As Pope Francis marks his fifth year as head of the Catholic Church, a conversation with New York Times columnist Ross Douthat on the future of Catholicism. Then, fact checking President Trump’s claims about the diversity visa lottery, along with a first-hand experience of what it means to be a lottery winner.
It’s truly a bittersweet moment to come to the last hour of The Diane Rehm Show. I began hosting the program on WAMU in 1979. In 1995 NPR began distributing the show to stations around the country. These have been wonderful years with WAMU and NPR, but especially wonderful because of all of you. This segment is my chance to say thank you for all the time we’ve had together on this program.
- Jarl Mohn President and CEO of NPR
- Paul Butler Professor, Georgetown University Law Center; author of the forthcoming book "Chokehold: Policing Black Men"
- Judy Collins Singer, songwriter, activist and author of numerous books, including the memoir, "Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life in Music" and the novel, "Shameless."
- John Dickerson Moderator, Face the Nation; political director, CBS News; columnist, Slate magazine; author, "On Her Trail: My Mother, Nancy Dickerson, TV News' First Woman Star"
- Julie Andrews Singer, actor, writer.
- Emma Walton Hamilton Author, editor, educator and theater professional, she has co-authored numerous books for children of all ages with her mother, Julie Andrews, and serves as editorial director for the Julie Andrews Collection publishing program.
- Cory Booker U.S. senator, New Jersey (D); former mayor of Newark
- Isabel Wilkerson Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist; author, "The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration"
MS. DIANE REHMThanks for joining us. I'm Diane Rehm. It's truly a bittersweet moment to come to the last hour of "The Diane Rehm Show." I'm so grateful to many people for the opportunity to host this program for so many years, thankful for all the great guests, the meaningful conversations and most especially grateful to all of you, the listeners. In the past few days, we've put out calls to you to record voicemails with comments and questions. We'll hear some of those and I hope to hear from you.
MS. DIANE REHMSo do call us on 800-433-8850. Send us an email @email@example.com or follow us on Facebook or Twitter. And we're going to start with a question from Scott.
SCOTTHi, Diane. This is Scott from Rockville. Like many others, I'm going to greatly miss your daily radio shows. My question is the following, as you reflect on your very distinguished radio career, of what would you say you are most proud?
REHMHmm. That's a great question, Scott, and I thank you for recording that for us. I think I would list three. First would be to do the first radio walkthrough of White House with a first lady, Hillary Clinton. She allowed me to literally walk the White House with her, go through each of the rooms. She even took me into the small galley kitchen and then she and I sat down and took calls from listeners in the map room. That was really -- I mean, nobody has done a radio walkthrough of the White House.
REHMAnd then, of course, I became the first radio journalist to ever sit down with a sitting president in the Oval Office. That was Bill Clinton. We were told to be there at 1 o'clock and after being moved around a fair amount, we finally got into the Oval Office at 4 o'clock in the afternoon. And then, we're told we had two minutes to set up. So it was quick thing and then we waited for a bit. And Bill Clinton came bursting through the doors, his eyes watering, his nose running, saying, oh, my allergies are killing me.
REHMAnd then, he sat down and said, all right, Diane, what are we going to talk about? So we talked and I am very proud of those moments. Finally, I would mention my conversation with the dear and beloved Mr. Rogers. He, truly, was one of my heroes. And now, I'm going to take a telephone call. Let's go hear. How do I get that up? I don't think I can. Okay. Are you there? Hello?
PAUL BUTLERHi, Diane. It's Paul Butler from Georgetown Law School.
REHMOh, Paul, how dear of you to call. You and I are such good pals.
BUTLERAnd now, I'm calling with a fan boy moment because before I had the privilege of being a guest on your show, I listened to it all the time. So when something important happened, like September 11th, the election of Barack Obama, "The Diane Rehm Show" helped me process it. It felt like an exercise in democracy because the conversations you have are so thoughtful and present so many different perspectives. So when I had the honor of being a guest, I felt like I had to step up my game.
