The New York Public Library offers lots of free and interesting events. Today's was a panel led by Chuck Todd of MSNBC "From the Campaign Trail to the Oval Office." The panel included two former presidential speech writers and two college professors. I have looked on the Internet for the names of the panelists, but couldn't find them anywhere.
They showed portions of speeches from previous presidents as the framework for their discussion.
The first was Richard Nixon's "Checkers" speech. Apparently, Richard Nixon hated that it was called the Checkers speech because the dog was only a small part of the speech. It was a significant speech because it was presented in a living room setting and he discussed his family and personal life in depth. It was the first speech to appeal to voters with personal revelations.
Gerald Ford's speech following his swearing in as president was, according to the panel, his best speech because although he was of Nixon's party, he had to repudiate Nixon's behavior and give the nation confidence of his ability to serve as president who was never elected as president or vice-president.
They admired Bush's speech at the Twin Towers because it was an extemporaneous expression of what many people were feeling.
They played Reagan's speech following the Challenger disaster- showing that he needed to communicate to children who had seen the crash on television and that memorable line from the Canadian poet about "touching the face of God."
I am a big Chuck Todd fan- I think he is insightful and articulate- so this was great fun. Plus it was interesting to step back a bit from listening to the campaign rhetoric and be reminded of the power of the President in bringing us together.
Poster for the talk.
The panelists. I have tried to find their names in several places without success.
After Chuck Todd, we took the bus down to Mee Noodle on 8th Avenue. This is one of our favorite places. It turned out that this was also one of Drew's favorite places on a previous visit to New York City. Small world.
After lunch we went to walk on the Hi Line. This is the park where a year ago Sally and I decided to retire and move to New York for six months. I was able to point out the historic spot to Amy and Drew. The Hi Line is an abandoned railroad trestle that has been turned into a long narrow park. It is at about the third story level, so you are walking through the air in the lower eastern part of Manhattan. It has plantings and sculptures and is just a very cool place to walk.
Amy and Drew walking the Hi Line.
A mural that you see from the Hi Line
A sculpture among the plantings.
A Transformer hiding as a building in Mid-town Manhattan.
A local storage company owns a billboard , which always has an interesting message. A sign from the Hi Line.
That evening we spent time packing for our trip to Japan.