:: Cast : Joe Watkins/p>
Joe Watkins is a nationally known political commentator and host on television and radio drawing on decades of experience as a former US Senate staffer, White House aide, businessman and pastor of the oldest African American Lutheran church in Philadelphia.
Currently an MSNBC political analyst, he regularly analyzes the 2008 Presidential race for both the Republicans and Democrats. A host of the nationally and internationally televised prime time show Praise the Lord on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, he has also been the host of the Joe Watkins Show on the Big Talker 1210 WPHT in Philadelphia. Joe was also a regular co-host of CNN's Crossfire from 2004 until 2005. While he currently appears on NBC and CNBC news programs like The Today Show and SquawkBox, he has also appeared on ABC's Good Morning America, CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, Paula Zahn Now, and American Morning, Fox's Hannity & Colmes and Fox News. Joe also serves as a regular commentator for CN8's It's Your Call with Lynn Doyle. Formerly a weekly guest on Radio Ones WOL in Washington, DC, Joe has also been a regular contributor to National Public Radio on Political Corner with Juan Williams and other programs.
Joe is presently the associate director of government relations at Buchanan Ingersoll and Rooney, one of the nation's largest law firms. A non-attorney professional, he is the former director of the government relations boutique Hill Solutions, which merged with Buchanan Ingersoll in the fall of 2005. Previously Watkins was a managing director at two capital management firms.
Joe was born in Queens, New York and raised in the Queens neighborhood of Bayside. He attended Public School 31 where he was selected salutatorian of the graduating sixth grade class and Junior High School 158 before winning a scholarship to the Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts. He completed his bachelors degree at the University of Pennsylvania in History and a masters degree in Christian Education from Princeton Theological Seminary.
After serving as a college campus minister for several years following Princeton, Joe joined the staff of newly-elected US Senator Dan Quayle as assistant state director in 1981. While there he was selected as one of the "Fifty Young Leaders of the Future"by Ebony Magazine in 1983 and as one of the "Ten Outstanding Young Hoosiers" by the Indiana JayCees. He also won the JayCees state and national public speaking competition "Speak Up" in 1983.
Joe returned to Philadelphia in 1986 to work as an assistant to president Sheldon Hackney at the University of Pennsylvania. Taking a leave to work in the 1998 Bush Presidential Campaign, he was tapped to work on President-elect Bush's transition team after the November election. From there he was selected to join the President's staff as the associate director of public liason in the White House. Joe served in that capacity until May 1991, when he left the White House to start his own consulting firm.
Since 1998 he has been the pastor of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, the oldest African-American Lutheran Church in Philadelphia. He has been married since 1975 and he and his wife are the proud parents of three children, a son-in-law and two grandchildren.
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