President Kennedy, whose PT 109 was rammed by a Japanese destroyer,
was sometimes asked how he became a war hero. 'They sank my boat,' he'd
reply. Well, that's sort of how I became a White House aide.
In 1991, the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock went under forever, taking
with it my job. When I awoke from my hangover the next day, I had
exactly zero job prospects. But just days before, Gov. Bill Clinton had
opened his presidential campaign blocks away. The circus had come to
town, and I love circuses.
I called Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers twice a day for two weeks and she
finally hired me.
The pace was frenetic, the stress high and the pay literally
But after a year of 90-hour weeks making copies, filing clips and
hand-delivering news summaries, we won.
I served two years as President Clinton's director of news analysis
before writing a book (Aboard Air Force One, Fithian Press). Now back in
Little Rock, I'm providing public affairs consulting for Fortune 500
clients and earning more than three times what I did in DC. All because
they sank my boat.
Ken Chitester is managing director for The Thompson Group, a strategic
communications firm with offices in Austin, TX, Denver, Little Rock, AK,