CNN-National & Wolrd

Ashton Carter Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here’s a look at the life of former US Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter.


Birth date: September 24, 1954

Birth place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Birth name: Ashton Baldwin Carter

Father: William Stanley Carter, a psychiatrist and neurologist

Mother: Anne (Baldwin) Carter

Marriages: Stephanie (DeLeeuw) Carter; Clayton Spencer (divorced)

Children: with Clayton Spencer: William, Ava

Education: Attended Edinburgh University, 1975; Yale University, B.A. in physics and medieval history, 1976 (summa cum laude); Oxford University, Rhodes Scholar, Ph.D. in theoretical physics, 1979

Other Facts

Carter has been awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal on several occasions.

“He’s also a physicist, which means that he’s one of the few people who actually understands how many of our defense systems work,” said US President Barack Obama during his nomination announcement.

Regarding his academic interests in both physics and medieval history, Carter once said, “There was no relationship between them in my mind except that both fascinated me.” He continued, “It has become a joke among all my friends that, intellectually, I have somehow managed to mix physics and medieval history. It might be an unorthodox combination, but it is an absorbing one.”

Carter has served as a member of the Secretary of State’s International Security Advisory Board, the Defense Policy Board, the Defense Science Board, and the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Science and Technology for Countering Terrorism.


1980-1981 – Analyst in the Office of Technology Assessment, International Security and Commerce Program, US Congress.

1981-1982 – Analyst in program analysis and evaluation, Office of the Secretary of Defense.

1982-1984 – Serves as a research fellow within the Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

1984-1986 – Assistant professor at the Center for Science and International Affairs (now the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs), John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

1986-1988 – Associate professor, Harvard University.

1988-1990 – Professor and associate director of the center at Harvard University.

1990-1993 – Serves as director of the Center for Science and International Affairs (now the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs), John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

1993-1996 – Serves as assistant secretary of defense for international security policy, US Department of Defense.

1998 – Recipient of the Defense Intelligence Medal.

April 2009-October 2011 – Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics

August 2, 2011 – President Obama nominates Carter to replace Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn III.

September 23, 2011 – The US Senate unanimously confirms Carter as the deputy secretary of defense.

October 6, 2011-December 3, 2013 – Deputy Secretary of Defense.

December 5, 2014 – President Obama nominates Carter to succeed Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. Hagel’s resignation was announced November 24, 2014.

February 12, 2015 – Is confirmed by the Senate, 93 to 5, to be the new secretary of defense.

February 17, 2015-January 19, 2017 Serves as the 25th secretary of defense.

July 12, 2016 – Makes an unannounced visit to Afghanistan to meet with the country’s leaders and visit with US forces who are battling a resilient Taliban. Carter’s trip comes a week after President Obama’s announcement 8,400 troops will remain in Afghanistan through the end of 2017, a higher number than the 5,500 troops originally planned.

March 28, 2017 – Harvard University’s Kennedy School announces that Carter will join the school as a professor and as director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

March 29, 2017 – MIT announces Carter will serve as a visiting innovation fellow.

June 11, 2019 – Publishes his book, “Inside the Five-Sided Box: Lessons from a Lifetime of Leadership in the Pentagon.”

May 5, 2020 – Is elected to General Electric’s Board of Directors.

CNN-National & Wolrd

Larry Bird Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here’s a look at the life of NBA Hall of Fame forward Larry Bird.


Birth date: December 7, 1956

Birth place: West Baden, Indiana

Birth name: Larry Joe Bird

Father: Joe Bird

Mother: Georgia (Kerns) Bird

Marriages: Dinah (Mattingly) Bird, (1989-present); Janet Condra (1975-1976, divorced)

Children: with Dinah Bird: Mariah (adopted in 1993) and Connor (adopted in 1991); with Janet Condra: Corrie, 1977

Education: Attended Indiana University, 1974; Indiana State University, B.A., 1979

Other Facts

Grew up in the formerly famed resort town of French Lick, Indiana.

