George J. Mitchell Oral History Project
 

Interviewee

Scott F. Hutchinson

Interviewer

Andrea L’Hommedieu

Date

10-7-2009

ID Number

GMOH 154

Document Type

Interview

Subject Headings

Angelone, Joe, Maine gubernatorial campaign (1974), Muskie vice presidential campaign (1968), Presidential campaign (1972), U.S. Senate appointment (1980), U.S. Senate campaign (1982), U.S. Senate retirement

Abstract

Biographical Note
Scott Frederick Hutchinson was born in Gardiner, Maine, on April 16, 1929, to Helen Frances and Scott Arthur Hutchinson. His mother was a homemaker, and his father was employed by New England Telephone Company, rising in the ranks from line worker to vice president. Scott’s childhood was spent living in various communities throughout New England. He attended Northeastern University, and after college served in the Army during the Korean War. Coming back to Maine, he began a career in banking. During Ken Curtis’ campaign for governor, he served as treasurer. He then served as treasurer for Ed Muskie’s senatorial campaigns, vice presidential campaign, and as treasurer for Muskie's presidential primary race. He served as George Mitchell’s campaign treasurer.

Summary
Interview includes discussion of: working on Muskie’s staff with Mitchell in 1976; Maine gubernatorial campaign (1974); why Mitchell lost to Longley; Joe Angelone; Mitchell's running for Senate majority leader; Mitchell’s 1982 reelection campaign; David Emery; Mitchell’s relationship with Bill Cohen; the role of Independents in Mitchell’s campaigns; campaign changes for Mitchell between 1974 and 1982; and Hutchinson’s reaction to Mitchell’s announcement of retirement.

Restrictions

This recording and transcription are © 2011 Bowdoin College and are presented for private study, scholarship, or research only. For all other uses, including publication, reproduction, and quotation beyond “fair use” (Title 17, United States Code) permission must be obtained in writing from the George J. Mitchell Dept. of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, 3000 College Station, Brunswick, Maine 04011-8421, USA.

TEXT

Andrea L’Hommedieu: This is an interview for the George J. Mitchell Oral History Project at Bowdoin College. The date is October 7, 2009, and I am at the home of Scott Hutchinson in Cumberland Foreside, Maine. This is Andrea L’Hommedieu. Scott, could you start just by talking about your first recollections of George Mitchell? I know we did, in the Muskie interview, cover your background of family and education.

Scott Hutchinson: Yes. Well it’s a long time ago, but I guess my first real recollection of George was, Muskie was running for reelection, and George was from Waterville and he was up here quite a bit so I kept running into him. He was on the same team, and working the same kind of purpose that I was, only he was more involved with, I’ll say the management of the organization, where I was involved more in the fund-raising, so I didn’t run into him a lot but he was always there and was obviously a major supporter and a major player in Muskie’s campaign. And that would have been I guess probabaly1976 or ‘-8, right in there, when Muskie ran.

AL: Okay, well yeah, he ran for Senate reelection in ‘64, ‘70 and ‘76.

SH: ‘Seventy-six, that would have been ‘76 then, yes, and that was my first recollection of George. Then I didn’t see him again for, on and off, and Muskie became the secretary of state and George came back to Portland actually, and became a lawyer, and decided he wanted to run for governor against Jim [Erwin]. And there was a group of us, including guys like Bob Dunfey and people like that, that had been involved with Muskie and with Curtis and so forth. So I agreed to be the treasurer for George at the time.

AL: Oh, in the ‘74, ‘74 campaign?

SH: When he ran against Jim Longley.

AL: And Jim Erwin.

SH: He didn’t - Jim, yes. We didn’t know we were running against Longley, we thought we were running against Jim Erwin. And I can remember, I don’t know how much you want to know about this, but I can remember getting a call from George and it was arranged that he, Bob Dunfey, and Ken Curtis, who was in the government, were going to meet at Bob Dunfey’s house and George was going to tell us about what his plans were for governor.

And so we all got together, and one of the things that he really wanted to talk about was that he was having some marital problems and he was going to get a divorce, or be separated, and he wanted to know what we thought, what effect that might have on his chances to be governor. And after discussing that I said, you know, it may have some, but probably minimal. So anyways, I don’t say that was the day he made his final decision, but it was right in that era, that was one of his big questions about his personal life. And he did decide to run for governor, and I became the treasurer.

