John Farrell
John Farrell
Tip O'Neill and the Democratic Century
ISBN: 0316260495
Tip O'Neill and the Democratic Century
The definitive biography of Thomas Philip Tip O'Neill, the greatest post-War Speaker of the House, and the rise and decline of Democratic politics from an award-winning political reporter.

To read John A. Farrell's account of Tip O'Neill is to take a walk through the greatest moments of post-World War II American politics. O'Neill's career began with the start of the New Deal, and his final foe was Newt Gingrich. From the Melting Pot to Watergate, Tip saw it all, and was no mere bystander to the turmoil of his times. No governor, member of congress, president, or any Democratic leader witnessed so many of his party's historic triumphs and failures.
—from the publisher

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TRANSCRIPT
Tip O'Neill and the Democratic Century
Program Air Date: May 20, 2001

BRIAN LAMB, HOST: John Aloysius Farrell, how long have you been writing a book on Tip O'Neill?
Mr. JOHN FARRELL, AUTHOR, "TIP O'NEIL AND THE DEMOCRATIC CENTURY": The whole process took six years, a large chunk of my life, much longer than I expected.
LAMB: Who was he?
Mr. FARRELL: He was a speaker of the House that, I think, would have gone down in history as one of 30, 40, 50 semi-anonymous speakers, had it not been for Ronald Reagan. And I think, together, they made history in 1981. And the point that I wanted to bring out with the book is that between the two of them, they laid down a line that I think has influenced our politics for the--the following 20 years and that we're still squaring off on that line today.
LAMB: In what way did--did they influence us?
Mr. FARRELL: The New Deal, of course, began to move America away from laissez-faire in the 1930s towards a more collectivistic state, towards European-style social democracy. That trend continued, and in the 1970s, the Democrats ran out of steam, they ran out of ideas, they ran out of unity. They squabbled about a lot of different things. Their own constituents began to be dissatisfied with them on issues like race and taxes. And Reaganism was the response, the correction, and the question was: Would we go back to the days before the New Deal, or could the Democrats draw that line in the sand and preserve what Roosevelt--Roosevelt's values and most of the heart of his programs? And I think Tip was the leader for the Democratic Party when that happened.
LAMB: One of the people you talked to for the book is someone that's become very prominent in political television, Chris Matthews.
Mr. FARRELL: Yes.
LAMB: What did--what did you learn from him, and why did you talk to him so much?
Mr. FARRELL: Chris is very easy to talk to, of course. He's very garrulous. But compared to his roll now as a talk show host, the one era of his life that Chris considers very--almost holy is his service for O'Neill. He considers it the best work that he did in his life, and he let me see his diaries from the time, which I really don't quote from, but they were great in confirming a lot of what other people said was going on. I quoted extensively from Jim Wright's diaries. Jim Wright was another one who let me see the diaries.

And--and what they were so valuable was in confirming to my mind that the report in Time magazine that week or the report in The New York Times or The Washington Post that I would come across in my research or the other interviews I would do was substantiated by somebody who was going home at night and writing down what happened that day in their book.
LAMB: Why did Jim Wright let you have--look at his diaries, and had anybody ever done that before?
Mr. FARRELL: Yes, he had let segments of his diaries go. I think I may--I--I don't want to make too broad a claim, but I think I may have been the first person that he just gave the diaries to and said, `Take whatever you want.' Why? He's a good guy, and he had written--he had used them to write his books. So I think that he didn't have a proprietary need to--to keep them for his own memoirs.
LAMB: When was Tip O'Neill in Congress?
Mr. FARRELL: He was elected in November of 1952, and he left at the end of the 1986 term.
LAMB: How long was he speaker?
Mr. FARRELL: Speaker for 10 years.
LAMB: Any--he's longest in history to serve...
Mr. FARRELL: Longest consecutive, yeah. Rayburn compiled more—many more years, from a period in the 1930s through the early 1960s, but it was interrupted by the Eisenhower landslides, and the Republicans had the House for, I think, two, two-year terms in the late '40s and—and early '50s.
LAMB: We've got, as you can imagine, a lot of videotape on this man, and we're going to run some of it so that people who've never seen him or forgot what he sounded like or looked like can get a flavor of what he was about. Let's roll the first tape.
Representative TIP O'NEILL (Democrat, Speaker of the House): (From 3/7/84) Very interestingly, some of the national pollsters have put me in their polls as to how the American people look at me as an individual. We don't publicize things like this, but right now, I was told by one of the national pollsters yesterday in the poll that he put in, I was the ranking Democrat. When they put the leaders of America in a poll, I'm second to the president.

