World Leaders Meet – Presidential Retreat

Leave a comment

Camp David’s

Unique Role in

American History

It was American involvement in the Second World War which led to the selection of the site known to the world as Camp David as a presidential retreat. President Hoover had established a rustic camp in Virginia during his administration, purchasing it with his own money and donating it to the government, but the camp was too rustic for FDR. Accommodating his wheelchair was impossible. FDR preferred to relax on the presidential yacht during his first two terms, but when German U-boats cozied-up to the American coastline the Navy was horrified of the threat to the president they presented. Another site near Washington for the president to relax away from the White House was needed.

The site, selected by Roosevelt personally after considering several options, was one of a series of camps in the Catoctin Ridge, the northernmost extension of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Called Hi-Catoctin by the Works Progress Administration that built it, FDR renamed the camp Shangri La. It was initially staffed by officers and crew of the USS Potomac, the presidential yacht, and has been operated by the Navy ever since as Naval Support Facility Thurmont, from the name of the Maryland town near the base of the mountain upon which it sits. Since then it has been updated, modified, and changed to reflect the personalities and needs of the president’s who have resorted to it, and has appeared on the world stage as the site where major decisions affecting world history have been made. Here are just a few of the roles it has assumed in its over 75-year history.

8. Winston Churchill loved the place for the seclusion it afforded

During World War II, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill made several trips to the United States – the first only weeks after Pearl Harbor – and stayed as a guest at FDR’s White House. In May 1943 the war had progressed to the point that another conference between FDR, Churchill, and their delegations was conducted in Washington. During the meetings at the Washington Conference – code named Trident – FDR invited Churchill to spend a weekend at Shangri La. By accepting, Churchill became the first foreign leader to visit the presidential retreat, where the two leaders went fishing, worked on FDR’s stamp collection, and continued their discussions of the situation in Europe, including plans for the invasions of Sicily, Italy, and across the English Channel. An aide commented they were protected from mosquitoes by cigar and cigarette smoke.

Between planning for the liberation of Europe, and discussing the situation in the Pacific, FDR and Churchill relaxed over the brief visit. A longstanding story in the nearby town of Thurmont is that Churchill visited a local establishment and became intrigued with what Americans call a jukebox, feeding it coins on at least one occasion. Whether true or not (some dispute it, though it would not have been out of character) his visit to Shangri La in the spring of 1943 marked the first time the presidential retreat was the site of discussions between world leaders which led to decisions that altered world history. It was during the Trident Conference the decision to invade France in the spring of 1944 was made.

7. Harry Truman hated it because his wife did

Harry Truman was not fond of Camp David. The views from the mountaintop were not pleasing to the Missouri farmer in him, but the real reason he infrequently used the camp was that his wife, Bess, did not like it. She found it boring and dull. It was Truman, however, who designated the site as an official presidential retreat, on land owned by the National Park Service. He also had the camp winterized by installing steam heat in the cabins, and enlarged its grounds. US Navy Construction Battalions – Seabees – did the bulk of the work. Yet he visited only 10 times during his presidency. He preferred the Little White House at Key West.

Despite his lack of enthusiasm for the camp, it was Truman who made it available for the president’s use year-round, and the improvements led to it playing a much larger role in subsequent presidencies. When he did visit, he used the paths throughout the camp and on the mountains to indulge himself in his favorite form of exercise. He took long walks, enjoying the seclusion. Truman, who supposedly once recommended people get a dog if they wanted a friend, had a dog named Feller which he received as a gift and had kept at the camp. He seldom, if ever, asked to see it during his visits, and when he left the presidency to return to Independence, Missouri, the dog remained behind.

6. Eisenhower gave it the name of Camp David

Initially Eisenhower was not enamored of the expense of maintaining a presidential retreat for infrequent use, especially one so near his Gettysburg farm, only about thirty miles away. He planned to get rid of Shangri La, as well as other presidential “luxuries.” His Attorney General, Herbert Brownell, persuaded him otherwise. It wasn’t long before Eisenhower was using the facility frequently, for both business and relaxation. He expanded the camp, held cabinet meetings and conferences there, and installed a three-hole golf course. He renamed it Camp David (in honor of both his father and grandson), stating that the name bestowed by FDR was a bit “fancy.” Numerous world leaders were brought there as the Cold War grew chillier, including France’s Charles de Gaulle, and Britain’s Harold MacMillan.

