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February 20th, 2010
11:59 PM ET

Remembering Al Haig

Haig, second from right, and other senior White House staffers meet after the attempt on Reagan's life. At left is David Gergen.

Haig, second from right, and other senior White House staffers meet after the attempt on Reagan's life. At left is David Gergen.

David Gergen | BIO
AC360° Contributor
CNN Senior Political Analyst

It is odd how one slip off a high wire can define a life, when in fact someone deserves to be remembered - and celebrated - for far more. That is certainly true in the case of Alexander Meigs Haig, who died today after a long life of service to his country.

I was there when Haig’s “moment” occurred. It came on March 30, 1981 when John Hinckley fired a bullet that came within an inch of killing President Ronald Reagan. Al Haig was then Secretary of State and he, along with Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger and others, came rushing to the Situation Room in the White House as the President was wheeled into surgery. I was among senior White House aides who gathered.

There in the Sit Room as we wondered whether Hinckley had co-conspirators and whether foreign nations might be involved, Haig and Weinberger argued whether America’s military forces should be placed on higher alert. Weinberger thought so, Haig thought not. They grew heated.

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Filed under: David Gergen • Raw Politics
February 20th, 2010
09:32 AM ET

San Diego family disappears

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Joseph McStay, his wife and two children have been missing since Feb. 4th.

Joseph McStay, his wife and two children have been missing since Feb. 4th.

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

A close relative of a missing Southern California family fears they may have been kidnapped. “My gut feeling is telling me that they are being held against their will in some way,” said Michael McStay, brother of Joseph McStay. “That’s my personal opinion. That’s what I think.”

Joseph McStay, 40, his wife, Summer, 43, and their two young children, Gianna, 4, and Joseph, 3, have not been seen or heard from since February 4.

Concerned relatives contacted authorities who then conducted a welfare check of the family's home on February 15, the sheriff's department said in a written statement.

An SUV belonging to the family was found abandoned near the Mexican border. "At this point it just seems to be a mystery," Lt. Dennis Brugos of the San Diego County Sheriff's Office told CNN. "There is a chance the family could have voluntarily left and disappeared, but it's unlikely."

Michael McStay said he would speak to his older brother at least once a week. “Every Friday he would call me and we’d be talking for a while,” he said. “We were tight. We’ve always been tight.”

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Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
February 20th, 2010
07:46 AM ET

Dear President Obama #397: Tiger's tale and what's in a name...

Reporter's Note: President Obama has met Tiger Woods, which, despite all the wild tee shots (ahem) Tiger has been dealing with lately, still seems kind of interesting. Maybe I should write a letter to Tiger. Heaven knows he should have time to read it now.

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Did you watch the big Tiger Woods apology for his off-course activities? It was kind of strange, I thought. Seems like he either should have done it a lot sooner, or not at all. It was just peculiar popping up like it did. “Hey America! Remember all that stuff you were upset about back during the holidays? Well, just in case you were forgetting I want to remind you…”

Oh well, who knows why people do the things they do? I knew a guy in college who periodically dressed up in a monk’s robe and roamed from class to class calling himself the Phantom. A few years later I saw him and asked about it, and he started quoting the Bible and talking about how he had renounced his evil ways. I have no idea what he meant. So go figure.

Speaking of things that don’t make a lot of sense, I was less than delighted to hear about your plan to rename the war in Iraq in September. First of all, in September? If this is important, do it now. Is there some kind of special, back to school discount on new war names? Second, with all the big, urgent issues we’re facing these days, why are we wasting even a heartbeat of time renaming a war? I’m pretty sure it doesn’t change a thing. Like that whole Beyonce/Sasha Fierce business. I think she just confused people, and you could wind up doing the same.

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