And we were having a, it looked like a shoo-in election, it was going to be very easy. George was, all the polls, he was significantly ahead of Jim Erwin, and there was another fellow named Longley from Lewiston that was toying with the idea, as an Independent, but nobody paid any attention to him, including our campaign. We thought he was a nothing; he would not be significant in the election at all.

And it got closer and closer to the time of the election, and that was about in October, towards the end of October, about two weeks before the election, maybe three, some polls we had showed that Jim Longley was coming on so hard and so fast that he was in danger of really hurting George badly. And we couldn’t really figure it out, because Jim Erwin, the Republican, it looked like he should get at least thirty percent, forty percent of the vote, and George was another forty percent or whatever, and maybe Longley might get ten or twelve. But the numbers started to show that Longley was going to get a lot more than that. So we decided what, what do we want to do? So we called Ed Muskie. Muskie was still senator at the time, he wasn’t, yes.

AL: Yes.

SH: And told him about our problem and asked him if he would come up and do a little survey for us and see if he could find out what was going on. And he agreed to it as long as they paid his way, that being Ed Muskie’s. And we said [we] certainly would. And Dunfey owned the Sheraton Hotel there at the Maine Mall, so we had no problem, we had accommodations all set up, all we needed was to get an airplane ticket, and Shep Lee provided a car and chauffeur for Ed. And he came up on a Friday and spent Saturday and Sunday going around with [his] contacts [in the] state. And Bob Dunfey and I had breakfast with him on Monday morning, because he was catching the seven o’clock plane or whatever, goes back to Washington.

And much to our dismay and our surprise, he said, “I don’t like to tell you fellows this, but if George wants to talk to me, I’ll give him a call.” He said, “George has lost the election. Longley’s probably going to win.” He said, “The momentum there is unbelievable,” and he said, “you people relaxed, and George didn’t work as hard as he should and he’s not going to win.” So we half believed Ed, because we still thought that we had, the polls just prior to that had been so heavily in George’s favor.

But anyways, we had met with George and Joe Angelone and Ken [Curtis] and Shep Lee and some of those others, and it was decided, okay, we’re going to keep going and beef up the campaign the best we could, increased a little bit of the advertising, we had money, and get the volunteers going and just see if we couldn’t pull it off.

As it turned out, we lost. Muskie was right. The Longley momentum was such that we couldn’t begin to overcome it. So that was George’s first experience in elected politics. It started out to be a very insightful and very challenging and very, what we thought rewarding and fun experience, but it turned out to be not so good.

AL: Do you have a sense of why George Mitchell lost the momentum, or his campaign?

SH: Well, George could probably answer that better than I can, but it appeared that we were, George was so far ahead and doing so well in terms of Erwin, most of our polls were Erwin versus Mitchell, not Longley, because we didn’t think Longley was worth talking about. Longley worked hard, Mitchell relaxed. And we didn’t coordinate probably as well as we should in terms of our marketing, advertising, getting volunteers to get out the vote and those things, because we were so sure that we had such a big lead that it wasn’t necessary, and we were saving ourselves for the big celebration. And George was going around and he was still working, but not kicking, not anything like Jim Longley was, and like we found out we should have been doing, and we weren’t spending our money probably as wisely as we should have in terms of advertising, and as I say, supporting local Democratic, what do you call them?

AL: The local candidates?

SH: Yes, the local candidates and that kind of stuff. We had done some of it, but not a heck of a lot. And I think that it was a combination of all those things, plus Longley’s salesmanship, and he was a heck of a good salesman, and determination, and his belief in himself that he could win. And he did, he just topped it over. So that was quite disappointing.

George stayed in Maine and practiced law with [Jensen Baird Gardner & Henry, LLP]. There was an appointment coming up for a federal judge and George decided he wanted to see if he could get that appointment. So that same basic group that worked with George for the election, we put on a letter-writing campaign, so-to-speak, to Ed Muskie, which gave him the support he needed to appoint George as a federal judge.

[p/o]

AL: Right.

SH: And from some of the things George said, and some of the things he didn’t do and some of the things he did do, he found the judgeship not to be what he thought it was going to be. Up in Bangor, particularly, the cases were few and far between and they weren’t very exciting, and he was kind of disappointed in that whole thing at the time, after George had been a judge maybe a couple years.

AL: Yes, it was less than two years, I think.