He also decided to invite the leader of the Soviet Union, Nikita Kruschev, to visit the facility in 1959. The word camp carried different connotations in the Soviet Union, and Kruschev was at first reluctant. During his visit, which was the first of any Russian leader to the Western Hemisphere, Kruschev toured the country for nearly two weeks, the last two days being spent in private meetings with Eisenhower at Camp David. In Eisenhower’s view the meeting accomplished little in concrete terms, but the press coined the phrase “the spirit of Camp David” as a result of the outwardly friendly nature of the relationship between the Soviet and American leaders. Eisenhower disliked the phrase.

5. Jackie Kennedy loved it because she could ride horses without photographers stalking her

Eisenhower found himself returning to Camp David early in the administration of his successor, John F. Kennedy. Ike made the brief trip down from his farm to meet with JFK in the aftermath of the Bay of Pigs invasion. By the time of JFK’s abbreviated presidency many of the facilities were somewhat run down, and the rustic nature of the site did not seem to mesh with the glamorous nature of the Kennedy’s, especially Jackie. But she quickly came to love the facility. Unlike in Washington, or at some of the various Kennedy compounds, she could do as she wished on the grounds without the constant presence of photographers hounding her.

Jackie rode about the estate with other members of the extended Kennedy family, including the president, and the First Couple enjoyed using the skeet range during their visits. Kennedy also allowed family members and officials serving in his administration to use the facility when he was not staying there. President Kennedy once personally went by car, accompanied by a Secret Service agent, to retrieve a wayward guest who had gotten lost on a hike – Supreme Court Justice William Douglas. Kennedy also enjoyed the opportunity to drive his own golf cart, a mode of transportation offered to all at the camp. The president’s cart is referred to as Golf Cart One.

4. Nixon decided to resign after considering his situation there

It was Richard Nixon who had installed the seemingly above ground swimming pool outside the presidential cabin, Aspen. The pool was built above the underground shelter and command post at Camp David, and thus was erected above ground, with landscaping completed to make it appear to be in-ground. As president, Nixon visited Camp David frequently, sometimes on extended stays, and conducted business while relaxing at the facility. He found the setting more conducive to his work than the Oval Office. In 1973 he hosted Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev at the camp, giving him a welcoming gift of a 1973 Lincoln Continental.

According to Nixon’s memoirs, the Soviet was thrilled with the car, and the two leaders took off with Brezhnev driving at high speed on the narrow roads, narrowly avoiding an accident. While at Camp David the two leaders made progress on the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks (SALT) and agreed that “an objective of their policies is to remove the danger of nuclear war.” But in the back of Nixon’s mind was undoubtedly the unraveling scandal of Watergate. He used the site as the scene for firing John Erlichman and H.R. Haldeman in hopes of containing the scandal. In August 1974, Nixon informed his family that he was resigning the presidency after pondering his fate over a weekend at Camp David.

3. Carter kept Israeli and Egyptian leaders secluded there until they reached a peace agreement

On September 5, 1978, Menachem Begin, Prime Minister of Israel, and Anwar Sadat, President of Egypt, joined American President Jimmy Carter at Camp David for peace talks which led to the Camp David Accords. Begin and Sadat did not like one another, and often refused to speak to each other. Carter and his aides had to conduct a shuttle diplomacy between Camp David’s cabins, with Carter prodding the incalcitrant leaders closer to a mutually acceptable position. The talks ground on for nearly two weeks. There were several instances of Begin and Sadat calling off the talks, only to be enticed to continue by Carter.

Carter refused to allow statements to be issued by the delegations from either side, with all information to the press given by his own spokesman, Jody Powell. Neither the Egyptians nor the Israelis were comfortable at the camp; several wrote of its foreboding appearance. The press was kept in nearby Thurmont, but leaks of the tensions between the parties appeared nonetheless. Carter persevered. Though the Camp David Accords have been criticized by many as a failure, there have been no wars between Egypt and Israel since they were signed in 1977.

