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Who's that with Mark...?

If you've been keeping up with the news, you know that Ambassador John D. Negroponte recently served as U.S. ambassador to Iraq and is now the director of national intelligence.

Here's a picture of me with him when he was the U.S. ambassador to Mexico. I was receiving a couple of awards for a project we'd put together back in 1992 that attempted to explain the U.S. legal system to Mexicans via a series of mock trials and demonstrations. (This was in the pre-O.J., pre-CourtTV days when there was still some chance that it could actually be done and make sense to foreign audiences.) I also served as a member of Ambassador Negroponte's speech-writing team, under the guidance of Bob Earle, one of the most brilliant guys I ever worked with.

Back at Thanksgiving 1990, President Bush (the elder) came to Mexico for a summit meeting with then-President Salinas up in Monterrey. I was assigned as the press control officer for Mrs. Bush, and was photographed with her at the conclusion of a tour of the local library. In the center are Ana Elena Tappan and Ariceli Suarez, a couple of long-time Embassy employees who served as my on-site staff during the week we were up there. Back in Mexico City, Ana Elena worked with Kathleen (who was an assistant cultural attaché at the Embassy) and Ariceli with one of the other assistant cultural attachés over at the Benjamin Franklin Library.

Mrs. Bush was great--the same warm, patient and friendly woman when the cameras went off that you'd see when they were on. (Nothing of the prima donna or the wanting to be treated like royalty as was the case with some folks you might meet. Heck, even her staffers were unpretentious and fun to hang around with!)