Breakfast with candidate Dick Thornburg and his wife Ginny


Arlen Specter has once again lost an election, this one the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race of 1978.   It had been my introduction to politics and had played a significant but not paramount role as I would two years later in Specter’s senatorial campaign.

About two months after later, I was contacted by one of candidate Thornburg’s staff members, to ask if I might join Dick and his wife Ginny for breakfast at the Holiday Inn off the Lancaster / Reading interchange of the Turnpike. Of course I accepted and assumed that they were seeking a political contribution.

It didn’t turn out that way at all. What Dick and Ginny said to me that day was the campaign was not going well, polls did not look good, and Dick was not getting his message across to the public.  They wanted my advice on how to turn things around.

I suggested that when Dick shaves the next day that he see himself in the mirror not as candidate for governor but already 50% the governor, being one of two candidates.

Perceiving himself already as governor, he would then carry himself differently and speak on issues with newly coined gravitas.

I didn’t give the meeting much thought until word got back to me after Thornburg was elected that he and his wife felt warmly towards me because they felt my advice had brought about a change in his outlook and approach and contributed to his victory.

Two years later when Senator Dick Schweigert unexpectedly pulled out of his re-election campaign and Specter was able to barely win the nomination largely based upon his name recognition, Arlen arranged for me to accompany him to his first meeting after winning the nomination with Governor Thornburg. Their relationship had been strained in the past. Obviously Arlen felt my presence would be a restraining influence.

We often get credit for the small things we do and are overlooked for those we consider far more important.

Updated: December 1, 2017 — 11:46 am