Baseball, Legal career, Maine gubernatorial campaign (1974), Majority Leader, Middle East, Muskie vice presidential campaign (1968), Presidential campaign (1972), Red Cross/ 911 Liberty Fund, Secretary of State appointment (1996), U.S. Senate retirement
Berl Bernhard was born in New York City on September 7, 1929, to Morris and Celia (Nadele) Bernhard. He grew up in New Jersey, then attended Dartmouth College, graduating in 1951, and took his law degree at Yale Law School in 1954. His law career began in Washington as a law clerk to Luther Youngdahl. In the late 1950s he took a position on the Civil Rights Commission, and he was appointed staff director by John Kennedy in 1961. In 1963 he returned to private practice and in 1965 became counsel to the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee. He met George Mitchell while working on Senator Muskie's 1968 vice presidential campaign. He served as national campaign manager for Senator Muskie's 1972 presidential campaign, accompanying the Muskie on his trips to Israel and the Soviet Union. From 1980 to 1981 he served as senior advisor to Muskie when he became secretary of state. He is a senior partner at DLA Piper law firm in Washington, D.C. He has given further interviews with the Muskie Oral History Project at Bates College and the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas.
Interview includes discussions of: working with George Mitchell on Muskie’s 1968 vice presidential campaign; comparing Mitchell and Muskie; end of the 1968 campaign; Mitchell’s talent for compromise; Muskie disliking campaigning story; Mitchell enjoying public service more than Muskie; Mitchell and Dole’s mutual respect; Muskie’s unwillingness to compromise; getting out the vote for Mitchell’s 1974 gubernatorial campaign and the Muskie presidential primary campaign in 1971-1972; difficulties within the 1971-1972 campaign; Berl’s contact with Mitchell as a senator; Mitchell’s ’88 campaign for senate majority leader; Muskie’s staff; social contact with Mitchell; conversation with Mitchell about retiring; Mitchell joining Berl’s law firm; Mitchell as chair of the firm; the matter of Mitchell being considered for secretary of state; investigating the American Red Cross Liberty Fund; Mitchell’s aspirations with regard to major league baseball; looking at broad trends and changes in politics; description of Mitchell.
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