[This is Part One of a three-part series on the (i) parallel political tracks of Walter Mondale and Tom Eagleton, and (ii) my good fortune to work on their campaigns.]
In the fall of 1960, I was in my sophomore year at the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy in Rolla. That November, Tom Eagleton and Walter Mondale each won his first statewide election. At the time, I doubt I noticed their victories. But I would come to appreciate these two fine public servants and have the honor of working with both of them. Here’s the story. Continue reading
As Part One ended, I was joining the Mondale advance staff…
Mondale Campaign Advance: With some remarkable efficiency, a large advance staff was assembled. Some were full-time and paid, but many were like me, part-time volunteers. We started getting paperwork to get up to speed. I saw that the roster included some fellow Kansas Citians – Mike Kelley, Dale Leibach and Russ Welsh. Mike Kelley was not new to a VP race. Mike was Tom Eagleton’s press secretary for seven years, including being in the middle of the chaotic 18-day VP run with McGovern in 1972 (Gene Godley had also been at Eagleton’s side during those 18 days). I had not previously known Dale Leibach, but soon met him when we joined lead advance Debbie Sale on one of my early assignments (Davenport, Iowa). I knew Russ Welsh, and we would end up at the same law firm a few years later – I joined Polsinelli in 1979 and Russ came in 1986.
The midterms are coming! The midterms are coming!
Plus Helsinki, Paris, Lagos and pics of Rita.
July, 1978 – Topeka: Mondale’s visit to Topeka was both official (dedication of a power plant) and political (a fundraiser for Dr. Bill Roy). Roy was a former Congressman who gave up his seat in 1974 to run against Senator Bob Dole. He lost to Dole and was back to try again, this time against Nancy Kassebaum. Roy lost again.
I met Tom Eagleton 50 years ago during his first run for the Senate. I soon became aware that he had a passion for baseball. The short story: He was a St. Louis Cardinals fan. The long story: Below, in two posts from my baseball newsletter, the Hot Stove.
Part 2 of this trilogy took us through 1968, the election of Tom Eagleton to his first term in the Senate. He quickly became a rising star in the Democratic Party, leading to…
1972 – McGovern and Baseball Commissioner: At the Democratic Convention in July of 1972, George McGovern picked Tom Eagleton to be his running mate. That did not go well, but it produced a couple of baseball stories that Tom liked to tell.
In the last Hot Stove, I began what has turned into a trilogy. The starting point was my first year in politics, 1968, when I met two “Washington Senators” from Missouri, Stuart Symington and Tom Eagleton. At that time, Symington was serving in his third term in the Senate and Eagleton was running for his first. In the last post, you read about Stuart Symington’s aid to the St. Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals. This post (and the next one) will focus on Tom Eagleton’s baseball passion.
[Fifty years ago this month, Tom Eagleton was elected to his first term in the Senate. I have taken that fact and somehow expanded it to a couple of Hot Stove posts – about baseball, not politics. But in the wake of this past week’s elections, I want to pause a moment to thank my friend (and occasional Hot Stove reader) Senator Claire McCaskill for her lifetime of exemplary public service. As you will read below, the Senate seat once held by Harry Truman had a 24-year run with Stuart Symington. Republicans then had a good stretch, but Claire McCaskill took back the seat in 2006. She held it for two terms. Kudos to Claire who never stopped working hard for the people of Missouri. From her first race at age 28 to her concession speech Tuesday night, a class act. Below, Claire with husband Joe (a regular Hot Stove reader) at the 2014 Cardinals home opener.]