Episode 158, with guest Joe Plumeri

Joe Plumeri is our guest this week.
Show produced by Katherine Caperton.
Original Air Date: July 5, 2014 on SiriusXM “POTUS” Channel 124.
PoliOptics airs on POTUS on Saturdays at 8 am & 6 pm, Sundays at 4 am & 5 pm and Mondays at 2 am.
Follow us on Twitter @Polioptics.
Listen to the show by clicking on the bar above.
Show also available for download on Apple iTunes and other streaming services.

On this July 4th weekend, it’s one from the heart. As you’re listening, I hope you’re driving to a ballgame or watching cheese melt over burger on a set of hot coals. You’ll find me at a water park up in the Catskills with the kids.

Our regular listeners of this show know that, over the past month or so, my pals Jeff Smith, Matt Bennett and Steve Silverman have been filling in for me, and ably so. I’ve loved the show’s they’ve put on. The reason for my absence, and why is this one from the heart, is that I’ve been at a reunion of sorts. Back in 2009, a man named Joe Plumeri became my boss. Over the last five years, he’s become a coach, a mentor and a friend, and I’m lucky for all those roles he’s played in my life.

Now, like Capt. John Yossorian in Catch-22, we’re on one more mission together. You might say it’s like turning a B-25 Mitchell into the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. This isn’t an easy assignment, but If you have to go on a tough mission, there’s no one better to follow into battle than Joe Plumeri, with 48 years of playing in traffic, and winning, on Wall Street under his belt.

The stories Joe tells on this episode of PoliOptics are, by the nature of our 1-hour radio show, abbreviated versions of what he talks about when he’s in front of an audience of thousands who give him their undivided attention for hours, culminating in a standing ovation. As much fun as we have with some of the audio clips going back to a rare one between Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in 1927, nothing substitutes for being in a live setting with Joe and watching how he captivates a crowd. National Public Radio recently compiled their list of the 300 greatest college commencement speeches of all time, going back to 1774. John F. Kennedy was on that list, as was Benjamin Franklin and Franklin D. Roosevelt. So too was Joe Plumeri, for a speech he gave at the 2011 graduation exercises at the College of William & Mary.

To provide a sense of what Joe is like on stage, here’s his William & Mary speech in full. As you’ll see, he gives the camera operator a challenge just keeping up with him.

As we celebrate the American story on this July 4th weekend, the journey that the Plumeri family has taken on these shores, since Joe’s grandparents arrived from Italy in the last century, is truly the American dream. The story moves from the streets of Trenton to the athletic fields of the College of William & Mary to the corporate boardrooms of the biggest global companies. From teacher to coach to CEO, Joe offers leadership and communications lessons at every stop, for businesspeople and politicians alike.

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Episode 154, with guests Michael Waldman and Geoff Dyer

Michael Waldman and Geoff Dyer are our guests this week.
Show produced by Katherine Caperton.
Original Air Date: June 7, 2014 on SiriusXM “POTUS” Channel 124.
PoliOptics airs on POTUS on Saturdays at 8 am & 6 pm, Sundays at 4 am & 5 pm and Mondays at 2 am.
Follow us on Twitter @Polioptics.
Listen to the show by clicking on the bar above.
Show also available for download on Apple iTunes and other streaming services.

This week, it’s Another Great Day At Sea.

Twenty years ago this week, I was at sea, aboard the USS George Washington, somewhere in the English Channel, about to embark with President Clinton for the commemoration of the 50 anniversary of D-Day. During my years as a presidential advance man, there was nothing cooler than spending a night on an aircraft carrier, nor few things more welcome than getting off!

The commemoration of June 6, 1944, occurred again this week, now 70 years after D-Day, with President Obama this year the American Commander-in-Chief paying tribute to the sacrifice that saved the world.

The boys of Point du Hoc, of Omaha, of Juno and Sword, are twenty years older than when I was with them in 1994 and, while it was wonderful to see to many eyewitness accounts of D-Day from veterans this week, its also true that many I met two decades ago have passed into eternity. But wherever they are, we are eternally grateful for what they did, now 70 years ago.

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A more recent appreciation of what our men and women in uniform do to project power, keep the peace and defend U.S. interests overseas comes courtesy of Geoff Dyer, the great celebrated author of such works as Jeff in Venice and Yoga For People Who Can’t Be Bothered To Do It, who’s just out with Another Great Day At Sea: Life Aboard The USS George H.W. Bush. 

Goeff spent two weeks aboard CVN-77 (as opposed to my one night about CVN-73). In this episode of PoliOptics, we talk with Geoff about his observations from his fortnight aboard America’s mightiest warship.

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Also on the show, with the shootings this week at Seattle Pacific University, and in May in Santa Barbara, we’ve gone numb to the shock reported in the media from violence perpetrated at the intersection of handgun possession and mental illness.

But not Michael Waldman, the former chief speechwriter to President Clinton and president of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU’s School of Law (and my old friend from the White House days). Michael is out with his latest book: The Second Amendment: A Biography, that brings us back to Lexington and Concord, when the Minutemen “kept and bared arms” to Sandy Hook, when, tragically, Adam Lanza did the same.

But the lifetime journey of that one sentence in our Bill of Rights — A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed – has been long and consequential, clearly worthy of a biography. It’s biographer, Michael Waldman, joins us on this show.

Episode 153, with guest Todd Purdum (encore show with new open)

Todd Purdum is our guest this week.
Show produced by Katherine Caperton.
Original Air Date: May 31, 2014 on SiriusXM “POTUS” Channel 124.
This is an encore performance, with an updated 15-minute open, of Episode 145, which aired April 5, 2014
PoliOptics airs on POTUS on Saturdays at 8 am & 6 pm, Sundays at 4 am & 5 pm and Mondays at 2 am
Follow us on Twitter @Polioptics
Listen to the show by clicking on the bar above.
Show also available for download on Apple iTunes and other streaming services

This week: An Idea Whose Time Has Come.

I had the pleasure recently of seeing “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston in “All The Way,” the Broadway play about Lyndon Johnson’s tumultuous first full year year in offce, 1964, when the shadow of JFK’s assassination hung over the country and the Civil Rights struggle burned toward the approaching freedom summer. Cranston’s anguish as LBJ flew from the stage as we watched him dealing with Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover and reluctant members of Congress grudgingly moving toward passage of Kennedy’s Civil Rights legislation, known on Capitol Hill as HR 7152

The real inside story of the fight to, as Johnson said, “write it in the books of law,” is the subject of a new book – An Idea Whose Time Has Come – on shelves April 1 by my old friend Todd Purdum, published by Henry Holt.

Todd is a contributing editor of Vanity Fair and a senior writer for POLITICO, but we go way back, to when he was White House correspondent for the New York Times, where he spent twenty years.

Episode 151, with guests Michael Kirk and Terry Lenzner