2. Clinton tried to do the same with leaders including Yasser Arafat

In 2000, President Bill Clinton brought Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli leader Ehud Barak to Camp David to negotiate a settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. The Palestinians had not been represented in the earlier Camp David talks under Carter, and Clinton hoped to build upon the earlier Accords to arrive at a solution leading to further progress in the overall Middle East peace process. During the talks Barak made concessions, delivered to the Palestinians by Clinton, and later withdrew them. Barak arrived at the summit having failed to observe the conditions of earlier agreements. Arafat believed a meeting of senior leadership was doomed to fail.

The Israelis offered no written proposals, instead delivering them verbally as possibilities contingent upon Palestinian concessions. The 2000 Camp David Summit did not lead to an agreement between the contending parties, and in the aftermath Israeli settlements expanded in the disputed territory, and another Palestinian “intifada” began in October. The implication that the talks failed due to Palestinian intransigence led to the Israeli claim there was no Palestinian desire for a peaceful resolution of the issues dividing the two, and violence continued, worsening by the end of 2000. Two decades later the same issues divide the parties.

1. It was where Dick Cheney took refuge on 9/11

On September 11, 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney spent the majority of the day following the terrorist attacks in the Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) beneath the White House. After President Bush returned to Washington that evening, a meeting was held in the PEOC chaired by the president. From that evening on, for several days, the American public was told that the Vice President had been moved to a “secure location,” though he returned to the White House for meetings several times. That secure location turned out to be Camp David. He arrived by helicopter (Marine 2) that evening, having taken off from the south lawn of the White House, a violation of normal protocol, but one of many that day and night.

When he arrived at Camp David, the VP and his family took up residence in Aspen Cabin, the residence of the president at the camp — another violation of protocol. The president arrived at Camp David on September 15, expressed displeasure that someone had been using his cabin (without his knowledge), and over the weekend brought his closest advisers and their aides to the facility to conduct meetings to discuss the American response. September 11 and its aftermath proved that since it opened as a presidential resort camp in 1942, Camp David, operated by the Navy, secured by United States Marines and the Secret Service, has become an integral part of the apparatus of the United States government. It has become vital to the maintenance of the president’s physical and mental health, and the execution of his office.


World Leaders Meet –

Presidential Retreat

Code Name = US President

Leave a comment

Presidential Code Names

Given by

the Secret Service

The United States Secret Service was founded in 1865 and its initial mission was to combat the growth in counterfeit currency. Soon their mission expanded to protection of the Presidents and Vice Presidents and their families, and with its expansion the agency became more sophisticated. In order to better protect the President, Secret Service agents created code-names for the commander in chief. Over the years, Secret Service agents have created some memorable nicknames. Here are some of our favorite code-names given to US Presidents…

10. Richard Nixon

The 37th President of the United States, Richard Milhous Nixon is probably best remembered for his dishonesty. Before the Watergate scandal, Nixon had won re-election in one of the biggest landslides in US history. Nixon was able to re-engage with China and presided over the Apollo 11 moon landing. Despite his seemingly firm hold on American politics, his fear of a mid-term defeat led to the Watergate scandal and his eventual resignation. During the scandal, Nixon went to extreme lengths to end the investigation, which is ironic given his code name: “Searchlight.”

He was far from a light in the darkness, and if only he had lived up to his nickname it might have saved him his presidency.

9. Jimmy Carter

Probably one of the most honest men to ever grace the Oval Office, Jimmy Carter’s code-name couldn’t have been more fitting. He was graced with the nickname “Deacon.” The Georgia native was a champion of civil rights and desegregation and, despite being a dark-horse candidate, emerged from the democratic party to win the 1976 presidential nomination. With the country looking to move forward from Watergate, Carter defeated incumbent Gerald Ford and became 39th President of the United States. A fiercely religious man, Carter claimed that he was inspired by a sermon in which he was asked, if it was a crime to be a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

Only serving as a one-term president, Carter has dedicated himself to helping those in need, living up to his nickname and helping many in the process.

