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David Gergen

There can be life after death -- or at least in American politics as we have just seen with the U.S. Senate's approval of Dr. Vivek Murthy as the next U.S. surgeon general. It 's a small political miracle that promises to serve the nation well over the next two years.

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Gergen: What it takes to fix the VAupdated Fri May 30 2014 18:42:58

General Eric Shinseki, one of the finest soldiers of his generation, performed a final act of service for his country when he fell on his sword. It was a sad moment but, as a life-long patriot, he knew he had to resign as secretary of Veterans Affairs.

Obama, Shinseki stories on VA medical care don't add upupdated Thu May 22 2014 14:02:42

The reputations of one of the Army's finest generals and of a once-admired institution may get tarnished, but nothing should now get in the way of urgent investigations, firings and immediate fixes in health care for veterans.

Obama, a lame duck for 33 months?updated Thu May 01 2014 15:03:29

Coming home from Asia, Barack Obama is obviously going through another rough patch in his presidency. But this time, it could be more dangerous: He is perilously close to becoming a lame duck 33 months before he leaves office. That is bad for him, bad for the country and bad for the world.

Shutdown could be shock therapyupdated Mon Sep 30 2013 13:47:17

Driven by a hard-line faction of conservatives, Washington has done something terribly stupid: shutting down the national government. Most of America is aghast. But it is also just possible that doing something stupid will help us avoid doing something truly dangerous.

A horrible way to fill the second most powerful job in Americaupdated Tue Sep 17 2013 17:10:52

Before the story sinks beneath the waves, a few more words are in order about the recent selection process for a new chief for the Federal Reserve: It stinks.

Obama's media blitz: Mission impossible?updated Mon Sep 09 2013 07:56:27

Even though he sailed to the White House on the wings of his soaring rhetoric, President Barack Obama could find that he is on mission impossible as he launches his media blitz on Syria this week -- six television interviews on Monday and a dramatic prime time address on Tuesday. Perhaps he will persuade a skeptical public, but it is surely the toughest speaking assignment of his presidency.

On Syria, Obama must show strong grip updated Mon Sep 02 2013 23:21:32

President Barack Obama's surprise decision to seek congressional approval for a strike in Syria was a gamble that will likely succeed and over time may be judged deft. But the way he got there has also raised troubling questions about his leadership in foreign affairs.

The inner demons that drove Nixonupdated Tue Jul 30 2013 16:30:20

CNN's new documentary, "Our Nixon," tugs open the curtain for a moment on one of the most complex, haunted presidents in modern times.

Boston never surrendersupdated Tue Apr 16 2013 10:27:42

Here in Boston, people will grieve for many days. How could anyone be so evil as to plant a bomb that would murder an 8-year-old child, rip the legs off parents and devastate a celebration of athletics that is pure joy. These were murders that wrench the soul.

Americans sick of budget soap operaupdated Wed Feb 27 2013 12:05:39

In travels this week -- to Boston, Chicago, New York -- friends and strangers alike have said the same thing: They are turned off and tuned out of the sequestration mess in Washington. To a person, they are sick of the antics of those to whom they have entrusted enormous power.

Obama, Rubio speeches: Highs and lowsupdated Thu Feb 14 2013 11:38:49

Neither the State of the Union address by President Barack Obama nor the response by Sen. Marco Rubio will ever find a place in the anthology of best American speeches, but together they were important entries in the political dialogue. Before they fade into memory, perhaps a few words are in order about the highs and lows of the evening -- at least from this vantage point:

Last chance to conquer the deficitsupdated Tue Feb 12 2013 10:57:13

President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night is likely to be the most important domestic speech that he gives during the rest of his presidency -- but not for the reasons commonly cited.

Obama's historic speech deepens divisions updated Wed Jan 23 2013 08:18:53

Years from now, historians are likely to look back upon Barack Obama's second inaugural address as a rich treasure trove for understanding his presidency and possibly the course of American politics.

Madness in the air in Washingtonupdated Fri Dec 21 2012 20:18:32

What in the world is gripping Washington? Everywhere one turns -- from finances to guns to nominations -- there is madness in the air.

Inouye: Man of courage, humanity, dignityupdated Tue Dec 18 2012 14:31:51

As the nation continues to grieve for the six adults and 20 children taken too soon in the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting, a hero from another generation has slipped peacefully into the pages of history.

Honor the victims -- with actionupdated Mon Dec 17 2012 07:41:00

Yet again we are struggling to bear the unbearable. How can we find meaning in the massacre of so many innocent children, savagely cut down in a hail of bullets?