SH: Yes, it wasn’t very long. And he was thinking of ways to get out, so I’m told. He never told me that but that’s what we believed. And Muskie, in the meantime, Jimmy Carter had been elected President and Muskie had been named as secretary of state, and we lobbied Ed again, the same thing, and he [sic: Governor Brennan] appointed George into his Senate seat.

So George became a senator without ever having to run for election. [p/o]

AL: Now that appointment must have been -

SH: For two years.

AL: Yes, but it must have been, for [Joe Brennan] to appoint George Mitchell, there must have been some others in contention for that appointment, that wanted it? Was Ken Curtis one of those?

SH: No, well there was a lot, probably Bill Hathaway was, not Ken, Ken never, I think Ken would have taken it, probably, if he had been offered it, but he never expressed any great desire to run a campaign to try to get himself elected, or get nominated. But Bill Hathaway I think honestly believed that he was in line for that appointment, not George Mitchell. And of course, Ed Muskie didn’t see it that way. That would have been probably the strongest one that I would have thought of that might, there were some fringe people that, I don’t know who they were but, you know, who would have like to have, be the United States senator from Maine, other people who ran for election and were in the legislature or some things and were not, they were not in serious contention for the job.

AL: Right.

SH: But Hathaway, I think, was. I don’t think Muskie thought he was, but then I don’t think Muskie had a terribly high regard for Bill anyways. They both were in the same party, and he liked Bill, but Bill Hathaway’s agenda in the Senate was not the same as Muskie’s was, and they, while they didn’t fight, I don’t think they communicated or participated in many activities together in the Senate.

AL: You mentioned a few minutes ago Joe Angelone, or Joe Angelone, and of course we can’t interview him -

SH: Joe’s dead.

AL: Because he has passed away.

SH: Yeah.

AL: Do you have recollections of him? I know he was -

SH: Oh yes.

AL: He had a pizza shop, I mean sort of, what was his role in the Democratic Party?

SH: Joe had a brother who came up, they both were in the Second World War, and their father owned a restaurant on the hill there in Providence, which is not necessarily where all the good people were. And Joe worked in the restaurant when he got out of the army, and so did his brother. Joe used to play the piano at that restaurant when he worked there, and his brother didn’t like this idea evidently of where they were located in Providence, and left the restaurant and came up here and opened a pizza parlor. And Maine didn’t have pizza parlors, we never had anything like pizza. And it was right on Veranda Street, right here in Portland. The building is, this was a house and the building’s gone now, but there’s a little pizza shack where that site is.

[p/o] Jack Angelone, Jack called Joe and said, “I need some help, this thing is going over like gang busters. Why don’t you come up and join me and we’ll start this to have a business together?” So Joe did, and he came up, and it was very successful, the pizza place, and on a friendly basis Jack and Joe split, Joe started his own chain of pizza parlors and Jack made his own chain.

And Jack was not involved in politics particularly. Joe, because of his background in Providence and so forth, was always interested and involved in politics. And his pizza parlors became a place where the politicians would go to meet, and Joe would always have a cup of coffee and pizza for anybody, it didn’t make any difference if they were Republicans or Democrats. Bill Cohen, for example, used to be a big fan of Joe’s, he used to stop by all the time he was in Portland, have a pizza and ask him about what he thought about certain things. Because Joe had a lot of insightful ideas, because he was in that pizza [shop], he had a lot of people coming in there and out and he had some fairly good grasp about what was going on.

And he ran, very successfully, a group of pizza parlors, and he had a son who was involved in it with him, and a daughter who was kind of in and out at various times. And I don’t remember how many he had, but he had, I don’t know, six or seven I guess anyways, in South Portland, out in the Maine Mall, in town in Portland, right in town in Portland, and Veranda Street and out, I don’t know, different places. So Joe gave up most of the outlying pizza places and kept just the one, he gave them to his kids and so forth, and he kept the one at the Maine Mall, which was the biggest one and was very successful, and obviously Joe was a good friend of the Dunfey’s and that’s how he got into the Maine Mall.

AL: Oh, okay.

