BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Luke Knittig, senior director of communications at the McCain Institute

By POLITICO Staff

How/where are you celebrating your birthday and with whom? “Hoping for a low-key 51st. Lunch at the Press Club with Bill McCarren, Kevin Wensing and David Lapan ... late afternoon session at NED (National Endowment for Democracy) on Russia trying to make their internet like China’s ... drinks with Rich Baum, Heather Fischer and Nick Rasmussen at Off The Record ... then home for dinner and cake with the fam ... big finish will be walking the dog.”

How did you get your start in your career? “Officially when I traded assignments with a fellow Army captain horrified at the prospect of being a public affairs officer. Unofficially it all started back when I became head mule rider at West Point, which proved to be much more about PR than mascot minding. (Malcolm Forbes expected me at his tailgate party every home game.)”

What’s an interesting book/article you’re reading now or you’ve recently finished? And why? “The book ‘Hoover: An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times,’ by Kenneth Whyte. Bert Hoover’s back and whole stories are staggering. Problem-solver and unlikely striver/achiever extraordinaire, with approaches, thinking (and tragic flaws) that ~100 years on deserve a deeper look.”

What’s a trend going on in the U.S. or abroad that doesn’t get enough attention? “Aging in place. We need reform, resources and kindness the world over for it to happen with more grace and dignity.”

How’s the Trump presidency going? “Should I channel my inner John McCain? ... Probably not. It’s going and I’m not oblivious to its appeal, and results. But more than anything it’s going to continue to challenge those who foremost value character, courage and integrity.”

What’s a fun fact that people in Washington might not know about you? “A cold February trip to Washington in 1986 as part of a Close Up program with fellow high schoolers from Arkansas inspired me to work here someday. Also introduced me to my congressman, Tommy Robinson, who’d appoint me to West Point (before the check kiting scandal got him) and paved the way for me to meet my amazing wife (indirectly thanks to Charlie Black and freedom fighter Jonas Savimbi, but that’s another story ...).”