Bob Beckel was my dearest friend – to hell with politics

As so often among the political class in Washington, We met on TV and discussed with each other. I liked him immediately, despite our political and even religious differences.

Bob Beckel and I became friends and eventually more than friends. Twenty years ago, after a discussion on a long-forgotten topic on Fox News Channel, We came back into the green room where I noticed a sad streak across his face. “Are you alright, Bob?” I asked. In what he would later describe as a rare moment of transparency, he said, “No, I’m not” and began to cry. I had never seen him like this before. He told me his personal life was out of whack and that he had received death threats after being accused of trying to frame voter Al Gore 2000 presidential election. He had denied the allegation.

I told him, “You need Jesus, who will change your life.” He said he’d tried everything else and it didn’t work, so he had an open mind.

After giving him a Bible and a book called Evidence Requiring Judgment, Bob began going to church with me and began to believe what Scripture says about our need for salvation and a Redeemer .

What followed was a unique bond that has lasted to this day he died last week.

In the early 2000s we decided to write a column together called Common Ground, in which we would present our positions on certain issues and then try to reach agreement on some level. USA Today immediately bought the idea and we were featured on their Opinion Page for 10 years. We also wrote a book together with the same title.

Bob Beckel (left) reappeared on Fox News' January 17, 2017
Bob Beckel (left) reappeared on Fox News’ “The Five” on January 17, 2017.
Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

I think we had the biggest impact in the lecture circle. Bob was open about his history with alcoholism, and his honesty endeared him to even a conservative audience.

We’ve traveled together, dined together, and gotten to know each other and our respective “stories” in ways that are rarely seen in Washington today. By the end of our presentation, I would say that I dismissed the notion that Bob was on the “other side.” Both of our fathers were in World War II. They weren’t fighting for or against Franklin Roosevelt, but to uphold an ideal. America has always been an idea in search of the ideal. If we want to put someone on the other side, we make them external enemies like the ayatollah in Iran or the leadership in China and Russia. Let’s not destroy each other. We are American citizens.

Bob then got up and shared how I saved his life and introduced him to God and other nice things. We hugged and elicited wild cheers from the audience. People would say, “Why can’t we see more of this in Washington?” It helped that none of us were interested in running for office, which would mean raising money and saying things to please various interest groups to deliver.

Bob Beckel reappeared on Fox News' January 17, 2017
Bob Beckel knew that it was more important for America to be united against its enemies than to be partisan.
Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives will be present at his funeral service next week. It will be a moment of togetherness. Bob was my closest and dearest friend. His and my hope is that our friendship will serve as an example to others of what can and must be if we are to survive as a nation.

Argue, yes, but don’t belittle the humanity or patriotism of anyone you disagree with. Bob always urged people to sit down and listen to someone from a different political party, religion, ethnicity or culture. You might end up disagreeing, he said, but you’ll understand the other person better.

It remains good advice. We could honor him and make it his legacy if more of us followed that advice. Rest in peace Bob. You finished the race and kept the faith. we will meet again Bob Beckel was my dearest friend – to hell with politics


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