SH: And that’s why that connection was there. And then the Dunfeys’ sold the Maine Mall, there was more than Dunfeys, there was a couple of people from Boston that were major investors in it. I’ll think of their names in a minute, because I know them all, but anyhow, the new owners decided after a few years that they didn’t want to have, they didn’t think, local type pizza parlors and so forth, they wanted more of the chain type restaurants and so forth. So Joe’s lease was questionable, in terms of renewal, he had some kind of, I forget, conditional thing on it that would have given him another four or five years, if he wanted to stay, so he said to heck with it. This is your cost to get me out of here, and they paid it and he left. And he retired, and he subsequently had health problems and then he died. He used to have eye problems, he used to have a license plate, because of a loss of vision in one eye, the license plate said “one eye” on it.

AL: So he had a sense of humor.

SH: He had a very good sense of humor, yes, Joe, he did and he was very highly regarded by a lot, particularly people who were involved in politics. I mean they all knew Joe and invariably, I don’t know how many pizzas he gave away but it must have been an awful lot of them over the years. But he enjoyed it very much, talking with them.

And he had an interesting background, in his wife. His wife was an English woman, and he met her when he was stationed in England just before the battle of Normandy, and she was quite a nice lady. She tells a story about when the war started she volunteered, as a lot of women did, and they sent her to a farm, and her job out there was exterminating rats and things like that. And anyways, she lived at this farm with a very, very strict woman, the farmer and his wife, who didn’t allow any visitors and things like that.

And she met Joe at one of those USO dances in England, and Joe became quite enamored with her and kept trying to figure out how he could get to date her and get to know her. So, of course during the war in England, they didn’t have very much in the way of coffee and tea and things like that, and Joe, being very ambitious, found a way to get the cook and so forth to give him a couple pounds of coffee or some tea and so forth, and he’d go call on the farmer’s wife and make this presentation to her, and she got to think Joe was the biggest thing since sliced bread and so he was always invited to the house, and that’s how he got to marry his wife, right.

AL: Oh wow.

SH: That’s a true story.

AL: That’s a great story.

SH: Yeah, yeah. So anyways, that’s Joe.

AL: That’s great.

SH: George, back to George a little bit, one thing that I did forget, George ran for, because we all went, Bob Dunfey and I and a bunch of other guys, went down to Washington, just trying to, ran for the National Committee, Chairman of the National Committee, and he was beaten by a guy, I can’t remember his name, from Texas. He became quite popular.

AL: Oh, when he ran for -

SH: No, this was, George ran for the National, Chairman of the Democrat National Committee.

AL: Was it Robert Strauss?

SH: Yes, Bob Strauss.

AL: Yes.

SH: Yes, and that was that. So George was batting zero-for-two at that point, right, as far as getting elected.

AL: Well, you mentioned the Dunfeys, and they get mentioned a lot. Bob Dunfey, is he still living, do you know?

SH: Yes, he lives in New Hampshire, yes.

AL: Because I know that he’s somebody that will be important to talk to.

SH: I can give you his telephone number if you want, and his address.

AL: That would be great. At the end of the interview, we’ll do that.

SH: Yes.

AL: Okay. And so ‘74, and then the [National Committee Chairmanship race], and he loses to Bob Strauss, although very close.

SH: Yes, it was.

AL: Very close vote.

SH: Yes, we thought we had it made, because the Alaskan delegation, as I can remember, had indicated they were going to vote for George, and the last minute they changed their mind and voted for Strauss. And I think they had like four votes. And if Alaska had voted for George, I forget what the other state was, there was another state that had indicated that they would vote too, and that would have made George win by two or three votes, so that was very close. When you say very close, I don’t remember the numbers, but. [p/o]

AL: Right, he was appointed in ‘80, and then he ran in his own right in ‘82.

SH: Yes, right.

AL: Yes, right away, actually.

SH: Yes. And I was a chairman of his finance committee, and Joe Angelone’s wife was his treasurer, Pat Angelone.

AL: So that was the ‘82 reelection?

SH: Yes.

AL: Okay.

SH: Then, towards the end of that period George did very well in the Senate, as the record shows, right, and highly regarded, and was running for Senate president, right?

AL: Majority leader.

[p/o]

AL: Yes, Inouye.

SH: Yes. They had PACs, so substantial money, and George didn’t. And they were giving the senators a couple of thousand here, a thousand here, a thousand, a thousand there, a thousand there, which in those days was a lot more money than it is today, and sometimes they were giving more. And we had a problem deciding what to do, because George didn’t have that kind of, he didn’t have a PAC, didn’t have money. So we talked with Ed Muskie, and he had a house in Kennebunk. What we decided to do, Ed knew all the senators, knew them very well, so those that we figured were kind of key to George, we invited for lunch at Muskie’s in Kennebunk. And lo and behold, we would get a couple of Mitchell supporters, two or three, to attend this luncheon. And believe it or not, these individuals were so impressed with that senator, they gave him a couple thousand dollars every time, and that was our PAC money.

