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Wednesday, August 18, 2004
  The Washington Post

June 17, 1984, Sunday, Final Edition

SECTION: First Section; A1

LENGTH: 1332 words

HEADLINE: Election '84: Massachusetts;
Brahmin Leads Race For Senate

BYLINE: By Margot Hornblower, Washington Post Staff Writer


Elliot Lee Richardson, the Boston Brahmin with more fancy titles on his resume than any living politician, wants to be known as "Muggsy."

He adopted the nickname a week before announcing his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, when he showed up at the city's annual St. Patrick's Day celebration only to be kidded for having nothing but last names.

"Elyut," intoned Billy Bulger, president of the Massachusetts Senate, mimicking Richardson's upper-crust accent. "This is no ordinary mortal."

Bulger, a Democrat of Irish descent, held up a fake newspaper reading "Vote Elliot, He's Better Than You."

Richardson took the microphone.

"There are many things I admire about the Irish," he said. "Their warmth, their wit. What I particularly like are the names. The first names--Billy, Teddy, Sonny, Tip, Knocko . . . . I'd like to be known as Muggsy."

The polls show Richardson--his campaign buttons reading, "I love Muggsy"--leading a field of Republican and Democratic contenders with names such as Kerry, Shannon, Shamie and Connolly in this overwhelmingly Democratic and ethnic state.

The man who left here 15 years ago to become President Richard M. Nixon's undersecretary of state, secretary of health, education and welfare, secretary of defense and attorney general, who went on to be President Gerald R. Ford's secretary of commerce and ambassador to Britain, and who served President Jimmy Carter as negotiator for a sea-law treaty, has thrown the state into political ferment with his bold attempt at an electoral comeback.

The Massachusetts campaign, with keenly contested primaries in both parties Sept. 18, has become one of the most closely watched Senate races in the country since Sen. Paul E. Tsongas, a popular Democrat, announced in January that he had lymphoma, a form of cancer, and would quit to spend more time with his family.

Although no Republican has been elected to statewide office here since 1972 and GOP registration has dropped to 13 percent, Republicans nationally see the Bay State as one of their best chances to capture an open Senate seat. In the primary, Richardson, 63, faces Ray Shamie, 63, a spunky self-made millionaire who won a respectable 38 percent of the vote against Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) in 1982.

The Democrats are sharply divided. Lt. Gov. John Kerry, former head of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and U.S. Rep. James Shannon, a savvy young liberal, lead a four-man field that includes a former speaker of the Massachusetts House, David Bartley, and Secretary of State Michael Connolly.

To many, the race seems an echo of Massachusetts political history.

Richardson's uncle and mentor, Henry Lee Shattuck, served on the Boston City Council as Mayor James Michael Curley's patrician scourge. Ethnic Democrats and Yankee Republicans have continued to square off since the heyday of the Cabots, Lodges and Saltonstalls: Edward M. Kennedy v. Josiah Spaulding; Michael S. Dukakis v. Francis W. Sargent.

"Beating Elliot is going to be tough," said Rep. Brian J. Donnelly (D-Mass.). "We have a tradition of voting for the old puritans. They have the image of integrity, of government service."

In recent years, the GOP has tried to recruit ethnics. Shamie, the son of working-class Syrian and French Catholics, is outraged by Richardson's sudden entry into the race.

"We reject the stereotype that . . . the Massachusetts Republican Party is merely a social club for the elite and well-born, closed to those who are not white or Protestant," he wrote in a letter to 5,000 Republicans statewide.

Although recent polls show him trailing by 10 points, Shamie could prove hard to beat. He was endorsed by many GOP town and county officials before Richardson jumped in.

In a campaign where all candidates have pledged not to take political action committee funds--the first PAC-free race in the nation--Shamie, who spent $1.2 million of his own money against Kennedy in 1982, can draw on a personal fortune estimated at more than $20 million. Richardson's net worth, according to financial disclosure forms, is about $800,000, excluding his homes in McLean, Va., and on Cape Cod.

With tax-cutting speeches and unabashed support of President Reagan's defense and foreign policy, Shamie appeals to a GOP electorate that has become increasingly conservative, as the sons and daughters of moderate Republicans have defected to the Democratic Party.

"Elliot represents the establishment," said Shamie, an engineer who pioneered in high-technology manufacturing. "We have enough professional politicians . . . . He's a liberal Rockefeller-type Republican who would be very comfortable in the Democratic Party."

