What is your earliest political memory?
In 1960, insisting to my socialist mother that JFK was a “no good fink” just before the first presidential debate and then revising that opinion about 10 minutes into it.
Who is your political hero?
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela, all for the same reasons.
Who is the Democrat you admire most?
Lyndon Baines Johnson, who never got enough credit from us liberals for his accomplishments in civil rights.
Who is the Republican you admire most?
Abraham Lincoln, for unrelenting commitment to his ideals and his compassion for his fellow man. He did the hard work in the face of much dissent and caustic, personal criticism and never lost his resolve.
What is your best political story from the campaign trail?
The night of the Florida primary in 1972, after a devastating loss, Senator Edmund Muskie held a strategy meeting with his top-level staff in which they all, including the senator, agreed that the campaign had to fold. Heading down to the ballroom to make that announcement, the senator was joined in the elevation with his wife Jane, his aide Alan Baron and a Secret Service detail. On the way down, Jane turned to him said, “It’s all right, Edmund, we can always go back to Maine and have another baby.” Muskie looked down at her, the elevator door opened, and he charged up onto the stage and yelled, “I’m in this fight to the end!” At least that’s how I heard the story.
What is your biggest fear?
That the American public will never completely decide in what direction it wishes the nation to move and that we will continue to experience 51%-49% elections back-and-forth, the two parties continually jockeying for majority status, and the national drift that ensues.
What is your biggest regret?
Never having had the fortitude it takes to run for office.
What is your most treasured possession?
Possessions be damned; give me my family and friends.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
Creating and growing an academic curriculum that is relevant to those working in politics, now taught at GWU’s Graduate School of Political Management and other universities worldwide.
How would you describe yourself in one word?
What is your favorite book?
Roberto Caro’s Master of the Senate.