Ari Fleischer and Patricia Cayne

Patricia Cayne (center) with her
daughter Alison Schneider and
son-in-law Jack Schneider

92ND ST. Y
Ari Fleischer Reminisces At
Global Citizenship Awards

By Tim Boxer

HEN Ari Fleischer went to Texas to begin work as press spokesman for the first  Bush-Cheney presidential campaign, the folks at Gov. George Bush’s office didn’t recognize his Jewish name.

R.E. Fleischer? Well, why not? You had a J.R. Ewing, right? So in Texas he was known as R.E. Bob.

As keynote speaker at the 92nd St. Y Global Citizenship Award dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria, Fleischer told how he evolved from a staunch Democratic household to a committed Republican.

He grew up in a liberal Upper West Side family. It was Jimmy Carter’s consistent leaning on Israel that caused Fleischer to reevaluate his own political ties. Now that President Bush has proven to be an ardent supporter of Israel’s right to defend herself,  Fleischer fails to see how any Jew, concerned with Israel’s future, can vote for anyone but Bush.

During his four years as White House press secretary, Fleischer said he had no issues with the President’s position on faith. In fact, Fleischer was able to adhere to his own religion with no problem.

Except once. Right after 9/11 he was impelled to conduct a crucial press conference to convey the President’s message. It happened to take place on Yom Kippur afternoon.

There was one question that Fleischer couldn’t answer as he didn’t have the information. A reporter asked why not? “I was in synagogue this morning,” Fleischer said.

Michael Steinhardt presented the Global Citizenship Award to Dr. Patricia Cayne, a noted educational psychologist and speech therapist, and wife of James Cayne, chairman of Bear Stearns.

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