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Posted by DEAN SKIP RUTHERFORD – As a former president of the Little Rock School Board, I watched Tuesday’s Little Rock School Board runoff election with great interest. Congratulations to incumbent Michael Daugherty who defeated a very strong opponent, Anna Swaim by a 53-47 percent margin. Ms. Swaim certainly ran a credible race, but give Daugherty, J.J. Lacey, John Walker, the Classroom Teachers Association and others accolades for increasing voter turnout in the runoff by a large margin. John told me several days ago that the Daugherty total of 808 votes in the primary would rise to over 1,200 in the runoff. He was more than right because Daugherty received over 1,400 runoff votes. The voters have spoken. It’s time for the board to come together acknowledging the 4-3 majority now has solid control. Hopefully, in the future we will see less infighting and 4-3 splits. Surely, everyone will give interim Superintendent Dr. Linda Watson the chance she desrves to run the district and the encouragement to do so. From what I’ve seen since succeeding Dr. Roy Brooks, Dr. Watson has done a good job.
Posted by DEAN SKIP RUTHERFORD – Charlie Cook, of Washington D.C., editor of the Cook Political Report, an NBC commentator and certainly one of the nation’s most respected political analysts, spoke Sunday at a leadership program of the Southern Legislative Conference in partnership with the University of Arkansas System, the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute and the Clinton School. Legislators from all over the South were in attendance. The conference is being held on Petit Jean Mountain and at the Clinton School.
Cook predicted that Republican Mitt Romney and Democrat Hillary Clinton would be the nominees for president in 2008. He also projected Democratic gains in the U.S. Senate (4 to 6 seats) and in the U.S. House (about 10 seats). He praised former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and said Huckabee, despite not raising much money, would be on the “short list” for the Republican Vice Presidential nomination.
Cook, a huge sports fan whose parents attended the University of Arkansas, watched Saturday’s Razorback football game against Tennessee-Chattanooga as the guest of Arkanas House Speaker Benny Petrus. Leaving the game before halftime, Cook told those at the legislative conference that he couldn’t remember ever seeing a more dismal performance by an SEC football team.
Posted by Dean Dkip Rutherford – On November 7, 1997, President Bill Clinton announced that he would place his presidential library on land east of Interstate 30 in downtown Little Rock. He also told University of Arkansas President Dr. Alan Sugg that he wanted also to establish a higher education component as part of it. At the time, the location was a 28 acre site of old and some abandoned warehouses. One restorable historic structure, an 1899 train station, had been a passenger depot, a restaurant, a nightclub, a church and a storage facility. The site the President had chosen was referred to by one newspaper columnist as “murky bottoms” because of its dismal condition and location. Others said people in Little Roc would “under no circumstances” walk under an interstate to get to a museum, school, park or restaurant.
Downtown business leaders were thrilled because they, like Clinton, believed it would serve as an anchor for the emerging River Market Entertainment District. They hoped it would spur retail and residential interest as well.
Clinton had several goals: (1) spur downtown and area revitalization; (2) set an example of how economic development and the environment could work together by building America’s first “green” presidential library; (3) create a statewide tourism magnet because, as the first president to have a White House Conference on Tourism, he knew and understood how important it was. The interstate that people “under no circumstances” would walk under would provide visibility and access for millions of travelers; (4) establish a unique school of higher education in partnership with the University of Arkansas with a commitment to “public service” being its niche; (5) make an architectural statement by bringing a precedent-setting modern style to the South; and (6) develop an interactive museum which would provide those from this part of the country who would never be able to go to Washington and experience icons like the White House Oval Office and Cabinet Room.
On November 7, 2007, the Clinton School will host a community conversation looking back on those 10 years since the President made his decision while looking forward at the next 10 years. I’ll moderate a panel which will include Little Rock City Manager Bruce Moore; City Director Dean Kumpuris, Developer Jimmy Moses and the CEO of the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, Dan O’Byrne.
Hope you will join us for a noon brown bag lunch in the restored train station/restaurant/nightclub/church and warehouse. For reservations, email email@example.com.
Posted by DEAN SKIP RUTHERFORD – Maurice Mitchell is the “Godfather” of Arkansas’s legal profession. He is also one of the best human beings I have ever known. His work ethic is second to none and his civic and charitable leadership sets the highest standard. I take every opportunity I can to learn from him.
During the 1957 Central High integration crisis and the subsequent closing of the Little Rock public high schools, Maurice, then in his 30’s and along with a small group of other talented young lawyers, was a voice of reason. Last night, for what may have been the first time, he shared his 1954-1959 experiences with his Mitchell Law Firm colleagues and friends. You could have heard a pin drop when he described the behind-the-scenes accounts of what was happening in the Little Rock business and legal communities. Because he was in strong opposition to the segregationists, he lost clients and received personal threats. Neither, however, deterred him or his wife, Betty, who joined the Women’s Emergency Committee to Open Our Schools (WEC) and was among the courageous group of women who led the successful effort to reopen the schools.
Dean Chuck Goldner of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law was among those in attendance. Like me, Dean Goldner was in awe. We all heard stories we had never heard before. Based on the conversation that later took place between Maurice and Dean Goldner, I believe a law review article is in the works. It should be.
Posted by DEAN SKIP RUTHERFORD – For the last three election cycles (2002, 2004 and 2006), I have taught undergraduate seminars on election analysis. So, in preparation for some upcoming meetings and speeches, here’s my very early line on the 2008 presidential tickets:
Republican: Rudy Giuliani (NY) and Mike Huckabee (AR)
Democrat: Hillary Clinton (NY) and Tom Vilsack (IA)
Giuliani is already waging a general election campaign, saying he’s the only Republican who can beat Clinton. That, along with his commitment to nominate conservative judges to the federal bench, may be enough for many of the party conservatives to forgive him for some of his liberal views, such as abortion rights. It’s too early in the campaign to determine that, but his nomination would put states like New York and New Jersey into play. In addition, for many, he remains a 9/11 national hero.
