Pat Buchanan Was Not Columbia J-School's Best

Buchanan filmed a tribute for the new National Press Club president.

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A 1968 photo of Pat Buchanan, appointed special assistant to President-elect Richard Nixon.
Pat Buchanan, shown here in 1968, said one of the most memorable things he was involved in while in journalism school was "a fistfight in the library at the Christmas party in front of the dean."

He may have run for president three times, but Pat Buchanan confessed that he was not, by any means, Columbia Journalism School's best student.

Buchanan taped a video tribute to Myron Belkind, the National Press Club's new president, whose inauguration was held this weekend in Washington, D.C. Belkind and Buchanan attended Columbia J-School together back in 1961.

"At school Myron did fairly well and graduated at the top of his class," Buchanan recalled. "And the most memorable event, which I was involved in that school year, as folks recall, was a fistfight in the library at the Christmas party in front of the dean."

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After leaving Columbia, Belkind became a Pulitzer Traveling Fellow in Southeast Asia. Buchanan headed to St. Louis to write editorials, before joining President Richard Nixon's team and becoming the principal speechwriter for Spiro Agnew's attacks on the media.

"Members of the Press Club might like to know that in 1969, right after Agnew's most famous attack, which I drafted, Agnew was declared the greatest threat to freedom of the press in the entire world," Buchanan recalled. "Not bad, seven years out of journalism school."

As Belkind worked his way up at The Associated Press, Buchanan stuck with politics.

"I went on to run for president of the United States three times – I lost in 1992, in 1996 and the year 2000," Buchanan said, noting that Belkind won his top press club position on the first try.

"Myron, I'm confident that if I ran against you, especially before the National Press Club, I would have lost to you, too," Buchanan said. "And our alma mater, Columbia University Journalism School, is as proud of you as it is anxious to forget me."

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