Obits are never dead

So much has happened in the 6+ years since I left USA TODAY for the digital world and beyond. But Sunday, with the news that Nancy Reagan had left for the Great Beyond, it was, as a great New York sage once said, deja vu all over again.

That’s because, as any journalist knows, advance obits never get old as long as their subjects stick around. Thus, yesterday saw the publication of another of the first ladies whose legacy it was my job to distill before I moved from what we once called “The Nation’s Newspaper” on to other journalistic pastures.

I think it holds up well. What do you think of “Nancy Reagan, protector of former president’s legacy, dies at 94?”

 

History, With a Dash of Politics — Just Like I Like It

Yes, the name Hillary Clinton is in the lead but you’ll have to read deeper to get the real gist of this, my first story for Smithsonian.com. This was so much fun to research. Check out Why Do Secretaries of State Make Such Terrible Presidential Candidates?

Who You Calling ‘Old Media?’

A few months ago I was interviewed by a public relations outfit called the Beekeeper Group. They wanted to know about my journey from “old media” to “new media” through my use of “social media.”

I’m approaching 67,000 subscribers on Facebook and recently passed 2,000 followers on Twitter. I can do better, of course, but considering my college newspaper was produced on a Linotype machine, I’m not complaining.

Check out the buzz at Beekeeper here and please follow me @andreastonez.

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.”

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: