Sully's Blog

In 1988 Mark Langdale got new next-door neighbors in Dallas: Laura and George W. Bush.   In short order the Langdales and Bushes became fast friends and like most neighbors, George W. asked Langdale for an occasional favor.  But he wasn’t asking Langdale to loan him power tools or to pick up the mail when the Bushes were out of town.

The first major favor came when Bush asked Langdale, then President of Posadas USA, to help him run for governor of Texas. As governor, Bush asked Langdale to chair the Texas Department of Economic Development. Langdale later helped set up Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign.  In 2005 Bush asked Langdale to serve as ambassador to Costa Rica, where he focused on ratifying the Central America Free Trade Agreement. To complete the circle, in 2008 Bush... +Continue Reading


We turn the blog over to our colleague Tim Clodjeaux for a tribute to broadcasting great Pat Summerall, who died April 16 at 82.  Summerall showed a broadcaster could connect with his audience in a memorable, reassuring way without calling attention to himself.  In fact, Summerall had no catch-phrases, no gimmicky calls — just a generous spirit that allowed John Madden to become the most popular football analyst ever and set up countless other on-air partners for success.

By Tim Clodjeaux

The sports world this week remembers the life and talent of broadcasting legend Pat Summerall.  He not only called 16 Super Bowls but also anchored coverage of the Masters and tennis’ U.S. Open for many years on CBS.  People often forget that he also called the play-by-play for... +Continue Reading


Must viewing: The moving eulogy Bob Costas delivered at Stan Musial’s funeral Mass. A eulogy is a delicate assignment and Costas not only captured the right theme (“simple decency and generosity of spirit coupled with 20 years of sustained excellence”) but also worked in all the right touches and key elements:  It was personal, generous, inclusive, gracious and inspirational.  It was packed with honest emotion, compelling stories, memorable lines (“Deal me in”) and had light humor in the right places. Anyone who is asked to speak in tragic or sad times should use this as a template — a powerful speech by one of the most talented journalists of his generation. The video and transcript are available here: +Continue Reading


On Oct. 20, I joined Josh King to preview the final 2012 Presidential debate on “Polioptics,” the political communications show heard each Saturday on SiriusXM’s POTUS Channel.  The show is available for download at Apple iTunes and, where King adds an entertaining recap of the entire show.

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Offered my take on the VP Debate while guest co-hosting ”Polioptics” alongside Josh King on the SiriusXM POTUS Channel.  Show also features a fascinating interview with former White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry (left), who talked about his role as co-chair of the debate commission, today’s media and the challenges of living lives of both faith and political service.  Show is available at Apple iTunes and, where King adds an entertaining recap of the show.

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I returned July 28 as guest co-host of the political-communications show, “Polioptics” alongside Josh King on Sirius XM’s POTUS Channel. Our guests were Ashley Parker of the New York Times (on Gov. MItt Romney’s overseas trip), former Maine governor and current U.S. Senate candidate Angus King (on the polioptics of his campaign motorcycle tour across the state) and columnist and founder Paul Lukas (on the Olympics and much more). Show is available at Apple iTunes and +Continue Reading


You could say this week’s show was about all about sales.

Our first guest, New York City Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson, joined us by phone from “the bullpen,” the open-space offices located on the second floor of City Hall – to talk about selling Mayor Bloomberg’s vision of a healthier, XL soda-free New York. He detailed the “tick tock” of the decision to market the proposal, from it’s infancy of an idea in at the New York City Health Department to the current polling which runs about 50/50, a constituency split on the proposal. Wolfson also weighs the difference between the media in New York and Washington and his days as the highest-ranking Democratic strategist ever to serve as a Fox News Channel contributor.

Wolfson served as co-chief strategist and communications chief... +Continue Reading


Big fun for me to guest co-host this week’s edition of the political-communications show, “Polioptics” alongside Josh King on Sirius XM’s POTUS Channel. Our guests were Olympic historian David Wallechinsky – to discuss the intersection of the Olympics and politics…and famed producer Jerry Weintraub on his upcoming HBO documentary, “41,” an “in-his-own-words” look at President George H.W. Bush that premieres Thursday at 10 pm ET. Was especially fun to finally get to be the one who asks the questions. Show is available at Apple iTunes and

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“That’s not normal!” So said the New Jersey “tanning mom” in this now-infamous (and SNL-spoofed) Today show interview (link below) that demonstrates just how images and body language overwhelm the words people say.

As Dr. Nick Morgan of Public Words wrote, “What happens when your words and body language don’t match? Audiences believe the body language every time.”

Her claim that she didn’t put her daughter in the tanning bed may very well be true, but one look at her own burned face and her credibility melts under the hot lights.

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Mike Allen of Politico – long one of Washington’s top reporters – took a brief timeout near the end of today’s Politico Playbook to offer the following advice to aspiring political reporters.  This sage counsel, inspired by recent reporting on the debt debate, should be considered nothing short of a public service:

PLAYBOOK MEMO TO YOUNG JOURNOS – This episode reminds us that: 1) Including other points of view strengthens, not weakens, your article. Readers are sophisticated, and get that the world isn’t black and white. They’re more likely to trust and article that reflects life’s complexity. Excellent pieces are undermined, or lose big prizes, over this exact issue.

2) Sometimes there are creative ways to obtain the same... +Continue Reading