Posts by Jonathan Karl, Jordyn Phelps and Alexandra Dukakis

  • America's celebrity diplomat: Caroline Kennedy on life as ambassador, Clinton 2016

    Jonathan Karl, Jordyn Phelps and Alexandra Dukakis at Power Players 1 yr ago

    Politics Confidential

    For most of her life, Caroline Kennedy has shied away from leading a public life in the limelight of her father’s political legacy. But now, she’s the most high-profile U.S. ambassador in the world, in a country her father fought against as a young Navy lieutenant during World War II.

    “I think that my story in a way is a great metaphor for the U.S.-Japan alliance,” Kennedy told “Politics Confidential” during a rare interview on the sidelines of President Obama’s official trip to Japan.

    “My mother often told me … he had hoped to make a state visit to Japan in his second term,” Kennedy said of her father. “It would have been the first by a sitting U.S. president. And so, I felt, on a personal level, that it was really kind of moving for me, and also … to hear people that are, you know, older talk about President Kennedy and his legacy has been … a very moving experience.”

    The United States’ history with Japan, and the strong alliance that has developed after being staunch enemies in World War II, is personal to Kennedy. Her father was nearly killed during World War II when a U.S. military boat he was commanding was sunk by the Japanese.

  • 'Better late than never': Awarding 24 belated Medals of Honor

    Jonathan Karl, Jordyn Phelps and Alexandra Dukakis at Power Players 1 yr ago

    Politics Confidential

    Sgt. 1st Class Melvin Morris was just 27 when his actions during the Vietnam War earned him the Medal of Honor, but it wasn’t until now, at age 72, that Morris will be properly acknowledged.

    President Obama will recognize Morris Tuesday, along with 23 other overdue Medal of Honor recipients who served during World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam, to which Morris said “better late than never.”

    The extraordinary presentation of 24 Medals of Honor – the largest such ceremony since World War II – is the culmination of a 12-year review by the Pentagon to uncover cases where the nation’s highest honor for combat valor was deserved but overlooked because of racial and ethnic discrimination. But Morris, an African-American who served as one of the first Green Berets, told “Politics Confidential” that he didn’t believe he was discriminated against because of his race.

    “I was with a bunch of professional men,” he said. “The teams were designed so that you get along together and you rely on each other, so it's something that I never thought about.”

    “We don't join the military to back out when it get tough; we got to do what we've got to do,” Morris said.

  • "Mr. Cub" goes to Washington: The legendary Ernie Banks talks baseball, politics

    Jonathan Karl, Jordyn Phelps and Alexandra Dukakis at Power Players 2 yrs ago

    Politics Confidential

    Ernie Banks has never been one to back down from a hard match.

    The legendary Chicago slugger, who is immortalized in the Baseball Hall of Fame and was recently awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, was one of the first African-American players to go directly from the Negro to Major Leagues when baseball was desegregated. He hit more than 500 home runs over the course of his career.

    But despite his personal history of breaking down barriers and setting records, Banks admits that there was a time when he was skeptical that then-Sen. Obama could win the presidential election in 2008.

    “I was going to tell him … well, not [that he] shouldn't run for president,” Banks said, “but it's, you know, [an] amazing challenge, because I ran for alderman in Chicago, and I saw that.”

    “But he could do it,” Banks told “Politics Confidential” at the White House after being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

    Though Banks fell short in his own bid for alderman in the 1960s and never ran for public office again, he said his political ambitions never left him.

    “I wanted to help people in the community,” he said. “To me, life is all about helping people.”