BUTLERI was talking with some of your other guests about how, on your show, we feel like we have to do our homework because being on your show is kind of like a responsibility. It's a high calling and people want to make sure that we get it right. You know, I guess the last thing is I'll never forget coming on the program after the murder of nine African Americans in the church in Charleston and, Diane, you'll remember before the show, we were numb. What is there even to say?
BUTLERAnd then, live on the radio, you helped us get through it, this time of national trauma, as you have helped us understand so many other moments of trauma and moments of celebration. So just wanted to say thank you for the attention that you've shown, especially to racial justice and human rights. Thank you for making our deliberative democracy stronger. We need you and we're going to miss you so much.
REHMPaul, I cannot thank you enough for your kind words and please know that I am going to do a weekly podcast, probably beginning sometime late in January. And you know what, I'm going to come after you to be on that podcast. Is that a deal?
BUTLERYou better do that, Diane Rehm, you better do that.
REHMI sure will. Thank you so much. I love you, Paul.
BUTLERLove you right back.
REHMAll right, thank you. Bye-bye. Oh, my goodness. And let's see. Another caller on line eight. Are you there?
JARL MOHNHello, hello. Good morning.
MOHNThis is a mystery caller, Jarl Mohn. And hello.
REHMOh, my goodness, Jarl Mohn. Aren't you dear to call? How is your wife, Pamela?
MOHNShe is doing great. Thank you so much for asking, Diane. And just wanted to give you a big hug and big kiss and a sendoff for, you know, all the amazing, remarkable work that you've done for so many years.
REHMJarl, you're so dear to call. And for those who may not know exactly who Jarl Mohn is, he is the new president and CEO of NPR. And I have had the privilege of talking to him on the air about NPR, what it hopes to do, where it's going and it is my belief that Jarl Mohn is going to take NPR to brand-new heights. Jarl Mohn, we've had...
REHM...a great report about listening to NPR these days.
MOHNIt's been remarkable. We're really thankful and we're really appreciative of these amazing listeners that we all share. They seem to be incredibly engaged in the coverage that we're doing and they seem to value the unique kind of journalism that we do so we're really thankful. And Diane, I don't know if I told you, in October, I drove across America. I started in Washington and I drove to Los Angeles and I spent three weeks on the road and I stopped at 32 different member stations, most of them in smaller communities.
MOHNAnd the number of -- they were interested in lots of things, but the number one question that kept coming up over and over again is what are you going to do when Diane leaves? And it was said with great fear, great fear and trepidation. So you should know, you probably know it already, but you are so beloved in the system all across the country. And I drove through the South and, you know, you are so incredibly well thought of and regarded there for all these great years of wonderful, civil conversations and interviews that you've had.
REHMJarl, I thank you so very much for reporting back to me on what you've heard. I want to, though, give a shout out to Joshua Johnson, the young man who is going to be at this microphone on January 2nd with is brand-new program called 1-A. I think it's going to be great for the system and I'm sure that before long, if you take another journey across the country, you'll hear people singing his praises.
MOHNWell, that's kind of you to say. We're very hopeful. You've got 37 years of incredible conversations to catch up to. And, you know, we're going to miss you, the listeners are going to miss you and I just want to wish you the best and you have been so kind that a lot of your listeners wouldn't know this, but when I moved to Washington, D.C, Diane really reached out to my wife, Pamela, and made her feel really at home here. And I will always remember that, Diane, thank you.
REHMOh, Jarl, thank you and thank you for your support and thank you for calling in today.
MOHNMy pleasure. Be well.
REHMAnd I must say I am so touched and feel as though so many of you are here with me both physically and in my heart. I cannot tell you how special it feels to me today. We're going to take our usual short break and when we come back, we'll hear from some more folks. Apparently, I'll have a few more surprises. I never know. Stay with us.
REHMAnd welcome back for a few moments of farewells, not good-byes. I keep repeating, I am not retiring. I am simply stepping away from the daily microphone because it's time. Because I told my boss, J.J. Yore, when he first came in, that I was going to step away from the daily microphone at age 80 and after the election. I turned 80 in September. The elections are over. The end of the year is almost here. And though today is our live farewell, we are going to bring you a series of our favorite broadcasts throughout the year next week, between Christmas and New Year. So I hope you'll tune in.
