Earlier this week, Team Clinton found itself besieged by continued questions over foreign donations to the family’s non-profit. Such inquires have lingered since the winter when it was discovered that the Clinton Foundation accepted a donation from the Algerian government when Hillary was Secretary of State, which appeared to have violated an ethics agreement with the Obama White House. Speculation intensified when Reuters reported that the Clintons haven’t disclosed their donors since 2010, despite a 2008 promise Hillary made in a move to be more transparent. Now, we have cash flowing into the Clinton Foundation from the family foundation of the chairman of Uranium One, who was in the middle of securing a deal with Rosatom, a state-owned Russian energy corporation. Bill Clinton would then receive a $500,000 speaking fee from a bank with connections to this deal. Uranium One was a mining company that was responsible for 20% of the United States’ uranium production. These transactions were not disclosed to the Obama administration during these business negotiations (2009-2013), and the review of this deal by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, who “are charged with reviewing any deal that could result in foreign control of an American business or asset deemed important to national security,” according to the Times–was met with approval. All of this, just prior to Clinton’s exit as Secretary of State, who is a principal actor on the board.
As a result, the editorial boards are showing the former first lady no love. The New York Times demanded she disclose all the Foundation’s donations and donors, while chastising her for breaking her pledge regarding disclosing such donors when she became Secretary of State:
The increasing scrutiny of the foundation has raised several points that need to be addressed by Mrs. Clinton and the former president. These relate most importantly to the flow of multimillions in donations from foreigners and others to the foundation, how Mrs. Clinton dealt with potential conflicts as secretary of state and how she intends to guard against such conflicts should she win the White House.
The only plausible answer is full and complete disclosure of all sources of money going to the foundation. And the foundation needs to reinstate the ban on donations from foreign governments for the rest of her campaign — the same prohibition that was in place when she was in the Obama administration.
The donations, which included $2.35 million from a principal in the deal, were not publicly disclosed by the foundation, even though Mrs. Clinton had signed an agreement with the Obama administration requiring the foundation to disclose all donors as a condition of her becoming secretary of state. This failure is an inexcusable violation of her pledge. The donations were discovered through Canadian tax records by Times reporters. Media scrutiny is continuing, with Reuters reporting that the foundation is refiling some returns found to be erroneous.
There is no indication that Mrs. Clinton played a role in the uranium deal’s eventual approval by a cabinet-level committee. But the foundation’s role in the lives of the Clintons is inevitably becoming a subject of political concern.
It’s an axiom in politics that money always creates important friendships, influence and special consideration. Wise politicians recognize this danger and work to keep it at bay. When she announced her candidacy, Mrs. Clinton resigned from the foundation board (Bill Clinton remains on the board). This was followed by the announcement of tighter foundation restrictions on donations from foreign countries, which had resumed after she left the State Department.
These half steps show that candidate Clinton is aware of the complications she and Bill Clinton have created for themselves. She needs to do a lot more, because this problem is not going away.
The Wall Street Journal said this was nothing short of “graft.”
We’re not the first to make the comparison, but Bill and Hillary Clinton’s adventures in the uranium trade recall nothing as much as Tammany Hall’s concept of “honest graft.” Except maybe their never-ending use of power and status for personal and political gain requires a new special terminology. Dishonest graft?
The New York Times reported Thursday on the foreign cash that flowed into the Clinton Foundation between 2009 and 2013 as subsidiaries of the Russian state nuclear energy agency Rosatom acquired control of a Canada-based mining company called Uranium One. The story features the familiar Clinton touches: lucrative Kazakh mining concessions for the tycoon Frank Giustra, with Bill along as a character reference; a half-million-dollar-a-pop speech by the former President in Moscow for a Kremlin-linked bank; $2.35 million in secret donations from one family foundation to another.
All the while, Mrs. Clinton was serving in her capacity as Secretary of State on the U.S. Cabinet committee that screens foreign investment for national-security risks. The group approved the deal, despite critics who warned it would give the Russian government control over the world’s nuclear fuel—the same material Vladimir Putin is now selling to Iran. Oh, and don’t forget this was also amid the famous “reset” of relations with Mr. Putin.