Huckabee, as the vice presidential nominee, would reinforce the party’s evangelical base, strengthen the “solid south” and keep Arkansas competitive. In a close election, Arkansas’s six electoral votes could make a difference. And early Arkansas polling has Clinton with a wide lead over Giuliani–another reason to include Huckabee on the ticket. Give Huckabee credit: with little money and against formidable odds, he’s run a very good national campaign to date, and his poll numbers continue to rise.
Unless someone stops Clinton in Iowa, the Democratic nomination is hers. And I think it’s hers regardless. Vilsack would be an attractive choice as a running mate. Most people I’ve talked to don’t see Clinton losing any state that John Kerry carried in 2004. If that’s the case, a win in Ohio or Florida, would put her over the top. With Vilsack on the ticket, she would be the favorite to win Iowa. Vilsack would also be a strong campaigner in the nearby states of Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. Those who say Clinton can’t win in November are just badly mistaken.
Interesting trivia about these projected match ups:
*Giuliani and Clinton were headed for a 2000 New York Senate race until Giuliani withdrew from the campaign.
*Clinton and Huckabee each lived in the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion, and both believe in a place called Hope. Both badly want to carry Arkansas and both believe they can.
*At Huckabee’s invitation, Vilsack came to Little Rock to run the Little Rock Marathon last year. The two generously praised each other.
Arkansas once again may well be center stage.
Posted by DEAN SKIP RUTHERFORD – Sunday I had the privilege to help pay tribute to two outstanding women.
Ruth Lincoln, believed to be Arkansas’s oldest person, celebrated her 110th birthday yesterday concluding several days of parties, gatherings and events. Sunday afternoon Mrs. Lincoln was treated to a carriage ride around Parkway Village where she lives and was a special guest at a birthday party where more than 100 people who live in the village attended. I was honored to join Mrs. Lincoln and members of her family on the first part of her ride. While in route, she told me that she could not remember being in a horse drawn buggy since she rode one to and from high school. Last year, when she was just 109, Mrs. Lincoln spoke at the Clinton School and captivated us all with her knowledge, her wit and her beautiful smile.
Last night, I was among a large crowd at Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church to see Caroline Stevenson, a wonderful Clinton School volunteer, receive the 2007 Bishop Kenneth Hicks Peace Award. Caroline is an active member of Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) which empowers women to act politically to reduce militarism and violence. For the past three years, she has volunteered at the Clinton School and when asked about our students she said, “Their deciation and energy give me great hope that this generation will help our country in the direction of peace and justice.”
We at the Clinton School congratulate these very talented women both of whom continue to set such positive examples.
Posted by DEAN SKIP RUTHERFORD – Clinton School students spent the weekend on the campus of the University of Arkansas as guests of University President Alan Sugg, Chancellor John White, Provost Bob Smith and others. While there, our students met with various faculty and staff about degree, program and elective course opportunities. In addition, they enjoyed a 66-7 win for the Razorback football team, with tickets courtesy of Dr. Sugg.
For many of our out-of-state and international students, the trip to Fayetteville was a first. From touring the campus, experiencing night life on Dickson Street, tailgating and “Calling the Hogs” at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, the students mixed pleasure with business. They also had the opportunity to spend time with Congressman Mike Ross of Arkansas.
We very much appreciate the University of Arkansas’s welcome and hospitality.
Posted by DEAN SKIP RUTHERFORD – Today we set a new school record with our speaker series. When Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, the President of Zambia, met with our students this morning, it marked the 12th consecutive day for a program at the school. Most were open to the public with a couple being sessions for our students. My thanks to our staff for making this possible.
Here’s the impressive 12 day list:
September 17 — Diann Jordan, author of Sisters in Science
September 18 — John Yoo, constitutional law scholar and Patriot Act contributor
September 19 — Dutch Van Kirk, the “Enola Gay” navigator
September 20 — Governors Town Hall meeting with Governor Mike Beebe of Arkansas; Governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas; Governor Janet Napolitano of Arizona; and Governor Phil Bredesen of Tennessee
September 21 — Reception following the William H. Bowen Law School/Clinton School legal conference on the Central High 50th anniversary
September 22 — Chris Koor Garang, a “lost boy” of Sudan
September 23 — Little Rock Nine News Conference
September 24 — Former Congressman Harold Ford Jr.
September 25 — Tavis Smiley Radio Broadcast
September 26 — Little Rock Central 50 Years Later: documentary screening and panel discussion
September 27— Michael Duffy, TIME Magazine and coauthor of The Preacher and the Presidents
September 28 — Levy Patrick Mwanawasa president of Zambia.
We are proud to bring this quality programming to the Clinton School and to Arkansas.
Posted by DEAN SKIP RUTHERFORD – I don’t whether anyone caught it or not, but Arkansas Democrat Gazette writer Daniel Nasaw recently reported that former Akransas Governor Mike Huckabee indicated he would place his presidential papers at Ouachita Baptist University if he were elected President. Though buried in the news story, that’s a significant announcement.
While it doesn’t necessarily mean there is a commitment to put a Huckabee presidential library at Ouachita, it comes close. Most Presidential Libraries and Museums are in one location with one notable excpeption: the Gerald Ford Library is on the University of Michigan campus at Ann Arbor and the Gerald Ford Museum is in Grand Rapids.
if the news report is correct and if Huckabee is elected President, his presidential library (which is made up of his presidential papers) seems to be headed to Ouachita. He could also put his museum there or, like Ford, could select another location.