Regina Yahara-Splain cleans out her home after it was damaged by Superstorm Sandy on November 1, 2012 in Highlands, New Jersey.
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Americans need to rediscover the meaning of ‘together’


Let me finish tonight with Hurricane Sandy.

The damage was horrific.  Given the media power of New York, it still bothers me how so many of us failed to realize the true, human degree of devastation, of hurt and lasting economic destruction.

What it told us is that, particularly in times of stress, Americans stick together and want to see our leaders doing the same.  

The most memorable–and most positive–reminder of 2012 was the picture of the President of the United States, a Democrat, and the Governor of New Jersey, a Republican, walking together on the Atlantic Shore, working together to get the clean-up job going.

The American people don’t ask much of their political leaders. They don’t ask them to be geniuses or fortune tellers who are always cheerful or always remember your name the next time you see them.  

What they ask is that they do their jobs of manning the fort when it’s under attack. When there’s a five-alarm fire we want them standing at the curb across the street giving us an update.  We want them to care, to be seen caring.

That means working together when the time comes.  

My new book is the backroom story of my coming-of-age politically.  And the best of the story is about my personal role as top aide to Speaker Tip O’Neill in his six-year bout with President Ronald Reagan.  

I remember when these two opposites, the progressive and the conservative stood together that cold day and fixed Social Security for all the ages to come.  It’s what I’m talking about today.  It’s what I miss.  It’s in “Tip & The Gipper: When Politics Worked.”  

I’ll be with my brother tomorrow night in North Hills, Pennsylvania, talking about the book, which so many people have come to me and said they love.

Americans need to rediscover the meaning of 'together'