- Rick Klein, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players2 days ago
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."
- Jonathan Karl, Richard Coolidge, Jordyn Phelps and Ali Dukakis at Power Players6 days ago
It started as a simple idea: One man, his motorcycle and a world to explore.
And so “Worldrider” Allan Karl set out on what would become a three-year adventure across five continents, taking him through some of the world’s most dangerous hotspots and challenging terrain in search of human connection, cultural understanding and good food.
Now back from his journey, Karl rode his motorcycle over to an interview with “Politics Confidential” (a mandatory stop because the show’s host is Karl’s brother) to discuss his voyage and new book that tells the full story, “Forks: A Quest for Culture, Cuisine And Connection.”
One of the most remarkable stops on Karl’s voyage was Syria, which he visited before the civil war began in 2011.
After initially being turned away at the border of Jordan and Syria because he didn’t have a visa to travel in Syria, Karl was able to convince the border guards to let him through. But just as soon as he was cleared to cross into the country, Karl confronted another road block.
- Jeff Zeleny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players7 days ago
The Fine Print
Sen. John McCain says the “gradual escalation” in the fight against ISIS reminds him of the failed strategy that caused the United States to lose the Vietnam War.
“The thing that really bothers me about this very gradual increase, this is what lost the Vietnam War, this kind of gradual escalation,” the Arizona Republican, who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for five years, told “The Fine Print” during an interview on Capitol Hill.
“No boots on the ground, then we had to have security around our bases, then we had to have a few more and then a few more,” he continued. “This is the same kind of scene we saw there.”
When Republicans take control of the Senate in January, McCain will become chairman of the Armed Services Committee and vowed to hold President Obama accountable on his foreign policy in his new leadership role.
- Jeff Zeleny, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players9 days ago
The Fine Print
As a CIA undercover officer, Will Hurd made it his business to go unnoticed. But as a newly-elected member of Congress, this spy has thoroughly blown his former cover.
On his first trip to Washington since being elected, the Texas Republican – the first black Republican elected from that state since Reconstruction – told “The Fine Print” how his years working in the CIA inspired him to come out of the shadows and into the political spotlight.
“One of the other things I had to do was brief members of Congress, and when I was in the agency I was shocked by the caliber of some of our elected officials and decided to do something about it,” Hurd said. “My mamma said, ‘You're either part of the problem or part of the solution,’ and so I decided to run.”
What shocked Hurd most, he said, was that many members didn’t even know the basic difference between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims while the U.S. was engaged in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- David Kerley, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players13 days ago
Even before the United States had its independence, it had beer.
And in this episode of “Power Players,” we trace the country’s heady beer history back to the beginning with beer historical expert Garrett Peck, who’s written a new book “Capital Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in Washington, D.C.”
Beer first came to America with pilgrims on the Mayflower in 1620. And by 1770, Peck explained over a beer at Bluejacket Brewery in Washington, D.C., the D.C. area began brewing beer of its own when Scottish and English immigrants began making ales in what is today Alexandria, Virginia.
“They brought it basically from Britain, and this is before the revolution, they're drinking ales,” he said. “That lasted for a long time in the colonies.”
Ale remained the brew of choice through the revolutionary years and well into the 19 th century. But in the 1850s, an influx of German immigrants arrived and brought their fanaticism for beer with them.
- Rick Klein, Olivier Knox, Richard Coolidge, Jordyn Phelps & Ali Dukakis at Power Players15 days ago
Is it possible to succeed in Washington, D.C. and keep your soul at the same time? One longtime Beltway insider has written a book aimed at helping those who want to try.
Communications consultant Torie Clarke, perhaps best known for her role batting back reporters’ questions as the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs to Donald Rumsfeld, has published “A Survivor's Guide to Washington: How to Succeed Without Losing Your Soul.”
At the top of Clarke’s rules of the road: “Suck it up or pack it up.”
