About two years ago McCain began talking to Ken Duberstein, Reagan’s last White House chief of staff and a close friend of Gen. Colin Powell’s. McCain wanted to know: was Powell thinking of running? Left unstated was the reality that there wasn’t room for two American heroes in the presidential race. Duberstein assured McCain that Powell would stay out of the campaign, and the two men began talking about “upping McCain’s profile,” says Duberstein. McCain, who had a book coming out about his own military career, had watched with fascination as Powell ran a book tour in 1995 that resembled a coronation parade. “How did Colin do it?” McCain wanted to know. The senator also quizzed Duberstein about President Reagan. How had the Gipper won over so many Democrats as well as Republicans? Duberstein offered contacts (his corporate clients include Goldman Sachs and General Motors) as well as sage advice. He began to quietly expose McCain to corporate bigwigs (and potential campaign donors), hosting a breakfast for 25 business leaders with Henry Kissinger in New York that December.
Today, Duberstein says he’s voting for Obama:
Former Reagan chief of staff Ken Duberstein told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria this week he intends to vote for Democrat Barack Obama on Tuesday. […] Duberstein spoke with Zakaria about his final days in the Reagan White House. The Reagan official, along with Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Carter National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, also discussed the transition process to a new administration.
On some level, I sort of regret seeing people like this hop onto the Obama bandwagon. Realistically, at some point the Republicans are going to come back into power and I’d prefer that to be a less-crazy version of the GOP. That’s going to require less-crazy people, people like Duberstein, to exert some influence and have some credibility.