happen in Virginia. And the

numbers in Georgia say that I need 250,000 people who didn't vote in the last election to turn out and to lift up their voices.

We know that we have more than a million voters who share these beliefs but have not had a candidate who is willing to invest in their voices. In my

campaign, from the beginning, has been about investing in voter engagement and voter turnout because we know that's the pathway of success.

AMANPOUR: So, how do you convince people, and let's look at the 2016 election, a lot of people in the Black community didn't come out to vote,

is that right?

ABRAMS: So here's the thing, registering voters is a critical part of building our electorate. But it's up to candidates to give voters a reason

to actually exercise their right to vote. And what we have seen happened too often in the south is that you do not have candidates who invest a

commiserate amount in those voters who stay home, they don't stay home because they don't want to vote, they stay home because they don't see a

reason to vote.

My campaign has been grounded from the beginning and actually talking to voters. So, you asked about strategy. It's going door-to-door, it's

having real conversations, it's making certain people understand what the governor does. Because if they know that the governor can make certain,

that they can make money, that they have access to transit, that they have access to healthcare and that there is someone willing to talk to them

about real issues.

I have a younger brother who's an ex-felon. I talk about the reality of how hard it is to transition back into community, what it means for

families to have one of your loved ones incarcerated. We have to have leaders who have real conversations.

And so, I do think that for African-American votes, specifically, but for every voter writ large, you want something to vote for, not just something

to vote against, and you have to have candidates who are willing to invest in your voice and say that your issues matter too. And that's what I've

been doing and that's what I will continue to do.

AMANPOUR: And you, obviously, you know, very opened talking about your own experiences and connecting with voters through your own human, family,

professional experiences. So, tell me what it's like to be an African- American woman in, you know, a White society or, at least, a White sort of dominant society, trying to get ahead. Do you feel that even where you are

now you get equal respect or is it more difficult than if you're a White man?

ABRAMS: So, the whole premise of "Minority Leader," with my book, is exactly that. But it's the beginning -- that issue is the beginning of the

conversation. Of course, there is not equality, of course there are challenges that are embedded indifferent. But the issues is, do you allow

those challenges to hold you down, to paralyze you or do you use them as a catapult? And I grew up believing that my differences are part of what

make me capable of doing what I need to do, and we all experience this in different ways. My mission is to create space so that everyone feels that

they belong.

There is a woman I met in Macon, Georgia who wants to start a daycare center but does not think anybody would invest in here because she's the

cashier at the Piggly Wiggly grocery store. She needs to believe that her capacity for opportunity is as great as any CEO. And I want to be the

governor who says that, "No matter what your difference is, we believe in your capacity and your potential that everyone should have the opportunity

to thrive."

AMANPOUR: You know, Stacey Abrams, you have knocked down one door after the next. I still can't believe it. I'm literally having to read it black

and white, but when you were a high school valedictorian and invited to the governor's mansion, you actually weren't allowed in.

ABRAMS: So, at first, the governor invited all valedictorians to come. My parents and I got on the public transit to get to the governor's mansion

because my parents couldn't afford at the car. And the security guard at the gate looked at us, looked at the bus and told us that it was a private

event and we didn't belong there. Luckily, my parents are very aggressive and they argued with him and he agreed to check his checklist and let us


But what I talk about is that, I don't remember meeting the governor, and the governor had nothing to do with my denial, and I don't remember meeting

my fellow valedictorians. What stuck with me was someone looking at me and looking at my circumstances and deciding I didn't belong in this most

powerful place in Georgia, and I want to be the person who say, "Those gates are open for everyone." Because no one should be denied access

because of their circumstances.

AMANPOUR: And you also speak about the power of education, obviously, and how that is the fundamental filler for anybody trying to make it, and

you're very open about the debt you have gotten into since being in your education. I mean, this is a terrible burden and many, many Americans have

to shoulder as they try to come out into the world.

ABRAMS: Part of the reason I am so open about my life, I try to be as honest and transparent as possible because we can't elect people for

perfection. We have to elect people who understand real lives, who know what it means to navigate education debt. But I'm also navigating the fact

that I am financially responsible for my parents and for my niece who they're raising because my younger brother couldn't take care of her. My

parents are taking care of my grandmother and so, she's now part of our generational home.

We need people in leadership who understand how complicated life can be and that are willing to not only own their own responsibility but help think

about solutions for everyone. That's why I want this job.

AMANPOUR: Well, Stacey Abrams, you certainly relate and you certainly understand. Thank you so much for joining us tonight.

"If all the world is a stage." as Shakespeare said, then Glenda Jackson is one of the greatest actors ever to storm across it. Bold and talented, she

earned two Oscars for the drama "Women in Love" and another for the comedy "A Touch of Class."