REHMI gather, Doug, we now have a special caller. Hello. Who's there?
MS. JUDY COLLINSHi, Diane. It's Judy Collins.
REHMOh, aren't you dear, Judy Collins, to call in?
REHMWill you sing for us?
COLLINSI -- of course. Of course. Let's see. There are places I remember all my life, though some have changed. So, you know, I love you. I love your show.
COLLINSAnd I wanted to be here to pay my respects and to honor your amazing program and you, who are an amazing woman and broadcaster and friend to so many of us. I loved being on your show and I've loved getting to know you over the years and sharing things that are important to both of us. So I want to wish you the very best, Diane, whatever you are going to do. And I know it'll be spectacular.
REHMJudy, you're just adorable to call in. Thank you so much.
COLLINSYou're so welcome, my dear.
REHMWould you do me a favor?
COLLINSTell me what.
REHMWould you sing one verse of "Amazing Grace"?
COLLINSOf course I will. I wanted to tell you, I had some news that I wanted to give you. "Amazing Grace" celebrates it very well. I just got nominated for a Grammy.
COLLINSAfter 40 years.
REHMHow wonderful! And you're announcing it here. That's terrific.
COLLINSAmazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a retch like me. I once was lost but now I'm found. Was blind but now I see.
COLLINSThat's for you, Diane.
REHMOh, you beautiful woman. Thank you so much.
COLLINSThanks, honey. God Bless.
COLLINSAnd Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
REHMMerry Christmas to you as well. I love you.
COLLINSLove you, too. Bye.
REHMBye. Oh, my goodness. What special treats. All right. Let's go to caller number three.
CALLER NUMBER THREEHi, Diane. I've loved this show and have appreciated the way you've been an exemplar in creating civil discourse within our society. I wonder if you would share some thoughts you have about how we can do the same within our communities and neighborhoods. Best of luck in your next adventure.
REHMOh, thank you so much. Well, you know, my feeling is that what we in the press have not done enough of is to listen. To listen not only to the voices with whom we agree, but to listen to those with whom we do not agree. I think there is going to have to be much more active listening on the part of all of us, not just those who are part of the media, all of us, as human beings. You know, over Christmas, you're going to have lots of people sitting at family tables. And you're going to have some who are really in sync and others who are not. What I beg of you is rather than arguing your point, listen to the others' perspective. Try to listen, ask questions and engage, rather than using your own points of view to shut people down.
REHMMore active listening, that's what I'm calling for. Doug, another caller?
MR. JOHN DICKERSONHi, Diane. It's John Dickerson calling from (word?) Tennessee.
REHMOh. John Dickerson from "Meet the Press."
DICKERSONI'm so happy you -- I'm sorry I'm not actually with you. But I'm really glad I got to call in because...
REHMI don't believe I said "Meet the Press." I meant, "Face the Nation." Will you forgive me, John?
DICKERSONOf course I will.
DICKERSONOf course I will. It's a common transposition there. But I just wanted to say that, as you step away from this particular adventure, that, A, I can't wait to -- for your next one. But I just, you know, at the end of the year, I'm always kind of totaling up the things for which I'm grateful. And as I was thinking about calling in, the thing that I am most grateful to you for is what you've done for me, personally, but also what -- on the Friday News Roundup, which is where we have spent so much time together, the thing I'm grateful that you've done for all of us is that, you know, and I've told you this before, I never prepared for anything as much as the Friday News Roundup.
DICKERSONBecause you would always, you know, you were interested in the stories that were important, not necessarily the ones that were shiny and that everybody had been chattering about on Twitter. You asked the central questions, not just the ones that were sort of popular at the moment. And also you gave voice to people who could call in and often asked, you know, what was an important question, not something that we were obsessed with in Washington. And if you were writing rules for the way that all of us who try to inform the public could kind of stay focused on the main thing and not get distracted, those are three great rules for how to do it.
