Robert Mosbacher

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Robert Mosbacher
RobertAdamMosbacher.jpg
28th United States Secretary of Commerce
In office
January 31, 1989 – January 15, 1992
President George H. W. Bush
Preceded by William Verity, Jr.
Succeeded by Barbara Franklin
Personal details
Born Robert Adam Mosbacher
(1927-03-11)March 11, 1927
Mount Vernon, New York, U.S.
Died January 24, 2010(2010-01-24) (aged 82)
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, U.S.
Spouse(s) Jane Pennybacker (19??–1970; her death)
Sandra Smith Gerry (1973–1982; divorce)
Georgette Paulsin (1985–1998; divorce)
Michele McCutchen (Mica Mosbacher)
(2000–2010; his death)
Children Diane (Dee) Mosbacher
Robert Mosbacher Jr.
Kathryn Mosbacher
Lisa Mosbacher Mears
Residence Houston, Texas, U.S.
Alma mater Washington & Lee University
Occupation Petroleum industry executive
Yachtsman, Politician
Religion Presbyterian (born Jewish)[1]

Robert Adam Mosbacher, Sr. (March 11, 1927 – January 24, 2010) was an American businessman, accomplished yacht racer, and a Republican politician.

Early life[edit]

Mosbacher was born in Mount Vernon, New York, to Gertrude (née Schwartz) and Emil Mosbacher.[2] His grandparents were German Jewish immigrants.[3] After graduation, he went to Texas where his father had some oil investments and entered the oil business himself. He befriended future president George H.W. Bush in Texas.[4]

Sailing career[edit]

Sailing as a member of the Knickerbocker Yacht Club, Mosbacher led the team that won the Scoville Cup and the Midget Yacht championship for under-15 racers in 1940 on Long Island Sound.[5] He went on to win the Southern Ocean Racing Conference championship in 1958 and the Mallory Cup, also in 1958.[6] Mosbacher later appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, on May 18, 1959, with his brother Bus Mosbacher, for a feature article titled Kings of the Class-Boat Sailors.[7][8] The article called Bob Mosbacher "the unquestioned master of fleet racing".

Mosbacher won the Silver Medal in World Championships Dragon class in 1967 in Toronto.

In 1969, he won the Gold Medal in World Championships Dragon class at Palma de Mallorca by one point.[9] As of 2010, he was still only one of two Americans to have ever won the World Championships in the Dragon class.

Soling World Championship 1971

He won the Gold Medal in World Championships Soling class in 1971 in Oyster Bay, NY on a boat named "Adlez" built by Abbott with rigging from Melges. He lost to Buddy Melges in the 1972 Olympic Trials (Soling class) in San Francisco Bay.[10] Buddy Melges went on to win the Gold Medal in the Soling Class at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Germany. Mosbacher won the Bronze Medal in World Championships 5.5 metre class in 1985 at Newport Beach. In 1988 he won the Scandinavian Gold Cup for 5.5 metre yachts.

He was described in Stuart H. Walker's book Advanced Racing Tactics as a keenly competitive racer "unwilling to settle for second".[11]

Mosbacher participated in a semi-final match race against Ted Turner in the Mallory Cup in 1960. On the final windward leg, Mosbacher was slightly ahead. Ted Turner attempted to force Mosbacher into a mistake by executing a grueling tacking duel. The windward leg involved fifty-two tacks. In the end, Mosbacher won by five seconds.[12]

Political career[edit]

Robert Adam Mosbacher shaking hands with Boris Yeltsin

Mosbacher was the finance chairman of Gerald R. Ford's failed election bid in 1976.[13] He also lost his own race for delegate to the 1976 Republican National Convention in Kansas City, Missouri, to a slate backing future U.S. President Ronald W. Reagan, Ford's rival for the party nomination. Mosbacher, running in the then 7th congressional district, lost to State Senator Walter Mengden of Houston, 39,276 to 26,344 votes. Earlier, Mosbacher headed the fund-raising effort for George H.W. Bush in his losing Senate campaign against Lloyd M. Bentsen in 1970 and again in Bush's campaigns for President in 1980 and 1988.[citation needed]