8. Gerald Ford

After Richard Nixon’s resignation, Gerald Ford was sworn in as the 38th President of the United States. His short time as commander in chief was also met with controversy. With the public clamoring for charges to be brought against the disgraced Nixon, Ford instead granted him a “full, free, and absolute pardon.” The irony of his nickname must have not been lost on him. Ford was given the code-name “Passkey.”

And although Ford might have believed he had the ability to give a pass to his friend, the voters certainly did not. Jimmy Carter beat Gerald Ford by more than fifty electoral votes and won with the largest percentage of the popular vote of any non-incumbent since Dwight Eisenhower.

7. George H.W. Bush

The Secret Service seemingly have an uncanny ability to choose code-names that, ironically or not, reflect a substantial truth about the commander in chief. George H.W. Bush’s code-name was no exception. The code-name of “Timberwolf” is fitting because of his place as the patriarch of a political dynasty.

Bush may be one of the most decorated government officials, serving as a Vice President, Director of Central Intelligence, and as a one term President. His sons would follow in his footsteps. Jeb Bush was governor of Florida and, of course, George W. Bush would win two terms, a feat even his father couldn’t manage

6. John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy’s presidency will always be met with wonder and disappointment. His assassination has led to a mystical view of his time in office, with some even making comparisons to the legend of King Arthur. In an interview after her husband’s death, Jackie Kennedy described her husband’s White House as “a spot, for one brief shining moment, that was known as Camelot. […] There will be great Presidents again, but there’ll never be another Camelot again. […] It will never be that way again.”

Many have suggested that Jackie Kennedy created the idea to elevate her husband’s presidency, but it turns out the Secret Service had felt the same way. Agents had given JFK the nickname of “Lancer,” inspired by the knight Lancelot, who was a part of King Arthur’s Round Table.

5. Ronald Reagan

For an actor, what better role to play than that of President of the United States? The 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, was first the president of the Screen Actors Guild. He soon realized he had bigger aspirations and served as Governor of California before making the leap to the highest office in the land. Many thought Reagan didn’t have a chance to defeat incumbent Jimmy Carter, but as the Iran hostage crisis unfolded and oil prices continued to skyrocket, Reagan won a resounding victory.

Once in office, Service Service agents found a fitting code-name for the former actor: “Rawhide.” The Western film star who appeared in movies like Law and OrderThe Last Outpost, and Santa Fe Trail must have felt right at home with the code-name.

4. Bill Clinton

One of the most charismatic men to ever become president, Bill Clinton came from humble beginnings but used his intellect and people skills to rise to extraordinary heights. He was nicknamed “Eagle,” as a result of his involvement with the Boy Scouts of America.

Like Nixon, Bill Clinton is most known for the scandal that occurred during his time in office. But don’t let Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress completely blind you for some of the positives that took place during his time in office, like the federal surplus he left this successor George W. Bush with.

3. Donald Trump

The boss. The Donald. There’s more than few nicknames for the 45th President of the United States who’s not bad at dolling them out as well. From “Little Marco” to “Lyin Ted,” Donald Trump certainly knows how to brand. No matter what else you think of the man, it’s impossible to deny he knows how to sell the Trump name.

Building an image of wealth and power using licensing and a reality television show, there’s nothing Donald Trump does better than create powerful brands. His code-name from the secret service suggests that he was at it again. Trump’s code-name is “Mogul” and it’s hard not to imagine that he had something to do with it.

2. George W. Bush

As mentioned earlier, the mission of secret service agents is to protect the President and Vice President along with their families. Naturally, when George H.W. Bush was president, his son received a secret service detail. His nickname wasn’t so flattering…

Known for his drinking and partying, the secret service donned George W. Bush the code- name “Tumbler.” A born-again Christian, when George W. Bush would win the presidency, he was graced with a different (and much less embarrassing) code-name: “Trailblazer.”

1. Barack Obama

One of the most fitting nicknames, at least at the time, was assigned to our 44th President, Barack Obama. His code-name was “Renegade.” Defined as a person who deserts and betrays an organization, country, or set of principles, Barack Obama certainly seemed like he was destined to move away from the mainstream democratic party and forge his own, much more progressive identity.