DICKERSONAnd so you kept me in shape over all these years, but also all of us who listen to you. You know, you gave us a nice frame for how to process the world. And I can't think of anything that's a better gift to listeners than those three things. So I'm grateful for myself, but also on behalf of all of us who listen to you.
REHMJohn Dickerson, how much learning do you think you got from your wonderful mother, Nancy Dickerson?
DICKERSONI think the biggest lesson I got from her was the benefit and basically to try, to just always try. To work hard and always try. And if you do that, basically things will work out. It won't always work out, but more often than not it'll work out. And that if it doesn't work out, you know that you can at least say, I tried as hard as I could and that's the only thing I have actual control over. That, I think, is the big lesson. And I don't know that -- I think I learned it more after she died than...
DICKERSON...than when she was alive and looking back over her work.
REHMNow, you know, John Dickerson, I am going to do a podcast. And that means I'm going to be coming to you. Are you open to that?
DICKERSONOh, my goodness. I am certainly open to it. I can't wait. So you've got it, yes. Absolutely.
REHMAnd I'll be there. John Dickerson, of "Face the Nation," thank you so much for calling.
DICKERSONThank you, Diane.
REHMI send you lots of love.
DICKERSONAnd mine right back to you.
REHMThank you. Bye-bye. Oh, my goodness. What lovely surprises. And let's hear from Nora Kelly.
MS. NORA KELLYHi, Diane. My name is Nora. I'm 30 years old and I live in Washington, D.C. I've been listening to "The Diane Rehm Show" for as long as I can remember. One of my mom's favorite stories is coming down in the basement and finding me and my brother on the Fisher Price phone saying, call 282-885-8850 for "The Diane Rehm Show." There are a lot of people my age, millennials and younger, who I know listen to "The Diane Rehm Show" and look to "The Diane Rehm Show" to get a lot of their news. What do you hope to leave for them, specifically?
REHMWhat do I hope to leave for young listeners, specifically? I'm back to how we listen and how we open ourselves to the ideas of others. I think that's what I and the producers of this program have tried to do each and every day is to make sure that minds are open, that minds are receptive and that whoever calls in with whatever kind of a comment, we can somehow respond to with respect and honor. That's the thing I would hope to leave young listeners with. I must say, so many young people have come up to me at various places in the country and have said, I started listening to you in the back of my mother's car. And I always wanted her to change the station. And then, as I got a little older, I started listening as well.
REHMSo, listen with an open heart and try to understand. There are views other than yours. So that's what I would say. All right, let's go now to Rachel, in Grand Rapids, Mich. You're on the air.
RACHELThank you. And I just wanted to say from -- behalf of all women, we just appreciate everything you've done on radio for us. And I was one of those children that listened to you in my parents' car. And we would travel cross country and they would have a list of the NPR stations. My mom would actually drive across town to drive-thrus so that we could listen to you. And then as I grew older, you know, listening to you on the radio, it moved from my computer. And now I listen to you the majority of the time on the NPR app. So it's been interesting growing up, how technology has allowed us to carry you where we've gone. And I look forward to listening to you on your podcasts. And just truly thank you for -- especially your comment -- your shows about urban issues. And just really appreciate everything that you have done.
REHMThank you so, so much, Rachel. And knowing that you're one of those back-of-the-car babies who grew up, I'm sure your mom would be very proud of you. Thank you so much for calling. And now let's go to Nick.
NICKHi, Diane. This is Nick from the frozen wilds of New Hampshire. And I've been listening to your show forever. And one of the things that I've always admired is the way that you handle callers that I know get under your skin. You always deal with them with grace and dignity. So my question, do any of those callers or guests, for that matter, stand out over the years?
REHMYou know, speaking of callers, I have to tell you, Tom Wolfe, in his gorgeous white suit, was on this program one day. And I'm talking about Tom Wolfe, who wrote "Bonfire of the Vanities." He was on this program one day. And, of course, the producers had reminded him several times to turn off his cell phone. And what happened? During the program, not only did his cell phone ring, but he answered it. He answered the telephone and said, hi, it's Tom. And the person on the other line began talking. And he said, well, you know, actually I'm on "The Diane Rehm Show," right now. Yeah. She's in Washington. He continued the phone call. And I'm sitting there and I'm glaring at him.
