Debate Biography


White House Chief of Staff
Carter Administration

Jack Watson is a lawyer whose career has included service in law, government and business. He was Chief Legal Strategist of Monsanto Company from January 1998 to June 2000 and prior to that was a senior partner in the Atlanta-based law firm of Long, Aldridge & Norman, where he was the firm's senior commercial trial lawyer, managing partner of the firm's litigation section, and, from 1993 to 1998, managing partner of the firm's Washington D.C. office. Earlier in his legal career, he was an associate and partner in the Atlanta-based law firm of King & Spalding.

In 1976, Mr. Watson served as head of the Carter-Mondale Policy Planning Group and later as Director of the Transition Team during the transition of government from President Ford to President Carter. In the Carter Administration, he served as Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs, Secretary to the Cabinet, and White House Chief of Staff. He chaired the President's Interagency Coordinating Council created by Executive Order in 1978 to coordinate implementation of the President's domestic policy. In 1980, he directed the transition of government from President Carter to President Reagan.

Since his service in the White House, Mr. Watson has consulted from time to time with foreign leaders on various public policy and governmental issues. In 1986, he consulted with senior members of Brazilian President Jose Sarney's staff and Brazil's Constitutional Revision Commission on the revision of Brazil's constitution. In 1992, he consulted with President Frederick Chiluba of Zambia on constitutional and governmental organization issues facing the new democratically elected Zambian government. In 1993, he participated in discussions in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan with government, business and academic leaders as part of a five-person U.S. delegation under the sponsorship of the National Committee for United States-China Relations. In 1994, as President Clinton's Official Representative to Australian-American Friendship Week, Mr. Watson met with Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating and other members of the Australian Government to discuss issues of mutual concern to the two allies and represented the U.S Government in ceremonies celebrating the anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea. In 2001, Mr. Watson led a delegation of private U.S. citizens to Moscow, under the auspices of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, to meet with Russian political, economic, governmental and academic leaders to discuss U.S.-Russia economic relations and proposed structural reforms in the Russian banking, securities and public works systems.

Mr. Watson served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a Pathfinder and Reconnaissance Team Leader, First Force Reconnaissance Company, and left the Marine Corps with the rank of Captain. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Vanderbilt University and received his law degree from Harvard Law School.


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