Archived Story

Jack Strayer: Angelina Jolie to the rescue

Published 9:15am Thursday, May 23, 2013

By Jack Strayer

On Tuesday, May 14, 2013, while the media focused simultaneously on White House cascading scandals, one person was able to bravely rise above the political chaos and that was Angelina Jolie.
That same morning, the New York Times published a column by Angelina Jolie explaining her decision to have a double mastectomy in a dramatic proactive effort to prevent breast and ovarian cancer.
Because she is a famously beautiful Academy Award winning actress, her New York Times column became international medical news and she was praised world-wide as a brave and heroic woman who would set an example for thousands of women with the same predisposition to cancer, the BRCA1 or “Jolie gene.”
In March of 2005, I had the opportunity to spend a few minutes with Angelina Jolie at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., where I was hosting a news conference/book roll-out for the president of the Czech Republic Vaclav Klaus. Klaus was a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, the think tank that employed me for several years, and published Klaus’s book
Angelina Jolie was the scheduled speaker at the Press Club’s monthly Headliner Luncheon in the ballroom next door to the Klaus book roll-out. She was to address the Washington press corps about her work with the United Nations, and she was running late. I stood outside the door of the news conference for Klaus on the look-out for Angelina and she suddenly stepped off the elevator and saw the 8-foot high poster of Klaus’ book, “On the Road to Democracy.” She was alone and without an entourage.
“Is Klaus in there?” she asked me. “He is a dear friend of mine and I would like to say hello.”
“Yes he is, but you are running quite late and the press is waiting for you next door in the ballroom,” I explained, as I escorted her into the Klaus news conference. There were hugs and kisses and then I dragged her away and into the ballroom. As I walked her to the dais, 500 reporters gasped and I could here a few saying “What is she doing with Strayer?”
I earned a kiss on both cheeks and had the opportunity to become instantly intoxicated by the subtle scent of her perfume. That became one of the most memorable moments of my 30 years in Washington. I can still smell her perfume.
Angelina possesses the gifts of openness, integrity, bravery, honor, truthfulness and a predisposition to honest public service. These are all traits that Washington needs right now.

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