Oh, and here’s the New York Post:
Thursday was a banner day in the unfolding scandal of the Clinton Foundation.
We learned that a Russian government-controlled company has taken control of one-fifth of all uranium producing capacity in the US by acquiring a Canadian firm whose chairman, Frank Giustra, has pledged over $130 million to the foundation.
Bill Clinton also got $500,000 in speaking fees from a Russian bank that had been promoting the Canadian firm’s stock. And Hillary’s State Department signed off on the acquisition, which has serious national-security implications.
Giustra also reaped huge profits when Hillary reversed her earlier “clear and firm” opposition to a trade deal with Colombia.
Her ex-president hubby, meanwhile, actively promoted the agreement the same month he accepted $800,000 for speeches, delivered after flying on Giustra’s private jet, to a pro-agreement group.
Bill also hosted a meeting in his home to introduce Colombian President Alvaro Uribe to Giustra, then eyeing Colombian oil contracts.
Meanwhile, the Clinton Foundation is now hurriedly re-filing five years worth of tax returns that somehow failed to list any of the millions it received in foreign donations. And Bill and Hillary’s family charity only acted after journalists uncovered the discrepancy.
The Clinton camp is trying to frame this as a right-wing hit job, while their supporters have seemingly begun to smear the author of the upcoming book on the Clinton Foundation’s dealings–Peter Schweizer–on the airwaves. The problem: it’s not going to work. Mainstream news outlets have begun investigating the claims made in Schweizer’s book, and it’s a fact that these news outlets– Reuters, Bloomberg, The New York Times, Politico, and The Washington Post– are not part of this “right wing” conspiracy against the Clintons. To say otherwise, is desperate and a bit nutty.
Flashback: That time Hillary said then-Sen. Obama had some questions to answer about his alleged backroom deals with a nuclear power company–Exelon–who were also one of his biggest donors. Oh, and she's Mrs. Transparency.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio receives a five percentage-point bump after his April 13 announcement and has the backing of 13 percent in the race for the Republican nomination -- just a touch over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker who gets 12 percent among self-identified GOP primary voters. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul comes in at 10 percent, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee earn 9 percent each and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz gets 8 percent.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Thursday said "deep-seated … religious beliefs" have to be changed before the world's women will get full access to abortion. “Far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth. All the laws we've passed don’t count for much if they’re not enforced,” Clinton said. “Rights have to exist in practice — not just on paper,” Clinton argued. “Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will." “And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed,” Clinton added.
The Friday Filibuster: The one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about this week in politics.
91%—The chance Sen. Lindsey Graham will run for president.
49%-43%--Rubio takes the lead in Florida over Hillary Clinton.
99-0—Senate finally passes anti-sex trafficking bill.
37.5% of respondents in a HotAir poll said they’d vote for Ted Cruz if the Republican primary were held today—beating out all the other declared candidates.
34% of respondents in a YouGov poll believe it’s “totally unacceptable” for a candidate to oppose same-sex marriage.
95,727 kids prove there is no link between MMR vaccine and autism.
100,000—The amount former CIA Director David Petraeus was fined for military leaks.
15% of Republican primary voters in a Q-poll chose Marco Rubio over other candidates.
56-43—The yea and nay votes, respectively, for Loretta Lynch’s confirmation.
Terror, Global Security & Foreign Affairs
The Islamic State continues to slaughter innocent Christians, again in Libya. And it’s starting to look like they might be in Afghanistan, too. The fact that its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has been gravely injured is clearly not slowing them down. CBS returned to the 2013 Sarin gas attack in Syria this week, reminding viewers that no one has been held accountable for the attack, which killed more than 1,400 people. And Egypt’s deposed president Mohamed Morsi has finally been sentenced to two decades in prison for his involvement in criminal acts of violence and torture during his time in office. And Iran, meanwhile, is obstinate that they’re not going to allow inspections at military sites. Oh, and the White House isn't going to require Iran release American hostages as part of nuclear deal.
HRC: Bought and Paid For?
