Russ Schriefer and Tom DeFrank are our guests this week.
Show produced by Katherine Caperton.
Original Air Date: December 15, 2012 on SiriusXM “POTUS” Channel 124.
Polioptics airs regularly on POTUS on Saturdays at 6 am, 12 noon and 6 pm.
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Before I left PoliOptics earlier this year to join in the campaign to elect Gov. Mitt Romney as the next POTUS, I went to Boston for a sit-down meetings with our first guest, Russ Schriefer. Russ and his business partner Stuart Stevens make up the legendary Stevens & Schriefer Group — a creative team that has been behind 4 out of the last 5 republican presidential campaigns.
It wasn’t my first time working with these two men, but it would be my first time working on a presidential campaign. It was one of those pinch yourself moments as I settled into the couch in their corner office at Romney for President HQ. The long slog that was the primaries was over and the big battle was ready to start.
Fast forward eight months and the big battle is over and done. We lost. But the lessons learned and the polioptics exhibited by Russ Schriefer in Tampa, on election night, and nearly every moment in between, remain. This is were Josh King and I pick-up the conversation with Russ. A quick take on the news this week surrounding Amb. Susan Rice and then full bore into the victories and surprises that standout from the campaign trail. This conversation with one of the wisest of the wise men in the Republican party is fun and interesting… but nowhere near complete. As you will see (or hear)– this is a guest we could literally learn from and speak to for hours on end. For now, episode 81 is a very good start — but we will take Russ up on his offer to come back again soon.
Our second guest is — in my estimation — one of the coolest guys you can meet in DC. I’m very lucky to be able to call him a friend. Tom DeFrank is a veteran political journalist and author. As Washington bureau chief of the New York Daily News, he directs coverage of the nation’s capital for the country’s third-largest metropolitan daily newspaper.
Some years ago, when I was still just a kid, Tom actually came over to my house to attend a going away party for one of my father’s golfing buddies. Turns out — dad’s golfing buddy – was the best man in Tom’s wedding, and one hell of a journalist himself (See: David C Beckwith, former Assistant to VP Quayle and former Time Magazine National Correspondent). What a small world. Twenty years later I find myself sitting across the studio from DeFrank while we’re both guests on a political TV show. From that moment forward a week hasn’t gone by that I haven’t spoken with Tom. His experience and humor are seemingly boundless. Don’t just take my word for it.
The American Journalism Review rated him “one of the unsung stars of Washington journalism”. The New York Times ranked him as one of the country’s best political ghostwriters. Former President Gerald R. Ford called him “one of the finest journalists I have ever known.”
After more than 40 years in D.C. DeFrank has seen it all. He was Newsweek’s senior White House correspondent for a quarter century and also served as deputy chief of the magazine’s Washington bureau for twelve years. Assigned to the White House beat since 1970, DeFrank has reported on the activities of Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama.
DeFrank is the co-author of “Bare Knuckles and Back Rooms”, the 1996 best-selling memoir of controversial Republican political consultant Ed Rollins. He also co-authored “The Politics of Diplomacy”, the memoirs of former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, and “Quest for the Presidency 1992”, Newsweek’s critically acclaimed, behind the scenes look at the Clinton-Bush election, published in 1994.
I hope you enjoy the discussion — because DeFrank will be back in 2013!