Do I think I'm doing a good job? I made an announcement the other day that this would probably have one more term after this, and eventually I'd like to be the ambassador to Ireland. I said it in a kind of facetious manner, to be perfectly truth. Unbelievable, the hundreds--the thousands of letters we received across America: `Mr. Speaker, stay there. You're the hope that we have had. We, who have been in the poverty level; we, who are in middle America, you have been our champion.' And so I feel pretty good about it all. You know, do I have critics out there? Sure, I have critics out there, Sure, I have. But that's what makes a democracy.
LAMB: What do you see there?
Mr. FARRELL: I see a guy that was proud of what he'd done. I see a couple of twinges of what was to happen after he retired, which is that he wasn't really ready for retirement when he left. I mean, his timing was good. There was enough dissatisfaction and restlessness within the Democratic Party--the advent of the new Democrats—Gary Hart--Dick Gephardt in the House, Gary Hart in the Senate--that it was time for him to go. But in talking about the ambassador to Ireland, he still wasn't somebody who wanted to go back to--to Cape Cod and, you know, stroll the beach and watch birds.
LAMB: Did--did Ronald Reagan ever offer him that ambassadorship?
Mr. FARRELL: Reagan did not. George Bush did. And by--by that time, he had developed cancer; they had discovered the cancer that he had, and his wife, Millie, was suffering from emphysema. And they just thought that it would have been too much, and it also would have been tough being an--an ambassador for a Republican administration.
LAMB: You have a story early in the book, in the first 200 pages, about--I guess it would be back 1950-what? A story on Channel 5...
Mr. FARRELL: The advent of television, yeah.
LAMB: ...in Boston. It's got so much in it. It goes on for about six pages. First of all, has that story ever been told before?
Mr. FARRELL: Little tiny bits of it have been told. Bob Healy, who was the--the player from the Boston Globe, hinted at it in a column. Ben Bradlee, in his book, hints at it in a column. But most of that is--is new.
LAMB: First of all, when you wrote the book, where were you working?
Mr. FARRELL: I was working here, in my home, in my attic room in Kensington, Maryland. I was working as the Washington editor of the Boston Globe. I'm sorry, that's what I'm doing now. At that point, I was the White House correspondent. And so it was interesting that my--my path led me right back to corporate hierarchy.
LAMB: Did you know Tip O'Neill?
Mr. FARRELL: I knew him only in retirement. I covered him three or four times. In fact, I can remember coming down to Washington in 1990 or '91 and going to an event that he had. And at the end of the event, he turned to Andy Miga and I--Andy from the Boston Herald and I--and he said, `Gather around, boys, and I'll give you a couple of minutes.' And I just thought, `Boy, you know, I've been in journalism for 20 years, and it's still fun to be called "boys" from--from Tip O'Neill.' So I had a couple of very good interviews with him.
LAMB: Did you have any interviews about this book with him?
Mr. FARRELL: No.
LAMB: When did he die?
Mr. FARRELL: He died in January of '94.
LAMB: Go back to the story. I'm looking at the name Benny Choate. Is that right? Is that the way you pronounce it?
Mr. FARRELL: Yeah. The--the--it's a little hard to imagine now what a bonanza the television license was in the early 1950s. Of course, television had been with us for a couple of years, but the--the true potential of commercial television was a mystery. And Beanie Choate, from the Herald, was the first one to catch on that it could mean a great deal. And at that time, the Boston Herald was the predominant paper in New England, and it was a Republican paper and it was a Republican administration, with the Eisenhower administration.

And Choate got the license, and there was a--a Federal Communications Commissions rule which said that if you had a predominant media outlet in a city, you shouldn't be getting a television license as well. And when it turned out that they were Republican papers asking for television licenses, they were much more easily--that rule was waived; and when it was Democrats, it was not. So the--the Taylor brothers, who owned the Globe, came down to Washington and, at first, were very unsuccessful trying to get some sort of countervailing influence in this Republican administration.
LAMB: And the Globe was what politically at that time?
Mr. FARRELL: At that time, it was sort of a--a sleepy Democratic, Irish paper, not known for taking bold stands, not courageously liberal. You know, it was very much like the Irish-American population of New England at the time, which was, you know, very slowly climbing into conformity and respectability and--and not known for--like it is--like it was to be known in the 1960s and is known today as a more aggressive newspaper.
LAMB: And, again, the year we're talking about is what?
Mr. FARRELL: 1954.
LAMB: And Tip O'Neill had been in Congress for how long?
Mr. FARRELL: This is his first term.
LAMB: Brand new. And how does he get into the act?
Mr. FARRELL: He gets into the act because the--the Taylors sent down a young guy named Bob Healy, who had been a reporter, gone away to war, flew something like 25 missions in the Air Force, came back and was a very bright, aggressive guy. And they--they called him in and they said, `Look, Choate is threatening to put us out of business with the television stations. You have to go down to Washington and see what you can do.'
LAMB: Now he's a reporter?
Mr. FARRELL: He's a reporter, and he was acting sort of as a—a private detective as well. Anything that he found, he would put in the paper. So he was actually reporting. But at--at the same time, the--the point of the reporting was to expose what they thought was a crooked deal with the television license.
LAMB: So what happened?
Mr. FARRELL: He went to Tip because Tip was the only person that he knew in Washington, and Tip had a patronage appointment on the committee that was investigating--or over--had oversight responsibilities for the communications licenses, a guy named Frank McLaughlin. Together, they worked with a young committee counsel whose name was Bernie Schwartz and began to expose this pattern arou--across the country that the television licenses were being awarded to political favorites.
LAMB: Now have you talked to Bob Healy about this?
Mr. FARRELL: I talked extensively to Healy and also to McLaughlin. And one of the things about doing a biography is, especially when you take as long as I did, is that people die along the way, and one of the great tragedies was I was not able to get to Schwartz. He passed away maybe a year or two in--when I was into the project before I was able to locate him.
LAMB: By the way, just before we get any further in this story, if a reporter did this today and it was discovered today, what would happen?
Mr. FARRELL: I think there'd be a huge hue and cry about it. As I s--as I said, Bob's investigation was--eventually, everything he found out was put into the paper, so he was reporting as an investigative reporter. Today there would be a lot of flap in the media by media critics saying, you know, `Why are you doing this? It's obviously so self-serving.' But in those days, it was--it was not--it was not thought to be self-serving. It was--and the Globe was such a sort of a sleepy newspaper that it was--it caught everybody by surprise when it happened.
LAMB: Why did the Globe people feel that if the Boston Herald traveler fellow got Channel 5, it'd put them out of business?
Mr. FARRELL: Well, the--being the dominant newspaper, plus being able to sell the advertising for this new medium, would have meant that they would have had a--a stranglehold on the circulation, advertising and--and just dominated the media in Boston.
LAMB: So what--next, what happened?
Mr. FARRELL: So the next thing that happened was that--that Schwartz and McLaughlin and the other staff members began to plug away, and they got sidetracked momentarily on another thing that Tip told them. And what he told them was that the White House chief of staff, a very powerful position then, as now, was a guy from New Hampshire named Sherman Adams, and Sherman Adams had been dallying with a--a rich Boston industrialist and receiving gifts. And this had nothing to do with the television channel, but it was something that Tip told them. And within a year, that became a big national story, and Sherman Adams ended up resigning.

