Jim Lehrer-Tension City

Jim Lehrer
PBS NewsHour executive editor Jim Lehrer was in Charlottesville speaking at UVA’s Miller Center about his book, Tension City: Inside the Presidential Debates, from Kennedy-Nixon to Obama-McCain.

Over a twenty year period Lehrer talked to all the Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates with three exceptions about their debate experiences.
Lehrer arranged the interviews well after the moment of decision, the elections, had passed. He said, bottom line “They loved talking about it, they were like a bunch of bus drivers sitting around talking about driving… in fact Bill Clinton, if he had his way, he’d still be talking about it.”

the watch thing

Lehrer said “George H.W. Bush was the most fun to interview because he hates this stuff.” Bush senior evidently not afraid to stray from politically correct answers. Lehrer recounted Bush’s response regarding the watch incident.

The Texas Way

Lehrer fielded 40 minutes of questions from the audience.

q: Of the debates you’ve moderated, which candidate do you think gave the best performance?

Communicating in the world of today
squeaking gravitas

Lehrer mentioned local boy Th. Jefferson. in relation to the first amendment. Later in his remarks, Lehrer wondered whether Jefferson could be elected now. Stronger than wondered…

Thomas Jefferson would have played hell getting elected as president of the United States if he were running now because…

Bush Gore debate
bus dispatch

Gerald L. Baliles, 65th Governor of Virginia, former Chairman of the board of PBS and current director of the Miller Center closed out the question period pointing out that the Miller Center and the NewsHour both started 36 years ago and that both are dedicated to civil discourse.

Despite having eaten dinner with Jim Lehrer in the room for twenty years there are lots of things I didn’t know about him. He has written many books and he is a bus enthusiast.