Thursday, April 24, 2003
"The 'Real' West Wing"
Sometimes truth is at least as interesting-if not more so-than fiction.
On April 24, three former White House staffers and a Washington Post reporter join the Hobart and William Smith Colleges community for a lively discussion of their time working in and around the White House during the Clinton Administration. Betty Currie, Jake Siewert, Stephen Goodin and John Harris will be joined by the forum's sponsor, Colleges' President Mark D. Gearan, himself former assistant to the President, director of communications and deputy chief of staff.
The speakers also will comment on footage from NBC's primetime show "The West Wing," detailing how the television program stacks up to the real goings-on in the White House nerve center. "The West Wing" is a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the Oval Office as seen through the eyes of its eclectic group of frenzied staffers and the devoted First Family.
Betty Currie was White House secretary throughout President Clinton’s administration. Before working in the White House, Currie worked for 29 years at several federal departments, including the Navy, the Postal Service and ACTION, the agency that includes the Peace Corps, before retiring in 1984. She worked on the presidential campaigns of Walter Mondale in 1984 and Michael Dukakis in 1988. In 1992, she went to work for strategist James Carville on the Clinton-Gore campaign.
At the White House, Currie occupied her desk outside the Oval Office, overseeing the President's daily appointments and greeting visitors from across America and around the world. While at her desk, she handled many of the President's phone calls and assisted him with his correspondence. She was also ready at a moment's notice to leave with the President when he traveled.
Jake Siewert is the former White House press secretary. He was appointed to the position after Joe Lockhart, under whom he served as deputy press secretary, left the post in September 2000. Siewert currently is vice president for Global Communications and Public Strategy at Alcoa Corp. in New York City.
Stephen Goodin is a former presidential assistant. Goodin currently serves as NetAid's vice president and chief operating officer. He began his career working for Congressman Martin Frost in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1991, he joined the Clinton-Gore presidential campaign and served in a variety of positions from organizing major campaign events to directing campaign staff. After the 1992 election, Goodin joined the Democratic National Committee as special assistant to Democratic Party Chairman David Wilhelm.
Recruited to the White House as the President's Aide, Goodin accompanied president Clinton while traveling to over 30 countries and on over 150 domestic trips. He was responsible for executing Clinton's daily schedule and managing briefings. Upon leaving the White House, Goodin served as vice president and assistant to the chairman at USA Networks, Inc., and headed a business development project for Scholastic, Inc.
A native of Gainesville, Texas, Goodin graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with honors. He lives in New York City with his wife Bibb Hubbard and his son Campbell Goodin.
John Harris currently is on leave from The Washington Post to write a history of the Clinton administration. He currently serves as a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution, focusing on the presidency and national politics.
Harris started with The Washington Post in 1985, where he covered the suburbs of Northern Virginia and Virginia state politics. In 1994, he transferred to Washington and the national staff, reporting from the Pentagon. The following year he took over the White House beat, arriving just as President Clinton and the Democratic Party were trying to recover from the 1994 midterm elections, which gave Republicans the majority in both the House and Senate.
A native of Rochester, N.Y., Harris graduated from Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., where he studied American history. He and his wife live in Alexandria, Va., with their two children.