Mike Hastings and Andrea L’Hommedieu
Childhood, Democratic National Convention (1968), Driving, Friends, Iran-Contra, Maine Democratic Party, Muskie, Edmund S., Muskie vice presidential campaign (1968), North, Oliver, Northern Ireland, Security, Tennis, Travel, U.S. Senate campaign (1982)
Shepard (Lifshitz) “Shep” Lee was born in Lewiston, Maine, on November 13, 1926, to Ethel and Joe Lifshitz. His parents were both Russian immigrants, his mother a housewife, and his father an automobile dealer. He attended Lewiston public schools, graduating in 1943. He then attended Bowdoin College, taking military leave from the college between 1945 and 1946 to enlist in the navy. He returned to Bowdoin after his service and graduated in 1947 with a degree in government and economics. At that time he and his brother changed their surname to Lee. Lee returned to Lewiston after graduation and went to work at his father’s automobile dealership. Soon after, he became active in Lewiston-Auburn Democratic politics. In 1956 he was campaign manager for Frank Coffin’s successful U.S. congressional campaign. In 1963, he bought out his father’s partner in the automobile dealership and eventually took over the entire business. Lee was an active Democrat during the political careers of Ed Muskie and George Mitchell. He was a key fund raiser for the Maine Democrats, and he lent many vehicles to campaigning candidates over the course of his career. He retired from his automobile dealership in the late 1990s.
George J. Mitchell was born on August 20, 1933, in Waterville, Maine, to Mary Saad, a factory worker, and George Mitchell, a laborer. Senator Mitchell spent his youth in Waterville. After receiving his bachelor's degree from Bowdoin College in 1954, he served as an officer in the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps until 1956. In 1960 he earned a law degree from Georgetown University. Mitchell worked for Senator Edmund S. Muskie as executive assistant and as deputy campaign manager during Muskie's 1972 presidential campaign. He later became U.S. senator (D-Maine) 1980-1995, Senate majority leader 1989-1995, and, upon his retirement from the Senate, special advisor on Northern Ireland 1995-1998. Since 1998, Senator Mitchell has served on many boards and committees and has received high profile appointments including: chairman of the Sharm el-Sheikh International Fact-Finding Committee on the crisis between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (2000); overseer of the Red Cross Liberty Fund (2001); lead investigator into the illegal use of performance enhancing substances in Major League Baseball (2006); and special envoy for Palestinian-Israeli affairs (2009-2011).
Harold “Hal” Pachios was born July 12, 1936, in New Haven, Connecticut, and grew up in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. He attended Princeton and Georgetown Law. He served for two years on a Navy transport ship, worked for the Peace Corps as a congressional liaison, then held numerous positions in politics and government including at the Democratic National Committee, VISTA, the White House (as associate White House press secretary), the Department of Transportation, and for Senator Edmund S. Muskie's vice presidential campaign. A long-time friend of Mitchell, at the time of this interview he practiced law at Preti Flaherty Beliveau & Pachios, in Portland, Maine.
Interview includes discussion of: personal recollections of Mitchell as a young man; traveling with Senator Muskie on the campaign trail; Senate election night at the Eastland Hotel in Portland Maine (1982); summaries and assessments of Mitchell’s career; interrogating Oliver North during the Iran-Contra congressional hearings; humility among politicians; paternal influence and reminiscences from Mitchell’s childhood; Mitchell’s early reading habits; anecdotes about Mitchell and his brother Robbie; street unrest at the Chicago Democratic Convention (1968) and sharing a cab with Jimmy Breslin; playing tennis and getting exercise; personal security while in the Senate, in Northern Ireland, and privately.
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.