The Volunteer Who Went onto National Media with His Political Views — Bob Beckel (Philippines)
Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963-65)
Robert (Bob) Beckel served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines from 1971 to 1972. Prior to that, Bob graduated from Wagner College in Staten Island, where he played football and worked for Robert F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign in 1968. After returning home from his Volunteer assignment, Bob was a graduate school professor of politics at George Washington University in the District of Columbia.
In 1977, Bob joined the U. S. Department of State as deputy assistant Secretary of State in the Carter Administration. In that role, he helped to shepherd the Panama Canal Treaty through the Congress to ratification. The following year, he was appointed as Special Assistant to the president for legislative affairs, working on ratification of Salt II and Mideast treaties.
Subsequently, Bob was the campaign manager for Walter Mondale’s 1984 presidential campaign. During that campaign, he became known as the man who wrapped the Wendy’s slogan: “Where’s the Beef” around former Senator Gary Hart, Mondale’s opponent for the Democratic nomination.
In late 1984, he formed his consulting firm Bob Beckel & Associates, a lobbying company. In 2000, Bob called on Florida electors to overturn George W. Bush’s slim victory over Al Gore. Gore rejected the offer and Bob’s business partners left his firm, forcing him to close down operations.
In 2011, Bob joined Fox News as a co-host of ‘The Five’ and co-hosted some 708 episodes until June 2015, when Fox announced that Bob had left the program. This led to speculation that he had been fired, but Fox later announced that his absence was due to “health related issues.” It was later revealed that Bob had major back surgery at a New York area hospital.
Bob was a recovering alcoholic. He spoke openly about his past addictions to drugs and alcohol, admitting in July 2011 on “The Five,” “I’m a recovering addict and cocaine was my drug of choice.”
Alongside his media activities on “The Five,” Bob had a near-run-in, when in October 2011 at a Fox News reception he nearly chocked to death on a piece of shrimp. Fortunately, he was saved by Fox News chief Roger Ailes and “The Five” co-host Eric Bolling.
In late 2015, Bob published a memoir I Should Be Dead: My Life Surviving Politics, TV and Addiction. Cal Thomas hosted a book-signing party celebrating its publication which aired in November 2015 on C-Span.
Bob passed away in February of 2022 at the age of 73, a former Volunteer who used the time of his life to share his political beliefs — warts and all, with a national audience, and becoming a vocal representative of Peace Corps 3rd Goal, entitling him to a Profile in Citizenship.
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