REHMAnd finally I said, Tom, would you be good enough to hang up? And he finally hung up the phone. You know, you never know what's going to happen in live radio. And, you know, it's a moment I look back on and I think, that's really fun. And that's the way it was. Let's go now to, let's see, Kelly in Chattanooga, Tenn. You're on the air.
KELLYHi, Diane. I love you.
REHMOh, Kelly. Thank you.
KELLYIt's so funny. I'm at work and I'm -- I just went inside and I'm like, I'm not going to hang up even though I'm not supposed to be on the phone. I just wanted to tell you, my mom passed in 2012 on the 30th of December and she always listened to NPR. And about a year and a half ago, I started listening. And I just love you.
KELLYAnd you're listening to me now. I listen to you every single day. I just think you're amazing. I love your attitude of peace. You've just brought so much to my life with your conversations. And I'm just -- I just love you so much. And I was very sad to hear about your puppy. My kitty is going through the same thing right now and I know how hard that can be. But I just wanted to express that my mom left me you. And what a beautiful gift. You're such a beautiful lady.
REHMOh, Kelly, there is absolutely no higher compliment that you could have given me. Thank you so much. And I hope that you don't get in trouble for being on the phone...
KELLYBelieve me, you're worth it.
REHMOkay. Well, thanks for calling. And Merry Christmas, despite the fact, I understand, a sad anniversary is coming up for you. Have a good holiday.
KELLYYou too. I love you.
REHMThank you. I love you too. And short break here. I'll be right back.
REHMAnd welcome back. As a surprise guest for me and for you, I have invited my son David Rehm into the studio. David Rehm is now university professor of Mount St. Mary's University in Emmetsburg, Maryland. He is a philosopher, and David Rehm, through your philosophy and your considered thinking, you've taught me so much. So I wanted to have you in here, knowing that you and I and your dad had so many conversations about this program. And what do you remember about even when I began?
MR. DAVID REHMWell first of all, it's a pleasure to be here, so thank you.
REHMThank you, sweetheart.
REHMWhat I remember most is in the early years, Dad would be at the table, and we all thought dad was the really bright one in the house when I was young. And Dad would say, you know, Diane, I was reading something in the paper today, you should do a show about X. And you'd quietly look, think for a second, and said, you know, John, I did one a week ago. And this kind of thing happened all the time. So there was constant back-and-forth in terms of suggestions.
REHMOften you'd done something, but then he'd come with an angle on a show, on a story, and you'd say, that's a great one, I'm going to go with it. That was wonderful to watch.
REHMAnd you know he did that right up to the end of his life. Even after he moved into assisted living we would talk about the news, and he was still watching and listening.
REHMAnd thinking about the news.
REHMAnd thinking, absolutely.
REHMAnd that's where the ideas would come from.
REHMAll right, we have a surprise caller.
DAME JULIE ANDREWSHello, dear Diane, this is Julie Andrews calling.
ANDREWSHello, my dear, and I'm online with my daughter Emma Walton Hamilton, and we just wanted to tell you how much we love you.
EMMA WALTON HAMILTONHi Diane.
REHMHi, Emma. Oh my goodness.
HAMILTONLovely to talk to you.
HAMILTONAnd we really just wanted to thank you, Diane, honestly. You have been such a beacon of light in our lives and in all of your listeners' lives.
HAMILTONAnd for us personally, the championship of the arts and literacy that you have done over the years has been particularly moving. You've given so much time, equal time, to the arts and to literacy as you've given to the news and the world stage, and so few people do that nowadays, and we cannot thank you enough.
ANDREWSI echo all that she said, Diane, and we are going to miss you dreadfully, but I just wanted you to know, both of us want you to know, that we love you dearly and hope that you're in our lives forevermore and that we will see you soon.
