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October 2, 2009


First Draft of History of #FDOH as we say in Twitterspeak is now over. We had a great time and hope you will, too, watching the videos you may have missed. Thanks.


Green commenting on the late Richard Hofstadter and "The Paranoid Style in American Politics."

Accompanying Eric Schmidt, Google's Bob Boorstin.


One more note from Schmidt-Fallows When Schmidt spoke about government intelligence. He says he doesn't have asecurity clearance and is not fully he can't really respond,
since in an info-rich world those who don¹t know shouldn¹t pretend to. Says the audience membert: "You¹re violating the first principle of Washington with that remark."


One more note from Schmidt-Fallows When Schmidt spoke about government intelligence. He says he doesn't have asecurity clearance and is not fully he can't really respond,
since in an info-rich world those who don¹t know shouldn¹t pretend to. Says the audience membert: "You¹re violating the first principle of Washington with that remark."


Historian Adam Green on the Obama Era ends the First Draft of History meeting. "Far from having soothed the rancor of the country" may have led to its "intensification."


Schmitt asked about govt intelligence failures. He notes that groups make better decisions than individuals. "How do you get more voices?"  


On the press, Schmidt sees more hope for targeted ads than, say, the non profit model. 


Fallows asking about people living in their own fact universes. "A focused minority can pollute the majority," Schmidt notes.


Fallows asking about people living in their own fact universes. 


Fallows-Schmidt conversation has begun! First question on the consequences of connectedness.


Brown President Simmons "If I could produce one person like [Cory Booker] that would be enough."


Despite technology, Princeton President Shirley Tilghman notes she's "never seen anything as powerful as a great scholar sitting around a table with 12 or 14 students."


Presidents of Harvard, Princeton, NYU, and Brown are on now with my old colleague Newsweek's Howard Fineman. They're talking about their painful troubles with their endowments.

Lunch on the roof with Brian Schweitzer, the governor of Montana, was great. Slate Group's Jacob Weisberg got interesting answers about energy, gun control and President Obama. Clad in bolo tie and jeans, the governor was against gun control and all for the public option in health care.


Summers begs off question of second stimulus but speaks out for more investment. 


Larry Summers up now being interviewed by Maria Bartiromo. He says today's bad new unemployment numbers aren't a surprise. "We're in a very different place than we were nine months ago....Discussions of Depression that were pervasive nine months ago aren't where the economy is."

Wal-Mart's Leslie Dach is here. So is America Online's Marty Moe.


Cory Booker talking about his feud with Conan O'Brien and his love of Twitter. Follow him at Http:// By the way, does any politician in America get better press than Booker?


Green Room report: Slate Group Editor-in-Chief Jacob Weisberg readying for his interview with Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer. Newark Mayor Cory Booker in makeup. Norah O'Donnell is here to fill in for George Stephanopoulos to interview Hizzoner. Her husband, Geoff Tracy, a Washington D.C. restaurateur, killed at a comedy charity event the other night. 


Atlantic Media Political Director Ron Brownstein is talking to Carol Browner, Director of White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy. She still thinks we can get climate change passed this year. 


What happened at the end of The Sopranos? Goldberg asks the question!!! I want you to know what happened but i can't tell you because there will be a sequel." Bewkes jokes, but strongly implies that Tony was shot. 


More Bewkes: "The device you use for reading is probably going to be different than the one you use for watching. In the long run they'll be the same."

Still hoping Goldberg will ask what happened at the end of The Sopranos.


Time-Warner CEO Bewkes: "It's not the deals....The sexy story is the journalism and the movies and the television programs."


Up now: Jeff Bewkes, CEO of Time-Warner who says "Time, Inc. is not for sale."

One more reason to love the Newseum. Amusing tiles in the Men's Room with awkward, unintended headlines like "Red Tape Holds Up Bridge" and "San Jose Police Oversight Group Likes New Model"


Greenspan is up now, pushing for higher capital ratios. Everyone buzzing about Schmidt's Palin comments and the rest of his panel. More coming on that soon from Marc Ambinder. Others here: Former Senator Gary Hart who asked Schmidt and Shrum about national security. (See James Fallows's still timely "National Defense.") In the former senator category, John Sununu is here for a second day. Sam Donaldson asked a question, too. 


Over in the Green Room: Alan Greenspan in shirtsleeves watching the Shrum-Schmidt panel with Mary Louise Oates. The Atlantic's James Bennet, James Fallows and Jeffrey Goldberg laughing it up. In comes Time-Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes (my old boss) and TIme Warner Executive Vice President for Corporate Communications Ed Adler. My question for Bewkes, the former head of HBO: Can we get those final episodes of "Deadwood"?


Atlantic Media Chairman and owner David Bradley gave opening remarks. Now John King of CNN is interviewing former Democratic strategist Bob Shrum and John McCain Campaign Manager Steve Schmidt. Shrum on the late Ted Kennedy's book: "He'd been trying to write the book for years even before he got sick." 

Schmitt on Sarah Palin: "Most politicians of prominence write a book. My honest view is that she would not be a winning candidate for president and if she was the results would be...catastrophic.ab It's fairly inconceivable she could be elected." Subtle!


