Tag Archives: James Baker

An Unexpected Encounter And Back-To-Back Guest Hosting

Wednesday, 11.21.07

(programming note: John is hosting AC360 again tonight!!)

I work in downtown Houston. This afternoon, while walking along the city sidewalk to run an errand at my bank, I passed by Shell Plaza and happened to notice a shiny, jet-black Lincoln Towncar parked in front of the building. A uniformed police officer was sitting behind the driver’s wheel. “Hmm”, I thought to myself, “Now, that’s odd.” Unless this was the new model for Houston police cars, I figured the officer must be waiting to pick up someone important. Sure enough, not 5 seconds after I had that thought, who should walk right past me but Former Secretary of State James Baker!!!

At first I had to do a double take… then it dawned on me it had to be him because he was walking towards the parked Towncar. Strange, though, he didn’t have any entourage with him – he was all by himself as he walked out of the Shell building.

I stammered, “Hello Secretary Baker” and he smiled and said hello. He then disappeared into his waiting car and it sped off… I stood there dumbfounded for about a minute or two afterward. It all happened so fast, I didn’t get a chance to tell him, “By the way, that was a nice interview you had with John King earlier this year.” lol.

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On to last night’s AC360 review…

The program kicked off with yet another crime story: an American international student caught up in a murder mystery.

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Amanda Knox, a college student from Seattle, was living in Italy in an apartment near Rome with another student, Meridith Kurcher. Knox had a secret dark side, as chronicled on her online blog. After involvements in sex and drug crimes, Meridith was found dead in their aparment, apparently after fighting off a rape assault from Amanda Knox’s Italian boyfriend.

It is interesting to see how the Italian media are responding to this scandal. Apparently it is a big story over there – the media is swarming all over it and they don’t appear to have any sympathy for this American student.

Chad Meyers and Ali Velchi were up next, discussing again travel delays and oil prices, respectively. John said that with these prices, he would walk back to Washington!

He then spoke with Larry King regarding last night’s LKL program about Donda West, Kanye West’s mother. The doctor who performed her plastic surgery, Jan Adams,was to be interviewed but he left the set, live on air – he agreed then disagreed to be on the show! Supposedly there were some last-minute legal developments which prompted him to make this bizarre departure.

This was a first for Larry King. “It was kinda weird” he said. Larry talked about people fighting on his show, and even a live fire on the set – but never a live walk-off. John told Larry he handled the live situation “cool as a cucumber”!

David Gergen and Hank Sheinkopf were guests for political analysis on the program.

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Hillary And Barack are jabbing at each other over expereince in foregin policy. Does living overseas for a few years during his youth give Barack Obama foregin policy experience? Hillary thinks not. They are both neck and neck in Iowa.

John reported that in New Hampshire, new polls show “Senator Obama narrowing the gap among likely voters, with John Edwards gaining about an inch of ground since September. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, on the other hand, doubling his support in New Hampshire since then.”

Warren Jeff’s sentencing was next discussed with Gary Tuchman. Jeffs was sentenced to 5 years to life, with 7 years being the average for his type of crime. He will be serving out his time in a Utah state prison, but he’s expected to stay there for only a short time due to the fact that the state of Arizona is also planning on putting Jeffs on trial.

“Keeping Them Honest” focused on Dennis Hasterts’ early departure from congress. His retirement will cost the citizens of Illinois. The state will have to conduct a special election in order to have someone filling in the last few months of Hastert’s term, costing every county in his district over $1 million.

The program closed with RawPolitics and The Shot of the day:

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The Shot came from Missouri – a deer on the road crosses over a deputy’s car and doesn’t even touch the hood. What an amazing feat of perfect timing!

I was planning to break from blogging tomorrow for Turkey Day, but since John is hosting tonight, I nonetheless want to post a re-cap of the show. I’ll just take a quick break from the food tomorrow and sneak in some time to write the review!

If you are traveling for the holidays, I hope you have a safe and wonderful trip! (Just watch out for flying deer, lol)

Enjoy your turkey and have a blessed holiday!

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Filed under Current Events, General Discussion, Guest Hosting

Mr. Secretary, Please Pass the Sheep Eyeballs

Thursday, 9.18.07 

John recently hosted an interesting interview session with former Secretary of State James Baker on April 24 of this year. The interview at first focused on a 2006 Iraq study group that Baker was a part of, then delved into stories in Baker’s new book “Work Hard, Study…and Keep Out of Politics!”

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The interview was part of the Kentucky Author Forum held at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts in Louisville and was aired by the local PBS station KET back in May. Since then, it has aired on several other PBS stations across the country but was never made available via the internet until recently. KET released the interview on its website and can be seen in it’s entirety here.

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There were actually quite a few funny moments throughout, making it an enjoyable exchange to watch, especially when Baker was speaking candidly about Reagan’s trademark sense of humor. There were also some humorous reflections about the 1988 campaign and Dan Quayle’s over-exuberance on camera at being a Vice-Presidential nominee!

It was truly enjoyable to watch John pose intelligent and insightful questions, which often led to some candid and very funny reponses.

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Throughout the interview, John asked questions on a variety of topics and touched on several issues, among them:

The 2006 Iraq focus group;
Boris Yeltsin;
The Fall Of The Berlin Wall;

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The Cold War;
Dick Cheney’s early years as White House Chief of Staff and Secretary of Defense;
George W. Bush’s years in Midland Texas;

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Ronald Reagan’s keen sense of humor;
Reagan’s assassination attempt;
How technology has changed the way political news stories are broadcast;

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Baker’s influence in several presidential campaigns;
Reagan’s decision to select Bush as his VPOTUS;
The selection of Dan Quayle as Bush’s VPOTUS and Quayle’s pubic image;

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John’s recollections of the 1988 Presidential campaign;
Death penalty issues;
The Willie Horton case and how it became part of negative campaigning in the 1988 Presidential election season;

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Saddam Hussein;
Cuban Relations;
Soviet Relations.

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At one point Baker quipped, “It’s hard to campaign on competence” which drew gales laughter from the audience.

And oh yeah, you’ve also got to have a palate for exotic foods when you are a Secretary of State, just in case you are ever served sheep eyeballs at an official state dinner in a foreign country!!

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Who knew so much could be discussed in one short hour?

p.s. In previous posts about unusual foods I dug up pictures of fried twinkies, fried oreos, etc. This time, I think I will pass on trying to google for a photograph of sheep eyeballs on a platter. lol!

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Filed under Foodstuffs, Political Interviews