HAMILTONAnd we'll be listening to your podcast, you can be sure.
REHMOh, that's wonderful, and Julie, I want you to know that just the other night I watched "Mary Poppins" again and adored every minute of it. So it's wonderful to hear from you.
ANDREWSOh my lord. Well darling, thank you so much, and have a wonderful day, and just know that we really do adore you, and thank you for all that you do for so many people, Diane.
REHMThank you. And I love you both.
ANDREWSAnd love to David, too.
HAMILTONMuch love, and happy, happy holidays.
REHMThank you so much. Happy holidays to you.
ANDREWSGod bless both -- yes, God bless from us, bye.
REHMThank you. And the email I have coming up next, it's from James, who says many of your listeners cannot help but think of you when we hear "Toot Suite: Allegre." Why was this particular piece chosen as your program theme song? Is there a story behind the tune selection? Well indeed there is. Last night Tom Cole of NPR was here at a farewell gathering we had, and, you know, whenever I see Tom, I cannot be more grateful because it was he who selected "Toot Suite" because he said, and this I don't really understand, David Rehm, he said there were posts that we could use as the theme played. We could cut in and out when we wanted. And it really is so special to me.
REHMAnd Susan Stamberg was here last night, too, and at one point Susan said to me, I think you ought to get rid of the theme song, and I said that's the worst idea I've ever heard. People have been hearing that theme song for so many years. So Susan laughed, and she said, that's just another one of my ideas Diane did not take, and Diane was right.
REHMSo now let's take a surprise caller. Hello?
ISABEL WILKERSONHello, hi.
ISABEL WILKERSONHello. This is Isabel Wilkerson, the author of "The Warmth of Other Suns."
REHMOh Isabel, how lovely to hear from you.
WILKERSONOh Diane, you're such a national treasure. It was such an honor and joy to be on your show. But you know what I will never forget is the discovery that we grew up in the same neighborhood in Washington, D.C., in different eras. I will never forget going back to that neighborhood of Petworth in Washington, D.C., with you and visiting the high school together and comparing our memories.
REHMWasn't that fun? Oh my gosh, that was such fun.
WILKERSONSo much fun that was.
REHMThank you so much for suggesting it, Isabel. It was just a wonderful trip back in time and to see that wonderful Roosevelt High School in its brand new incarnation. It's just gorgeous. And I loved doing that with you, Isabel. It was just great going through all the old Petworth neighborhoods. Thank you.
REHMThank you so much for calling.
REHMYou're such a dear.
WILKERSONThank you so much, I'd love to stay in touch with you.
REHMAnd we will, I promise.
REHMThank you, merry Christmas, happy Kwanzaa.
WILKERSONAnd to you, as well.
REHMHappy new year. Thank you.
REHMAnd now to Clip Five.
SUSANHi Diane, my name is Susan, and I'm calling from Albuquerque, New Mexico. I'm calling to ask you if you feel hopeful about the future of our country, and if you do, what are the things or what's the thing that makes you feel that way.
REHMDavid Rehm, as a philosopher, how would you answer that question?
REHMNot as a philosopher, as a university instructor and as someone who works with students in their teens and early '20s and having a wife who works with high school students. Our kids are bright, they're intelligent, they're thoughtful. They're ready to be challenged. They need -- they need to be more challenged than they are at times. But they have such good ideas and such energy that I feel hopeful every day, and I actually take great pride in being able to work with students and help develop those minds so that this extraordinary democracy of ours continues.
REHMThat's where I would go. I believe in this country, and I believe in this democracy. I know there are people who are concerned for our democracy, as a matter of fact we had several of them on the program the other day, but like you, I think the young people are the hope of the future. They will very carefully figure out what needs to be done. I realize that right now there are a lot of people in despair. There are a lot of people who don't even have enough to eat. There are a lot of people who cannot even put food on the table, and there has not been enough attention paid to that.
REHMBut somehow, some way, I do believe our country is strong, and I do believe we're going to be okay. That may be naïve, but that is what I believe.
REHMWe are resilient.