GLENDA JACKSON, BRITISH ACTRESS: In the past two days, you have picked me up in the rain, given me tea, bought me lunch, lured me to this hideaway

with the intention, I presume, of getting me to bed for what you Americans so charmingly call "a quickie". Is that a fair resume so far?

GEORGE SEGAL, ACTOR: Why do women always think the worst? Why does sex always have to be the first thing that -- yes


AMANPOUR: But Jackson is no Johnny One Note. In 1992, she pivoted to politics and she is an elected member of parliament here only to pivot back

to acting again in 2015. No easy feat for a woman at the ripe old age of 80 and no easy come back.

She played "King Lear" to rave reviews. And now, at 82, she's taking Broadway by curmudgeonly storm, playing a sour 92-year-old on the verge of

death in Edward Albee's masterpiece "Three Tall Women," and that's earned her a Tony nomination. She stars alongside Laurie Metcalf and Alison Pill.

She is fierce, she is funny and she's frank. Glenda Jackson discuss all of this with me when she joined me from New York earlier in the week.


AMANPOUR: Glenda Jackson, welcome to the program.

JACKSON: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: So, I don't want to be indelicate, but you are a woman of a certain age. You're over 80, if I'm not mistaken, and you are having a

resurgence of your acting career.

Many, many women, yourself included, have complained, rightly, that there aren't enough roles for women, especially older women. How do you feel,

though, doing this?

JACKSON: Well, I still concur with what you -- the thought you just said. Usually, there's only, if there is, one woman's part. And certainly, as

far as contemporary dramatists are concerned, it seems to me. And that has stayed the same in my experience ever since I first walked onto a stage and

got paid for it.

What is remarkable about this particular production is not only it's a great play, but there are three really good -- three women's parts in it.

And one of the things that attracted me most to doing it was the opportunity to work with actresses of the caliber of the two actress I'm

privileged to work with.

AMANPOUR: And what about the role itself? You play A, she's the much older woman, I think she's a decade older than you are in real life, and

pretty cantankerous, pretty sort of iconoclastic, maybe a little bit like you. I don't know. Did you feel a particular bond with her?

JACKSON: No, I felt a particular bond with what the author was trying to do, I think, which is to be almost -- well, not almost, painfully honest

about what was clearly, for him, a tragic relationship between himself and his adoptive mother. He is absolutely upfront about that. But then, he

kicks off by saying, "It isn't a revenge piece." Well, I disagree with him there. But the last part of it, he says that, during her lifetime, he

never met anyone who liked her. He is talking about his adoptive mother. He never met anyone who had seen the play who disliked her. What have I

done? It's all in that, isn't it?

AMANPOUR: It really is. I mean, it sort of made me laugh a little bit. But it is extraordinary if it's true what he says about his adoptive mother

that she bought him from adoption agency for about $133 or something like that --

JACKSON: Well, $110, and she wanted the money back.


JACKSON: Left home.

AMANPOUR: And then, apparently, he feels that she always wanted to give him back. Is that right?

JACKSON: Well, there was clearly this endlessly dividing, divisive, truly, I think, in many instances, cruel attempts to make a relationship which

failed, I think, clearly on both sides. And I think she, at some point, clearly gave up on it.

AMANPOUR: What does it mean for you to be back? I mean, you put your career willingly on hiatus for more than 20 years when you became a

politician in England, you were an MP for --

JACKSON: There are people who regard being a member of Parliament as a career.

AMANPOUR: Well, yes.

JACKSON: Over that one.

AMANPOUR: Yes. But I meant your acting career. Did you ever think when you decided not to run again, you put politics aside, that you, Glenda

Jackson, would not just be asked to come back to one play, which was queenlier, right, here at The Old Vic, but now "Three Tall Women". I mean,

these are huge monumental plays and roles.

JACKSON: It didn't occur to me, no. I mean, I remember saying to my girls in the office when I said I wouldn't stand at the 2015 election, I'm going

to enter irresponsible episodes in my life only to discover that, in fact, when you don't have work, your responsibility increases. Who gets you out

of bed in the morning, if not you.

But the BBC asked me to do a series on radio, which I was very happy to do. They were great scripts. And I did that and I (INAUDIBLE) that. I was

then asked by The Old Vic instantly to do a play. I didn't want to do the play they wanted me to do. And "Lear" came after that. And I did it. And

now, I'm doing "Three Tall Women" and I'm very, very lucky indeed.

AMANPOUR: So, isn't it incredible that you did "Lear" as a woman?

JACKSON: Well, you know, one of the really interesting things about doing that incredible play, no one ever mentioned it. Nobody in the production,

nobody who watched it, in a curious way, nobody commented on it, made anything off that. It may be because there had been forerunners, certainly

in London, of the kind of gender bender regime. I mean, marvelous productions, all-women productions, for example, of Shakespeare's


What I found interesting over and above the greatness of the play was when I was a member of Parliament, I would visit old people's homes, day

centers, things of that nature, and one of the things that struck me most was how, as we get older, as we get higher and higher up the age scale, the

gender barriers start to fray, they become to fracture, they're sort of foggy, the absolutes aren't there anymore, and that I found very useful

when I was playing "Lear". It was really interesting.

