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August 29th, 2010
11:23 AM ET

Letter to the President #587: “Calling All Presidents”

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Former President Carter has returned from North Korea with yet another American who wound up unwittingly jailed there, and of course former President Clinton (to be distinguished I think from the still possible "future" President Clinton, but that's another letter) did the same thing some time back with those two women. If you need to cut expenses, you might consider eliminating some positions in the U.S. Marshall Service, since it appears the transfer of prisoners can be aptly handled by retired presidents. Ha!

I have long favored the precedent that former chief executives ought to fade into the woodwork and leave the stage entirely to the standing president. (Or sitting one; I don't know what position you are in as you read this. You could be in a hammock for all I know.) That said, these rather symbolic, humanitarian type missions seem well suited to their skills and role in our nation's history. Btw, if you ever need me for such work I will also be happy to help, but I have a feeling I'd be called only to do something like fetch a cat that an ambassador left behind in Albania. Well, you know how i feel; anything for my country.

Of course the danger of calling the former stars of the show back to the main stage is that they might start feeling the urge for a revival of their old act; spouting all sorts of notions about policy, and international relations, and how the drapes you picked out "just don't work at all with the Oval Office motif."

For all of your criticism of your immediate predecessor, you'll have to admit he has generally kept a very circumspect silence about the plans you have pursued even when they clearly would not have been his. Heck, I had a former girlfriend who continued to criticize my decisions for ages after we parted. The phone would ring out of nowhere.

"Hello?"

"Hi. Were you sleeping?"

"Yes."

"Remember that argument we had four years ago? Well, you're still wrong."

So be grateful for small favors from big friends.

Speaking of big friends, I interviewed the actor Brad Pitt this week, and while I would not presume to call that the start of a friendship ("Hey, Brad, want to go bowling?) it was nice enough. Oddly enough, I had to deal with many more questions of logistics and security talking to him than I ever have when I've visited a former president. Go figure. I considered goofing on all the handlers that were swirling around by greeting him with, "Hi Val! You were great in Batman!"

Fortunately I restrained myself. I'm fairly sure if I'd openly teased an uber-celeb like that I would have been shipped off to a North Korean prison myself, and you'd be dispatching another president to bring me home. At least I hope you would.

"Foreman? Leave him there. At least it will stop those stupid letters."

I have to go. The phone is ringing. Probably my old girlfriend.

Regards,

Tom

Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.