REHMWe are resilient, you're absolutely right. Let's go to Scottsdale, Arizona. Kate, you're on the air.
KATEHello Diane, and I actually just got the best Christmas gift I could ever get in speaking to you. I'm so tremendously happy and honored to be speaking to you. You are a woman who is amongst role models for all of us that is tremendous. I have listened to you over the years. I've taken in your wisdom. I've tried to emulate your listening abilities. I worked in crisis and trauma. I've raised three children as a single mother. And I am always, always so respectfully grateful to listen to your programs and know that you bring reasonable listening and talking, and you let us all gather.
KATEYou know, scripture talks about come, let us gather, and let us do it with reason. And you do it so beautifully. And I'm so sad you're leaving this medium of NPR, but I'm so happy that you will still be on the air. We need you, and I just am so honored to speak to you, and I'm so grateful for this. This is all I wanted to do today was to speak with you as this is your last program.
REHMKate, thank you so, so much for your beautiful words and your kindness. Thank you.
SENATOR CORY BOOKERHi, it's Cory Booker.
REHMCory Booker, how wonderful to hear from you.
BOOKERI cannot tell you how grateful I am for the service you've given to our country. In the deepest sense of the word you are a patriot. You are someone who shows your love of your country by speaking truth, by investigating, by seeking out diversity of voices, and I've just been enjoying you for years, and I'm just so grateful for your incredible service.
REHMWell, and of course when you were the mayor of Newark, New Jersey, you were on this program several times. So I'm so happy to hear from you. I know you're not in a higher position in government, and I hope you're enjoying that.
BOOKERWell I do love my service, and I'm sitting here in Newark, New Jersey, right now. I love my roots here in Jersey, and just grateful that when I was fighting the good fight here in this great city, you gave me a chance to talk about issues that matter.
REHMOh thank you, thank you so much, and that was Cory Booker, the former mayor of Newark, New Jersey. And you're listening to the Diane Rehm Show. So now comes the time to say goodbye. Having been in daily touch with pretty much for the last 37 years and having it come to an end is difficult for me. Physically I know I'm ready. Emotionally I only think I'm ready because I know it's going to be a hard adjustment, changing habits, shifting thoughts from a daily deadline, missing being with wonderful colleagues, but there comes an end to all things. Having this position here at the microphone has been the most gratifying and fulfilling activity I could ever have dreamed of.
REHMI must say, though, I've been saddened by the collapse in kind and courteous discourse we've all witnessed during these last few years and especially during this last election. But you have remained a fabulous audience, always adding to our conversations with your calls and emails and more recently with your tweets and Facebook postings. You are kind, you are thoughtful, you are courteous. You exemplify civil conversation, and I've been proud to be your host.
REHMI owe so much to the many people who have made these years so rich for me but most especially to my producers, who are here with me and who will go on to do new things, Denise Couture and Danielle Knight, both of whom will go on to work on the new program 1A with Joshua Johnson, Alex Botti, who moves to WYNC in New York to work for "The Takeaway," Lisa Dunn, who begins work on a special project here at WAMU on gun violence, Erica Hendry, who moves to WETA to work on "The PBS News Hour" and Alison Brody, who is currently considering options.
REHMAnd finally Sandra Baker, who has been with me for 24 years, and Becca Kaufman, both of whom will stay on to work with me on my new weekly podcast we're calling "On My Mind." The podcast will be on a range of subjects, and I hope you'll find your way to them.
REHMBefore I go, I do have to tell you some sad news. My beloved little dog Maxie died just a week ago. He had been suffering from congestive heart disease, and last Saturday he was in particularly deep distress. So I wrapped him in his little gray blanket, put him on my lap and drove him to our vets. Just as we got to the parking lot, before we even got out of the car, his little head went down, and I knew he was gone. He died in my arms. He was 13 and a half years old, and my apartment feels so empty without him.
REHMBut now on to new things. Really it's not goodbye, it's just farewell. I'll continue here at WAMU. I'll be listening to the radio right along with you. For now I send all of you my love and my prayerful hope for a merry Christmas and a peaceful new year.
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