Leon Panetta talks about hard decisions, worthy fights, and "governing by leadership instead of by crisis." He recalls growing up in Monterey, California as the first generation of Italian immigrants and warns the Trump Administration’s harsh immigration policies could mean fewer immigrant success stories like his own. He reveals how he started out his political career as a Republican until President Richard Nixon fired him for daring to enforce civil rights. He shares some early lessons in political civility and bipartisanship from his mentor Senator Thomas Kuchel and how those lessons served him well as a Congressman and President Bill Clinton’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget. He discusses stepping in as Clinton’s Chief of Staff during a particularly chaotic time in his Presidency, how his early military training helped him get the White House in shape, and some words of advice he recently shared with President Trump’s outgoing Chief of Staff John Kelly. Panetta admits to his surprise when years later President Obama tapped him for Director of the CIA, opens up about what went through his mind as he watched the Bin Laden raid go down, and says that Obama’s failure to enforce his own red line on Syria’s chemical weapons may have embolden Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Learn more about the Panetta Institute for Public Policy at www.panettainstitute.org. Thank you to the Ronald Reagan National Defense Forum and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum for hosting this interview. Today's podcast was sponsored by the new Wondery podcast Safe for Work and Ben Sasse's audiobook Them: Why We Hate Each Other and How to Heal. Subscribe to Kickass News on Apple Podcasts, visit our website at www.kickassnews.com, and follow us on twitter at @KickassNewsPod.