Posts by Rick Klein, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps

  • The forgotten first president (Hint: It wasn’t George Washington)

    Rick Klein, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 5 mths ago

    Top Line

    Here’s a Thanksgiving pop quiz: Who was the nation’s first president?

    If you answered George Washington, pass the gravy and get ready for a history lesson. It was actually John Hanson, a founding father whose name is largely forgotten in the pages of American history – until now.

    “They were both first presidents. We've had two governments,” said Peter Michael, a descendent of Hanson’s who is working to revive his memory as the first president of the Continental Congress under the Articles of Confederation, the precursor to the Constitution.

    “George Washington was very famously the first president of our second government under the Constitution,” Michael told “Top Line” during a recent interview outside a replica of Hanson’s historic home in Frederick, Maryland. “But for eight years before the birth of that second government, we had an original government chartered under the Articles of Confederation. It had its presidents, the first of whom was John Hanson."

    We also have Hanson to thank for Thanksgiving.

    Hanson served a one-year term as president and died a year later in 1783.

  • ‘The good, the bad, and the ugly’: Marion Barry claims FBI tried to kill him in crack-smoking sting

    Rick Klein, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 10 mths ago

    Power Players

    Nearly a quarter-century after the notorious FBI sting that defined his political career, former D.C. mayor and current city councilman Marion Barry claims that the FBI was trying to kill him.

    “I just think so, because during the trial the government refused to have that substance tested,” Barry said, referencing the crack cocaine that he was caught smoking in the raid. “I think that’s kind of strange, don't you think?”

    Barry sat down with “Power Players” at D.C.’s Carolina Kitchen restaurant to discuss his new memoir, “Mayor for Life,” in which he tells all about the January 18, 1990 sting when Rasheeda Moore, a former romantic acquaintance of Barry’s, worked with the FBI to catch the then-mayor smoking crack cocaine on videotape.

    “I wanted to, first of all, tell the truth … the good, the bad, and ugly, but also to educate people, to inspire people,” Barry said of his book.

    Barry said he wants his story to be remembered as one of hope and encouragement for those looking to overcome personal challenges. Barry writes about one person whom he counseled based on his own challenging life experiences: President Bill Clinton.

  • Audacity of Hoops: ESPN's Andy Katz on President Obama’s Cinderella picks

    Rick Klein, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 1 yr ago

    Top Line

    There was a time when President Obama was an underdog in the sport of presidential politics. But there were only hints of the Cinderella mentality when the president made his annual NCAA March Madness predictions with ESPN’s Andy Katz.

    “He has North Dakota State over Oklahoma, which is a trendy pick by many people, and he does have Harvard over Cincinnati,” Katz told “Top Line” following his annual “Barack-etology” with the president.

    Having covered the president and his interest in college hoops since he was a presidential candidate in 2008, Katz said Obama has an impressive grasp of the sport.

    “Every year, I am less surprised because he continues to be highly knowledgeable on the sport,” he said. “Dan Pfeiffer, the White House adviser, was telling me earlier that essentially, when he can, on Air Force One late at night … he's watching ESPN, and he's paying attention.”

    That’s in addition to making in-person appearances at a number of college games this year, Katz noted.

    ABC News’ Katie Cohen, Alexandra Dukakis and Tom Thornton contributed to this episode.

  • Ann Coulter’s political crush on Ted Cruz

    Rick Klein, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 1 yr ago

    Power Players

    Ann Coulter is standing by her “love,” Ted Cruz.

    The conservative pundit told “Power Players” that Cruz has a “huge” future in the Republican Party after leading the effort that led to the 16-day government shutdown earlier this month.

    “I think he has a very bright future,” Coulter said of Cruz. “He was over in the House whipping the House Republicans. He was like a general in this.”

    Coulter, who has previously called the government shutdown “magnificent,” explained why she supported Cruz’s hard-line stance of refusing funding for the government unless the president’s health care law was repealed.

    “I think it was a good thing, because it branded Republicans as the anti-Obamacare party,” Coulter said. “Obamacare is less popular than the bubonic plague right now. That's a great branding,”

    Coulter has just published a new book “Never Trust a Liberal Over 3 – Especially a Republican,” in which she makes a case that Republican activist groups, including some that have the support of Cruz, should stop mounting primary challenges to Republican members of Congress in an effort to replace less conservative Republicans.

  • Tom Hanks: ‘Should the government be shut down? No!’

    Rick Klein, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 1 yr ago

    Top Line

    Tom Hanks has learned a thing or two about being held hostage.

    In the new movie, "Captain Phillips," based on the real-life events of a U.S.-flagged cargo ship that was hijacked by Somali pirates in 2009, Hanks plays the leading role of Capt. Richard Phillips. And at the movie’s Washington premiere, Hanks was asked about a different sort of showdown: the ongoing government shutdown.

    “Should the government be shut down? No,” Hanks told “Top Line” on the red carpet. “There's a lot of people who are locked out of national parks and plenty of other places, too.”

    “We seem to be in some brand of a terrible state of chassis, as Sean O'Casey once wrote,” Hanks added, referencing the Irish play “Juno and the Paycock.”

    On the subject of “Captain Phillips,” Hanks said the movie brings attention to the challenge posed by modern-day piracy.

    “It's a pretty classic story,” Hanks said. “It's very simple in some ways, but has bigger repercussions, not just because of the specifics of hijacking and the situation in Somalia, but it goes on to this day and even though here in the United States we don't hear about it much, piracy goes unabated.”