History would certainly prove otherwise. Nonetheless, Obama certainly has made history, passing healthcare reform, bringing us out of a recession, and notably ending the Iraq War. It’s certainly a presidency that was more accomplished than many, but to a lot of people, he didn’t fully live up to his code-name.


Code Name =

US President

 

“Who Said that?” – WABAC Phrase Finder

Leave a comment
"Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?

“Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?

“Let’s go looking for a big stick, Sherman My Boy.”

 

“Who Said that?” –   WABAC Phrase Finder

 

trsbigstick

Bluster back-story…

On September 2, 1901, the then Vice President of the United States, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt first used his famous phrase “Speak softly and carry a big stick” in a speech at the Minnesota State Fair.  Presidents and other famous people have often uttered lines that has become closely associated with that person.  Here 10 of the author’s favorite utterances by famous people are listed.  What other catch phrases or signature lines captivate you?

Let’s listen in…

10. “I am not a crook.” Richard Nixon.

Twice elected vice president twice and twice elected president, and this simple line is how he is remembered.  This was one tortured, weird guy.

9.  “Well, there you go again.”  Ronald Reagan.

“…there you go again” what?!  Telling the truth?!  When confronted in presidential debates with actual facts contrary to the reality that he would have preferred, Reagan used this idiotic line against Jimmy Carter and then against Walter Mondale.  Incredibly, it worked, and the points failed to hurt Reagan.  In fact, many Americans thought it was profound (Too bad he did not also use “It is what it is.”).

8.  “Thank you, thank you very much.”  Elvis Presley.

Such a simple phrase, and yet most people know exactly who you are imitating when you utter it.  Another favorite thing Elvis liked to say was “taking care of business” or TCB.

7.  “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”  Clark Gable.

With this most famous line from the most-watched movie of all time (Gone With The Wind, 1939), Gable as Rhett Butler blew off Scarlett O’Hara, and men have copied the quote ever since, but usually without oozing the manliness of Gable.

6.  “The Buck Stops Here.”  Harry S Truman.

If only all politicians would live by this concept!  As president, Truman had this phrase sitting on his desk as a reminder to anyone who came into his office that he was taking responsibility for whatever went on.  You will notice there is no period after his middle initial.  This is because he did not have a proper middle name, just the letter “S.”  Perhaps that means his middle name was actually “S?”  Go figure.

5.  “I ain’t an athlete, lady. I’m a baseball player.”  John Kruk.

Major league baseball player John Kruk was an All Star 3 times and twice finished in the top 5 in batting.  Apparently not a role model, he uttered his famous quote while he was eating, smoking and drinking beer after a woman had chastised the overweight ballplayer for setting a bad example since he was an athlete.  This man is an inspiration to most American men.

4.  “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”  John F. Kennedy.

This remark is definitely one of the greatest lines ever spoken by an American president, and it is the line most often associated with JFK.  The words had some credibility because Kennedy himself was a war hero who had nearly died in World War II , and he had served in the Senate and White House despite being rich enough to not have to work.  Furthmore, his service to his country eventually cost him his life.

3.  “Veni, vidi, vici.” Julius Caesar.

I came, I saw, I conquered.  A boast to be sure, but a true one.  And what did he get for his troubles?  A bunch of guys in togas stabbing him to death!  Julius Caesar also popularized the phrase “Jacta alea est” (the die is cast), but the first quotation just sounds better.

2.  “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”  Bill Clinton.

In an ill-advised attempt to retain some kind of dignity, Clinton tried to lie his way out of a humiliating revelation about his personal life.  It did not work, and 8 years of an entire presidency is mostly remembered by this single sentence.

1.  “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”  Theodore Roosevelt.

This great line by one of our greatest presidents in regard to his foreign policy is indeed profound (Think of Dirty Harry talking softly while packing his big .44 caliber Magnum.).

 

“Who Said that?” –   WABAC Phrase Finder

Bill Clinton Facts

Leave a comment

Bill Clinton Facts

He’s one of the most recognizable faces on the planet. He ran the free world. His popularity rating is the stuff of envy. And he’s reincarnated himself more times than Krishna. So we ought to know everything there is to know about Bill Clinton, right?

