Archive for the ‘President Bush’ Category

Parachuting With President Bush

Monday, April 21st, 2008

You may have seen the article the Washington Post business section did on me that appeared in today’s Business Section: “Brokering Power In Business and Politics: Buyout Firm Founder Fred Malek’s Career Spans Nixon to McCain.”

I was amused to see that the piece picked up on one of the coolest experiences I’ve had in my life: Parachuting with former President Bush.  Here’s what the reporter wrote:

Malek, by his admission, is not entirely warm and fuzzy, but he is likable and has a knack for winning people’s trust. He could relax a mouse who was about to be eaten by a cat. In this case, he created a clubby, insider atmosphere, showing off photos from a lifetime of moving in and out of power. There’s Malek with his former executive assistant, Gen. Colin Powell. There’s Malek with his ex-boss, President Richard Nixon. There’s Malek with former president Bush, after parachuting out a plane to celebrate Bush’s 80th birthday. “Did Bush jump, too?” Rued asked. “Hell yeah,” Malek said.

Here are some more details from that jump.

It was June 2004.  President George H.W. Bush celebrated his 80th birthday by parachuting twice onto the grounds of his presidential library.  He made both leaps in tandem with experienced jumpers from the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute team from Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  My jump was made a few days earlier along with his son Neil and several of his grandchildren.   The President gave us encouragement and congratulated us on completion. While I’d jumped before when in the Army, I found leaping from a small plane at 13,000 feet terrifying.

First lady Barbara Bush watched the jumps, as well as former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.

Of course, as a Navy pilot during World War II, Bush bailed out of his plane when his torpedo bomber was hit by anti-aircraft fire south of Japan.  That was probably his most famous parachute jump of all.  Still, for an 80-year-old, the former President did quite nicely on his 80th.  A moment I’ll always remember and treasure.

 

Fred Malek President Bush from Washington Post

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Upbeat GOP Prospects for Battleground Virginia

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

Fred Barnes has an interesting piece in the new issue of Weekly Standard. The headline is “Off-Year Blues… But next year, Republicans might be singing a happier tune.” Here’s one nugget from the piece that caught my attention:

“The last Democrat to win Virginia was Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Bush won the state in 2004 by 8 points. ‘The right Democratic candidate can win Virginia,’ Governor Tim Kaine said last week. ‘The wrong Democrat can’t.’ Kaine, a Democrat, has endorsed Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination.”

Is Gov. Kaine correct? If Democrats nominate Hillary Clinton, are they doomed to lose Virginia?

It’s an important question to consider following our party’s statehouse losses earlier this month. Democrats think what happened in the state elections are a sign of things to come. But in reality, it’s misplaced optimism by the other side to link the 2007 state elections to the 2008 presidential campaign.

This month’s state level elections were more of a house cleaning. Yes, we as a party need to cure what ills us in if we are to regain touch with Virginia voters. We need to reinvigorate the Republican brand in the Commonwealth. .

But I don’t see this being reflected in the presidential-level vote in Virginia. This was not an election based on national issues. And Hillary Clinton will not help Democrats here. Gov. Kaine is right – at least on this political matter.

I’ve been intrigued by some of the observations about the state of the Republican Party that appeared in the Virginia blogosphere after the state elections. Here are some postings that caught my eye:

Bearing Drift: “We’re in one of those change modes. It’s not an embracing of Democrat principles, because history also shows that once the voters get a taste of that, they prompt a Republican resurgence. People just want a shift, and today as long as it’s different, it’s alright.”

Bacon’s Rebellion: “The Rs have to convince voters that they’re both serious about fighting tax hikes and capable of addressing Virginia’s very real challenges. If what we hear from the Rs in 2008 is more politics of symbolism — flag burning amendments, prayer in schools, etc. — they will fail miserably. If they can advance an agenda that solves real problems and keeps spending/taxes in check, they can re-emerge as winners.”

As the finance chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, I’m keenly interested in what the blogosphere has to say about the direction of our party. I also remain both an optimist and a realist. That’s why I agree with the following blogger who smartly observed:

X Curmudgeon: “If you go to the Wikipedia entry for “United States Presidential Election–2008” you’ll already see Virginia listed as one of about 15 battleground states. With 13 electoral votes up for grabs, Virginia is worth the fight.”

Yes, Virginia is worth the fight. And we will win it.

Hillary Clinton’s Big Mistakes On Cancer

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

Hillary Clinton made two big mistakes in Tuesday night’s debate that were overshadowed by other issues and thus underreported. Her response to Brian Williams asking whether any candidate who becomes President would pledge to be the President who knocks cancer down from the status as number one killer of Americans under the age of 85. Senator Clinton’s answer was:

“I’m going to do everything I can to do that. I went to Lance Armstrong’s cancer symposium in Iowa and it was a very moving experience — not only people like us speaking but a lot of cancer survivors, a lot of researchers. It’s just outrageous that under President Bush, the National Institutes of Health has been basically decreased in funding. We are on the brink of so many medical breakthroughs, and I will once again fund that research, get those applications processed, get those young researchers in those labs to know that we’re going to tackle cancer and try to do everything we can to drive its death rate down.”

The first mistake was factual in her accusations that under President Bush, the NIH has been decreased in funding. The facts are that since 2001, cancer research funding has increased by 26 percent at the NIH. Further, partly as a result of this, 2006 was the second consecutive year there was a drop in cancer deaths in the United States.

Senator Clinton’s bigger mistake was to introduce politics into cancer prevention and research. If ever there was a bi-partisan cause, searching for new and improved approaches to preventing and curing cancer would be at the top of the list. And political leaders of both parties (e.g. Senators Specter and Feinstein) have joined hands in support of these efforts.

I speak with some personal experience, as my wife Marlene and I have supported and funded a range of cancer research, prevention, and treatment causes. Marlene serves on the Board of the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Board of Visitors of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and the Cancer Board of the Mayo Clinic. She is also President of Friends of Cancer Research, an organization co-founded by Marlene and Chairwoman, Ellen Sigal (a dedicated Democrat). For their work on Friends of Cancer Research, Marlene and Ellen were named Washingtonians of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine, two years ago.

Marlene and Ellen’s success and my commitment have been bolstered by their bi-partisan approach in the belief that cancer is a dread without political boundaries. Politicizing this issue can only be detrimental to the ultimate goal of eradicating this disease.

As an aside, I had lunch yesterday with former White House Press Secretary and cancer survivor, Tony Snow. Thanks to successful treatment, Tony is more vibrant and energetic than ever. We will be privileged to be in attendance Saturday night when he receives the 2007 Lombardi Symbol of Caring Award as a testimony to the extraordinary strides he has made in encouraging cancer research, prevention, and treatment through awareness and philanthropy.