So this began to become a much bigger national story. They had a series of hearings in Boston. The Federal Communications Commission finally said that they would hold the license in abeyance. It went to court for about, I think, a dozen years, and it was finally resolved in the favor of the Globe. The Globe went on to become the predominant newspaper in the region, became much more aggressive and actually pushed Tip to be more liberal and anti-war during the Vietnam era. So that whole little episode had great repercussions for what would happen in the next--over the next 20 years.
LAMB: One of the things you note in the book is that, `Not all congressmen shared Rayburn's enthusiasm for a regulatory probe.' He was the speaker then, Rayburn.
Mr. FARRELL: Yeah.
LAMB: `The Commerce Committee chairman, Oren Harris of Arkansas, had managed to acquire his own 25-percent interest in a television station for the sweetheart price of $500.' Why did that matter?
Mr. FARRELL: Well, that mattered because he was supposedly—his committee was supposedly investigating whether or not these licenses had been given out for altruistic reasons or for good commercial reasons and not because of political connections, and here it seemed that he is profiting from the same kind of political insider deal.
LAMB: And who did he end up firing in this whole business?
Mr. FARRELL: Schwartz ended up getting fired, but it was a--it was a tactical mistake because him getting fired just brought a lot more attention to the probe, and The New York Times began to report on it. Newsweek magazine had a young reporter named Ben Bradlee who began to report on it. He, of course, went on later on to become the editor of The Washington Post.
LAMB: And you quote Ben Bradlee in here. You talked to him. He said, `"This little angelic-faced Healy, he looked like a choir boy," said Bradlee. "Nobody would think what he was up to. He and I shared stuff. I loved the fact Choate was in trouble."' And why did Ben Bradlee like the fact that Choate was in trouble?
Mr. FARRELL: All politics is local, and in this case, all politics was very personal. And Beanie Choate was a distant cousin of Ben Bradlee. When Ben Bradlee got back from World War II, he wanted to get into newspapering, having been on a destroyer in the Navy, Choate did not give him a job. And so Bradlee had a score to settle and managed to use this episode as well.
LAMB: In addition to this, you quote Tip O'Neill in here s—talking about getting a good, favorable story or profile out of the Boston Globe if he did this for them.
Mr. FARRELL: Yeah. Well, what he said was, `Well, Healy, why should I do this? Because if I help you, I'll get a nice profile in the Globe, but if Choate finds out, the Herald will go after me and ruin me.' Now Tip had his own motivation in that he wanted to go back to Massachusetts at this point and run for governor someday, and the idea of a Republican newspaper and a Republican-owned television station dominating the media was not good for either his personal career or for his party. So he had a reason to drop a dime on Choate and Adams as well.
LAMB: And at the end of this chapter, you say, `More valuable still was O'Neill's status as a sacred cow within the Globe newsroom. Quote, "He did write for the Globe, `And I'll write in the Globe through the years,' Healy said." Did--you know, based on all the discussion we have today about the media, what's your cynicism level on all this?
Mr. FARRELL: My cyn--personal cynicism level: Maybe I've been here too long. Of course, I have a horse in the race, having worked for the Globe and...
LAMB: Still do.
Mr. FARRELL: Still do. But it was pretty--I think that probably this kind of thing goes on a lot and doesn't get reported till 50 years later.
LAMB: You also--this is just an aside because we talk a lot about the Gridiron Club dinner, and in--in your--your piece here, in your book, you--you talk about Choate. I believe it is, let's see, Robert Choate, person to person, to--well, no, let me drop back before we get to the Gridiron dinner because I want to ask you about the—the telephone call thing. This is another involvement. H--what's that all about?
Mr. FARRELL: Healy was trying to prove that the Federal Communications Commission had had these dealings with Choate before the license was re--awarded, and so he and McLaughlin went up to Boston, and they got--McLaughlin had a subpoena for the phone records of the Herald. And, fortunately, McLaughlin found that the phone records had been kept longer than the customary six months.