Just stopped by the green room where former political consultant Bob Shrum, now at NYU, was there along with his wife, writer Mary Louise Oates, The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder, John McCain Campaign Manager Steve Schmidt, John Sexton of NYU and Fred Hochberg of the Export Import Bank and Margaret Carlson, my former Time colleague, now of Bloomberg and The Week who has been helping out at the First Draft of History. Bagels, fruit, coffee, Pellegrino--in case you were wondering. 


Good morning. It's a beautiful day in Washington, crisp. Day Two of the First Draft of History gets underway in a while with remarks from David Bradley the Chairman and owner of Atlantic Media Company. Later today we'll hear from National Economic Council Chairman Larry Summers and Google CEO Eric Schmitt and many others. 

October 1, 2009


Fun reception in the Great Hall of the Newseum. Among those there: Former US Trade Ambassador Susan Schwab, Former Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater, the Glover Park Group's Michael Feldman, the Washington Post's Ruth Marcus, former U.S. Senator Tim Wirth. American Idol contestant Eliot Yamin is serenading the crew. Coming up next: ABCNews's CHarlie Gibson interviews David Axelrod, the White House counselor.


Amy Klobuchar on Al Franken: "I think that Al has adjusted to the Senate. He has put his head down and worked hard. Minnesotans knew this. The media thought he'd be a laugh riot."


Why is the health care debate so bitter? "Maybe people are scared," says Sen. Amy Klobuchar being interviewed by CBS News's Bob Schieffer.


 Courtesy of JenCMyers///Sen. Klobuchar said, as entered green room, "No, I am not the CEO of Citigroup." Klobuchar is speaking in place of Citigroup's Pandit.


"The object of policy should never be to save people from their mistakes," Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told Fox News Channel's Chris Wallace. He also said: "There are tentative signs of growth," adding "we're nowhere close to declaring victory." 


Patty Stonecipher, Smithsonian Chair and former co-chair and CEO of the Gates Foundation, asks about the income gap. She's married to Mike Kinsley. 


Cosgrove on Swine Flu: If You're Sick, Stay Home!


Peterson denounces the loss of a culture of shared sacrifice. My piece on Peterson for the late Conde Nast Portfolio:


 Cosgrove of the Cleveland Clinic warns of a "Tsunami of Obesity." Kinsley laughs and is horrified by the image. Cosgrove suggests whales instead.


No shock that Pete Peterson, founder of the Blackstone Group and former Secretary of Commerce,  is terribly worried about the deficit and long-term fiscal outlook of country. Delos "Toby" Cosgrove Head of the Cleveland Clinic is on the panel moderated by newest Atlantic colleague Michael Kinsley. Kinsley underwent brain surgery at the clinic for treatment of Parkinson's Disease. He credits it with saving his life. 


Lotta folks here, including Fred Wertheimer, the campaign finance activist, who is very worried about the Supreme Court taking up a case that could overturn a century-old ban on corporate contributions to campaigns. CBS Washington Bureau Chief Chris Isham is here as is Defense Department spokesman Geoff Morrell.

Eric Cantor vows not to go on Dancing With The Stars: "I can assure you my days at cotillion were not my finest." In less important news, he acknowledges engagement with Iran is now our policy but disagrees with it.


Ran into Mike Gerson, former top George W. Bush speechwriter. He's got no comment on the Matt Latimer book, Speech-Less, and doesn't plan to. But clearly doesn't seem happy with it.


From @SachaZ''s Twitter feed of the Petraeus meeting: What do you call democracy in Iraq? Patraeus: "Iraqracy." He's here all week. 


Told he had a message problem in Iraq, Petraeus said they had a results problem. "I won't put lipstick on a pig. I still won't."


Petraeus on differences: "I'm trying to resist the notion that what worked in Iraq will work in Afghanistan."


Brian Williams mentioned the hulks of Russian tanks outside Kabul, Petraeus takes from that: "Don't try to do what the Russians did."


Petraeus on Bin Laden: "Iconic...a number of years without a hard location" 


"The reason we went there the reason were still there is to make sure it does not become a sanctuary for Al Qaeda and other transnational terrorists."

"Victory is ultimately going to be similar to what we had in Iraq where we can hand off" a stable situation.

"Understanding who the reconcilables are and who the unreconcilables are."


AOL CEO Tim Armstrong tells how he stopped General David Petraeus on a DC
street to say hello and thank him for his service. Petraeus asked what
Armstrong does...then proceeds to show him a 15-minute PowerPoint on
leadership and big ideas. More on the blog from the Atlantic¹s Tim Lavin


James Bennet is interviewing AOL CEO and President Tim Armstrong. Having lived through the AOL-Time-Warner merger debacle, I'll be interested to hear what he's got planned. 


Everyone's been at lunch. Had the good fortune to sit with my Atlantic colleague, Katharine Rust, former Playboy Chairman Christie Hefner, her husband Bill Marovitz, the New America Foundation's Steve Clemons and entrepreneur and Washington Kastles owner Mark Ein who recalled taking Serena Williams to the White House. They brought tennis rackets for the Obamas but couldn't get them through security. She plays for Mark's team. Former DNC Finance Chair Beth Dozoretz was also there.