Will President Obama push us over the cliff?updated Fri Nov 30 2012 11:47:12

Forgive me, but haven't we seen this movie before in the aftermath of national elections? Usually, it doesn't end well.

At debate, read between the linesupdated Mon Oct 22 2012 17:30:43

The final presidential debate will range over world hotspots -- from Iran and Syria to Afghanistan and Iraq -- but if you listen closely, you will also hear an entirely different conversation: signals to voters back home trying to shape their choice in a slam-bang election.

2012 winner must unite America on idealsupdated Tue Jul 03 2012 08:22:31

With July Fourth upon us, many are pausing to ask why America is special -- and how we see that reflected in our politics.

Are voters ready to move on?updated Thu Jun 28 2012 15:48:23

With the Supreme Court's thunderbolt, a crucial battle is over on health care, but the war surely goes on. Or does it?

Supreme Court in a no-win position on Obamacare?updated Tue Jun 12 2012 07:48:33

Seventy-five years ago, Franklin Roosevelt launched a crusade against the Supreme Court, angry that it was overturning important New Deal initiatives.

What Space Shuttle Discovery has inspired in usupdated Fri Apr 20 2012 08:27:16

Space Shuttle Discovery started out as a way to discover what lies beyond us. Its last flight, taken earlier this week, helped to discover what now lies within us.

Patriots' cry: Win it for Myra!updated Fri Feb 03 2012 11:59:19

Across the country, fans of the New England Patriots are wondering whether Tom Brady will return to top form this Sunday, whether Gronk's ankle will hold up, and whether cornerback Julian Edelman can shut down the Giants' dangerous receivers. But here in Beantown, folks ask still another question: Will the Pats go out and win this one for Myra?

A wild card awaiting Romney updated Wed Jan 11 2012 10:56:09

If our politics weren't so fluid and volatile, one would think, now that the votes are tallied in New Hampshire, that the race for the Republican nomination is virtually over. But for better and worse, we are living in a new era.

Why the winds are shifting toward Obamaupdated Thu Dec 22 2011 14:08:41

Even though House Republicans are now wisely folding their tents, their disarray this week over extending a payroll tax cut has left a sour taste at year's end in Washington, contributing in no small part to an even bigger political story: the resurrection of President Obama and his fellow Democrats heading toward the 2012 elections.

Mitt Romney -- Where's the rest of him?updated Fri Dec 02 2011 10:30:17

Not long ago, many pundits agreed that the Republican nomination was Mitt Romney's to lose. Now, with one recent poll showing Gingrich up a whopping 21% over Romney among likely GOP voters nationwide (and wide leads in early states like Iowa, South Carolina and Florida), it appears the former Massachusetts governor could actually lose this thing in the next few weeks. So many are asking: What's gone wrong in Boston? And what if anything might he do?

Is there a 'New Newt' in town?updated Wed Nov 23 2011 17:55:53

In the cold light of morning, Mitt Romney still looks like the man to beat for the Republican presidential nomination, but the buzz Tuesday night in the debate hall and since has mostly centered on Newt Gingrich.

Have they gone nuts in Washington?updated Mon Nov 21 2011 09:12:43

Have they gone nuts in Washington?

Is money's deep role in politics the root of our woes?updated Tue Nov 15 2011 13:02:04

This past Sunday's "60 Minutes" and the latest issue of Newsweek bring back to the fore the complicated issue of money and politics. Both highlight a new book by Peter Schweizer, "Throw Them All Out," which rails against what Schweizer calls "honest graft." 

Why 2012 election will be very closeupdated Wed Nov 09 2011 12:35:58

Amidst the welter of election results from voting yesterday, two conclusions seem pretty clear:

Cain must give straight answers, and fastupdated Wed Nov 02 2011 14:49:56

Herman Cain may very well bounce back and remain a popular contender for the GOP presidential nomination, but the normal rules of politics would say that he has about 48 hours to get his campaign under control.

Will the end of Gadhafi sway U.S. politics?updated Thu Oct 20 2011 18:10:21

With Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi's dramatic demise this Thursday morning, the world is rid of a tyrant, and a free Libya has jumped a mile forward to stability (though, as CNN's Ben Wedeman reports, there are still many more miles to go).

Why GOP candidates should cool itupdated Wed Oct 19 2011 08:26:12

Mitt Romney walked into Tuesday night's Republican debate as the front-runner and, in my view, walked out in an even stronger position. But in retrospect, he and party leaders might wish they could have invoked the Las Vegas rule: What happens there stays there.

