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January 2008

Tom Manatos is ready for ...the 2028 election!

Tom Manatos, 28, serves as adviser to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The following interview by Dan Zak was published in the Washington Post on Sunday, January 6 2008, part of a series of talks with potential candidates for the elections of 2028, 20 years from now.

Manatos's blood is rich in executiveness. His father worked for Jimmy Carter, and his father's father, a Senate liaison for Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, was the first Greek American to work in the White House. A native of Montgomery County, Manatos took time off from his communications studies at Cornell in 2000 to be the second-youngest paid staffer at Gore-Lieberman headquarters in Nashville. He started working with Pelosi (D-Calif.) as an intern shortly after she became minority whip and has been with her since. In July he'll cross party lines to marry a former staffer for George W. Bush.

What is your greatest weakness?

Having to remind myself that a Redskins win or loss should not affect my mood.

Your greatest fears?

Global warming and the growth of world terrorism.

Your most notable characteristic?

The majority opinion of my grandmothers, mother, father and fiancée (with dissenting opinions from my brothers and abstaining opinions of my sister-in-laws) is that I am perfect.

What trait do you most value in others?


What natural gift would you most like to possess?

Fashion sense.

What movie could you watch over and over again?

"The Patriot" with Mel Gibson.

Are you religious or spiritual?

I am Greek Orthodox and devoted to it. Although my faith is important to me, I am deeply concerned about any political leader who believes that God is directing him or her toward a decision.

What issues should people be paying more attention to?

Energy independence will help the world battle climate change and other environmental issues. If Americans paid more attention to creating alternative energy, we could be investing our resources in our own country instead of the Middle East.

What will be the main issues of Campaign 2028?

Energy independence and the education of our citizens to keep up with developing technology. Stronger and more violent natural disasters and rising coastal waters will be a major drain on the economy and a threat to all communities.

What will your campaign slogan be?

It definitely won't be "Vote for Tom, He's the Bomb," my winning campaign slogan for senior class president in high school.

What idea seems good today but might be toxic in 20 years?

The highly partisan politics that include attack ads and negative campaigning has only led to a more-divided country and ineffective government. It may be winning campaigns for majorities and presidential races, but it is injuring the country in the long term. The bipartisan compromises of the '50s, '60s, '70s and part of the '80s may not have won more races, but they benefited the country more as a whole and led to more progress.

If you had your entire generation as a captive audience, what would you say to them?

I would tell them to become more engaged in their government and communities by voting, volunteering or becoming an activist on an issue that is important to them.

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