The Last Presidential Debate

If you watched the final debate of the 2012 presidential election last night you know the topic was foreign policy and the stakes couldn’t have been higher. I took part in HuffPost Live’s After Party to discuss how President Obama and Gov. Romney did. Check out the conversation here and watch the analysis below:

Recalling Another Vice Presidential Campaign

Last week’s debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan got me thinking of another national campaign I covered a dozen years ago that also saw two running mates square off in Danville, Ky. I’m talking about the historic 2000 election that not only ended in the Florida recount but pitted incumbent Vice President Dick Cheney against the first Jewish candidate on a major ticket, Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. The Democrat-turned-Independent is retiring this year but in the fall of 2000, he was a hot political commodity and I was the reporter USA TODAY assigned to travel on his plane during the fall campaign.

With the candidate on his 2000 vice presidential campaign plane

From Bangor, Maine, to Seattle and every swing state in between, I was with Lieberman 24/6 (the Democratic veep press corps was the only one that got off for the Jewish sabbath). I reported on the highs — watching in the studio as he did his schtick on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart¬† and Late Night With Conan O’Brien — and the lows — charges “the moral conscience of the Senate” turned partisan and fickle on the campaign trail. And I was at Gore-Lieberman headquarters in Nashville on Election Night, reporting¬† on the team that covered the fallout that ended more than a month later at the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark decision Bush v. Gore.

A few years later, I traveled to Manchester, N.H. to cover Lieberman’s lackluster campaign for the top job in the 2004 presidential election and, a few weeks later, wrote about his decision to call it quits and stay on Capitol Hill.

Over the years, I’ve weighed in on Lieberman’s ability to infuriate his once-fellow Democrats, his neoconservatism , the political view of his fellow Orthodox Jews and his chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Whatever you think of Joe, after 24 years in the Senate, all I can say is gey gezunterheyt, which is Yiddish for “go in good health.”

PTSDrone

Who doesn’t know that post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a growing problem among troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan? I’ve written about the toll combat stress has taken on women warriors back from the post-9/11 wars and how what was once known as “shell shock” still haunts World War II veterans.

But today I went on HuffPost Live with host Ahmed Shihab-Eldin to talk about a new kind of combat stress: the toll on U.S.-based crews who remotely control drones thousands of miles away from the physical battlefield. They may get to go home to their families at night but the stress on these airmen is just as serious.

Read about the segment here and see what others are saying here.

And be sure to check out my perspective as a reporter who went to Utah to interview the surviving crew of the Enola Gay, the B-29 bomber that dropped the atom bomb on Hiroshima, and more recently to Colorado to talk to the next generation of drone pilots at the Air Force Academy.

Wisconsin Brownout: Politics After The Sikh Temple Shooting

In the days following the shooting at a Wisconsin Sikh temple, neither President Obama nor Mitt Romney visited the families of the victims. As HuffPost Live host Ahmed Shihab-Eldin noted, this kind of political inattention can perpetuate Islamophobia and racism against brown people. Check out the conversation and read deeper here. And watch the segment below:

Dems Are The New Hawks

Dems Are The New Hawks

Since the killing of Osama bin Laden, President Obama and his fellow Democrats have touted their foreign defense strength — a big change given Republicans’ traditional strength in that area.

In this recent segment of HuffPost Live, I speak with host Marc Lamont Hill about the new hawkishness in the Democratic Party and whether that will help them win in November. Given that the third presidential debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney will focus on foreign policy, this couldn’t be more relevant.

Mormon Moment Delayed

Here is another segment I did during the inaugural week of HuffPost Live back in August.

The discussion with hosts Abby Huntsman and Marc Lamont Hill focused on religion, specifically the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. While considerable attention has been devoted to Mitt Romney’s tax returns and his former company, Bain Capital, we talked about why there had been less focus on the faith of the nation’s first Mormon major party nominee for president.

You can read related articles and see what the HuffPost Liev community had to say here. Or just watch the segment below: