LEXINGTON, Ky.—Current Speaker of the United States House of Representatives John Boehner, R-Ohio, former speaker and current House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and former Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., honor Henry Clay with discussion on the history and role of the Speaker of the House in this one-hour program. John Harwood, CNBC chief Washington correspondent and New York Times political writer, moderated the discussion that drew a capacity audience to Transylvania University this summer. The Michael Breeding Media film "The Role of the Speaker of the House: A Tribute to Henry Clay" will air on Kentucky Educational Television (KET) on the following dates:
Each of the panelists pays tribute to the legacy of Clay and discusses his or her experience as Speaker during sharply differing eras of the political life of the country and under different presidents. Pointing to Clay's enormous influence on the national political scene from the 1820s to the late 1840s when forces were at work that eventually led to civil war, Boehner says, "No one person in the United States was more responsible for holding the Union together during that time than Henry Clay. He has been a role model for me."
Pelosi notes that Clay was a bridge from the nation's founders, such as James Madison, to Abraham Lincoln in his early political career. "Clay was able to build up not only the Speaker's role, but a strong legislative establishment overall because Americans at that time feared a strong executive," she says. "They did not want a king."
All of the panelists touch on the delicate balancing act that a House Speaker must create between the interests of his or her own party and the overall interests of the House.
"As Speaker, you represent and lead your party, but you are also Speaker for the entire House," Hastert says. "The issue of fairness is an overriding one. You have to keep this in mind."
DVD copies of the KET special can be ordered by visiting https://transylvania.pay.heartlandwebcart.com/Home.aspx and clicking "Miscellaneous Conferences" on the left sidebar. Then select "A Tribute to Henry Clay." Payment can be made by credit card or electronic check. Shipping is included.
For more information, call Transylvania's public relations office at (859) 233-8120.