Among other folks: Newsweek's Jon Alter, NBC Washington Bureau Chief Mark Whitaker, Smithsonian Chairman Patty Stonecipher, Thomson Reuters Blogger extraordinaire Felix Salmon, Lazard Freres's Vernon Jordan, the Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart. On the menu from the Wolfgang Puck restaurant The Source: salmon, Caesar salad, mashed potatoes, fall vegetables. Many thanks to Shelby Coffey and everyone at the Newseum for their hospitality.



As @SClemons notes:  Lindsey Graham just said Obama was born in Hawaii, is not a Muslim and is good man and those birthers who argue otherwise are "crazy"

Graham also notes that it's not in our national interest to allow Taliban to take over and that Afghanistan is the central front on the war on terror. Graham fears a reemergent Taliban, a defeated NATO in Afghanistan, and a nuclear-armed Iran.

"I would destroy their ability to make conventional war," says Graham who favors a military strike on Iran as the last option to keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. He emphasized this was a last option.


Sen. Lindsay Graham: "We're back in the game because they're screwing up" The context: Republicans are recovering not because of anything they're doing well but because the Democrats are playing to stereotype of big spenders.


Out in the hallway here at the Newseum, I spoke with Andy Stern, the head of the Service Employees International Union. He predicts health care passage and with a public option if the president wants it. Sure, he noted, some Democrats would vote against such a bill but they wouldn't vote to cut off debate. He predicts we could see it by Thanksgiving. He also sees hope for the much-debated Employee Free Choice Act.

Other folks here: Former Sen. John Sununu and former Rep. Vin Weber, chatting it up with former White House speechwriter and columnist, Michael Gerson. PR Maven Gloria Titus. Eden Rafshoon and Wilmer Hale Partner Jamie Gorelick are here. Writer and Historian David Greenberg. Former NIH Head Bernadine Healy was in deep discussion on health care with Michael Kinsley. Cathy Merrill Williams is here and Democratic strategist Karen Finney.

A lighter moment: Carlyle Group President David Rubenstein to Andy Stern: "I just said nice things about labor." Stern's riposte: "I just said nice things about private equity!"

Right now Klein and Sen. Michael Bennet are talking education reform with NPR's Michelle Norris. Bennet did pose for a picture with his brother, Atlantic Editor James Bennet. Is it fair that Michael's older and still has his hair?


New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein has announced a stunning development: He had 5 million points on BrickBreaker, the videogame on his BlackBerry, putting him among the top five in the world! 


Former Michigan Governor and National Association of Manufacturers head John Engler is here. So is Motion Picture Association of America's Dan Glickman. The former Agriculture Secretary and Kansas Congressman is fresh off his performance at last nights Washington's Funniest Celebrity contest. Former White House Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers is here with her husband, Vanity Fair's Todd Purdum who now sports a beard. Washington Wire blogger and foreign policy expert Steve Clemons is here, too. 


Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told PBS's Jim Lehrer that immigration shouldn't be a back burner issue. More to come on the blogs...


Former presidential candidate ends with big push for nuclear power and notes that Obama has "overlearned" the Clinton health care lesson and needs to put forward more specific proposals. Supergenial And now followed by another Arizonan Janet Napolitano, the Secretary of Homeland Security. Jim Lehrer of PBS is interviewing. 


A twinkly and jovial John McCain was interviewed by NBC's David Gregory in the first session. My colleagues will have a more thorough blog report of the McCain session later. For now, some highlights: The Senator  predicts health care passage but without Republicans in the room for conference. He touts Steve Coll's Ghost Wars as must reading on Afghanistan and says the consequences of losing in Afghanistan would be dire. Says he would have supported a modest $408 billion stimulus. On Palin's book he says he's looking forward is the part where she "energized" the campaign and looking forward to the least, "the disagreements in the campaign."

"Her selection energized our party," McCain added.  


Lots of folks arriving for the first session where NBC's David Gregory will be interviewing John McCain. Former Clinton Communications Director and Burson-Marsteller Worldwide Vice Chairman Don Baer is here. (He's downloaded Taylor Branch's The Clinton Tapes to his Kindle.) I spoke with Rep. Bart Gordon. The Tennessee Democrat sees a good chance of a health care bill this year and as chair of the Science and Technology Committee in his house has been working closely with his peers in the British Parliament. Former Playboy publisher Christie Hefner is here as is philanthropist George Vradenberg. Bloomberg and The Week's Margaret Carlson's is here as is the newest member of The Atlantic family, Michael Kinsley. Others here: Former Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater, writer and deficit hawk Matthew Miller. We'll have more as the day goes on. 


Well, we're getting started here at the First Draft of History session at the Newseum in Washington. Walter Isaacson, head of the Aspen Institute, is already here and there's lots of buzzing about in anticipation of the first session. You can follow the sessions here on The Atlantic's website and also on Twitter. The hashtag, for those of you who follow these things is, #fdoh. I'll be blogging throughout the day along with Katharine Rust. Hope you enjoy.