Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Petraeus out of seclusion, apologizes

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LOS ANGELES -- David Petraeus, who has remained largely in seclusion since being forced to resign as head of the CIA after the disclosure of an extramarital affair, returned to the public spotlight Tuesday with a speech and an apology before a group of military students and veterans.

Petraeus was scheduled to deliver the keynote address to some 600 people at the University of Southern California's annual ROTC dinner.

The New York Times, which obtained an advance copy of the speech, said he will begin by acknowledging and apologizing for the affair, then will go on to discuss his future plans as a public advocate for veterans' and other causes.

"Needless to say, I join you keenly aware that I am regarded in a different light now than I was a year ago," the Times quoted from Petraeus' speech.

"I am also keenly aware that the reason for my recent journey was my own doing," the text of his speech read. "So please allow me to begin my remarks this evening by reiterating how deeply I regret -- and apologize for -- the circumstances that led me to resign from the CIA and caused such pain for my family, friends and supporters."

The affair with the retired four-star general's biographer, Paula Broadwell, was discovered during an FBI investigation into emails she sent to another woman she viewed as a rival for his attention.

Where he goes from there is uncertain, but at least one expert in crisis communications expects if his apology comes across as heartfelt and sincere the public will indeed be seeing much more of him.

"America is a very forgiving nation," said Michael Levine who, among dozens of other celebrity clients, represented Michael Jackson during his first child molestation investigation.

"If he follows the path of humility, personal responsibility and contrition, I submit to you that he will be very successful in his ability to rehabilitate his image."

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 27, 2013 A12

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