It didn’t work, yes it did work, it worked. Yes, except one reason I say it didn’t work, because there was one time I was there and there was a senator from North Dakota, or South Dakota, North Dakota, I can’t remember his name now, but his big claim to fame was he used to play football with Bronko Nagurski, and anyhow, he was a friend of Ed’s and that was during the energy crisis, and he was convinced that we didn’t have an energy crisis in this country, all we needed to do, there was all kinds of shale out there in North Dakota, had oil in it, and all we had to do was process that shale, which would have cost you about a thousand dollars a gallon, but all right. But anyhow, that son of a gun, he was one of the few that a thousand dollars didn’t work on, he said what a wonderful guy George was, and when it was time to vote he voted the other way. But anyhow, George became the Senate majority leader.

AL: Can I go back a little bit and ask you if you remember any details from that ‘82 campaign when Mitchell was appointed in ‘80 and right away had to start campaigning for ‘82 against Dave Emery, who was way up in the polls.

SH: Yes. There is an interesting thing, see, in these elections. If you look at, Dave Emery was in Congress, it’s very difficult, if you look at congressmen who have tried to run for Senate, most of them have not been successful, and I don’t know exactly why, but it seems that’s the way it was. But David Emery, who I knew, that day we were concerned about David Emery, do you want to hear it?

AL: Sure.

SH: Okay, David Emery, I didn’t know him at all, and he ran for Congress and he won. Carter was the president back at the time. And then right after the election, a week or ten days afterwards, I got a call and it was from Congressman Emery, he wanted to know if he could come see me. I said fine. I didn’t know what he wanted, because I didn’t vote for him, I was on the other side. And he came to see me and he was all shook up, he was a little upset. And the reason he was upset, he had had his banking relationship all those years and all during his campaign with the Maine National Bank, and he kept all his campaign money there and so on and so forth, and he had run a debt, and I’ll say it was ten thousand dollars, it may have been twenty or it may have been five, it was enough money and Emery didn’t have any money.

So he had gone to the Maine National Bank to borrow some money so he could pay off his debts, and Maine National refused to loan him the money. He couldn’t believe it, you know. I couldn’t believe it either. An elected congressman, good Lord, he could run a fund raiser and get that money, but it would take a couple of months to do it and he wanted to pay off these creditors right away, because he didn’t want the record to show that people were dunning him. So to make a long story short, I said sure, I’ll loan you (the bank), we’ll loan you money. So we loaned him the money, and he paid off his debts and he subsequently had a fund raiser and paid us off, but I became a good friend of David Emery and was invited to his wedding and all those other things, right. But he was an interesting guy.

Now George and Emery, Emery I don’t think had the fire in his belly that he should have had. Obviously I don’t know, but I suspect that maybe some of the hierarchy in the Republican Party and so forth wanted him to run, because he didn’t, he had great polls when he was a congressman, but as a congressman he didn’t do a heck of a lot either. He didn’t have a big record to go out there and pound on and show. George only had two years, so he didn’t have much either, but at this point, George had decided losing two or three times in his political career was enough, and he became very adamant and he became very involved in the campaign, everything from, whether events were going to help, and how much and what the price of tickets and everything, the policy, writing his papers, his points, what he believed in and what he was going to stand on. And much more so than he did the first time, when he ran for governor. He was a completely different man, I think, in his involvement, he was involved a hundred percent and he worked his tail off, he did, he really did, he worked hard.

And he pulled it off, I mean he won. And George had good connections, good family connections, and he had those people like the Dunfeys backing him, and the Dunfeys, unlike Emery – Emery had some from the Republican National Committee, but nothing like George had – Dunfeys had contacts all over the United States because of their involvement in the hotel business and the Democratic Party. So George could go to Chicago for breakfast, and come back with ten, fifteen, twenty thousand dollars, or New York or Boston, or sometimes he didn’t have to go anywhere, they’d just get money for him.

