Books by Mitchell, Bowdoin College, Clinton, William J., Dickey-Lincoln project, Iran-Contra, Maine congressional delegation, Maine Indian Land Claims Settlement Act, Maine politics, Majority Leader, Muskie, Edmund S., U.S. Senate culture, U.S. Senators
William S. Cohen was born on August 28, 1940, in Bangor, Maine, to Reuben and Clara Cohen. He attended Bangor High School and was graduated from Bowdoin College in 1962 with a major in Latin. He earned his law degree at Boston University School of Law in 1965. He worked at a law firm in Bangor, eventually becoming a partner. He served on the Bangor City Council and was mayor of Bangor from 1961 to 1962. In 1972, Cohen was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he was a member of the House Judiciary Committee during the Watergate hearings. He was elected to the Senate in 1978 after serving as a representative for three terms. He was reelected in 1984 and 1990. He served on the Iran-Contra Committee. After retiring from the Senate in 1997, he was appointed to serve as secretary of defense by President Clinton, a position he held until 2001. In 2001 he founded the Cohen Group, a consulting firm specializing in East Asian affairs. He has authored several books, both fiction and nonfiction, including Men of Zeal, which he co-authored with George J. Mitchell about the Iran-Contra affair.
Interview includes discussions of: Bowdoin College; Mitchell’s entry into politics; qualities that made Mitchell a successful senator; the working relationship between Cohen and Mitchell; Cohen’s and Muskie’s relationship; Muskie’s temper; Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance; the cooperation among members of the Maine delegation in Congress; the Dickey-Lincoln Project; the Maine Indian Land Claims issue; the Maine Republican Party; cross-party values in Maine; the walk; Iran-Contra; Mitchell’s questioning of Oliver North; writing Men of Zeal and how the book tour upset Cohen’s Republican colleagues; the job of majority leader; how Senate Republicans viewed Mitchell; policies on which Cohen and Mitchell worked together; Mitchell’s decision to step down; Cohen’s decision to retire; becoming secretary of defense; the Cohen Group; Roll Call; The Singularity is Near and the health issues that interest Cohen today.
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