As U.S. Secretary of Commerce, he was the principal Cabinet official responsible for initiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). He was a strong proponent of the agreement, which created the largest unified market in the world. The agreement was not signed into law in the U.S. until December 8, 1993, during the administration of President Bill Clinton. The agreement went into effect on January 1, 1994.[citation needed]

Mosbacher was a member of President Reagan's Task Force on Private Sector Initiatives 1981-83, and Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He then became Secretary of Commerce in 1989 after he directed the George H. W. Bush 1988 Presidential Election Campaign. He also served as a Director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. In 2008, he was the general chairman of John McCain's bid for the White House.[citation needed]

Business interests[edit]

Mosbacher was a charter member and past Chairman of the All American Wildcatters Association, and served on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the American Petroleum Institute. He was former Director of Texas Commerce Bank and also of New York Life Insurance Company. Mosbacher was a former President of the American Association of Petroleum Landmen, as well as a former chairman of the Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association.[citation needed]

In 1989, Mosbacher received an honorary doctoral degree from the University of Houston. He was Trustee Emeritus of the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies, and President of the Board of Odyssey Academy, a public charter school located in Galveston, Texas.[14]

Family and personal life[edit]

Mosbacher's brother was Emil "Bus" Mosbacher, Jr., who successfully defended the America's Cup as skipper of the Weatherly in 1962 and again in 1967 as skipper of the Intrepid.

Mosbacher was married four times:

His son, Robert Mosbacher, Jr., is a Houston businessman and a former Republican politician who headed the Overseas Private Investment Corporation in the administration of President George W. Bush.

Death[edit]

On January 24, 2010, Mosbacher died of pancreatic cancer at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center at the age of 82.[15][16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Hershey, Jr., Robert D. (2010-01-24). "Robert A. Mosbacher, 82, Is Dead". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-24. 
  2. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/CandidateDetail.html?CandidateID=104972
  3. ^ http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/6837109.html
  4. ^ Blumenfeld, Laura (1992-09-03). "The Lesbian in the GOP Family – Robert Mosbacher is Caught Between The Party Line and His Daughter Diane". Washington Post. p. D1. 
  5. ^ "Mosbacher First in Midget Sailing". The New York Times. 1940-08-20. p. 26. 
  6. ^ Rogin, Gilbert (1962-09-10). "Smiling Wizard Of The Cup Defense". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2010-01-24. 
  7. ^ "Bob Mosbacher" 10 (20). Sports Illustrated. 1959-05-18. Retrieved 2010-01-24. 
  8. ^ "Kings Of The Class-boat Sailors" 10 (20). Sports Illustrated. 1959-05-18. Retrieved 2010-01-24. 
  9. ^ "Mosbacher Wins Sailing Crown". The Washington Post. 1969-10-06. p. B4. 
  10. ^ Sailing Smart, by Buddy Melges
  11. ^ Advanced Racing Tactics, by Stuart H. Walker
  12. ^ History of the Southern Yacht Club By Flora K. Scheib
  13. ^ "Houston Businessman to Head Ford 1976 Fund-Raising Drive". The New York Times. 1975-12-04. p. 34. 
  14. ^ Board of Odyssey Academy
  15. ^ Ex-US Commerce Secretary Mosbacher Dies in Texas ABC News, Associated Press story. Retrieved on January 24, 2010.
  16. ^ Tolson, Mike. "Oilman, GOP stalwart Mosbacher dies at 82." Houston Chronicle. January 24, 2010. Retrieved on January 24, 2010.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
William Verity Jr.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce
Served under: George H.W. Bush

January 31, 1989 – January 15, 1992
Succeeded by
Barbara Hackman Franklin