Well-connected D.C. lawyer to speak in Waukegan hometown: Sneed
By Michael Sneed April 18, 2014 10:06PM
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 02: Mike Allen of Politico, attorney Robert Barnett and Executive Vice President and Publisher of Simon & Schuster Johnathen Karp attend the Book Signing party for TIME's Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy's book, "The Preidents Club" at the New York Public Libaray on May 2, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Time)
Updated: May 21, 2014 6:18AM
The Waukegan Warrior is heading home!
What about Bob?
He’s a master of the book deal.
He’s one of the nation’s most powerful lawyers.
He’s Waukegan bred with Washington cred, who hangs out with the world’s powerful elite.
And he just may become Waukegan’s new favorite son; emerging from the shadow of the late, great Jack Benny, whose hometown became an integral part of the legendary comedian’s 1950s radio showbiz schtick.
“I did help raise funds to build a statue to Jack Benny in Waukegan,” said uber-powerful D.C. attorney Robert “Bob” Barnett, who is the publishing guru to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, former President George W. Bush, Christiane Amanpour and an endless list of A-list names.
Barnett, a 1964 Waukegan Township High School graduate credited as being one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America by The National Law Journal, is heading to his hometown April 26 as guest speaker on his beloved Waukegan Public Library and his love of books at the Glen Flora Country Club.
“One of my earliest memories as a child was attending Story Hour with Miss Schrader at 10 a.m. on Saturdays at the Waukegan Public Library,” Barnett told Sneed.
“My dad, Bernard, once ran the Social Security/Medicare office in Waukegan; my mom, Betty, worked at the Globe Department store. And books were beloved friends,” he added.
“The highlight of my summer as a kid was when the Waukegan Public Library Bookmobile came to the Lewis Avenue Shopping Plaza,” he said. “Our parents made reading and books a big part of the lives of my sister [Ilene] and me,” he added.
“Of course, I also attended Miss Lundy’s Rhythm School when I was two and three years old, where we learned such important skills as the elephant walk — and where we frequently went tee-tee in our tutus,” chirped Barnett.
“Being invited to come home to speak for the library is a great privilege for me. I’ve always donated money to the library in my parents memory.”
Barnett’s claim to fame is not lame: A powerful member of the Williams & Connelly law firm, Barnett only has not only represented major corporations but his author list of clients include: President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former first lady Laura Bush, Bob Woodward, former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, James Patterson, Barbra Streisand, George Will, James Carville, Mary Matalin, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair; Queen Noor of Jordan and Prince Charles.
Take a breath.
Now toss into the newsie mix Brian Williams, Lesley Stahl, Ann Curry, Sam Donaldson, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Brit Hume, Andrea Mitchell, Rita Braver, Gwen Ifill, and David Gergen− and the fact he played the role of former President George H. W. Bush in practice debates with Geraldine Ferraro in 1984, with Michael Dukakis in 1988, Bill Clinton in 1992; assisted Hillary Rodham Clinton in 23 presidential primary debates in 2008 as well as Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.
“Our links to the publishing world are shrinking and we need to do what we can for the next generation . . . the iPhone generation. I love books. What’s happening is a real shame.
“You know, I never miss a class reunion and I’m still in touch with all my old friends,” he said. “Marc (Murph) Morrison (now a banker in Hong Kong), Lee Swank (now a doctor in Wisconsin), Norm Hansen, Jane Drew Waller, Jim Dennor, Marty Becker, and Ron Emanuel (not Chicago’s mayor.)”
It’s still hard to believe that Barnett, who councils some of the world’s most powerful and influential people, once went tee-tee in his tutu.
Love ya, Bob.
Sneedlings . . .
Saturday’s birthdays: Mike Madigan, 72; Ashley Judd, 46, and Kate Hudson, 35 . . . Sunday’s birthdays: George Takei, 77; Jessica Lange, 65, and Ryan O’Neal, 73.