Marking the first stop on his highly-anticipated national book tour, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was at the National Constitution Center last night Wednesday, February 9, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. His new book Known and Unknown, chronicles his long career in public service, including his four terms in Congress and his service in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and George W. Bush.
When I arrived at the Constitution Center, the granny brigade was in full force with about 12 protesters near the corner of 5th & Arch. One lone granny challenged the civil service guards because she felt that their voice wasn’t being heard on the darken corner. Her one women stand lasted about 5 minutes before the Civil Service told her she was on private property and had to return to the sidewalk closest to the street. (oh it’s private property, I thought it was the National Constitution Center paid for with tax dollars, just saying?)Host Michael Bescloss listens last night as former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (right) talks about his just-published book, “Known and Unknown,” at the National Constitution Center. It was a sold out crowd with about 500 people. Many who were fans and gave him a standing ovation when he arrived.

In this clip Rumsfeld defends George W Bush as an intelligent human being, “he went to Yale for Gods sake.” He doesn’t know where the idea of W being an idiot came from. Not mentioned in the entire night anything about Obama or the torture scandal at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib.

Oddly though he said it was easier to tell soldier’s families about the death of their children in this war as opposed to the Vietnam War because their children volunteered for the Iraq War. (now I thought I was hearing things until Mike, who was sitting in the audience, repeated the same phrase to me. That was just in poor taste. He said we have Nixon and Agnew to thank for ridding the country of the Draft, which can’t be true because I had to sign up for the draft when I turned 18 and that was in the 80’s)

A story that really set up how narrow minded Rumsfeld is would be his Elvis story. In the late sixties, he and his wife Joyce went to Las Vegas “where they have those buildings, casino’s or something”. They caught a show by Sammy Davis Jr., who the following night brought them to the Elvis Presley show.

Rumsfeld said it was Elvis’ fat years and he was wearing a blue sparkly suit. During the concert he would pull out these scarves wipe his brow and give them to audience members who were going crazy (now he was cringing when he was saying this, I guess he’s never had a lady throw her bra at him, well unless it was burning.) Joyce received one and it’s framed to this day. Now that would have been a good place to stop the story, but Rumsfeld went on to say they went backstage and he was not impressed, even disgusted by all the pretty girls running around, he thought Elvis was basically a degenerate and just wanted to get out of there, until he had a one on one with him and Elvis talked about the years he served in the military. That opened Rumsfelds eyes that Elvis was not some pervert, but was a patriot and served his country instead of hightailing it to Canada like the draft dodgers.

It took countless lives before he admitted that Iraq had nothing to do with September 11, and there were no WMD’s in Iraq. He wishes he had said there was suspected sites of WMD’s. (See the above statement where he thinks it’s easier to tell soldiers families from the Iraq war their child was killed; in a war that shouldn’t have happened.) Rumsfeld was the one of the first officials in George W Bush’s cabinet to mention attacking Iraq after the September 11 terrorist attacks. At 2:40 p.m. in the afternoon of September 11, Rumsfeld was issuing rapid orders to his aides to look for evidence of Iraqi involvement, according to notes taken by senior policy official Stephen Cambone. “Best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H.” — meaning Saddam Hussein — “at same time. Not only UBL” (Osama bin Laden), Cambone’s notes quoted Rumsfeld as saying. “Need to move swiftly — Near term target needs — go massive — sweep it all up. Things related and not. (Wikepedia)
Team Derek was on the scene and armed with paraphernalia to get signed.

Not until Team Derek got to the table, about 100 people in, did Rumsfeld pose for a photo. Way to go guys.

He even signed a ball for them. Now normally a ball signed with just initials might not be worth much, but when you get a video of the ball being signed and you even have Rumsfeld say, “DR hows that?” well that’s added value. Check out Team Derek in an upcoming piece on Justin Pizzi’s The Scene, and look for a day in the life of Team Derek coming up in March. MTV where are you, these guys need a reality show?