The Richard Nixon Foundation--the partisan, pro-Dick private arm of the public-run presidential library in Yorba Linda where they run the gift shop and present such speakers as Ann Coulter, Newt Gingrich and Hugh Hewitt--would never host a book signing by a writer from your favorite Orange County-based alternative newsweekly.
But tonight the foundation will have up there on the podium a one-time ink-stained wretch for a Washington, D.C.-based alt. weekly.
He is Jake Tapper, who got his start in journalism writing freelance articles for Washington City Paper in the late 1990s. A Jan. 30, 1998, piece of his that got a lot of attention was titled "I Dated Monica Lewinsky: Behind the tawdriest of headlines, there's a woman I wouldn't mind bringing home to mom."
Here's how he described his date:
Monica was/is like a lot of young women inside the Beltway, only more so: young, ambitious, and looking--looking for next, seeking a place to land, searching for that one friendly face in the crowd who will think she's worth talking to. A guy, a boss, a boyfriend, a mentor, a friend. For Monica, that person turned out to be Bill Clinton. Clinton apparently saw in her either a consummately gullible kid, or maybe, just maybe, he was taken by the same thing I was: an absence of jade, a willingness to look around the next corner, a sweetness that is rare in a city built on bitter and sour and salty
Perhaps it was that piece, and Tapper's previous "insider" stints as a congressional press secretary for a Democrat and a public-relations pro for a Democrat-owned firm, that put him on the radar of Salon, which tapped him to be their Washington correspondent. His June 18, 2003, story "The Hyping of Saddam's WMD" was among the first to question the Bush administration's claims about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
ABC News hired him in 2003, and he became the chief White House correspondent in 2008. He was not only featured on the evening news but as fill-in host of shows like This Week, Nightline and Good Morning America.
Thanks to one of teetering CNN's many makeovers, Tapped was wooed to the cable news operation last December, and has been hosting The Lead with Jake Tapper since January.
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The Nixon library's GOP hawks wooed Tapper to their Yorba Linda nest because of his recent New York Times bestselling book. The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor is about Combat Outpost Keating, where 53 American soldiers defeated nearly 400 Taliban fighters in one of America's deadliest battles in Afghanistan.
Tapper is scheduled to discuss the book and sign copies purchased by guests at the event beginning at 7 p.m. "Attending Tapper's riveting presentation is a perfect way to honor Veterans Day," state the organizers. Tickets, which are $8 (or $6 for members), are available HERE.
Earlier in the day, the presidential library, museum and birthplace at 18001 Yorba Linda Blvd. commemorates Veterans Day with a presentation of the colors, performances by Villa Park High School's Jazz Ensemble and Orange High School's Concert Choir, and a talk by Boston Globe national security reporter Bryan Bender on his book You Are Not Forgotten: The Story of a Lost World War II Fighter Pilot and a Twenty-First Century Soldier's Mission to Bring Him Home. That all begins at 11 a.m. and is followed by a performance by the 90-member Placentia Symphonic Band at 2 p.m.