Nicknamed the “Hick from French Lick” and “Larry Legend.”

He stands 6’9″.

Wore the number 33 on his basketball jersey in high school, college and with the Boston Celtics.

Attended Indiana University for only 24 days.

Three-time NBA champion with Boston Celtics – 1981, 1984, and 1986.

Won three consecutive NBA MVP awards – 1984, 1985, and 1986.

12-time NBA All-Star.

Two-time NBA Finals MVP – 1984 and 1986.

He was the first person to win NBA MVP, NBA Coach of the Year and NBA Executive of the year.

Twitter named its original bird logo after him, “Larry the Bird.”


1978 First round NBA draft pick by the Boston Celtics – doesn’t play until graduating from Indiana State in 1979.

March 26, 1979 – The legendary basketball rivalry with Magic Johnson begins as their teams battle each other for the NCAA championship title.

1979 – Winner of the USBWA college player of the year (Oscar Robertson Trophy), Naismith Award and Wooden Award.

October 12, 1979 – NBA debut with the Celtics.

1980 – NBA Rookie of the Year.

1981 – Wins first NBA title with the Boston Celtics.

1985 – Bird’s rivalry with Johnson turns to friendship on the set of a Converse television commercial they film together in Indiana.

1988-89 – Misses most of the NBA season after undergoing surgery on both of his heels.

1989 – Bird’s memoir, “Drive: The Story of My Life,” is published.

1991 – Undergoes back surgery.

1992 – Member of the gold medal winning Olympic basketball “Dream Team” with Michael Jordan and Johnson.

August 18, 1992 – Announces his retirement from the NBA due to ongoing back problems stemming from a compressed nerve.

1993 – Undergoes a second back surgery.

February 4, 1993 – The Boston Celtics retire his number 33 jersey in front of a sold out crowd at the Boston Garden.

1997-2000 Head coach of the Indiana Pacers.

May 12, 1998 – Wins NBA Coach of the Year in his first season as head coach of the Indiana Pacers.

October 2, 1998 – Inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

2003 – Assumes the role of president of basketball operations for the Indiana Pacers.

March 6, 2010 – HBO debuts the documentary, “Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals,” about his relationship with Johnson.

April 11, 2012-May 12, 2012 – “Magic/Bird,” the Broadway show, runs in New York City.

June 2012 – Resigns as the Indiana Pacers president of basketball operations.

June 2013 – Returns to the Pacers as president of basketball operations.

November 9, 2013 – The dedication of a bronze statue in Bird’s honor takes place at Indiana State University, his alma mater.

May 1, 2017 – Steps down as the Pacers president of basketball operations.

October 20, 2018 – It is announced that the Larry Bird Museum will be built in downtown Terre Haute, Indiana.

June 24, 2019 – Bird and Johnson share the NBA’s Lifetime Achievement Award.


Rand Paul Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here’s a look at the life of Rand Paul, US senator from Kentucky.


Birth date: January 7, 1963

Birth place: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Birth name: Randal Howard Paul

Father: Ron Paul, former presidential candidate and retired US representative from Texas

Mother: Carol (Wells) Paul

Marriage: Kelley (Ashby) Paul

Children: Robert; Duncan; William

Education: Attended Baylor University, 1981-1984; Duke University School of Medicine, M.D., 1988

Religion: Christian

Other Facts

Performs pro bono eye operations. He practiced as an ophthalmologist for 18 years.

He is not named after author Ayn Rand; his nickname was shortened from “Randy.”

Former president and longtime member of the Lions Club International.

Was active in the congressional and presidential campaigns of his father, Ron Paul.


1993 – Completes his ophthalmology residency at Duke University Medical Center.

1994 – Founds grassroots organization Kentucky Taxpayers United, which monitors state taxation and spending. It is legally dissolved in 2000.

1995 – Founds the Southern Kentucky Lions Eye Clinic, a non-profit providing eye exams and surgeries to those in need.

