LA-based talk show host Tavis Smiley comes to D.C. next week to moderate a “multicultural, multi-ethnic, multi-ideological” panel next Thursday at GW’s Lisner Auditorium. The panel is set to include opinion-makers such as Cornel West, Arianna Huffington, Maria Bartiromo, David Frum, Dana Milbank, David Brody, and Maria Teresa Kumar.
“We’re going to talk about how this country can get back on the right track, if that’s possible,” Smiley told FishbowlDC in a phone interview on Thursday morning. (Horribly, I completely spaced our Wednesday interview and he agreed to chat with me Thursday. When I answered the phone and apologized profusely, he said, “I’m just happy when you answer the phone. Turns me on.” Laughter ensued. A well-deserved crack for standing him up.)
Anyway, back to the interview and getting the country back on track. “There is so much happening in Washington in our body politic,” he’s saying. Asked if he thinks our country can get on a better path, he said, “I think America’s a great country, but I think we have to be on the right track on this divided government that we have to endure. I think the president squandered some time. He could have been more aggressive in the past two years.”
Smiley’s media diet in Washington includes a brief buttering up of our sister site, FishbowlLA, and FishbowlDC: “Oh man, I read most everything online. I live in LA. I’m swimming in the Fishbowl every day, every other day.” When in Washington, Smiley prefers boutique hotels like the Hotel George. But this time he’s staying at the host hotel, the Madison Loews. As for eating, he says he always ends up at Georgia Browns and Ben’s Chili Bowl.
What else can we expect to hear from Smiley next week and what are his thoughts on the media? As he put it…