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You're reading: Back Story: Regrets of Sinatra, Willard

“Of course,” I said. I was a hired hand on a U.S. Agency for International Development assignment for a global PR firm. I expected a year-long assignment. I had left boxes of memorabilia and knickknacks in the office, and had told my assistant, “I’ll be back. Take care of my stuff and keep my seat warm.”

That was 19 years ago. In truth, though I visit the United States most years, this strange, infuriating, corrupt, bureaucratic, leaderless, beautiful, gracious, captivating country is my home. Everything I had done in business up to that point in 1994 was poor rehearsal for navigating the riskiest of markets.

A few months later, I returned to Washington and Capitol Hill for a quick visit and ran into a friend, Gaston Caperton, the then-governor of West Virginia.

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