They went through them and discovered that there had been lots of person-to-person phone calls--or several, many--between Choate and the FCC; that he and the FCC chairman had lunch. And so that Choate's original public testimony that there had been no contacts between the paper and the FCC was inaccurate or false, and that was a--more a public relations disaster for Choate and the Herald than it was legal, but, again, it--it all created a climate that caused the FCC to—to hold the license back, and it went into court.
LAMB: Now this was 50 years ago, and th--what I was talking about in the Gridiron Club. The chairman of the FCC, George McConaughey.
Mr. FARRELL: Yeah.
LAMB: ...was taken to the Gridiron Club dinner by Robert Choate.
Mr. FARRELL: Yup.
LAMB: And for, obviously, the reasons of currying favor with him, and the FCC chairman was the one making these decisions.
Mr. FARRELL: Yes. So it was--I mean--I mean, it's not as dramatic as one of the other cases where there actually were--were checks that were found being paid to one of the FCC commissioners, but it—it showed the kind of--of--of comfortable nexus that there was within the Republican White House, within the Republican administration. And--and, again, just cau--threw doubt upon them.
LAMB: Y--has much changed in 50 years?
Mr. FARRELL: I would hope so. I--I would think that--maybe not. I think that what--what--what happens now is rather than the Gridiron tickets, there might be a fund-raiser held in the district or a—huge checks given to your re-election campaign. But I'm not so certain that, you know, when a--a big plum is awarded in Washington, that the same kind of behind-the-scenes scrambles goes on. And sometimes we, in the media, catch it and sometimes we don't.
LAMB: But the Boston Globe today, owned by The New York Times—but the Boston Globe today is there primarily because Tip O'Neill interfered in this process and made sure Channel 5 didn't go to the Boston Herald.
Mr. FARRELL: Yeah, I think that's a fair--fair assessment of the—of what happened, yeah.
LAMB: And--and did the people that you work for at the Boston Globe today get upset about you putting this in here?
Mr. FARRELL: No. I think that the--the feeling was that it was—it was a story that was 50 years old. And, of course, it was sort of a raffer story that's--you know, newspapers are great for telling wonderful, romantic stories about their past and the skullduggery that they go do to get a story. And so there's appreciation of Bob, I think, to this day for that.
LAMB: There's another re--reporter story in your book, but you got a letter--a private letter from Tip O'Neill from David Rogers, who is today congressional correspondent for The Wall Street Journal—a private letter to Tip O'Neill in which he says, and I'll read it, `I--I bring this up only because you have sometimes expressed mixed feelings about your own early opposition to the war'--we're talking about the Vietnam War. `While firm in your position, you have been sensitive to the hurt your stand might have caused among families whose sons were in the fighting. I understand those emotions, but as one of those sons, I want you to know, too, that you have done more to heal me toward my government than anyone I have seen since in public life.' And he points out that he was a medic, a conscientious—entious objector in the Vietnam War.

Then later in this letter, he says, `It's not because you were against the war. It is what you have been beyond Vietnam as speaker and as a person,' said Rogers. `You have meant far more than either of us fully knows, and for that, I thank you as well.' Again, how did you get the letter, and were you surprised at a Wall Street Journal reporter would be that personal with then-Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill?
Mr. FARRELL: I think that reporters sometimes write personal letters to the public officials that they cover, particularly if you go through a long experience with them, particularly on occasions like this when somebody retires and leaves office. I don't think it's a common practice, you know, for me when I was covering the White House to, you know, dash off a letter to Bill Clinton every night, but I can remember once having written a story about Mrs. Clinton and dropping her a note about it. It was--it was kind of tough, and I heard that she had taken it pretty hard, and I basically said, `Someday, you know, b--hopefully we can laugh about this over, you know, a glass of wine or dinner.'

And that was the kind of letter I found in Tip's papers from David in Boston College, and it was just filed away with all the other papers. And what--what struck me was that--David is a fantastic reporter, and I think that, you know, if you had to take what was the absolute moral position in the Vietnam War, which is to serve your country while even still opposing the war, then to go as a medic to the war, I mean, that--that, to me, took an awful lot of intellectual and--and moral courage on David's part.

So he did that. He comes back. He's bitter, like several of my other friends on Capitol Hill who served in Vietnam, about the way that the government and the American people treated the--the guys that came back. And he runs into this fellow, Tip O'Neill, who is genuine and authentic and with a big heart and also confides to David, `You know, I was against the war, but it always gave me pause that I was undercutting the boys from Summerville or the boys from North Cambridge who were over there.' And, obviously, they had conversations about it.

And I just thought it was a--a nice, more personal--I mean, I--I quote from the editorials and from the American Almanac of Politics when Tip left, but I thought that was a more personal way of--of appraising what he had done and how he had touched David's life.
LAMB: Let's watch some more videotape of Tip O'Neill from back in the '80s. (Excerpt from 3/7/84, from unidentified program)
Rep. O'NEILL:When I go to these various countries, the min--minority and the majority do not speak to each other.

Unidentified Man: Really?

Rep. O'NEILL:They do not speak to each other. They are in one end of the room--when we meet the minority, we meet the mi—minority alone; we meet the majority, we meet the majority alone. If there's a third party, we go and we meet them. They cannot believe that when I'm traveling, I'm with Sil Conte and his wife; that my wife, Millie, and--and Sil's wife, Corrin, could be as friendly as they are; that Conte and I, while we're in different parties, our philosophies are--are different, that we can be as friendly as we are.

W--as far as the president of the United States, we have a--we have a going agreement. During the course of the day, we argue and when—we fight, and--and we speak our minds and we--we oppose each other. But after 6:00 at night, we're friends. I'm sure that my wife and—and Nancy are exactly the same as we are. We have a standing joke. He'll say to me--he says, `After 6:00, or is it before 6:00?' Or when he comes to the chamber to give a State of the Union, then w--`Are we still on the 6:00 rule, or are you--are you mad with me tonight because I'm address--addressing the nation here?' So there isn't—the personal feeling, there--there's none of that whatsoever. In America, you can disagree philosophically and you can still be friends. (End of excerpt)
LAMB: But in your book, you keep showing, back and forth, back and forth, that people, in spite of this 6:00 rule, were unhappy with him. You quote somebody named Terry O'Donnell. Who was he?
Mr. FARRELL: I don't know. Who is he?
LAMB: Terry O'Donnell worked for Gerry Ford.
Mr. FARRELL: Oh, for Gerry Ford, yeah.
LAMB: `The speaker was the most partisan SOB in town'--he doesn't say `SOB' either. He--he goes on to say, `I simply cannot abide by this guy who purports to be your friend,' talking to Gerry Ford, `and golfing buddy going out and calling you dumb and just taking off, unshirted hell, you know just blasting you.' You don't have advertaries--you don't have--`"You don't understand, we're old adversaries," said the p--the president. "This is all part of the game."' And--but he goes on--the--the aides around Gerry Ford were upset because Tip O'Neill would constantly go out and say some very strong things savaging Gerry Ford. Explain all that. Why--why—why should we believe that he's an old pal after 6 instead of when he savages somebody?
Mr. FARRELL: Well, you shouldn't. I think that that was--that's part of this great myth. I think it's rooted in--in the conformity that was required after--in the Cold War when we had to present a united front--we felt we had to present a united front against the great Communist adversary, and politics supposedly stopped at the water's edge. And so we had this diversion from the usual mean scrambling of our politics into a--a time when, supposedly, we didn't fight amongst ourselves because we had a greater enemy overseas.

