Miller Center

Riding The Tiger

“I discovered that being a President is like riding a tiger. A man has to keep on riding or be swallowed.” Harry S. Truman

Reagan Oral History and the Challenger Disaster

Photograph of President Reagan and his staff watching a televised replay of the Space Shuttle

Photograph of President Reagan and his staff watching a televised replay of the Space Shuttle “Challenger” explosion. Courtesy of NARA

Reflecting on this anniversary, two interviewees from the Ronald Reagan Oral History Project talk about the Challenger tragedy: James Kuhn and Kathleen Osborne.

VIDEO: Case, Fiorina Headline Entrepreneurship Panel

Watch a panel featuring AOL founder Steve Case and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina. The Milstein Symposium's latest report entitled, "Can Startups Save the American Dream?" is discussed at length. More broadly, the conversation focuses on the link between entrepreneurship and middle class jobs. 

Case and Fiorina served as co-chairs of the nonpartisan commission behind the work. They are joined on stage by three fellow commissioners, Ross Baird, Executive Director of Village Capital, Lenny Mendonca, retired Senior Partner at McKinsey & Co., and Brian Meece, CEO of RocketHub. Steve Clemons of the Atlantic serves as moderator. 

REPORT RELEASE: “Can Startups Save the American Dream?”

The Miller Center’s Milstein Symposium on the Middle Class released its second report on January 13th. 

The release, entitled “Can Startups Save the American Dream?” proposes a series of actionable, impactful and non-partisan ideas. The goal is to improve the middle class via targeted reforms impacting the entrepreneurial community.

The panel was held in Washington D.C. and was moderated by Steve Clemons of The Atlantic. The Commission’s Co-Chairs, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and AOL founder Steve Case were in attendance. McKinsey’s Lenny Mendonca, Rockethub’s Brian Meece, and Ross Baird of Village Capital rounded out the discussion.

Miller Center CEO Bill Antholis made opening remarks, as did philanthropist and project funder Howard P. Milstein.

The report is the result of the second Commission in the ongoing Milstein Symposium on the Middle Class. The Miller Center partnered with U.Va.'s Batten Institute at the Darden School of Business. 

Read the two- and five-page executive summaries, or the full report.

For media coverage, click here

ARTICLE: Businesspeople, Educators Seek Ways to Teach Entrepreneurship

A recent Wall Street Journal article references the current Milstein report with a focus on one proposal in particular: the idea of a K-12 entrepreneurship competition.

The author looks on the notion favorably within the context of a piece focusing on alternative entrepreneurship education. 

Commission member and RocketHub CEO Brian Meece is quoted in the article. He notes that our education system currently focuses too much on preparing students to become employees at the cost of potentially becoming employers. In his words, students should have the opportunity to "tinker, and compete in a fun, competitive landscape" as a way of jarring that mindset free. 

Selma: Film, Fiction, Fact, and the Tale of the Tapes

Selma, a movie about the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches led by Martin Luther King Jr., was recently released to critical acclaim. It also stirred some controversy for its portrayal of President Lyndon Johnson. The movie depicts Johnson as not being supportive of King’s efforts and has touched off a national conversation about the Johnson-King relationship, as well as the role of the presidency in making national policy and in steering social movements.

Filmmakers are often accused of taking dramatic license with history. 

What is striking in this case is that secret Oval Office recordings – made widely available online and through transcription – have been marshaled to sort out fact from fiction.

George H.W. Bush and Saudi Arabia

Vice President Dick Cheney walks with newly crowned King Abdullah, former President George H.W. Bush, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell during a retreat at King Abdullah’s Farm in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, August, 2005. White House photo by David Bohrer

King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud died at the age of 90 today.  At POHP, it gives us a chance to pause and reflect on the important relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States.

Barack and Bill: Buttoned Down v. Off the Cuff

According to the New York Times, President Obama responds to speechwriter Cody Keenan’s handiwork by rejecting initial iterations and rewriting entire speeches from scratch or accepting first drafts with only light editing in neatly written margin notes.  Apparently, tonight’s State of the Union address illustrates the latter approach.  After spending lonely hours poring over what will be the 44th president’s penultimate SOTU, then pouring single-malt scotch with Obama’s deputy national security advisor Benjamin Rhodes and paring down the draft, Keenan was relieved when his boss accepted the speech with few changes. The Miller Center’s recently released history of the Clinton presidency ( reveals the clear distinction between how Obama and Clinton address the writing of their addresses to the nation.  

ARTICLE: “Fiorina Says ‘There’ll be Time’ to Scrutinize ‘Other Presidential Candidates’”

Bloomberg News attended the most recent report release to cover Fiorina's remarks made on the panel.

The author heavily emphasized the possiblity of Fiorina running for president in 2016. He noted the Commission Co-Chairs remark that Washington is all about "big business, big labor" when it should be keeping its eyes on smaller entrepreneurs like the "corner tacqueria and nail salon." 

ARTICLE: “Carly Fiorina Takes a Swipe at ‘Big Government’ in D.C. Visit

Time Magazine covered the release event for the latest report in Washington, D.C. 

The article focuses mostly on Commission Co-Chair and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina's remarks. At one point, the conversation shifted to heavily emphasis elements of the release focusing on start-ups more easily navigating federal regulation. Fiorina stated, “It’s like geologic sediment. We have eons, millennia of rules and regulations at the federal level, at the state level and at the local level, and it has become a primordial soup. And if you’re a big company you can handle it, but if you’re a startup or small company you really can’t. The point is, we have to start undoing some of this stuff.”

ARTICLE: “The American Dream is Dying: How Small Businesses Can Change That.”

Inc. Magazine's Jeremy Quittner released an op-ed providing his comprehensive assessment of the latest Milstein report.

The article pulls quotes from multiple Commissioners. Co-Chair and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina states that, "we all believe in a shared hypothesis, that you want to encourage entrepreneurship as a pathway to the middle class." The Commission's other Co-Chair, AOL founder Steve Case adds that, "entrepreneurs must again be at the heart of rebuilding the American economy."

Academic Programs Newsletter

The Miller Center hosted a number of academic events this fall. The Academic Programs Newsletter provides a content-based synopsis and analysis of past academic events and updates about the program.

Martin Anderson, Advisor to President Reagan, Has Died

Martin Anderson, an economist and top advisor to President Reagan, has died. Read about his time in the White House, in his own words, in the Miller Center's oral history interview conducted in 2005. 

National Economic Council

On January 25, 1993, President Clinton signed Executive Order 12835 that created the National Economic Council (NEC).  It was formed to coordinate economic policy initiatives, much like what the National Security Council (founded in 1947) did for security policy.

For those on the outside, it looked seamless to create this new group, but Alan Blinder, the director of the Council of Economic Advisers, tells us in our Clinton Presidential Project interview about the behind-the-scenes anxiety as power shifts around in Washington, D.C.

EVENT: Commission on Entrepreneurship to Release Final Report on Jan. 14th in D.C.

AOL co-founder and CEO of Revolution Steve Case and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina will be headlining a Jan. 14th release event at the Halcyon House in Washington, D.C. They will discuss the final report of the Miller Center’s Howard P. Milstein Symposium: Commission on Entrepreneurship and Middle-Class Jobs, along with other members of the Commission. 

To watch this event live, click here. To attend the event, please RSVP here

The Middle Class: A Crisis of Faith

Robert Samuelson utilizes a recent Washington Post/Miller Center poll to highlight important changes in the way middle-income individuals perceive their access to the American Dream. More and more, people see social mobility and opportunity as diminishing relative to previous generations. The article can be found here