Time for GOP to address Occupy Wall Streetupdated Tue Oct 18 2011 15:11:38

Pressure is mounting on Republicans to address spreading public protests against Wall Street. How they answer could shape the political landscape from here to the November elections.

Is Obama's re-election bid a hostage to Europe?updated Thu Oct 06 2011 09:49:29

Even as events here in the United States are reshaping the political landscape for the 2012 presidential elections, it has become blazingly clear that what is happening in Europe may actually prove more decisive.

Is America becoming a house divided against itself?updated Wed Sep 28 2011 07:37:53

When trouble strikes in our personal lives and we are searching for a source, it usually makes sense to take a look in a familiar place -- the mirror. And so it should be in our troubled politics today.

How Obama could be the leader in the roomupdated Thu Sep 01 2011 16:40:50

President Obama was smart to change the date of his speech to a joint session of Congress and to do so quickly, but whether he is adopting a smart strategy for creating jobs is a much bigger, tougher question.

Five things Obama should do to leadupdated Thu Aug 11 2011 13:41:08

When you have flown through a heavy storm, the plane tossing one way and another, have you ever wondered whether there was really anyone in the cockpit? That's the feeling that many Americans have today -- as if we are lurching through an economic storm with no one in charge.

In economic turmoil, U.S. needs a leader like Churchillupdated Sun Aug 07 2011 09:31:49

Before returning to the States this weekend, I and others in my family spent enthralled hours at the Churchill War Rooms in London, along with the new museum in his honor next door. Now, there was a leader! There was a man whose example shouts out to us now in our hour of trouble.

The deal disappoints, but don't give up on Americaupdated Tue Aug 02 2011 15:30:33

Tucked away here at a family reunion among rolling hills, one can easily drift into another, more pleasant world, but the old realities keep intruding. Time and again, English relatives have gingerly but worriedly asked, "What is to become of America after this debt struggle?"

Is Washington slouching toward a solution?updated Tue Jul 26 2011 07:43:53

With America now perilously close to default, here's where I sense we stand. My observations may be off as I have only had a brief time in Washington to take measure, but let me give it my best shot.

No way to run a countryupdated Thu Jul 21 2011 08:00:59

If Bill Safire were still with us and writing a column about the debt follies in Washington, he might well begin by asking readers: Which of the following outcomes is most likely in the days ahead?

Time for a truce on debt-ceiling talksupdated Thu Jul 14 2011 15:20:59

With tempers near a boiling point and the risk growing that the United States could default on its debt obligations, it is time for a truce in the budget talks in Washington -- essentially a cease-fire in place.

Why Obama's pushing for a mega-dealupdated Tue Jul 12 2011 16:01:08

With a debt-ceiling crisis building in Washington, the administration on Tuesday opened another window into President Obama's thinking about the best ways to bring resolution.

Obama joins parties in painting himself into a corner over debtupdated Mon Jul 11 2011 14:47:46

It's hard to remember a simmering crisis when America's political leaders have painted themselves into so many corners, but that's where we are as we face a potential default on our national debt. As leaders return to bargaining Monday afternoon, they had better find their way out soon, or we will pay a fearful price.

How Obama deal on debt could hurt Democrats in 2012updated Fri Jul 08 2011 10:55:47

The stakes are growing ever higher on deficit negotiations in Washington. And as they do, the politics are becoming ever more treacherous, especially for Democrats.

Will Obama's barbs help or hurt debt talks?updated Wed Jun 29 2011 16:59:51

"When they won't see the light," goes the old saying, "make 'em feel the heat." That was the strategy President Obama employed today in his press conference as he skewered Republicans over deficit negotiations. But where will it lead?

Why didn't Obama listen to Petraeus?updated Thu Jun 23 2011 08:02:08

There was something deeply unsettling about President Obama's speech on Afghanistan and much of the commentary that surrounded it -- or at least there was to me, as someone who clings to some old-fashioned traditions about U.S. foreign policy.

AARP move on Social Security could help avoid a train wreckupdated Fri Jun 17 2011 21:51:38

While America retains many underlying strengths, economists increasingly worry that unless we change course, the United States could be heading toward an economic train wreck. For months, the focus has been on the country slipping into a debt crisis. In the past few weeks, concerns have risen sharply about economic growth as well. Two top economists, Larry Summers and Carmen Reinhart, have asked aloud whether we could be stumbling into a "lost decade," a catastrophe that swept Japan in the 1990s.

