A Giant of the Senate Recalls When Bipartisanship Was the Norm

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- This week’s guest on Masters in Business, former Senate majority leader George Mitchell, is known among his fellow lawmakers as an honest broker and skillful legislative strategist. He had a big role in negotiating a peace agreement in Northern Ireland and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Our conversation covered Brexit to money in elections to nuclear negotiations on the Korean peninsula. On the issue of Russian meddling in U.S. elections, Mitchell blames both President Barack Obama and Donald Trump for failing to respond forcefully to President Vladimir Putin.

Mitchell has served on the many boards of directors, including Walt Disney Co., where he was a director for 12 years, serving as chairman for the last four.

Mitchell disagrees with the Supreme Court’s campaign finance decisions such as Citizens United, which held that corporations had the free-speech right to political giving. “Money is money and speech is speech and every sixth grader understands the differences,” he said.

We also discussed changes in immigration under the Trump administration. Toward the end of the interview he tells the story of a man (not him) who he calls “the REAL George Mitchell,” an immigrant who has dramatically affected the well-being of the U.S.

His favorite books are listed here; a transcript of our conversation will be published here tomorrow.

You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunesBloombergOvercast, and Stitcher. Our earlier podcasts can all be found on iTunesStitcherOvercast, and Bloomberg.

Next week, we speak with Dr. Raife Giovinazzo, who manages Fuller & Thaler’s Behavioral Small Cap Equity strategy.

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