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(CNN) - He was wearing a bright green tie and sat right behind Rupert and James Murdoch in that first row. To those of us who know Joel Klein, his presence could clearly be felt even though he didn’t say a word.
I’ve known Klein ever since he worked for President Bill Clinton as a White House deputy counsel during his first term. A highly respected lawyer in Washington, Klein later moved over to the Justice Department to become its anti-trust chief. Most recently, he served for eight years as New York City’s Education Chancellor under Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Since leaving that position, the 64-year-old native New Yorker has gone to work for News Corporation as an Executive Vice President and head of its education division. But make no mistake: he’s been deeply involved in helping Rupert and James Murdoch navigate their way through this phone hacking and bribery scandal. They are smart to have hired him.
That full-throated Murdoch apology that was published in the major British newspapers, in my opinion, had Klein’s fingerprints. So, too, that emotional meeting Rupert Murdoch had with the family of that murdered British girl whose voicemail had been hacked by Murdoch’s now-defunct “News of the World” tabloid newspaper.
Klein is a real expert in dealing with damage control. He honed those skills while working for President Clinton. Rupert and James Murdoch are fortunate to have him now.
Having said that, let’s not forget there are real limits to even Klein’s proven damage control skills.