Will Hillary’s campaign turn out to be a house of cards? After events that unfolded this week, it may be. First up, Peter Schweizer’s new book, “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich” shines much-needed sunlight on their shady dealings. It also appears the Foundation’s largest donor has been trading with Iran, which may be a breach of U.S. sanctions on the country. To make matters worse for her, the NYT and Reuters jumped on the bandwagon with regard to exposing more foreign cash and tax scandals. Team Hillary is in damage control mode, sending former Obama WH adviser John Podesta to her defense and claiming critics can't prove corruption with a 'shred' of evidence. They’re also gearing up to smear the author of the book. The Times is actually calling Team Hillary out for their ‘misdirection and obfuscation’ surrounding the money scandal. The White House, meanwhile, continues to stand by her side. And back to Email-gate, Trey Gowdy still wants her in the hot seat.
Campaigns & Elections
Carly Fiorina will formally enter the presidential race on May 4; rapper Waka Flocka claims he is also entering the race (impossible); and Sen. Manchin says he’s running for re-election, not governor of West Virginia. Sen. Marco Rubio answers Google questions in a new campaign video, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, who’s 91 percent sure he’s running for president, took a knock at Sen. Rand Paul for being ‘behind’ Obama and Clinton on foreign policy. And the Koch brothers have not endorsed Gov. Walker yet, but they’re giving Jeb an ‘audition’—they also said they may back several candidates in the primaries. And for the latest on polling, don’t forget to check out the Closing Numbers section at the top.
It was Earth Day this week. Global warming fanatic Bill Nye celebrated with fossil fuel powered flights on Air Force One. And as a reminder, the co-founder of Earth Day killed and composted his girlfriend.
In other news
The head of the DEA is set to resign after a Justice Department OIG report revealed that several agents had engaged in ‘sex parties’ with prostitutes paid for by Colombian drug cartels; more MSNBC hosts have been slapped with tax warrants; and two hostages were killed in a US counterterrorism operation.
Graphics by Townhall Graphic Designer Feven Amenu.
As Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post wrote, we’ve seen the confirmation of Loretta Lynch (we’re not discussing whether it was a good or bad thing), the passage of a Medicare doc fix, a human trafficking bill, and fast-track authority on the Trans-Pacific trade deal, which has President Obama fighting among his fellow Democrats.
Congress is working somewhat again–and the reason seems to be because Harry Reid was toppled as Senate Majority Leader or at least that’s what Republicans on Capitol Hill told Cillizza:
I also asked a handful of longtime Republican congressional hands to explain the sudden unfreezing. The name that kept coming up in those conversations was Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
"I think there was a significant pent-up desire on both sides to return to legislating," said Billy Piper, a former top aide to Sen. Mitch McConnell and now a GOP lobbyist. "These guys don't work so hard to win elections to just come up here and be potted plants. They want to accomplish things, and the last several years they have been prevented by Leader Reid from even trying."
Added another smart Republican mind: "Following the collapse of the Grand Bargain talks in the summer of 2011, Reid essentially shut down the Senate (presumably at President Obama’s request) until after the presidential election. . . . Now, McConnell is making the Senate work again, and President Obama (in the final quarter of his presidency) would like some sort of second-term legacy. So things are moving."
It's not just Republicans who are blaming Reid. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who announced this week that he will seek reelection in 2016 rather than run for governor, took a shot at Reid's tenure as leader, too. “His leadership and the things he thought would work did not," Manchin said on "Morning Joe." "So with that, you just move on.”
For the record, not all Democrats -- or even most -- blame Reid. Democrats generally insist that the reason things have begun to work better is because their side isn't willing to block legislation the same way Republicans did when they served in the Senate minority.
My sense is that it's a combination of these factors. Yes, it is true that McConnell has opened up the amendment process in the Senate, allowing more voices to be heard and members -- Republicans and Democrats -- to feel as though they are a bigger part of the process.
Vox’s Jonathan Allen, formerly of Bloomberg, wrote that there could be a “bipartisan consensus” on reauthorizing No Child Left Behind and a bill that taxes foreign earnings of corporations to finance a new infrastructure bill. Yet, Allen also noted that the thaw in the Senate since Reid was booted from the Majority Leader slot:
The biggest change is in the Senate, where McConnell's intransigence and Harry Reid’s hammerlock on the floor schedule over the past four years frustrated lawmakers in both parties. Reid didn't want Republicans to force Democrats into tough votes before the last election. The amendment process was cut off. Nothing moved. Now McConnell has opened up the floor, and that’s encouraging Republicans and Democrats to cobble together coalitions both in committee and on floor amendments.