Candidates may win GOP, but lose Americaupdated Tue Jun 14 2011 01:07:48

The first big Republican debate ended with two clear winners in the race for the nomination: Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann. And there was one other candidate who helped himself: Newt Gingrich.

Whose voice matters on Anthony Weiner's fate?updated Fri Jun 10 2011 17:05:05

Who should decide the fate of Anthony Weiner? His constituents in Queens and Brooklyn? Or the leadership of the Democratic Party?

Are we seeing Gadhafi's final days?updated Wed Jun 08 2011 09:57:44

Four months after he began ruthlessly repressing dissent in Libya, Moammar Gadhafi appears to have entered his final days. Dead or alive, he seems very much on the verge of giving up power -- perhaps as early as this weekend, perhaps a little longer.

NY-26: Big impact on deficit fightsupdated Thu May 26 2011 16:10:04

When a young GOP Congressman stripped off his shirt, took his picture and e-mailed it to a woman, he did more than end his career -- he set off a political ripple that probably ends prospects for resolving the nation's growing debt crisis before next year's elections.

A Middle East review, but not much newupdated Thu May 19 2011 15:43:27

In the president's speech on Thursday, there were two surprises that could shape its impact for a long time to come.

Remembering 9/11 and what's truly importantupdated Fri May 06 2011 07:22:36

Since President Obama's dramatic announcement that America had successfully found and dispatched Osama bin Laden, we have been awash in questions and second-guessing about the mission. Were the SEALs wrong to shoot him? Why didn't the White House get the story right in its first telling? Why can't we see the photos? Were Americans wrong to celebrate?

A victory for Obama -- and Americaupdated Mon May 02 2011 08:50:29

It is far too soon to judge the long-term significance of America's successful operation to kill Osama Bin Laden. Will al Qaeda begin to crumble now that its charismatic leader is dead, or will we endure new terrorist attacks, perhaps on U.S. soil?

Obama -- brilliant politician, timid leaderupdated Thu Apr 14 2011 17:08:20

In his budget speech yesterday, President Obama showed once again that he is a more masterful politician but less courageous leader than we might have imagined. What that will mean for the country's economic future remains deeply uncertain.

What readers say about Obama, Libyaupdated Wed Mar 30 2011 08:51:58

Tuesday morning, thanks to, I had a chance to write a column asking what you thought about President Barack Obama's speech Monday night on Libya and the future use of military force. Thousands of you responded, showing that many Americans long for a robust debate.

Did Obama convince you on Libya?updated Tue Mar 29 2011 07:57:58

Now that the "commentariat" has had its say about President Barack Obama's speech Monday night on Libya, chewing over every phrase, the decisive American verdict about his address rests not in television studios but in homes across the country.

What is Obama's endgame in Libya?updated Sun Mar 20 2011 17:14:21

After conversations with top players in Washington last week, mostly as I accompanied a group of Zuckerman Fellows from Harvard on a field trip, here are some brief reflections on the mood there toward events in the Middle East:

Can the U.S. still compete?updated Tue Jan 25 2011 12:28:33

President Obama promises to focus his State of the Union tonight on one of the most important domestic questions we have faced in years. Whether he will succeed in moving the nation forward will depend not only on his own leadership but on the willingness of others -- the left, the right and the media -- to put the country first.

Did Obama rise to the moment?updated Thu Jan 13 2011 08:56:55

My friends at CNN have asked for a few reflections about the president's speech Wednesday night in Tucson.

No time for finger-pointingupdated Sun Jan 09 2011 16:22:42

Until we have more definitive information about the shooter, pointing fingers at who might bear responsibility for the Tucson, Arizona, massacre only contributes to what we must end in America: a toxic political environment.

3 cheers for wise White House counselorupdated Fri Jan 07 2011 11:42:27

In our national politics, where power and fame are the most powerful narcotics, it takes a rare person to walk away from it all. But Pete Rouse has just done that in the White House and he deserves a hearty salute.

Obama's stunning turnaroundupdated Wed Dec 22 2010 15:39:23

Voters who flocked to the Republican banner seven weeks ago are probably scratching their heads, wondering, "Who really won in November?" After handing the president and Congressional Democrats the worst drubbing in more than half a century, they can only watch in disbelief as President Barack Obama has reeled off a series of unexpected victories.

Is America losing its influence?updated Fri Nov 12 2010 14:45:51

Opening The New York Times on Friday morning, I blinked. The headline on its lead story, spread over two columns, blared out, "Obama's Economic View Is Rejected on World Stage."