Well, here are 10 things you may not know about our 42nd President:

1) He once aced a radio quiz about My Little Pony.

my little pony

The challenge came from NPR host Peter Sagal. “So you’re a former president, you’re a Rhodes Scholar, you’re famously well informed,” said Sagal, “What could we be sure that an accomplished person like you would know nothing about? And then the answer came to us: the TV show ‘My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.'” Then the former President proceeded to own the pony questions, answering all three questions correctly and winning a prize for listener Dave Parks of Chico, California.

2) He knows an astonishing amount about chickens and chicken-farming.

chickens

After flubbing a question about chickens and free trade during his Rhodes Scholarship interview, young Bill vowed never to be stumped again by any and all questions about chickens. As he put it in his book My Life, “It never happened again. When I was governor and President, people were amazed at how much I knew about how chickens are raised, processed, and marketed at home and abroad.”

3) An ancient Roman villain led him to study the law.

ancient rome

According to David Maraniss’s 1995 biography of Clinton, it was Hot Springs High Latin teacher Mrs. Buck who first fired the budding politico’s interest in the law. The class put on a rendition of the trial of Catiline, a roguish Roman who planned to sack and set fire to the city. Bill Clinton signed up to defend the quite-guilty Catiline, though he knew in advance he had lost the case before he started. Later he would mention to Mrs. Buck that the experience made him want to study law.

4) He played rugby at Oxford.

rugby

During his presidency, he was famous, or rather, infamous, for his itty-bitty running shorts and the peculiar habit of jogging to burn calories, before arriving at a McDonalds to put those same calories right back where they started. But in graduate school, Clinton dabbled in rugby. He reportedly played in Little Rock, Arkansas, as well.

5) Hopalong Cassidy, one of the first TV cowboys, was one of Bill Clinton’s boyhood heroes.

hopalong cassidy

He was one of the first TV cowboy heroes, and Bill Clinton was as thrilled by him as other boys of that era were. The President saw Hopalong every time he went to sleep, as his bedspread featured the cowboy. He even dressed up as him and later wrote a preface for a book about Hopalong.

6) He ever-so-briefly worked as a corporate lawyer.

bill clinton lawyer

He had been elected Governor of Arkansas at the almost unheard-of age of 32. Then he was unceremoniously dumped by the voters. So what’s the youngest ex-governor in America to do? Serve “Of Counsel” to a law firm, of course. Clinton joined the firm of Wright, Lindsey and Jennings, a two-year span between his governorships that seems to have been one of the more miserable professional periods in his life.

7) He prefers briefs over boxers…usually.

To this day the question of why he chose to answer the question remains a debated one among Clintonistas. But he did. When a young woman asked him whether he prefers boxers or briefs, he answered, “Usually briefs.” A clearly flummoxed Clinton violated the cardinal political rule: Always answer the question you wish you were asked, not the one you were actually asked.

8) He lined the back of his El Camino with astroturf.

el camino

“You don’t want to know why, but I did,” he winked and told an audience during a stop at a Louisiana truck plant in 1994. Later, though, he backtracked: “It wasn’t for what everybody thought it was for,” he told radio show host Don Imus. Sure, Bill, we believe you.

9) He eats apples all the way through–core, stem, seeds and all.

apples

It was a habit he picked up in his college days, while trying to emulate his professor Jan Deutsch. As Clinton writes in his autobiography, “[Professor Deutsch] was the only man I’d ever met who ate all of an apple, including the core. He said all the good minerals were there. He was smarter than I was, so I tried it. Once in a while, I still do, with fond memories of Professor Deutsch.”

10) He once ad-libbed a speech to Congress.

bill clinton congress

The TelePrompter was supposed to feature the finished, polished, worked-over-dozens-of-times version of a speech outlining the Clinton administration’s approach to health care. It didn’t. It had a dated speech, and by the time the President began speaking, he was forced to wing it for seven harrowing minutes of the address. “I thought, well Lord, you’re testing me,” the President later said. Some observers noted wryly that he seemed to do better while improvising and embellishing than when he was reading the prepared remarks.

Bill Clinton Facts