August 5, 2009 – Announces on Fox News that he is running as a Republican for the US Senate to represent Kentucky.

May 18, 2010 – Defeats Secretary of State Trey Grayson in the Kentucky GOP Senate primary.

May 19, 2010 – In interviews with NPR and MSNBC, while answering questions about the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Paul expresses strong abhorrence for racism, but says that it is the job of communities, not the government, to address discrimination. Paul later releases a statement saying that he supports the Civil Rights Act and would not support its repeal.

November 2, 2010 – Paul is elected to the Senate, defeating Jack Conway.

January 5, 2011 – Sworn in for the 112th Congress. It is the first time a son joins the Senate while his father concurrently serves in the House. Ron Paul retires from the House in 2013.

January 27, 2011 – Participates in the inaugural meeting of the Senate Tea Party Caucus with Senators Mike Lee and Jim DeMint.

February 22, 2011 – Paul’s book “The Tea Party Goes to Washington” is published.

September 11, 2012 – Paul’s book “Government Bullies: How Everyday Americans Are Being Harassed, Abused, and Imprisoned by the Feds” is published. He is later accused of plagiarism in some of his speeches and writings, including in “Government Bullies.” Paul ultimately takes responsibility, saying his office had been “sloppy” and pledging to add footnotes to all of his future material.

February 12, 2013 – Delivers the Tea Party response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.

March 6-7, 2013 – Paul speaks for almost 13 hours, filibustering to stall a confirmation vote on CIA Director nominee John Brennan.

February 12, 2014 – Paul and the conservative group FreedomWorks file a class-action lawsuit against Obama and top national security officials over the government’s electronic surveillance program made public by intelligence leaker Edward Snowden. The lawsuit is later dismissed.

December 2, 2014 – Paul announces his bid for a second term in the Senate.

April 7, 2015 – Paul announces his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination during an event in Louisville, Kentucky.

May 20, 2015 – After 10 hours and 30 minutes, Paul ends his “filibuster” over National Security Agency surveillance programs authorized under the Patriot Act. Paul’s speech wasn’t technically a filibuster because of intricate Senate rules, but his office insists it was a filibuster.

August 5, 2015 – The Justice Department indicts two officials from a Rand Paul Super PAC for conspiracy and falsifying campaign records. During the 2012 presidential primary season, Jesse Benton and John Tate allegedly bribed an Iowa state senator to get him to endorse Ron Paul. Benton and Tate go on to help run one of the Super PACs supporting Rand Paul, America’s Liberty PAC. Both men are later convicted.

February 3, 2016 – Announces that he is suspending his campaign for the presidency.

November 8, 2016 – Wins a second term in the Senate, defeating Democrat Jim Gray.

November 3, 2017 – A neighbor assaults Paul at his home in Bowling Green, Kentucky, which results in six broken ribs and a pleural effusion – a build-up of fluid around the lungs. The attorney representing Paul’s neighbor, Rene Boucher, later says that the occurrence had “absolutely nothing” to do with politics and was “a very regrettable dispute between two neighbors over a matter that most people would regard as trivial.” Boucher, who pleaded guilty to the assault, is sentenced in June 2018 to 30 days in prison with a year of supervised release.

August 2018 – Goes to Moscow and meets with Russian lawmakers, extending an invitation to visit the United States. While abroad, Paul tweets that he delivered a letter to Russian leader Vladimir Putin from US President Donald Trump. A White House spokesman later says that Paul asked Trump to provide a letter of introduction. After he returns, Paul says that he plans to ask Trump to lift sanctions on members of the Russian legislature so they can come to Washington for meetings with their American counterparts.

January 29, 2019 – A jury awards him more than $580,000 in his lawsuit against the neighbor who attacked him in 2017. The amount includes punitive damages and payment for pain and suffering as well as medical damages.

August 5, 2019 – Paul says part of his lung had to be removed by surgery following the 2017 attack by Boucher.

March 22, 2020 – Paul announces that he has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, becoming the first US senator to test positive for coronavirus.