But that being said, I think that Tip wielded his personality as a political tool, and some of the interviews I had--some of the most interesting interviews I had were with people either from the other side of the aisle or his own lieutenants, like Rostenkowski or Tony Coelho, who Tip had, you know, nudged aside in the race--in--in the rise to power, who felt that perhaps he had picked their pocket. And I think that he employed this great personality and this great feeling of friendship with these people and, to an extent, with--to a great extent, with Gerry Ford that angered Ford's aides and I think, to an extent, with Reagan as well. And for better or for worse, some of them fell for it and some of them didn't.

Newt Gingrich was one who did not, and I think I quote in the book, at one point, Newt saying, you know, `It's time the Republicans stop being Boy Scouts and stop playing golf with the speaker on weekends and paid a little bit more attention to the fact that, you know, the Democrats have had this chamber for 60 years, and we're going to have to play a little tougher to get it back.'
LAMB: By the way, you quoted a lot in here, from LBJ talking about Tip O'Neill. Did you get that from the audiotapes?
Mr. FARRELL: Yes.
LAMB: We have a 17-second audiotape I want to run of LBJ talking to Carl Albert on the phone. This was back in 1964. Where would Tip O'Neill have been then?
Mr. FARRELL: At that point, he had a very important role in Congress. He was swing vote or an important vote on the Rules Committee. At that time, the Rules Committee was much more important, and it served as a traffic cop that kept the legislation on or off the House floor. And so if he voted with the Republicans and the Southern Democrats on the committee, he could stop legislation from going to the floor, and in this case, that's what happened.
LAMB: Let's listen. It's just 17 seconds long. (Excerpt from audiotape)
President LYNDON B. JOHNSON: Now they tell me Tip O'Neill's bellyaching because McNamara closed something up in Boston.
Mr. CARL ALBERT: Yeah.
Pres. JOHNSON: It's not in his district, but it's in another district.
Mr. ALBERT: Yeah.
Pres. JOHNSON: He's going to get them all jobs. But if he's going to play that way, we can play rough, too. We've got a Boston Navy Yard that's got a few thousand, and it ought to be closed. I'm just keeping that open. (End of excerpt)
LAMB: You write about it.
Mr. FARRELL: Those tapes are--are--are just wonderful because they show what really goes on when the politicians are not thinking that their words are being taken down...
LAMB: What did Tip O'Neill do...
Mr. FARRELL: ...for posterity.
LAMB: ...on the Rules Committee when they wanted to shut down the Boston Navy Yard?
Mr. FARRELL: Well, you have to begin with his relationship with the Kennedy administration, and everybody thinks that he was a--an insider with the Kennedys, and he was not. He had a very conflicted and strained relationship with the Kennedys over the years. And during the Kennedy administration, because he was old school and because he was something of a political rival for some of JFK's aides, he was effectively kept out of the Oval Office. So Kennedy was assassinated, and--and Lyndon Johnson comes in, and he has this big, broad program. And one of the first things he does is announces that he's closing the Boston Navy Yard.

So O'Neill is determined that he's not going to be taken for granted again, and he knows that his clout--he's on the Rules Committee. And in a series of votes throughout the spring of 1965, he rallies different coalitions of forces to stop Johnson's legislation from reaching the House floor, and there's a series of these tapes down there in the Johnson Library where Johnson is just driven to distraction by the fact that--that Tip O'Neill is casting these votes; in this case, it was a transportation bill that Tip just kept from the floor. But it was also the anti-poverty bill. I mean, Tip played for high stakes.

