Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

 See the
Conversations with History Blog

See a webcast of this interview:

Leadership, Values, and the Changing Face of Politics: Conversation with Leon Panetta, former member of the legislature and officer of the executive branch; 5/22/00 by Harry Kreisler.

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas. Archival photos are courtesy of Leon Panetta.

Welcome to a Conversation with History. I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. Our guest today is Leon Panetta, who has a long and distinguished career in public service. He was a US Representative from California's 16th District, now the 17th, from 1977 to 1993. From 1989 to 1993 he was Chairman of the House Budget Committee. After serving eight terms in Congress, in 1993 he became Director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Clinton administration. In that position he was instrumental in negotiating the 1993 budget package that is widely credited with putting the federal budget on its path to balancing. Mr. Panetta then served as Chief of Staff to the President of the United States from July 17, 1994, to January 10, 1997. Among his many achievements in Congress was the establishment of the Monterey Bay National Maritime Sanctuary. Today, Mr. Panetta, with his wife, Sylvia, is co-director of the Leon and Sylvia Panetta Institute for Public Policy, based at California State University, Monterey Bay, which he was instrumental in founding.

  1. Background ... growing up in Monterey ... involvement in student politics ... influence of parents ... books read ... teachers ... becoming a lawyer
  2. Being in Politics ... legal thinking ... working for Senator Kuchel ... enforcing civil rights ... from Republican to Democrat
  3. The Budget: Problems and Process ... Johnson and Reagan deficits and the implications of national debt ... confronting the deficit ... leadership and risk ... comparing legislative and executive branches ... political courage
  4. Changes in U.S. Politics ... implications of instant information ... political role models ... the responsibility of the press ... the budget process vs. the impeachment process
  5. Lessons Learned ... young people and political involvement ... fundamental values ... satisfactions of politics: Monterey Bay Sanctuary ... importance of family

© Copyright 2000, Regents of the University of California

Photos by Jane Scherr. Site questions: Email iis_webmgr at