While Shamie is trying to nudge Richardson to the left, Democrats Shannon and Kerry are busy debating which of them is "most electable against Elliot" as they slug it out in what seems likely to be a bitter, close primary. Democrats make up 48 percent of the electorate, but the 39 percent of voters registered as independent can vote in either party's primary.

"If Elliot Richardson gets elected to the Senate, are you ever going to see him in Massachusetts?" Shannon asked a group in Boston's South End. "He has a resume' a pack mule couldn't carry, but he's not going to light any fires in the U.S. Senate."

Shannon, 32, has been endorsed by House Speaker Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill, and by many of the most politically active feminist groups and labor unions. After spending $100,000 on television ads, he got a big boost by winning the endorsement of Democratic state convention delegates 53 to 47 percent over Kerry.

A poll two weeks earlier, however, showed Kerry, the only Democrat to have run statewide, nine points ahead of Shannon among likely primary voters. A former prosecutor, Kerry, 40, has high name recognition, due not only to his anti-war activity but to a job as a local television commentator.

The same poll, by MRK Research of Boston, showed Richardson beating Kerry by 5 points head-on, Shannon by 19 points and Bartley by 25 points. Connolly, a long shot, was not included.

But Democrats say Richardson is vulnerable on the volatile issue of war and peace, pointing to his involvement in Vietnam and his refusal to endorse an immediate cutoff of aid to CIA-funded rebels in Nicaragua.

Kerry, known for an ego to match his 6-foot-4 height, projects confidence. "No one has a clue what Elliot stands for," he said in an interview. "The moment I get him into a debate, he'll fold . . . . I was in the leadership fighting the war while Elliot was defending the war in Cambodia. When he says he was secretary of defense, I can say, 'Listen, fella, I was in those rice paddies' . . . . If I were Elliot Richardson, I wouldn't want to run against me."

Unflappable, Richardson asserts that, in Vietnam, "I did not believe we should simply cut and run . . . . I never believed we should abandon both our commitments and our efforts to seek a negotiated solution." In Latin America, he supports a "multilateral Monroe Doctrine" that would ban military advisers and bases, Soviet and U.S. alike.

Even if Charles Colson, Nixon's Machiavellian political operative, once praised Richardson as above all "a team player," the former attorney general is counting on his reputation as Mr. Clean, the man who resigned rather than fire Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox.

However, this flint-faced blueblood, mocked by Shamie as a Clark Kent look-alike, hampered by a dull speaking style that wanders off on esoteric tangents, has had to work hard to brighten his image.

At the Dorchester Day parade, "Muggsy" pressed the flesh beside the Blarney Stone Tavern with unabashed enthusiasm, his campaign posters adorned with shamrocks.

Collecting signatures to place his name on the ballot, he showed up in old clothes at town dumps.

"You should have seen the look on people's faces when Elliot Richardson helped them unload their garbage," said campaign manager Bill McInturff. "They were blown away."

GRAPHIC: Picture, Elliot L. Richardson . . . just call him "Muggsy"  
  The Boston Globe

October 28, 1996, Monday, City Edition


LENGTH: 1128 words

HEADLINE: War journey bonds Kerry, key adviser;
The second of two articles profiling key players in the rival;
campaigns for US Senate. Previously, the Globe profiled Gov.
William F. Weld's campaign manager.

BYLINE: By Don Aucoin, Globe Staff

Sen. John F. Kerry had just entered the political fight of his life, so Chris Gregory knew it was time - again - to round up The Dog Hunters.

They responded, as they always have whenever Kerry has been in trouble. They are comrades of a unique sort: Like Kerry, they fought both in and against the Vietnam War. Protagonists in the central drama of their generation, their bond is unbreakable.

When Gregory and a dozen other Dog Hunters invited Kerry to dinner on the day he announced for reelection, their goal was to boost his spirits. Instead, he boosted theirs, showing up with a triumphant smile on his face and a Vietnam-era "boony" hat on his head. "Look what I found in my drawer!" Kerry exclaimed. "You can't get these anymore!"

Gregory laughed along with the others. Kerry is seldom, if ever, that loose or unguarded in public, but Gregory knows the man, not the public figure.

It was the man who inspired Gregory to join Vietnam Veterans Against the War 25 years ago. It was the man, not the politician, who inspired Gregory to put his lobbying business on hold so he could serve as political director in Kerry's campaign against Gov. William F. Weld.

"We have a lifetime connection," Gregory says. "I'd work for him for nothing. It sounds like bull, but it's true."