And there's some wonderful paper documents at the end in which Johnson finally says, you know, `Give O'Neill what he wants. I'm tired of playing this game.' And you see Tip writing a letter that I--I think in the book I say it's a--it's the most obvious quid pro quo ever put to paper by a Boston politician to Larry O'Brien saying, `I will vote for this bill to get to the floor if you agree to put $9 million worth of defense contracts to the Navy Yard and other shipyards in the Boston area. Please make sure the president sees this letter.' And then there's a letter to the Pentagon from the congressional liaison people at the White House saying, `Make sure that O'Neill gets what he want.' So what he was doing, he was holding them up, basically.
LAMB: Who--who did you talk to the most for the book?
Mr. FARRELL: Probably Tip's close friend, Leo Diehl, Tip's children. I had a number of interviews with each--three of the--three of the--four of the--four of the five kids.
LAMB: And their names?
Mr. FARRELL: Rosemary, Susan, Tommy and Kip.
LAMB: And what would they--what did they fill in the blanks for you? I mean, what--how good was it when you talked to the kids?
Mr. FARRELL: It was very good in giving me a sense as to what he was when the cameras were off of him, what he was like around the house, which was sort of this amiable, fun guy. Susan said once to me that the reason that she thinks that her father had so many kids is that he always liked to have a bunch of people around. And--so he enjoyed his family in that manner. He li--he was a big jovial guy and—and enjoyed his neighborhood that way, too.
LAMB: What are those four kids doing today?
Mr. FARRELL: They all, in some extent, touched public service. Tommy rose as high as the lieutenant governor in Massachusetts. Rosemary was a foreign service officer. Susan is a public relations person in town who puts together some of these big dinners, like the dinner for Joe Moakley. And Kip is a lobbyist.
LAMB: Let's run some more videotape. Here's Tip O'Neill back in the '80s.
Rep. O'NEILL:(From 3/7/84) When I was a young fellow in public life, and I'm 48 years in public life, 50 percent of America was impoverished; 25 percent were unemployed. If you were fortunate enough to go to high school, 3 percent of the graduating class went on to college. Ninety-seven percent of the senior citizens had no health program. Eighty-seven percent of the--the working men of America had--had no health program. Very few pension programs out there. My dad was a bricklayer. He worked a full six days a week. My mother died when I was three months old--nine months old. I saw my father on Sundays. That's the only time he could be with the family. If you were a fireman, you worked 107 hours a week. If you were a police officer you worked 84 hours a week. America asked for a change. Today, we brought that level of impoverishment down from 50 percent to 11.3 percent in '80 of this year.
LAMB: What are you hearing there?
Mr. FARRELL: That's the Tip O'Neill creed. I mean, that basically, is the--the core of the book. Very interesting he talked about his mom as well. I think that was a great motivating factor, the fact that his mom died when he was that young, that his father worked so hard, such long hours. It's also revealing there that he calls his father a bricklayer, though, because his father when, he was growing up, was actually a civil servant, who was protected--his job was protected during the Depression and the family was--was basically middle class, not hard scrabbling, blue collar. So there's a little bit of the O'Neill myth in there as well.
LAMB: Did he make much money in his life?
Mr. FARRELL: Tip?
LAMB: Yeah.
Mr. FARRELL: No. He had a modestly successful insurance business when he was in Massachusetts politics that he gave up when he came down to Washington.
LAMB: Did--when hi--when his career was over and--and he died in 1994, what was he worth, do you know?
Mr. FARRELL: Oh, he was worth a ton then, thanks to the media, because he had sold his memoirs--they were a huge best seller, "Man of the House." And he appeared in a number of commercials, not without criticism. You know, hopping out of suitcases and--and doing Miller Lite beer ads and--and made a--a lot of money, and then went around the country doing the speaking circuit as well. So he cashed in at the end. And it was interesting because some of his critics were liberals, like Marianne McGrory and his defenders were conservatives, like Roger Ailes, who was--was a great adviser to Republican presidents.
LAMB: Let me stumble through a--a scenario here. Wh--Tip O'Neill was known in your book as a great humanitarian and interested in little people. What is it about a politician and what--how do you dec—how do you define a politician being good if they take other people's money and then pass it on to somebody else, and why doesn't everybody do that?
Mr. FARRELL: Why doesn't...
LAMB: I mean--you now, you hear--it's the old dichotomy here.
Mr. FARRELL: Yeah.
LAMB: If you're a conservative and you don't believe in making it easier for e--people to get--you know, transfer payments, why is it you're so--you're--you're labeled as good when you take other people's tax money and then pass it on to somebody that doesn't have it and why doesn't everybody do that then?
Mr. FARRELL: I think that--I guess I--I re--I reveal a little ideological bias. I really believe that what Roosevelt did was revolutionary and necessary, that he probably did save capitalism and that the United States, in the 19--in the gilded era in the 1920s, was not--would not have been the nation it is today if we just let the markets operate. I think that there are two great organizing principles. There's economics, but then there's also politics, the way we solve problems. It's not just, you know--you know, `Let's get a--a covered wagon and go out across the Plains.' It's `Let's get together in a wagon train and go out across the Plains.' `Let's just not build a barn, let's get together and raise a barn.'

So the common purpose I think that--that he represent--that Roosevelt represented in--with the New Deal was essential, I think, that, you know, obviously he was the domineering figure in American politics in the 20th century because of that. And I think that Tip was for the--what we just heard, citing those social statistics--was very proud of what he had done to help create a middle class. That being said, in the 1970s, the Democrats had run out of steam and their answer to everything was tax and spend. Tax, tax, spend, spend. There's unemployment, let's create CETA, you know, a make work jobs program. And I think that Reaganism was absolutely a necessary correction. And I think that--that--that part of the great fascination I had in writing those chapters was the fact that you had a revival of the individualism and the entrepreneurial spirit that the country desperately needed in the 1980s. And the question—everything was up for grabs and then the question was--the whole country had to come together again and say, `OK, who are we? What do we believe in? How much of Roosevelt do we keep? How much o we throw away?' And—and that's why I think was such a great story between Tip and--and Reagan.
LAMB: Seven hundred and fifty-page book. Is this the first biography of Tip O'Neill?
Mr. FARRELL: No. There was a campaign biography called "Tip" that was written when he was first elected to the speaker--a campaign-style biography when he was first elected to the speaker. And of course, he wrote his autobiography. And Jimmy Breslin wo--wrote a wonderful book about the Watergate summer that included a lot of biographical details. And I was also immeasurably helped by the fact that in the 19--late 1960s and 1970s, academics flocked to Washington, served on these staffs and recorded a lot of these things in academic journals so that if I had to go back and recreate, for example, the whips race in 1969, I was able to do it because Robert Peabody of John Hopkins University was serving as an unpaid staffer on the Leadership Committee and was behind the closed doors talking to these people all the time. So the academic history of that time is very rich.
LAMB: What's the Joe Moakley BC story?
Mr. FARRELL: And the end of Tip's life--after Tip had died, his pare--his family gave his papers to Boston College and Boston College set up a--an office in a very nice room in one of the libraries with Tip's desk and some of his office furnishings. And then nobody--interest in Tip dropped and nobody went to visit it anymore. And they needed the space for another office and--for the retiring president. And so they sh--crated up the--the desk and shipped--prepared to ship it back to the GSA. And the--the family and Tip's friends, like Moakley were upset. And then one day there was an appropriation going through Congress for Boston College and came to the Rules Committee where Joe was the ranking Democrat and, amazingly enough, it got stuck there. And so first Boston College and then prominent Boston College alumni, and then even the O'Neill family came to them and said `Joe, can you please do something about that?' And Joe said `No, you have to realize he was my friend. And it was—this is an act of disloyalty.' And so, coincidentally or not, Boston College put together a grandeur, even better exhibit, and when it was time to be dedicated, Joe Moakley was the speaker who dedicated the new exhibit. And the money went through.
LAMB: Let's watch some more Tip O'Neill tape. (Excerpt from 11/9/92 interview)
LAMB: What little techniques would you advise them to use in order to be a good congress person?
Rep. O'NEILL:Well, the first thing I would tell them is to bring their family down with them.
LAMB: Bring them here in town?
Rep. O'NEILL:Yeah. And that was a mistake that I made. I didn't grow up with my family. My Millie was mother and father to them. And th--she says, `You pay more attention to your grandchildren now than you ever did to your children.' An awful lot of happiness and an awful lot of loneliness in the life of a congressman, especially in his first year, when he goes back to that apartment alone and he thinks of his family and a--and his wife back home.

