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Christian Science Monitor Features Lee Hamilton '52, "Washington's Bipartisan Power Broker"

December 12, 2007

Lee Hamilton Point.jpgDecember 12, 2007, Greencastle, Ind. - Lee H. Hamilton -- former U.S. congressman, co-chair of the Iraq Study Group and 9/11 Commission, and 1952 graduate of DePauw University -- "is Washington's middleman, the mild-mannered moderate more interested in solutions than sound bites," writes the Christian Science Monitor's Jina Moore. "People who know him well compare him as a man of character to Washington and Lincoln, or, as a man of pragmatism, to 'that other Hamilton' -- Alexander, the Founding Father famous for his worry about the dangers of faction."

The lengthy article continues, "Lee Hamilton sees it differently. He explains his old job as if he'd been a teacher, or a mayor, or served in any of hundreds of public service roles performed by thousands of people every day. But Hamilton had a job not many covet and even fewer win: He cast the votes -- 16,000 of them -- that passedLee Hamilton 5 DD 2006.jpg the laws that make America run. Which puts him, he concedes, 'at the center of things,' but not as the benevolent power broker. It was simpler, he says: 'As a member of Congress, you're a bit player in a much larger drama.'"

The story details Hamilton's upbringing, his early career as a lawyer, his decision to enter the world of politics and the bipartisan respect he has enjoyed throughout his career. "Hamilton earned a reputation as evenhanded and willing to listen to multiple points of view. This made him a useful ally for bipartisan initiatives but a risk to his own party," Moore writes. "Indeed, he was one of 31 Democrats to vote for the investigations that led to the impeachment of Bill Clinton."

The article concludes, "Today, Hamilton serves Congress in a different role, as a director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a congressionally chartered think tank. His office is simple, with a family portrait on a coffee table and the archive of his constituent newsletters occupying a full shelf. For all his minimalism and informality -- he chats with feet propped against the coffee table and rocks on the back legs of his chair -- and for all the freedom from fundraising and interest groups, he still plays his cards close to the vest. A fullerLee Hamilton Students 2006.jpg story might tell more than the sum of its guarded parts. This is a man, after all, whose biography could be something of an allegory for modern American history. But he has always seemed more interested in the national than the personal." (at left: Hamilton with DePauw student journalists in October 2006)

Read the complete text -- headlined "Lee Hamilton: Washington's Bipartisan Power Broker" -- at the Monitor's Web site.

Learn more about Hamilton, who served 34 years in the House of Representatives, in this recent story.

Source: Christian Science Monitor

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