Paula Broadwell has mostly stayed out of the public eye since last November, when news broke of her affair with then-CIA director General David Petraeus. On Tuesday, she gave her first public speech since the scandal.
Broadwell was the featured speaker at the Rotary Club of Charlotte meeting. The theme was “Military veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.” Broadwell is herself a former Army major who moved to Charlotte after her service, and she’s spoken out for more support of veterans since before the scandal broke that led to General Petraeus’ resignation. Her appearance yesterday drew more visitors than usual to a weekly Rotary meeting, according to the club’s executive secretary, Sandy Osborne. She checked in 48 guests.
“we have 8 to 12 on an average day, so this is not an average day.” (05)
In all, just under 240 people filled the long room at the Charlotte Plaza Uptown Hotel. The media also had a large presence. There were TV cameras from no fewer than four stations, as well as a reporter and photographer from the “Charlotte Observer.”
No one mentioned the biography Broadwell wrote of Petraeus. She did mention the scandal, though, in reference to comments about soldiers needing support to recover from difficulties…
PAULA-personal crisis: “In my experience as well, you can’t survive a personal crisis without friends and a community to help you, and Charlotte is clearly benevolent in this way.” (10)
She said Charlotte already attracts more veterans for its size than many other cities. And she encouraged the gathered community leaders to get involved with programs that offer support to military personnel when they come home from their service. Her remarks lasted for more than 20 minutes. At times she seemed nervous, stumbling over her words and stopping to correct herself.
In May, Broadwell publicly apologized for the affair in an interview with WSOC-TV. She said then that she would focus on using the scandal for the greater good. After the Rotary speech, she said she was going to another meeting to speak about supporting veterans.