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Former presidential aides discuss White House experiences

Imagine that the professor grading your paper can drop a nuclear bomb, a former aide for President George W. Bush told a group of less than 50 students at the Storer Auditorium on Thursday.

Noam Neusner, who worked as a special assistant for economic and domestic speechwriting in the Bush administration, and Jay Footlik, a special assistant to former President Bill Clinton, discussed their experiences in each administration. Both also served as liaisons to the American Jewish community while working in the White House.

“The Real West Wing: An American Jewish Perspective” was sponsored by the Dept. of Student Activities and the Dept. of Residence Halls.

During the event, both men discussed their backgrounds and how they became involved with politics.

Neusner, who described himself as a lifelong Republican who has never given a dollar to a campaign, began as a journalist.

Footlik worked on losing campaigns in the 1980s and is a lawyer, though Neusner noted that Footlik was an actor, starring in films such as “Iron Eagle” and “Teen Wolf”.

The two also commented extensively about their respective experiences in the White House.

Footlik noted the very different leadership style of each president, a point Neusner agreed with.

Both men ended their remarks by encouraging the students in attendance to get involved with political campaigns.

“It’s like the Nike ad,” Footlik said. “‘Just do it.'”

Greg Linch may be contacted at g.linch@umiami.edu.

October 31, 2006

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