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This newsman has traveled the world and written about it all

By Staff | Oct 5, 2009

When former Blue Earth resident Al Eisele showed up for his class reunion last month, I wonder if anyone asked him what he has been up to since graduation?

The more appropriate question for Eisele would be, what has he not been up to.

Eisele, 71, went on to graduate from St. John’s University, and also did two years of pre-med at the University of Minnesota – where he later served on the Board of Regents.

However, he didn’t become a doctor. He became a nationally renowned newsman instead – among many other things.

Eisele is best known as the former editor of The Hill, a Washington newspaper he helped start in 1994.

He still serves as the publication’s editor-at-large. In that position he has recently traveled to Turkey, France, Iraq, Cuba, Germany and Japan, writing stories about the news events and politics in those countries.

He has traveled to more than 75 countries as part of his work.

Besides the news biz, Eisele has also been involved in politics, academia and business.

He served as press secretary to Vice President Walter F. Mondale from 1977-81.

In 1982 he helped start the Center for National Policy and was a Fellow of the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

From 1983-89, Eisele was in the business world as general manager of Executive Office Communications for Control Data Corporation, and the assistant to the company’s chairman and founder, William C. Morris.

That’s just for starters.

Eisele has been a visiting professor at colleges and universities in Minnesota, Oklahoma and Washington, D.C.

He was a Washington correspondent for the St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch and Knight-Ridder Newspapers from 1965-76. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and many other publications.

Besides news articles, Eisele has also authored a book, a dual biography of Senator McCarthy and Vice President Hubert Humphrey. He is currently writing another biography, this one on the late Cardinal Richard Cushing of Boston.

There is more.

Eisele has also been a political commentator on both radio and television, and is a frequent speaker on American politics both here and abroad.

In 1989 he founded Cornerstone Associates, an international consulting firm and literary agency that brought Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev to Minnesota in 1990. In 1991 he was an observer for the National Democratic Institute during Polish Prime Minister Lech Walesa’s reelection campaign.

Not enough yet?

An article in Minnesota Law and Politics called Eisele the ‘most powerful Minnesotan in Washington.’ Not bad for a man who has never held public office.

Yes, I pity the poor classmate of Eisele’s who asked him what he has been up to lately.

I bet there were two things Eisele never even got a chance to mention. One, he served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army.

The other item? He spent three and a half seasons as a pitcher in the Cleveland Indians baseball team farm system.

That should just about send the rest of the class back to revise their resumes.

Eisele contacted me at the Register after a column I wrote a couple of months ago. It dealt with the name ‘Blue Earth,’ and how unusual it was.

Eisele says he found another Blue Earth somewhere else in the United States – Colorado to be specific.

Now, before you scramble for a Colorado map, there isn’t a town or city named Blue Earth in Colorado.

There isn’t a county with that name in the Rocky Mountain state either. But there is a county named Saguache.

According to Eisele, Saguache is a Ute Indian word which means, of course, ‘blue earth.’

Who am I to argue with a guy who has been to 75 countries?