Kerry frames their friendship and their political relationship in similar terms. "He's somebody I trust," the senator says. "We share a great sense of the journey traveled, a commonality of experience that doesn't need a lot of explaining or discussion. There's a shorthand language."

Though he would cringe at the description, there are those who say Chris Gregory is the soul of the Kerry campaign. Others say that Gregory, born to a middle-class Irish-Catholic family of 10 in New Jersey, and John Kerry, born to Brahmin wealth and privilege, are opposite sides of the same coin.

A dozen Vietnam veterans have volunteered for the campaign, and their very presence helps humanize a candidate often seen as stiff and aristocratic, but Gregory, 50, is the only one of the vets on staff.

"He understands John a lot better than most people in this world," says Mike Shea, a consultant to the campaign. "A politician needs a contact point in the real world, and Chris Gregory is one of those contact points for John. Plus, Chris is a truth-teller who does not candy-coat it for the candidate, and their friendship gives him the cachet to get away with it."

Gregory's duties are to mobilize activists for Kerry rallies across the state: the elderly, educators, women's groups, environmentalists, health-care workers. In doing so, he draws on the contacts he developed during two decades as a community organizer and a lobbyist for human services, and political stints that include running New England for the 1988 presidential campaign of Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.).

Who is Christopher Gregory? He is a left-leaning traditionalist, a bookish man of action, an outgoing but introspective figure. What Gregory says of his friend Kerry is true of himself as well: "He's a complicated character. There are things he doesn't want to display. He doesn't know how to express himself in a superficial way."

Ralph Whitehead, a professor of journalism at the University of Massachusetts who has known and admired Gregory for a long time, says Vietnam endowed Gregory with both a core toughness and a deep egalitarianism.

"I have a 16-year-old son who's wondering what it means to be a man. I hold Chris up to him as an example," says Whitehead. "Here's a guy who volunteered for the service in Vietnam but became a medic. In other words, he said: 'You can shoot at me, but I won't shoot at you."

To say Gregory has a fierce passion for the underdog is an understatement, but there is nothing naive or starry-eyed about him. When he lobbies in the State House for disabled children, frail elders or mentally retarded adults, he speaks not as an ideologue but as one grounded in deep personal experience.

Like Kerry, the defining experience in Gregory's life was the Vietnam War.

As an air evacuation medic in the Air Force, he tended to wounded American soldiers as they were transported in military planes from bases in Vietnam. Chris Gregory's young eyes saw all manner of combat wounds: men whose limbs had been blown off, men who had been burned or blinded, men who began hemorrhaging as he treated them.

When he got out of the service in April 1968, he enrolled at Brandeis University, but he felt alienated from his classmates. Slowly, his opposition to the war was growing, fueled by searing memories of the "waste of people's lives" he had seen in Vietnam. One day, sitting in the bleachers at a Red Sox game, he could not bring himself to stand for the national anthem. As spectators around him stared, Gregory began to weep.

So he began volunteering at the Legal In-Service Project, a Cambridge-based antiwar organization staffed by Vietnam veterans. "It helped me to process the war experience in a way I hadn't done," he says. "We had a shared experience, a shared analysis, and a shared discomfort with our participation."

One day in 1971, a leader of the organization told Gregory that a fellow named John Kerry was coming up from New York, looking to enlist supporters for an organization he wanted to call Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Gregory recalls a young man with longish hair, an intense devotion to the antiwar cause, a skill at public speaking and a strongly competitive streak.

"He was always somebody you had to stand up to," says Gregory.

But more often over the next 25 years, Gregory would find in Kerry somebody to stand next to, in solidarity. That is how The Dog Hunters were born. During Kerry's first campaign for Senate in 1984, his opponent, US Rep. James Shannon, criticized Kerry for serving in Vietnam, then changing his mind about the war. When Kerry demanded an apology on behalf of veterans, Shannon said: "That dog won't hunt."

Incensed, Gregory and other veterans rallied to Kerry's side; the name they gave themselves was The Dog Hunters. They stand by him still.

From Gregory's perspective, the bond he has with the senator was forged in those early days when he saw in Kerry a vulnerability that he had in common with many other Vietnam vets, born of knowing that "he could have just been in one of those coffins on the way back to Dover Air Force base."

"People don't want to recognize how tough it was for him, a smart and ambitious guy brought up to represent his family, to go against the war," says Gregory. "It's not like he said, 'This doesn't involve me.' He doesn't hide himself in that way. There's a certain amount of bravery in that, don't you think?"
Articles too lengthy to fit on the Irish Elk blog.

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