On February 6, 2014,
by Focus Washington
Cokie Roberts says that in the Washington in which she grew up there was a friendliness and camaraderie among the congressional political families because they lived in Washington and got to know each other.
The ABC and NPR news analyst, writer and author, Roberts said in a Focus Washington interview with Chuck Conconi that contemporary congressional families don’t move to Washington, “and as a result they don’t get to know each other.” She conceded that it is complicated when both work and the reality makes it very expensive to maintain two households. This situation then leads to the partisan rigidity so much a part of the current legislative debates.
She cited as an example the last interview she had with former President Gerald Ford who was the House Minority Leader when her father, Hale Boggs, was House Majority Leader. “They were good friends,” she added. The former president told her of a time when he and her father were riding together in a cab to a debate at the National Press Club and asked, ‘What are we going to argue about?’
“They had legitimate differences,” she said and that after it was over “they would get back in the cab and still be friends.”
An advocate for the role of women in history, Roberts said that her new book for children, “Founding Mothers” emphasized the overlook, but significant role 18th century colonial women played in American independence. She pointed out that Abigail Adams was constantly writing to her husband, who would one day be president, “For God’s sake, declare independence. What are you men doing?” And, she continued, “she told him that ‘when you write the new laws, remember the ladies.’”
Roberts said that Lord Cornwallis, who was the enemy and who surrendered to George Washington, once said: “We may destroy all the men in America, and we should still have all we can do to defeat the women.”
On February 4, 2014,
by Focus Washington
Former Senator John Breaux said he felt that President Obama’s threat in the State of the Union speech that if Congress was going to be bogged down in partisan wrangling he would use the executive power of the White House to get what he wanted accomplished could have the effect of making everyone in Congress angrier and not be helpful.
The Louisiana centrist Democrat, now working in the powerful Patton Boggs Law firm in Washington, told Chuck Conconi, the host of Focus Washington that President Obama was probably correct in believing that his only recourse was to use Executive Orders because he “can’t expect a lot of bipartisan support.” He said the middle has grown smaller in both the House of Representatives and in the Senate, especially with the loss of conservative Democrats known as Blue Dogs and the growing numbers of strongly conservative Tea Party members.
Breaux, who served three terms in the U.S. Senate from 1987 to 2005, said one of the major problems working against more political compromises is the lack of personal relationships between the members. Members of Congress are not around as much as they once were, he explained. They are usually in town Tuesdays through Thursdays and spend the long weekends campaigning in the home Districts.
“Gerrymandering,” he said, “has created safe districts, so they don’t have to compromise.” He said it is unfortunate that many members now do not move their families to Washington. When he came to the senate, Breaux said there were more families here. “I had Democrats and Republicans in the same neighborhood. We were friends. It makes it very difficult to stab someone in the head if you had dinner with him on the night before.”
On January 10, 2014,
by Focus Washington
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Vice President Joe Biden, both with 2016 presidential ambitions, have had a disastrous week that could negatively impact their White House ambitions. Bob Cusack, managing editor of The Hill newspaper, told Chuck Conconi in a Focus Washington video interview, that Defense Sec. Robert Gates sharp criticism of the vice president in his book, Duty, will probably help former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her presidential ambitions.
The criticism is so devastating for the vice president, Cusack explained, because Gates was attacking him on his foreign policy stands and that “goes to his perceived strength in foreign policy.”
As for Christie, Cusack said, he has been hurt by the seemingly small minded closing of traffic lanes on the George Washington Bridge to allegedly punish the Mayor of Ft. Lee, New Jersey. He added, however, that if Christie’s contention holds that he didn’t know anything about it, then he could survive this and the voters may forget it since it’s a long way to 2016.
Sharing experience is the latest phase in a nearly 400-year-old partnership
Experts from the Netherlands have been busy offering advice to federal, state and local governments on how to manage water in the environment, according to Dutch Ambassador Rudolf Bekink.
In an interview with Chuck Conconi of Qorvis Focus Washington, Ambassador Bekink said that water—living with and managing water in areas in urbanized and agricultural areas—has been a major topic of discussion between Dutch and Americans. Continue reading »
On November 19, 2013,
by Focus Washington
The last of the candy corn is gone, your local coffee shop is starting to play holiday-themed music, and it’s finally starting to turn colder. All of this can only mean one thing… Thanksgiving season is upon us! Whether you’re looking for something to do with the in-laws or just going solo, here’s a list of the best holiday-centric activities in the D.C. area for the next couple of weeks.
Looking for a fun and creative way to feed the hungry on Thanksgiving? This popular 5k fun run and family walk helps SOME (So Others Might Eat) serve more than 800 meals to the hungry every day of the year.
November 28, 2013, 8:30 a.m.