Secondly, the most important thing to a congressman is getting by the second term. That's the most important thing. And the--and the main thing is keep your contacts at home. Get home and visit the people that--that elected you. Some of the congressmen used to have a great idea--Eddie Boland. Every night, he would call 20 people in his district. `I'm calling you from Washington. What's new at home?' Great idea. I used to do it myself.
LAMB: He lived with you?
Rep. O'NEILL:He lived with me. I'd sit at home and--and—and telephone so-and-so in Brighton or so-and-so in Charlestown, so-and-so in East Boston, people that had been effective in my campaign. `What are the neighborhoods thinking? What do think of the bill that's before the Congress? What do they think about'--they would go out the next day and tell everybody in the neighborhood that--that Tip had called. (End of excerpt)
Mr. FARRELL: It's amazing. The congressmen these days are--they're talking to their constituents, too, but they're saying, you know, `Can you send me $1,000. Can you'--you're making--they're making those 20 phone calls as well.
LAMB: He was scheduled to do this program and died. And Gary Hymel ended up pitch-hitting for him. What were the circumstances of his last years?
Mr. FARRELL: In some ways, they were typical O'Neill. He contracted colon cancer and was--when told that he would have the colostomy, was--was terror stricken and--and went into a great depression. Was cheered by the fact that he had so many friends, including President Bush's brother Marvin, football great Otto Graham, other people who had had colon cancer, and--and went public with it. He testified before Congress, and he did--he did cassette tapes that could be sent out to colostomy patients. He didn't try to hide it. There's one sad story that Chris Matthews told me, which is that he would go visit O'Neill in his office and O'Neill would be sitting there watching C-SPAN, and so he missed the House that much that he would spend large hours of his day just watching what was going on on the floor of the--floor of the House. He gradually deteriorated. But he was—like you said, he was ready to do that interview. And he had given a public speech in early December. Over Christmas, his family said he was--he was grumpy and he went into the hospital just for a check-up. He was watching a basketball game on television and eating some ice cream with his son Tommy, and he suffered a massive heart attack and passed away.
LAMB: You mentioned watching C-SPAN. It's always been a mystery to us, you know, looking back on it, why he decided to allow the House to be on television. From your investigation, what was the reason?
Mr. FARRELL: I think he just wanted--he--he--first of all, Tip was great at--at seeing where things were going. And he knew it was a time that had come. But I also think that--and he probably would spin in his grave to hear me describe him as this, but he had a little bit of the reformer to him. Even when he first ran for the Statehouse in the 1930s, he was not part of the old curly-style Irish American politician--We're going to get elected on grievances.' He was a college graduate. He had a little sheen, a little step of something extra. And--and--and throughout the reform era in Congress, he was open and amenable to the young guys who came and said, `Well, you know, we want to vote for committee chairman. We want to change this. We want to change that.' And you probably could answer better than I could, but I think that that was--a little bit of that--yeah.
LAMB: No, I really can't. That's why I--always a...
Mr. FARRELL: Yeah.
LAMB: ...mystery, because you say in your book that by being on television, it was the end of civility in the House of Representatives.
Mr. FARRELL: I didn't put it that bluntly.
LAMB: Pretty bluntly. Why--why do you think?
Mr. FARRELL: I think because it allowed--Newt saw the opportunity to use C-SPAN to appeal to a--a wider audience and to appeal in the more dramatic terms that television allows. I can't tell you that—that Tip recognized that, but I can tell you that he recognized the power of the media. He was very afraid that the broadcast networks were going to be the ones who would get the power and that they would be able to distort what was going on for either their own political agenda or for their own sensationalistic reasons. And so he was very happy to give it to somebody like you who would play it straight and--and, of course, as you remember, when you started it was just basically on people's offices and--and it took you awhile to build what we see today. But I--you know, I think he would have been happy with it.

