May 7 2007
One-Half Of A Power Couple: Spilling The Beans, A Coffee Break With Dan Senor
Campbell Brown, co-anchor of NBC`s “Today, Weekend Edition,” and her husband, Dan Senor, a Fox News contributor, Republican strategist and former presidential adviser, are coming to Connecticut Tuesday as the featured speakers for Voices 2007, the Women`s Annual Philanthropy Campaign of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford. The dinner event at Emanuel Synagogue in West Hartford begins at 5:30 p.m.
The dynamic news duo recently celebrated their first wedding anniversary. While Brown was on assignment, Senor, the son of a Holocaust survivor, was ready and willing to “Spill the Beans” with Java.
Q: So what`s a guy like you planning to do in a place like Hartford?
A: It`s my neighborhood. We live in Lower Manhattan. Given the places we have traveled to separately and together around there, Hartford does feel like our neighborhood.
Q: You are a Republican; you were on the first convoy of civilians into Iraq. What do you think should be done as far as the Iraq controversy?
A: I am deeply frustrated by what is happening in Iraq. I don`t think it is terribly constructive to [debate] the decision about whether we should be in or not. It doesn`t get you anywhere. The question for now is what do we do now. Fundamentally, there are two options: to leave right away — I don`t agree with that. The other is to try to stabilize the situation. There is no in-between. I don`t agree with a plan to leave in a year. It puts our troops in a precarious position and tells the enemy to hunker down and wait for us to leave. It doesn`t matter about political or democracy-building programs, unless Iraqis can walk out their front doors without fear of getting blown up. We can`t get into a real discussion until security is brought to the area. We have failed at that so far. That is why I support sending more troops to Iraq. We need more than what we have sent. I fear it is a case of too little, too late.
Q: Do you and your wife agree on this?
A: She doesn`t take positions on issues like I do. She is a reporter. She observes. We talk about Iraq. She views her job as one of holding governments accountable. I am more of a participant. We share an interest in politics and world affairs, and we talk about them a lot. We do disagree about overseas and global affairs, but I have no comment on who wins the discussions.
Q: How deep is your Jewish faith?
A: I still have a deep faith. I grew up in a traditional Jewish home. My mother is a Holocaust survivor, and my father was active in a range of Jewish community activist groups. I have two siblings who live in Israel.
Q: What did you get your wife for your first anniversary?
A: We were actually at a wedding that day in Toronto, and so we had a string of family events. And then we went to Boston for Passover and on to Baton Rouge for an engagement party. It`s like we have been on a family road tour. We did take a day in Toronto and just had a really special time together. I did get her a piece of jewelry but am not telling what it was.
Q: How many times a day do people mispronounce your last name?
A: All the time. I grew up with Senor (pronounced SEH-nor, not senor) but always get questioned as to its heritage. When my great-grandfather emigrated from Europe, his name, Zener, was not an American-sounding name, so it was changed to Zenor, and that turned into Senor.
Q: What do you do in your private time?
A: Private time is family time. This August, we are taking my mother back to Slovakia. She has not been back there since World War II. We are also going to Prague and Warsaw.
Q: Are you and Campbell planning a family?
A: God willing.
Q: Do you mind sharing the stage with your wife?
A: We have only shared the stage once before, in Palm Beach. We enjoyed it. It`s a great way to spend time together.
Q: How did you manage to keep kosher when you were in Baghdad?
A: I get that question from everyone. I didn`t eat any meat or shellfish. I ate a lot of hummus and vegetables, and my family would send me frozen kosher meats that we would refrigerate. One time a Republican Senate delegation was coming to Baghdad, and my mother and sister dropped off some meats to someone in New Hampshire that was part of the group and he schlepped them over.
Q: You once said one of your goals is to repair one small piece of the broken world. Is it possible to do that? It seems it is breaking faster than it can be fixed.
A: I hope that is not the case. If you have that attitude, you will never get started. There is a Jewish commandment that says you repair the world by one person and one project at a time. Our attitude is find people and projects that we can help and not to get overwhelmed by the challenges.
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