Beginning at Freedom Plaza, between 13th Street NW and 12th Street NW
Kick off Thanksgiving week with a lively celebration in downtown Silver Spring. The family friendly event will include giant balloons, a variety of floats, and the Washington Redskins Marching Band. There will also be clowns, mounted police, costumed characters, fire engines, trained dogs, classic cars, South American dancing groups, and high school marching bands. Can’t wait for Christmas? Santa will be there with his elves and reindeer, as well!
November 23, 2013, 10 a.m.
Begins at Ellsworth Drive and Veterans Place and proceeds South on Georgia Avenue, ending on Silver Spring Avenue in Silver Spring, Maryland
Each holiday season, a costumed guide will take you through George Washington’s historic estate along candlelit lanes. Characters from Washington’s time, including “Martha Washington” and “Nelly Custis,” will tell stories about how the Washingtons celebrated Christmas. After the tour, guests can partake in 18th-century dancing in the greenhouse, sing their favorite carols, and enjoy warm cider and cookies by an outdoor bonfire.
November 29 – December 22, 2013, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
23200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway
In partnership with Paramount Pictures, the Newseum presents “Anchorman: The Exhibit,” including props, costumes, and footage from the 2004 hit comedy, “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.” The exhibit features more than 60 costumes and hilarious props and a re-creation of the KVWN-TV anchor desk and news set. The long-anticipated exhibit is the perfect activity for the seasoned DC veterans who have already visited all of the classic tourist spots.
November 14, 2013 – August 31, 2014
555 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
What better way to entertain the kids and the adults all at once than with a good old fashioned visit to the zoo? If it’s particularly nippy out, sip some hot cocoa while you say hello to the animals. Did we mention that it’s free?
President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas. Honor our 35th president on the 50th anniversary of his death with a visit to his gravesite, the “Eternal Flame” at Arlington National Cemetery. The Newseum is also paying tribute to his death with an exhibit, “Three Shots Were Fired,” and an original documentary, “A Thousand Days,” chronicling his presidency, family life, and death. The exhibit and film will be on display through January 5, 2014.
Arlington National Cemetery
555 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Burn off those extra calories before the big feast while doing some good on Thanksgiving with a 5-mile run/walk through the historic town of Alexandria in Virginia. The 38th annual trot is hosted by the DC Road Runners Club, a local group affiliated with USA Track & Field. Food donations support ALIVE!, a nonprofit organization serving Alexandria’s needy.
November 28, 2013, 9 a.m.
George Washington Middle School, 1005 Mt. Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, Virginia
Interested in the history of the holiday season? Want a little perspective next time you’re watching the parade on Thanksgiving morning? Visit the National Museum of American History to see “Holidays on Display,” which opened on November 13 of this year. The exhibit examines the “art, industry, and history of holiday display across the United States” by showcasing objects from original displays, photographs, postcards, and illustrations, including items from Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Marshall Field & Company Christmas windows.
14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, on the National Mall
Sure, ice skating is always fun, but there’s something extra special about skating outdoors to a backdrop of the National Archives and the National Gallery’s magnificent Sculpture Garden. If you’re not in the mood to strap into some skates, come check out the scene while sitting at the Pavilion Café, located in the Sculpture Garden, where you can grab a bite to eat and a mug of something hot.
Mid-November through mid-March, weather permitting
Constitution Avenue NW, between 3rd Street NW and 9th Street NW
For the first time in almost 100 years, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah will overlap. Celebrate this rare event by attending the National Hanukkah Menorah Lighting Ceremony at the White House. Festivities will include a musical performance by the US Air Force Band, hot latkes, and donuts. The Menorah will be lit each night of Hanukkah.
November 27, 2013, 4 p.m., rain or shine
The Ellipse, at the NW end of the White House, near Constitution Avenue
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic, Miroslav Lajčák recently visited Washington, New York and Boston for meetings with the U.S. administration and the World Bank. He also spoke at the Atlantic Council and the Harvard University School of Law.
During his visit, Lajčák sat down with Focus Washington’s Chuck Conconi to discuss relations between the U.S., Slovakia and the E.U. In this exclusive Focus Washington interview, Lajčák lays out his vision for the transatlantic relationship and Slovakia’s desire to work with the U.S. on strengthening the Eastern Partnership. The Deputy Prime Minister stresses “the importance and uniqueness of the relationship” between Slovakia and the United States. Continue reading »
Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen, superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, talks about the different approaches America’s soldiers and diplomats employ in war zones, and what they have learned about each other in Iraq and Afghanistan
The State Department’s innovation catalyst, Kerry O’Connor, talks about the challenges of running an embassy, improving deeply rooted but inefficient policies, and changing a culture resistant to change