So we always had plenty of money, and we poured it into the election, I’ll tell you, we bought all kinds of stuff and we saturated the campaign, I think we just buried Emery. I think he just didn’t have the funds, he didn’t have the organization and he didn’t have the political clout in back of him that George had. George had Muskie, although Ed didn’t campaign but he, Ed, he did, he came up and gave a few talks with George and attended events. But again, he had the Washington connections, and that was money and it takes money to win an election. But George earned it, but it was work, and we had the finances, backing to make sure he got the recognition he needed and that was it.

AL: Do you recall Cohen’s staff like coming to Maine, trying to help Emery at the end? Or was that -

SH: Not really, no, because George and Bill Cohen became big buddies, wrote a book together and they were - well there’s one thing about, I told you how I became a Democrat, but there are Republicans and there are Democrats, but in Maine it’s hard to tell the difference. You have, a conservative Democrat is a liberal Republican, there’s no difference, and that’s the majority of people, we call them Independents (unintelligible).

AL: Right, right.

SH: And that’s the majority of the people who vote, and so it’s a good reason for Cohen and Mitchell to get along because they both politically believed basically in the same things that they had to do, certain party things, like towards unions and other things. But one of the interesting things about politics in Maine, my involvement in it anyways, is that even though I was supporting a Democrat, I would guess, no, I wouldn’t guess, I’d say, that anywhere from fifty-five to sixty percent of our money came from Republicans, who call themselves some of the times Independents, but a lot of them are registered Republicans. We had fund raisers and you couldn’t tell who was running for who. But, and Maine is that way today. Some people think I’m a turncoat because last election I had Democrats for Olympia, worked with her, and traveled with her some. And then I did the same thing, I was a co-chairman of Susan Collins’s campaign, believe it or not. And again, I went to a lot of events with Senator Collins, and she’d like to introduce me as, because she always said bipartisan, she’s always pushing that as her major achievements, as Muskie’s treasurer and so forth. But a lot of people I recognize from previous campaigns that are Republicans, I mean Democrats.

AL: Right, right.

SH: So she drew just as much on the Democratic side as Mitchell could draw on the Republican side, which is that big block of votes which I’ll call conservative Democrats or liberal Republicans.

AL: Right. And they’re pretty much in the forefront right now on the health care debate.

SH: Yes, yes, yes. Susan Collins, oh, Olympia particularly.

AL: Olympia, yeah.

SH: Yes, she’s a supposedly the swing vote, if she goes with Obama’s plan, whatever the plan is that they came up with in the Senate.

AL: Right.

SH: But if you look back, Maine is a fascinating state. We’re a small state, we’re a million, two-hundred thousand people, we’ve contributed to this country in Washington, D.C., Margaret Chase Smith, Bill Cohen, Ed Muskie, George Mitchell, Olympia Snowe, and Susan Collins. Now I don’t know any state that came anywhere near saying that they have the quality that we have in people that would go down in Washington, which I think is amazing for a state this size.

AL: Now, what did you see change in George Mitchell, or the way he campaigned, between ‘74 and ‘82? Was it something about him or was it the campaign organization, or -?

SH: Well, I think the organization was better, because we had more experience for George than, we had very little experience when he ran for the governorship. He had never run for anything and, oh boy. I think the big difference was basically George’s determination to win, and putting himself right into the middle of everything, and coming up with some well thought out plans and programs, getting some outside help in speech writing and so on and so forth, and his delivery, working on his delivery. All those kinds of things that make a difference in a campaign.

And obviously the biggest one was, you used to wonder how long you could stay because he’d be up till eleven, twelve o’clock at night at one fund raiser, drive fifty, sixty miles, get four or five hours sleep, and be at a breakfast the next morning. And he did that for several months. And it paid off, I mean he had convinced people he wanted to win. People like to think that the person they’re going to vote for is serious about wanting to be, and he certainly showed I think that he was serious, wanted to be the senator from Maine. And he did. So I’d say it was basically George’s determination to, not to lose again, but to show that he could do it, and he did.

AL: What was your reaction in ‘94 when he announced he would not seek reelection?

SH: I was surprised. From my contacts with him when he the Senate majority leader, and getting to be the Senate majority leader, the work that was done, I thought he really enjoyed being in Washington in that particular job. But I think the Senate majority leader position changed him, he became more of a national figure rather than a Maine figure. He got connected with the baseball group, and he was very undecided about being baseball commissioner, all those other things. And George didn’t come from, like most of us, from a big financial background, and he had an opportunity to make quite a career and make himself quite successful and wealthy. And I think after he started thinking about it he said, you know, ‘I’ve done this, maybe there’s another world out there that I haven’t played in before and I’ve got these opportunities to take a look at it,’ and he did.