"One of the side benefits of all the floor time is that members have more time to talk while they’re down there, and so things just start happening," said a senior GOP aide. "Budget votes ran into 4 am a few Thursdays back. McConnell fed both sides and their staffs out of his office. Stuff like that just leads to more things happening legislatively."
Yet, this can always change in a heartbeat. Case in point, the overwhelmingly bipartisan human trafficking bill that just passed hit a nasty partisan bump when Democrats pathetically tried to accuse Republicans of sneaking in Hyde Amendment language. This led to Republicans tying the passage of the trafficking bill to the Loretta Lynch Attorney General confirmation vote. Now, both cases have been resolved, but it gridlock could happen again.
At the same time, gridlock isn’t universally bad. As George Will has said repeatedly, gridlock isn’t an American problem; gridlock is an American achievement” to which he then lists the mechanisms of government (veto, veto override, supermajorities, and judicial review) that are meant to slow the pace of government.
Yet, I think we can all agree that Harry Reid not being Senate Majority Leader is quite refreshing.
Shorter Clinton Campaign: "All of this smoke is not caused by a fire." https://t.co/E6gUyAuuuj pic.twitter.com/U4Zv5fWO7Q — Logan Dobson (@LoganDobson) April 23, 2015
"Oh, did we say 'zero'? We meant 'tens of millions.' Thanks for checking our math, Reuters!" http://t.co/VtD4qtQ0fk — Guy Benson (@guypbenson) April 23, 2015
As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well. And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock. At the time, both Rosatom and the United States government made promises intended to ease concerns about ceding control of the company’s assets to the Russians. Those promises have been repeatedly broken, records show.
Clinton campaign says NYT reporter "attacked" the Clintons for mentioning Clinton Foundation officials lied to her. pic.twitter.com/DlFL560stL — Elliott Schwartz (@elliosch) April 23, 2015
A plugged-in Democrat just told me he's getting the same sinking feeling he had when John Kerry was the nominee http://t.co/eC8blYdbl9 — Taegan Goddard (@politicalwire) April 23, 2015
On this week's Townhall Weekend Journal:
Hugh Hewitt and Ted Cruz on Obama's non-deal with Iran. Michael Medved on Obama squaring Iran's "death to America" mantra. Bill Bennett and and Bing West on Obama's inability to deal with aggressive Iranian war ships. Hewitt and John Kasich on Kasich's possible run in '16. Medved with Jeb Bush on why he would make a good president. Hewitt and Rick Perry's on Perry's credentials if he decides to run in '16. Prager on the non-terrorist Muslims throwing numerous Christians overboard and murdering them because they prayed to God.
His imperial majesty, Kim Jong-un, has more nuclear weapons than originally assessed by U.S. officials, and they could double their nuclear arsenal by next year. Currently, the country has at least 16, maybe even 20, nuclear warheads. By 2020, this communist dictatorship could have as many as 100 nuclear warheads (via USA Today):
The Chinese experts believe North Korea has a greater domestic capacity to enrich uranium than previously thought, Siegfried Hecker, a Stanford University nuclear expert and former head of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, told the Journal.
The Chinese estimates were shared in a closed-door meeting with U.S. nuclear specialists in Beijing this February, said the report. The growing stockpile will complicate international efforts to halt Pyongyang's nuclear program, said Hecker, who attended the February meeting.
U.S. Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the revelations cast a shadow on the pending nuclear deal the United States and other world powers are negotiating with Iran to curtail that country's nuclear program.
Zhu Feng, a leading Chinese security expert at Peking University, could not confirm the numbers given by the Journal, but agreed North Korea is expanding its nuclear arsenal. "There are a lot of signs indicating North Korea is working very hard on their bomb-making and it is quite likely their warheads and bombs are increasing," Zhu said.
