Gen. McChrystal to headline Aspen billionaire confab; Tony Blair cancels at last minute
The so-called “Runaway General” who resigned in June after Rolling Stone portrayed him as a tough, stubborn, old-school military man who made disparaging remarks about the Obama administration, is scheduled to speak this afternoon at the Maroon Creek Club for the annual Forstmann Little confab.
Each fall, the private equity firm Forstmann Little & Company invites a cross-section of the world's most powerful leaders to escape to Aspen to network and explore the planet's most-pressing problems. Celebrities, captains of industry and world leaders are all regulars at the surreptitious event. Ted Forstmann, a founding partner of Forstmann Little and chairman and CEO of the IMG international talent agency, is the host. Forstmann is a longtime visitor and former Aspen second-homeowner.
The discussion with McChrystal will be commandeered by acclaimed PBS broadcast journalist Charlie Rose, a frequent interviewer of Forstmann Little's featured guests in Aspen.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair had to cancel his speaking engagement yesterday at the Forstmann Little conference in Aspen at the eleventh hour.
Attendees said Rose read a letter from Blair that apologized for the last-minute cancellation and explained that the former prime minister is apparently heading to Tel Aviv to help broker the latest Palestinian–Israeli negotiations.
Michelle Rhee, chancellor of the District of Columbia's public schools for three years, spoke in Blair's place.
Other attendees who are expected at the event include Aspen transplant and seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, tennis star Monica Seles, Aspen Skiing Co. patriarch Lester Crown, Denver business mogul Philip Anschutz, Aspen regular and Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, Tea Party backer David Koch, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, CNBC anchor Erin Burnett, ex-U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, NBA Commissioner David Stern, NCAA President Mark Emmert, Washington Redskins owner and Aspen regular Daniel Snyder, philanthropist Eli Broad, YouTube founder Chad Hurly, Time magazine editor Mark Halperin, Nobel Prize laureate Eric Kandel, film director George Lucas and former Morgan Stanley Chairman and CEO John Mack.
This morning GOP strategist Karl Rove, FreedomWorks CEO Matt Kibbe and Daily Beast editor and founder Tina Brown will sit down with MSNBC anchor Chris Mathews to discuss current events. A panel titled the “Science of Aging” will follow. Yesterday, the Forstmann Little conference kicked off with a session called “Restoring the American Economy” featuring former chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan, British economic historian Niall Ferguson, Obama economic advisor Austin Goldsby and PimCo CEO and CIO Mohamed El-Erian. International speakers followed.
McChrystal should be among the event's biggest draws. President Obama excused the general of his duties after a Rolling Stone article, written by Michael Hastings, detailed McChrystal and his team's actions in Afghanistan, where they reportedly talked brashly about the decision-makers behind the war.
A Pentagon probe has since determined that neither McChrystal nor the senior officers in his inner circle made the disparaging comments to Rolling Stone that precipitated his resignation this summer. Now that he is retired from the military, Gen. McChrystal is teaching a leadership course at Yale.
The Forstmann Little conference is scheduled to wrap tomorrow.
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