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St. Barnabas Charities honors prize-winning columnist Krauthammer

Tom Fontaine
| Thursday, April 30, 2015, 11:30 p.m.
Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Charles Krauthammer meets with St. Barnabas Charities’ supporters during a reception at the 115th Founder’s Day fundraiser and gala at the Pittsburgh Marriott North in Cranberry Township Thursday, April 30, 2015. Krauthammer died Thursday, June 21, 2018, at 68.
Jasmine Goldband | Trib Total Media
Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Charles Krauthammer meets with St. Barnabas Charities’ supporters during a reception at the 115th Founder’s Day fundraiser and gala at the Pittsburgh Marriott North in Cranberry Township Thursday, April 30, 2015. Krauthammer died Thursday, June 21, 2018, at 68.
Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Charles Krauthammer chats with St. Barnabas Charities’ president William V. Day (standing, left), trustee Bill Spell and manager of special projects Gary Bogart during the 115th Founder’s Day fundraiser and gala Thursday, April 30, 2015, in the Pittsburgh Marriott North in Cranberry.
Jasmine Goldband | Trib Total Media
Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Charles Krauthammer chats with St. Barnabas Charities’ president William V. Day (standing, left), trustee Bill Spell and manager of special projects Gary Bogart during the 115th Founder’s Day fundraiser and gala Thursday, April 30, 2015, in the Pittsburgh Marriott North in Cranberry.

Before Thursday, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Charles Krauthammer said his “closest association” to Pittsburgh was recalling Bill Mazeroski's World Series-winning home run in 1960.

Then St. Barnabas Charities invited Krauthammer, 65, to its 115th Founder's Day fundraiser and gala Thursday, which drew a record crowd of more than 500 people. The nonprofit gave Krauthammer its Hance Award, named for St. Barnabas founder Gouverneur P. Hance.

“I learned about St. Barnabas and how it provides more than $6 million a year of free health care to those who cannot afford it. I strongly support that, and I'm honored by the award,” Krauthammer told the Tribune-Review before the event.

Proceeds from the gala, held in the Pittsburgh Marriott North in Cranberry, support the nonprofit's Free Care Fund, which has provided more than $100 million in charity medical care, medicine and other support for disabled men and women and the elderly.

The St. Barnabas Health System is based in Richland.

Krauthammer, who was born in New York and raised in Montreal, earned a medical degree from Harvard and served as chief resident in psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital before becoming a syndicated columnist. He was paralyzed in a diving accident while at Harvard.

He left medical practice and went to Washington in the late 1970s, first to direct planning in psychiatric research in President Jimmy Carter's administration and then to write speeches for Vice President Walter Mondale.

Krauthammer became a writer and editor at The New Republic, a liberal magazine, in 1981. He began writing a weekly column for The Washington Post in 1985 and won a Pulitzer for that work in 1987. His column is now published in 400 newspapers worldwide, and he appears regularly on Fox News.

“I started out in my 20s as a Great Society liberal, but I became a small-government conservative in my late 30s,” he said.

Krauthammer attributed his transformation to what he viewed as “empirical evidence of the failings of the Great Society,” the broad domestic social agenda initiated by President Lyndon B. Johnson in the mid-1960s.

As for today's political landscape, he said the “imminence of Iran going nuclear” is his top foreign policy worry.

“I think the Iran nuclear deal will ensure that Iran goes nuclear. In turn, it will ensure that neighboring states in the region will go nuclear and ensure that the most unstable place on earth will be brimming with nuclear weapons,” Krauthammer said.

About domestic issues, he said, “I think we have been on the wrong track with the multiplication of entitlements, increasing of debt and dismantling of our Defense Department. But I think that can be remedied with a single election.”

Krauthammer said former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker appear to be early front-runners among Republican candidates for president in 2016, along with former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side — but that doesn't mean much now, more than 18 months until the election.

Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or tfontaine@tribweb.com.

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