Clarke once packed it up herself, when she resigned from her post at the Pentagon in 2003. But she maintains that her time working for the Defense Department was the highlight of her career, citing her role in a program to embed journalists with troops during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Jim Avila, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players16 days ago
Beneath the long-abandoned battlefields of World War I, in the idyllic French countryside, lies a hidden underground world where soldiers sought nighttime refuge from long days spent in the trenches above.
These subterranean cities, a secret to the world until now, have been captured in stunning detail by American photographer Jeffrey Gusky, who was granted near-exclusive access to photograph the hidden spaces by the French locals who have protected them for generations.
On this Veteran’s Day, Gusky told “Power Players” about the remnants of tragedy and treasure he found inside the cavernous dwellings.
“Modern underground cities beneath the trenches, loaded with art, loaded with the infrastructure of modern cities, tens of thousands of men occupying these places at any given time throughout the war,” Gusky told “Power Players.”
“Very often stairways went directly to the trenches, and then they would descend back into safety,” Gusky said. “And there was one place where Americans were where [it] actually wasn't a stairway, it was a slide, and you'd come in and you see not ‘Welcome In,’ but ‘Hell, Come In.’”
- Jonathan Karl, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players20 days ago
When Sen. Rob Portman found himself in the middle of a river in Chile, unable to swim following a kayaking accident that dislocated his shoulder, he had one thought: Mel Gibson.
“I'm there alone on this big river in the middle of nowhere in Chile and what went through my mind was Mel Gibson in ‘Lethal Weapon 2,’” Portman, a longtime kayaking enthusiast, told “Politics Confidential” during a recent interview at the Washington Canoe Club on the Potomac River.
In the movie, Gibson’s character relocated his shoulder by jamming it into a filing cabinet. And though Portman didn’t have a filing cabinet in the middle of the river, he did have a rock.
"Didn't work the first time,” Portman recalled of jamming his limp shoulder into the rock. “It worked the second time, and I made it to shore.”
- Susan Saulny, Jordyn Phelps and Ali Dukakis at Power Players21 days ago
At the heart of the deadly 20-year-long civil war that rages in the Democratic Republic of Congo sits the home of the world’s last 800 mountain gorillas in Africa’s oldest national park.
Virunga National Park – and the human and gorilla populations that rely on it for their way of life – are locked in a struggle for their very existence against poachers and outside parties looking to exploit the park’s natural resources.
And a new documentary, “Virunga,” set to premiere on Netflix tomorrow, goes to the front lines of the battle to protect the park and tells the story of the park rangers who put their lives on the line to do so.
“Not only is it Africa's oldest national park, it's also home to the world's last mountain gorillas,” said the film’s director, Orlando von Einsiedel. "But this is a park which is really people-focused. It really represents one of the best chances the region has to push forward.”
Einsiedel sat down recently for an interview with “Power Players” along with the director of Virunga National Park, Emmanuel de Merode, who is one of the main subjects in the documentary and a recent victim of the violence that threatens the park.
- David Kerley, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players27 days ago
You may be looking forward to catching an extra hour of shut-eye this Sunday as most of the country prepares to roll their clocks back an hour for Daylight Saving Time, but have you ever wondered where time actually comes from?
In this episode of “Power Players,” we ventured to the U.S. Naval Observatory in search of answers.
Situated atop a hill overlooking much of Washington, D.C., the observatory is perhaps best known as the home of the vice president’s mansion, but it is also home to the nation’s master clock.
Every time you turn on your cell phone or plug an address into your car’s GPS, you are actually communicating with the Naval Observatory.
“Everything is tied in to the master clock here,” Naval Observatory’s Public Affairs Officer Geoff Chester explained during a recent tour. “So, if you use anything that remotely touches GPS as a timing source, then you are essentially getting your time from us.”
Chester explained how the job of keeping the nation on time is a whole lot more complicated than counting up from “one-Mississippi.”