ACRU Reception, Army-Navy Club, Washington, D.C., October 30, 2010

Transcript: Susan Carleson

Excerpts from American Civil Rights Union Chairman and CEO Susan Carleson about John Armor and his book These Are the Times That Try Men’s Souls: America — Then and Now in the Words of Tom Paine (American Civil Rights Union, 2010)

“First of all, I want to thank everyone who's here tonight.

“I know this is a very, very busy time of year and that many of our friends are not able to be with us tonight because they’re out campaigning for freedom or they're on their way to Western C-PAC.

“But for those of you who are gathered here tonight, I'm deeply appreciative of your coming. Some of you in the room knew John. Many of you did not. And that's a shame, because he was an incredible person and besides being one of my closest and dearest friends and colleagues over the years, he was one of the smartest guys I ever knew.

“John and I began working together and got to know each other just down the block at a townhouse, 736 Jackson Place. It was the Commission on the Bicentennial of the Constitution. Ronald Reagan, in his infinite wisdom, had decided the best way to get Warren Burger off the Supreme Court was to give him a really plum job. And he got the chairmanship, and he was a fine chairman. And John and I got to know each other then. And one day, we went to lunch, and on the way back from lunch, John actually explained how television worked…

“John had a knack for explaining things and figuring things out that surpassed just about anybody I knew. And he did that with the Constitution. When my late husband Bob decided to form the American Civil Rights Union in 1999, John was one of the first persons he called. And he said, “Hey, I can’t give you any money, but we can have some fun.”

“And one of the first things John had fun with, was, in 2000, in November, we had an election. And I’m sure we all remember in this room how tense things were. … There weren’t many briefs filed [because of the tight court deadline], but ours was. And we had a legal team of one. The only other organizations that filed briefs were much larger and more powerful than ours, but we were right. And as we all know, it finally turned out fine.

“But John was always ready to take on a challenge. He looked for challenges And he took on the challenge of creating this book. He began it 10 years ago. … John managed to take some very complex concepts, the concepts that are really rooted in our independence, and he’s made a very understandable and very readable book, and it’s something I’m hoping will be a bestseller, because this will educate the American people about what the whole thing is about. John did a masterful job.”

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