Bongino began his career with the New York police department, where he specialized in apprehending serial criminals and spent many hours in undercover operations. Four years later, he joined the U.S. Secret Service. After investigating federal crimes in the New York field office and receiving numerous commendations, he joined the Presidential Protection Division in 2006.
After serving under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Bongino retired in 2011 to run for Senate (see question 12 for who inspired him). In addition to his distinguished career of service, Bongino is also an entrepreneur. He and his wife have several successful businesses, including providing web solutions, footwear for mixed martial arts, and assessing risk for high profile clients.
Bongino started his MMA footwear company out of necessity. He told Muscle & Fitness magazine, “One day, I injured one of my toes grappling and I thought to myself ‘Why not just invent a toe sock for grappling and put a sole on it?’ So that is what we did.”
Each week the De Pasquale's Dozen asks political figures and free market-minded writers and entertainers to take a break from politics and talk about their pop culture obsessions.
1. If there were a television channel that showed only one movie over and over, what movie should it be?
Stand & Deliver. This is an incredible movie about the power of one man to change what is seen as unchangeable. Both entertaining and touching, the film gets better every time. 2. What’s one of your favorite movie quotes?
"Do or do not. There is no try". Yoda from The Empire Strikes Back.
3. In A Clockwork Orange, Malcolm McDowell is strapped in with his eyes propped open and forced to watch images until he was "cured." If you could give President Obama, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Leader Harry Reid the "Clockwork Orange treatment," what movie would you make them watch?
Flash of Genius, due to the fact that they seem to have very little appreciation for the role of American entrepreneurialism. After watching this film maybe they will begrudgingly respect the back-breaking hard work it takes to bring a successful product to market.
4. What pop culture souvenir do you own that people would be surprised to learn that you cherish?
An old pair of Doc Martens boots I refuse to get rid of. It is the only piece of my childhood I have left after a devastating house fire destroyed most of what I owned.
5. What's your current “guilty pleasure” non-news television show?
My daughter and I like to watch "Cupcake Wars". She is devoted to the program and has managed to suck me in as well. She has about 15 episodes stored on our DVR.
6. What’s the best present you ever received as a child?
A ceramic, Easton baseball bat. I practiced using that bat and a batting tee in my backyard nearly every day for years. I used to drape a sheet over a clothesline in my back yard and use clothespins to hold it in place. I would hit off of that tee for hours. A solid hit would knock the sheet off of the line and put a smile on my face.
7. What was the first rock concert you ever attended and where did you sit and who went with you?
I saw the Rolling Stones with my older cousin Steven during their Steel Wheels tour. I remember the stadium shaking and thinking it was going to collapse.
8. What advice do you remember your mother or father giving you? Did you take it?
My father tells me all of the time, "get to work earl and stay late". I did take his advice and prided myself on being the first one in and the last one to leave. There is a purifying effect to hard work.
9. If Republicans and Democrats had theme songs for 2012 what would they be?
The Democrats’ theme song should be "Don't Know What You've Got ‘Til It’s Gone" by Cinderella. In their zeal to relinquish free market capitalism in favor of government-run, top-down economics, they are forgetting that political freedom and economic freedom are one-in-the-same. As government spends more of what you earn, more of your time is spent working to finance the bureaucracy. This is not freedom, this is a march towards servitude.
The Republicans’ theme song should be "Change Your Mind" by Sister Hazel. We must send a message to Democrats that it is OK to place your trust in us, it is OK to change your mind. We have made mistakes in the past but we are committed to real change, not talk, and you can bank on that. A great line from the song I would send to the President and the Senate is, we have "had enough of all your trying, just give up the state of mind you’re in.”
10. Tell me about your favorite teacher and how he or she influenced your life.
My fourth grade teacher Ms. Sciortino was an incredible influence on my life. We were very poor growing up and living with pride must be generated internally as the external world provides little in the way of material reward when money is hard to come by. Ms. Sciortino taught me how to walk with dignity and a sense of purpose and that a better tomorrow was possible in a country whose prosperity was built on the power of ideas. Ideas can't be controlled and when unleashed they can release you from whatever condition you find yourself in.
11. What would you like tomorrow's news headline to say?
President Obama Does U-Turn & Claims "You Did Build That"
12. Tell me about the moment you decided to enter the political arena.
When I finished reading Thomas Sowell's The Vision of the Anointed. As a Secret Service Agent you spend a lot of time on planes traveling the world. I would spend that time reading the work of Sowell. The book is a powerful piece of work that will not leave you unchanged. The power and deeper meaning of Edmund Burke's statement, "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing" will become clear after reading this wonderful book.