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Omnibus Lecture series: Charlie Savage “Power Wars: Obama, Bush, and the Post-9/11 Presidency”


Photo credit: Courtesy Photo

Written by: Mikaela ConleyOctober 26, 2016

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Fort Wayne native Charlie Savage will be the next speaker in the 7:30 p.m. Nov. 10 in the Rhinehart Music Center as part of the Omnibus Lecture Series.

Savage worked at The Northerner, the weekly newspaper at North Side High School, where he graduated. He said being a part of The Northerner was a “central piece” of his high school experience.

Eventually, his work in journalism began evolving and he landed a part-time job as the sports department clerk at The Journal Gazette.

“I found that I really enjoyed going out into the world and talking to interesting people and figuring out important things and then writing about them for readers,” Savage said.

After leaving Fort Wayne, Savage graduated from Harvard and earn a master’s degree from Yale Law School.

Savage then picked up a job at the Miami Herald, where he started covering post-9/11 issues such as individual rights and national security.

Currently, Savage is a Washington correspondent with the New York Times.

In addition to a Pulitzer Prize, Savage has been honored with the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award, the Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on the Presidency, and the Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism.

However, Savage said he is most proud of the two books that he has written.

“I really put everything I had into writing them,” he said, “and I hope that they will be useful to people long after I am gone.”

His first book, “Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy,” a national best-seller, was published in 2007.

Savage will speak of President Barack Obama, former President George Bush, and the post-9/11 presidency at the lecture. It is based upon his book “Power Wars” and grapples with the accusation of Obama, who won the election with the campaign of “hope and change,” eventually ended up “acting like Bush” when it came to Guantanamo, surveillance, drone strikes, war powers, and secrecy.

Savage said he will tell insider stories to illustrate his points such as “the meeting in February 2009 when the newly inaugurated President Obama was briefed about the existence of the N.S.A program that was secretly collecting records of everybody’s domestic phone calls — and decided to keep it — and the deliberations that led up to the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.”

Savage hopes the lecture will not only be entertaining and interesting, he said, but that it will also give people insight to how complex the “dilemmas of 21st century national security law can be.”

“The problem of protecting against transnational terrorism while also safeguarding civil liberties and respecting the rule of law is a terribly difficult task,” Savage said, “and what really goes into it is rarely reflected in political rhetoric.”