North Korea currently has up to 16 nuclear weapons and could build as many as 100 by 2020, according to a February report by the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies. The country can put these on at least medium-range missiles capable of hitting most targets in Japan and South Korea, and it is developing longer-range missiles to reach the USA, the report said.
Earlier this week, the United States has re-negotiated a deal with South Korea, who will not be able to reprocess spent nuclear fuel or enrich uranium (via Jennifer Rubin):
The U.S. and South Korea on Wednesday signed a new nuclear-energy cooperation pact that approves Seoul’s nuclear research but doesn’t allow the Asian nation to produce its own fuel.
During nearly five years of negotiations, South Korea has been pushing for U.S. approval to make its own fuel for its fleet of 23 nuclear reactors. Washington has been resistant, concerned about nuclear proliferation in Northeast Asia.
In a compromise, the deal allows Seoul to research a nascent nuclear-reprocessing technology known as “pyroprocessing” that may eventually provide fuel for reactors. The technique is considered by some scientists hard to use to make nuclear weapons.
The Wall Street Journal noted that nuclear technology has been a contentious issue between Seoul and Washington, as the latter is concerned about nuclear proliferation, while the former notes that its neighbor–Japan–is allowed to reprocess spent nuclear fuel from their reactors, but they can’t.
Concerning Japan, there was probably little hesitation over allowing the island nation reprocessing spent nuclear fuel. It’s the only industrialized nation to reject nuclear weapons. It’s also the only country to have suffered multiple nuclear strikes–and the scars remain deep. Yet, it was partially responsible for the creation of one of the most memorable movie monsters of all time. Its armed forces are confined to a self-defense capability only–and the notion of nuclear armament is such a toxic issue that it forced its Vice Minister for Defense to resign in 1999, for suggesting that they do so.
Yet, as the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin noted, South Korea is an ally, a trade partner, and a rational actor in the diplomatic realm. We have nearly 30,000 troops stationed along the 38th parallel to aid in their defense from invasion, yet we can’t trust them on the enrichment of uranium, but with Iran; it’s okay. Something is off here.
Jake Tapper, who has a reputation for objectivity and asking tough questions, will permanently replace Candy Crowley as anchor of CNN’s flagship weekend television program "State of the Union." The network released a promotional video accompanying the news – and the journalist himself released a statement.
"I couldn't be more excited about this election season and the new platform I will have at CNN to cover it," he said, according to CNN. "'State Of The Union' has a rich tradition and I hope to not only build on its history but expand the definition of what a Sunday show can be."
Tapper, for his part, will also keep his current job as the host of CNN’s "The Lead", which airs weekdays at 4:00 PM EST.
“With his new position, Tapper will become the second man to work weekdays and Sunday mornings,” CNN reports. “ABC's George Stephanopoulos is both a co-host of "Good Morning America" and the moderator of "This Week."
And yet Stephanopoulos is also one of the few Sunday talk show hosts to actually be sticking around. Chuck Todd, after all, recently replaced David Gregory as the anchor of NBC’s "Meet the Press," and John Dickerson will take the reins over at CBS’ "Face the Nation" after Bob Schieffer retires this summer.
Change, as they say, is in the air.
“The greatest power in the world is to tell the creation story,” said writer and producer Rick Delano. Yet, it is this same story the liberal media is trying to silence. ‘The Principle,’ Delano’s latest film project, challenges the Copernican principle, the notion that humans are just an insignificant speck in the universe. Interviews with cosmologists, in depth studies and surveys will leave viewers wondering whether we are indeed a unique species. Yet, it seems this is exactly what liberal academics and the mainstream media don’t want.
“There’s no question at all that this film clearly threatens some very powerful people,” Delano told Townhall. “When I made this film, one of the things that became really apparent to me was, when you really look at the history of modern civilization, it really begins with Copernicus. The idea that we’re not the center. It’s such a powerful change in the way we view ourselves. Of course it had tremendous implications in terms of the relative power of the church versus the academy. It is this change that really brings the modern world into existence…If we construct a worldview based on the fact that we are the center of creation, and that the entire reason and existence of this universe is us, you’re going to have a certain kind of civilization that flows from that assumption.”
Some specific ways the media targeted the film was by contacting the cast and other people involved in the production and convincing them they had been tricked.