But I don’t know when he made up his mind to resign, whether he thought about it for months or whether it just came in a matter of weeks, and other job opportunities, the other directorships of companies and all this kind of thing. And I don’t care who it is, whether it’s Bill Hathaway or Margaret Chase Smith, or Ed Muskie or George Mitchell or Ken Curtis, I mean they all had one, in my opinion, had one thing in common, and that’s their big egos, they do, really. And that sets them apart a little bit from, all of us have egos, but not to the extent that they have, and they all want to be seen, they want to be liked, they want to be loved, if you want to call it that. They want people to shake their hand, they want to be admired, and they all have that same quality and George does too. And it works for him in public life as well as political life.

AL: He became a pretty good storyteller, as he learned to campaign.

SH: Yes, yes he did. Well, George developed, I think he always had it, but I don’t think he ever showed it publicly, a good sense of humor. I think George was, when he was working for Muskie, was a very serious young man, and he tried to portray that in his political activities. And he found out that when he relaxed, went out and pulled a joke once in awhile and became like one of us, so to speak, it worked for him, and he did change. And he changed philosophically too, about, but he still is pretty highly regarded and did a good job in Ireland. He’s had some not tremendous successes in the Mideast yet, but we’ll see what happens with the Palestinians and the Israelis. He doesn’t give up easy.

George came from a very interesting background, as you probably know, he upped it and so on and so forth, but didn’t have the greatest childhood, like the normal thing. He had a good life, but it wasn’t like most of us had, with the mother and father and so forth. And the family, his brother, the Swisher there, and his sister that married Eddie Atkins, they all had to do a lot on their own, they had to make their own way. And I think that was built into George, to climb, if you want to call it that, to get better than he was when he started up, and he had that, a real ambition to be that, to be something and be somebody, and he achieved it.

AL: Have you had the opportunity to interact with him in small settings since the time the he left the Senate and all that, or has he been sort of in New York?

SH: No, not really. I’ve seen him at things, when he was up here for Joe Angelone’s funeral and things like that. But I have not had a lot of personal contact with him in the last ten, twelve years, since he got married and so forth. He’s become more of a jet setter, you know. He’s way above my class in terms of who he travels around with. But he’s still highly regarded in the state.

AL: Are there things that I haven’t asked you that you think are important to add, in terms of reflections or descriptions of George Mitchell?

SH: No, I think that, no, I think I’ve told you about how I felt about his background and his desire to be successful. And he changed, and I don’t know what caused him to change quite as dramatically as he did. At one point, when he was Senate majority leader, when he was first elected and for the first couple of years or so, because I was down there a couple of times, and he was really committed to working with Bob Dole and all that kind of stuff. I mean he was really, I thought, going to be, possibly follow Ed Muskie’s path and be nominated for the president some day. And whatever caused him to change, I don’t know. But he did change, and became a different, in my opinion, a different person in terms of his wishes or desires, thought processes and his commitment. I don’t know whether something happened or not, I don’t know of anything that happened that would of been negative, but something caused him to lose his enthusiasm for government service, the way it was when he had first started.

But you could also say George Mitchell has a little bit of a history of that kind of thing, using the judgeship as an example. He really wanted to be the judge, he really had to have it. After he got it, he didn’t want it, right? After he got to be the Senate majority leader, after the bloom wore off the rose and everything, he didn’t care about it anymore, right? So that’s a personality trait that didn’t, if that is a personality, it didn’t show until he left the Senate and became an entrepreneur, (unintelligible). He took advantage of his position in government to achieve a lot of other successes for himself.

And he still does some good things with working in Ireland, and trying his hand in the Mideast and so forth, what the presidents ask him to do. And so I’m not suggesting he’s a bad man at any stretch of the imagination, he’s just a, I think a very complicated, more complicated than what he showed when I knew him, actively, a lot. He seemed to be fairly well directed towards what he wanted to do. Obviously that wasn’t the only thing that he wanted to do, it turned out.

AL: And the Mitchell Scholarship Institute, were you involved in that at all?

SH: Not really. [ p/o ]

AL: Okay, thank you so much.

End of Interview

 
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Interview with Scott Hutchinson by Andrea L’Hommedieu

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