Friday, January 29, 2016

Golfing with Marlin Fitzwater

Today I played golf at Hill Top golf course with former Reagan and papa Bush White House Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater and his wife, Minnie (born Melinda Andrews, but he called her “Minnie”).

I told him I worked for John Knight at the Akron Beacon Journal and he said he worked on newspapers, too. (In Kansas)

When his drive off #1 tee went far right, I told him, “I knew you would go to the right.”

He laughed. I said, “I guess you’ve heard that a lot.”

When we finished playing, I told him: “Well, you should be happy. A liberal Democrat just shot his highest score of the year.” He laughed again. He probably had a lot of practice at that during the Reagan and papa Bush years.

I had a 46, 2 above my previous worse, because I had 22 putts. Nothing went in. I  parred the final hole with a 3 because my chip shot was 6 inches from the pin. It raised my average to 39 (and dangerously close to 40).

Marlin and Minnie were very nice and friendly. They’ve rented in The Villages for about 8 years, but still live in Washington, DC.

Minnie and I romped in the sand together – no scandal here, just put our golf balls in 3 sand traps at the same time. We got a lot of practice blasting out of Florida’s most available product.

Marlin and I touched on politics, but it was a private conversation, so I’ll keep it to myself.

Marlin and Minnie were just two senior citizens enjoying sunshine, exercise and golf (he wouldn’t beat anyone in the Sunny Hill seniors golf league in Kent, Ohio), so I respected his privacy.

The Wikipedia on Marlin Fitzwater:

Max Marlin Fitzwater (born November 24, 1942) was White House Press Secretary for six years under presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, making him one of the longest-serving press secretaries in history. He is one of three press secretaries (along with Stephen Early and Pierre Salinger) to serve in the position under two different presidents.

Fitzwater was born on a farm in Salina, Kansas. He graduated from Kansas State University in 1965 with a degree in journalism. While in school, he worked at newspapers in various Kansas communities before moving to Washington, DC upon graduation. He also served in the United States Air National Guard. Fitzwater is also a member of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity.

In Washington, Fitzwater served at various Federal agencies, including the Appalachian Regional Commission (1965–67), the U.S. Department of Transportation (1970–72) and the Environmental Protection Agency (1972–81). He served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public affairs at the Department of the Treasury from 1981 to 1982.

Fitzwater headed to the White House in 1983, serving as Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Press Secretary for Domestic Affairs. He served as Vice President Bush's Press Secretary from 1985 to 1987.

When James Brady was shot in the assassination attempt on President Reagan in 1981, he was unable to return to work, though he retained the title of Press Secretary for the duration of Reagan's term. Others served under the title of "Assistant to the President for Press Relations"

In January 1987, Reagan made Fitzwater the Acting Press Secretary under the title of "Assistant to the President for Press Relations". He served in this capacity until Reagan left office in 1989.

When Mikhail Gorbachev first visited the United States, in Reagan's first term, Fitzwater gave joint press briefings with his Soviet counterpart. Over 7,000 journalists attended them.

When George H.W. Bush took over as president in 1989, Fitzwater was again tapped to be the presidential spokesman, this time with the title of Press Secretary.

Fitzwater received the Presidential Citizens Medal in 1992. He has worked on the television show The West Wing as a consultant. In 2002, Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, New Hampshire completed the Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communication in his honor.

In 2002, Fitzwater was interviewed by Ali G on Da Ali G Show where he (Fitzwater) became visibly hostile to the line of questioning, particularly when he was asked questions about Hillary Clinton's sexual orientation. He terminated the interview early and referred to him as "an idiot." Fitzwater later recalled that he had his doubts about conducting the interview after seeing Ali G, but thought that his gangsta rap appearance was simply appealing to his "hippie" audience. After the interview, he said he was "two steps away from calling the sheriff."

Fitzwater married Melinda Andrews in 1999. He has two children, Bradley and Courtney. He lives in a private community called Rest Haven in Deale, Maryland, a village on the Chesapeake Bay. Fitzwater was profiled on Retirement Living TV and on a web feature Talk2 on RL.TV talking about his career in Washington with John Palmer.

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