“First of all, the actual media assault was the result of an attempt to call these guys up out of the clear blue and say, ‘Hey, do you know you just got duped into making a movie with a bunch of crazed geocentrists who made you sound like you believe in geocentrism?’ If you put yourself in the position of these guys getting these calls, it would be highly embarrassing for them.”
Despite the media firestorm, a conservative grassroots effort has been building to get the film to as many theaters as possible.
“That was nothing other than our determination not to allow the film to be buried,” Delano explained. “It’s been an incredible experience. We were able to secure a passionate base of supporters who were willing to go out there and find an audience for us.”
They chose areas where they had the most support and launched a limited release. So far, the film has arrived in ten cities and has been met with a positive reception.
“The overwhelming response we’ve received from people who have actually seen the film is tremendous,” he said. “We have been absolutely vitiated in the mainstream media and it’s clear that’s never going to change. It’s sort of like a culture war. But, so many of the people who have reviewed the film have written amazing reviews of the film. Our entire audience is people who have heard about the film through word of mouth or who have come in contact with it through our Facebook page or website and have gone to see it and told their friends, ‘You’ve got to see this.’”
Facing a ruthless media goliath and a lack of resources isn’t stopping ‘The Principle’ team from trying to expand its audience.
“We don’t have the money, we don’t have the connections, we don’t have the media support to expect this thing to go to wide theatrical release, but let’s go as far as we can.”
‘The Principle’ DVD is set to come out midsummer. You can find more information on the film here.
PERINO: One of the reasons I wrote this book is that historians and political analysts will be writing and talking about and studying the Bush administration for many years to come, but they'll only be looking at public policy decisions and the political decisions. My book provides a personal look because the president became much more than my boss; he was like a second father to me. And what I write about is this one scenario where President Bush gave me back my relationship with my dad, and it meant so much to me. My dad had not come to visit [me] in Washington DC. My parents had divorced. It wasn't that we were estranged, so much as that I hadn't seen him. People are busy, and it was hard, and you sort of grow apart because I was so busy those years. We were coming to the end of the administration, and there was one big dinner left for [Italian] Prime Minister Berlusconi, and I come from an Italian-American family, so I got invited to the dinner. My husband loves anything American, any event, he will go -- he loves it. But I told him that I wanted to invite my dad. If he declined, I would understand; but to my surprise, he said yes. So my husband, Peter, arranged for him to get a flight, and then he rented my dad a tux, which was the first time my dad had ever worn a tux..."
DP: The president knew about my relationship with my dad...he knew about how I'd felt sort of abandoned after my parents divorced, even though I was 28. So one day after the invitations had gone out, I'm on Marine One waiting for the president to board so we could go to Andrews Air Force Base. He gets on the chopper and he's looking out the window, and he says, 'so, I see you invited your dad to the White House.' And I said, 'yes sir, I did.' He's still looking out the window, waving at everyone down below, and he said, 'that's a big deal.' [I responded] 'Yes sir, it is.' Just then, we were passing by the Washington monument, and I'll never forget it because he looked right up into my eyes, and he said, 'I am so proud of you.' And that meant so much to me because he knew how big of a deal this was.
So my dad comes to the White House. It's Italian-American fest, okay? You've got Giuliani, and Alito, and Scalia, and Peter Pace, and I could go on. They all know me, and they're giving me hugs, and they're so excited to see me, and I think it was kind of overwhelming for my dad. He wasn't saying much. He was just observing and smiling -- trying to play it cool. We get into the line to be announced by the military aides to see the president for a photograph, and before they could say our names, the president stops them and says, 'I know who this is! Leo Perino, we have been waiting for you for years. We are so excited that you're here. Have you met Condi Rice? Do you want to meet her?' He takes my dad off my hands, and I never saw him again 'til the end of the night. The president took him to meet the Cheneys, (he sat next to them for the dinner), and [Bush] took him around to see some of the paintings and historical artifacts.
As we were leaving, my dad and I were walking on [West Executive Drive] to get to my Jeep. And I said, 'it sure is something, isn't it?' My dad said, 'yeah, it's really cool.'
DP: It was great, and it meant so much to me because that restarted my relationship with my dad.