I worked myself into two nervous breakdowns, but I was never busy, busy, busy.
Chris Matthews was number one staff member to the Speaker of the House. Nobody is more swamped than that. He was never busy, busy, busy.
Chris would go back to his office, pick up his sheaf of call slips, and call each person back. He would say to me, “Can´t deal with that now.’ or “Call X..’
That was all I needed, because I was a professional, too.
If you can´t delegate, you´ll always be minor league.
I met with George Wallace twice. The first time was in 1968 when he was on his feet. Maurice Bessinger wanted to take over the Wallace presidential campaign in South Carolina. Maurice had hundreds of campaign workers. He could get any literature from one end of the state to the other in one day, and right into the mills and on the farms. He already had a party on the ballot.
There was another group which consisted of “the best people’ led by Tom Turnipseed. They never did anything, but they wanted to run the campaign. Tom Turnipseed was their spokesman and he reported to the Republican Executive Committee every week.
George Wallace, the Great Man Himself, consented to speak with us briefly and then he turned us over to his Country Boy in charge of Soothing the Good Old Boys. He then talked to Tom Turnipseed at length and turned the campaign over to Turnipseed and the Very Best People. South Carolina was the only Deep South state he lost.
Turnipseed is now a hard-core liberal.
In 1972, Wallace was in his wheel chair but he was kind enough to sign a letter praising my first book. So I flew to Alabama to give him a signed copy. He spent quite a while with me that time. Jimmy Carter was arriving in town for his presidential campaign which Wallace was hosting. Wallace´s wife kept calling him but he wanted to talk to me. He kept saying, “If I had had you with me when I was on my feet, we would have won the presidency.”
No doubt about it. But he had me right there in front of me when it counted, and he was busy, busy, busy. Too busy to notice talent and too busy to take advantage of it.
That’s happened to me all my life.