AMANPOUR: Actually, that's a very encouraging thought for us coming up in those footsteps of age. So, that's great.

Tell me about being a politician. Did you employ your acting abilities, credentials, your performing abilities in Parliament? I mean, how much did

that help you or was it unconscious?

JACKSON: It was never at the forefront of my mind, but what was, not infrequently at the forefront of my mind, was that years ago, there was a

scientific exploration of what we as human beings fear most.

And apparently, what we fear most is death and number two on the list is public speaking. So, I had that one covered, except when I rose to make my

maiden speech in Parliament, I had never been so frightened in my life.

AMANPOUR: You also took part in a tribute to Margaret Thatcher. Of course, yours was the -- I mean, could I call it an anti-tribute?

JACKSON: I hope I told the truth. I had certainly told the truth as I had experienced it, as I'd seen my constituents experience it, even though when

I was first elected, she had long been elevated to the other place as we call the House of Lords.

Everything I had been taught to regard as a vice, she told me was a virtue. Greed wasn't a vice. It was doubty independence. Selfishness wasn't a

vice, it was ensuring you cared for yourself and your family, that there was no such thing as a society.

AMANPOUR: Can I just play it actually? I mean, you've paraphrased some of what you said, but I'm going to play it, so that our viewers will see you.



JACKSON: We were told that everything I had been taught to regard as a vice, and I still regard them as vices, under Thatcherism was, in fact, a

virtue. Greed, selfishness, no care for the weaker, sharp elbows, sharp knees, they were the way forward.


AMANPOUR: So, Glenda Jackson, that was pretty, bold and brave. Obviously, you were true to yourself and true to your politics. How were you received

in the chamber? And did they know what you were going to say? Did you have to -- not permission, but did you have to sort of warn people what you

were going to say?

JACKSON: Good heavens, no. I mean, I was there. I wasn't guaranteed to be called. No one is guaranteed to be called in that sense. And,

certainly, I remember when I kicked off with what I was saying, there was a certain amount of barracking from, obviously, the conservative benches, but

that died down.

AMANPOUR: I wonder, because we're in this moment now of so much focus on women need to -- women running for office, women trying to really finally,

you know, change these sorts of scales of inequity, would you call yourself a feminist?

JACKSON: I think I would, in the sense of it being more than demonstrating you're a feminist by burning your bra. I never burned a bra in my life

because I don't wear them.

But if I could just kind of cut to the bottom line about all this, as far as I'm concerned, I'd just say that, in the United Kingdom, two women die

every week at the hands of their partner, usually a male. And we are deluding ourselves if we think that this movement that has arisen is going

to transform the lives for all women around the world overnight because it isn't. And we have to accept that the steps forward, we are moving

forward, but they're small steps at the moment, they're not giant strides, but we have to keep pushing for it.

AMANPOUR: And I want to go back to one of your earlier films. We're going to play a little clip of "Women in Love".

JACKSON: All right.


JACKSON: Well, you don't think you love, do you?


JACKSON: You don't think you can love me, do you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know what you mean by the word "love."

JACKSON: Yes, you do. You know very well that you have never loved me. Or have you, do you think?



AMANPOUR: Oh, that's so dramatic and so sad. Does it take you back at all?

JACKSON: I don't watch it. I don't like watching myself. I'm completely subjective about seeing myself on film. I only look at myself really and I

think, "Oh, my God, why did you choose to do that?" It's all too late because there isn't nothing you can do to change it.

AMANPOUR: But you do have -- you are quite known for being a bit irascible and you did not accept any of your Oscars. You got two Oscars. One for

that film. And you didn't go to Hollywood to pick them up.

JACKSON: Well, I was working. I mean, I couldn't go. I was extremely fortunate. I was employed. And that is still a very fortunate position to

be in if you're an actress. So, no, I didn't.

AMANPOUR: Are you glad you got them? Are you glad you get all the plaudits? And are you happy now with all the reviews and playing these

amazing roles?

JACKSON: I'm very happy that we're playing to full houses. I'm very happy to be working with these two remarkable actresses. I'm very happy with the

way the audience listens and laughs and how we clearly are delivering what is really a remarkable play.

But what I always gib at when you talk about the Oscars, people say to me, "You won them." I never competed for anything. The winners are the people

who vote for you. And that's, you know, nice for them and always very nice to have a present, but it doesn't make you any better.

AMANPOUR: On that note, Glenda Jackson, thank you so much for joining us.

JACKSON: Pleasure talking to you.


AMANPOUR: Glenda Jackson, she has being nominated for a Tony award for that role in "Three Tall Women."

Amd that is it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast and see us online at and you can follow me on

Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.