We talked a little bit about the control of the cameras in there. Let's roll that tape from--I think it was '86 or so. (Excerpt from 11/2/92 interview)
LAMB: What about the--and by the way, you know, one of the things that people often missed is that they think we control those cameras and the House controls them.
Rep. O'NEILL:I never allowed you to control those cameras and don't ever change that.
LAMB: Why?
Rep. O'NEILL:Well, you know, some guy would be picking his nose or scratching his fanny and the television in the convention, that's what it goes on. It--it goes on the negative. It goes on--always trying to downcast. Let the Congress handle them. They're doing a good job and the American people like it. And I don't think that they should show a full-scale debate with 30 members on the floor or some fellow taking a nap, which could happen on occasion or s--I--I just don't think that that is in the best interest of our Congress, of our people. And I think that everything is going all right and leave it alone. (End of excerpt)
LAMB: That was '92.
Mr. FARRELL: That was a good guess.
LAMB: He never made it to BOOKNOTES, though. Peggy Noonan you quote several times.
Mr. FARRELL: Yeah.
LAMB: Why?
Mr. FARRELL: I think Peggy has a great way of summing things up succinctly and poetically.
LAMB: Here's a quote: "He was a good working-class Irishman, but he operated from complete moral arrogance." Do you know what she meant by that?
Mr. FARRELL: Yeah. Tip believed in the New Deal and he saw Republicans as basically evil creatures.
LAMB: She says that he ascribed unthinkingly to the old leftist view that he cared for the little guy and we did not, and because of that, suffered from a terrible ideological deafness. He could not hear Reagan, and because he could not hear him, he couldn't give him his due. He gave him only backhanded acknowledgment as a charmer or a performer. It was all backhanded BS.
Mr. FARRELL: Yeah. And I think you'd probably get a very similar quote from somebody like Gary Hart. In the spring of 1984, when Hart was beating Mondale, Tip got a memo from his pollsters saying that if they really wanted to beat Reagan in the fall, Hart would be a much more formidable candidate than sticking with Mondale and the old ways of doing things. Again, showing that kind of blindness, Tip stuck with Mondale rather than looking for this new wave.
LAMB: In a minute I want to show some videotape from his farewell when Sil Conte got up and gave a speech and we can see some of the players that you talk about in your book. But before we get to that, what is the Jim Wilmot story?
Mr. FARRELL: Wilmot was a big contributor when Tip was rising in power in the House by controlling the Democratic congressional campaign committee, which collected contributions from around the country and--and passed them out. And Marty Tolchin of The New York Times wrote a story exposing the fact that Wilmot had gotten a—a break from the Housing and Urban Development Department as a favor for--not as a favor, but at--at the request of Tip O'Neill. And the great part about that story was that Marty was banned from the speaker's office until a calendar year had passed. And on that date, he was allowed back in. So Tip has abit--obviously marked it on his calendar. You know, `From this day on for one year Tolchin is not allowed back in my office.' And that was--that--that shows the dark side, the black Irish side of--of Tip O'Neill was that he had a way of--of--of taking you to task as well.
LAMB: How did he get back in?
Mr. FARRELL: The year was up. Tip said, you now, `Marty, the Irish are a forgiving race.'
LAMB: And what did The New York Times do in the interim?
Mr. FARRELL: In the interim, some--the--The Times covered him, but Tolchin just did not have access to the speaker's office.
LAMB: There was a quote I--I wrote down actually from a freshman meeting--this jumps way back just--these are just Tip O'Neill stories about when he was meeting with Harry Truman when he first got to Congress, and you say that Harry Truman, who gave him a warning about the politics of personal destruction--'cause we hear a lot about that now--then gossiped about Eisenhower's rumored marital infidelity and called Vice President Richard Nixon a dirty, no-good SOB.
Mr. FARRELL: Yeah.
LAMB: So again, I get back to has anything changed?
Mr. FARRELL: The poli--yeah, the politics of personal destruction in that time, though, was limited to off-the-record gossiping at the White House. I don't think that--you--you have to go back to before the Cold War era, I think, to get to the point of real personal destruction.
LAMB: Who's Sil Conte?
Mr. FARRELL: Silvio was a--somebody who served in the Massachusetts Legislature with Tip. He was a liberal Republican from Massachusetts, a good card-playing buddy for many, many years. Tip was very easy to be friends with Silvio because they both really did share a lot of principles, even though Silvio was on the Republican side.
LAMB: And Tip O'Neill again left the--the House in what year?
Mr. FARRELL: 1986.
LAMB: Here is Sil Conte on the floor of the House in a farewell speech.
Representative SILVIO O. CONTE (Republican, Massachusetts): (From 12/9/86 farewell speech) I want to thank you all for inviting me here today to say a few words about a friend who words cannot fairly portray.

Tip, 28 years in this House, I never would believe the day that you would be sitting on that side of the aisle. And serving longer as our speaker than any other, Thomas P. O'Neill Jr., my friend, Tip, has carved a very special path of honor and integrity through the history of our Congress. Historians will spend a lot of years trying to capture the heart and the soul of Tip O'Neill, which he brought to this venerable body. But I dare say that none will do him justice. For 50 years, this Irish bear of a man has given of himself in public service, a half century of leadership and insight. He has forgotten more than most will ever learn about this great democracy. And without his leadership, his wit, his endurance, I'm sure we just wouldn't be the same today.
LAMB: Why were they so close? Different parties?
Mr. FARRELL: Well, Massachusetts is--even though it went for Reagan twice, is a very liberal state. And so Silvio's Republicanism was--was very, very liberal brand of Northeastern Republicanism. And then they shared an awful lot of--of just personal likes. They both were ethnic politicians. They had served in the state House together. They loved card games. Their wives got along.
LAMB: But you showed so often than even though they--people appeared to be friends and all that, same party even, same Irish background--you had a story early in it about Jim Curley, telling him--and one, who is Jim Curley?--told him--told him that he was raising money for him, but there was a little bit of slight-of-hand going on.
Mr. FARRELL: Yeah. James Michael Curley was the great rascal king of Boston, as Jack Beatty calls him in his book, who dominated Massachusetts politics for the first half of the century, basically, by preying on the Irish grievances against the Yankees. And—and later on as--at the end of his career--of course, he was also the—the model on which the book the "Last Hurrah" was--was based, the novel. Later on in his career, when Tip was running for re-election in 1955, Curley came to him and said `I'd like to raise money for you.' And Tip said, `Well, fine,' because he was glad to do whatever Curley wanted because he was always afraid Curley would run for the seat. And so, Curley went out and raised money, came in and gave Tip an an—an envelope and said, `Here's $1,000.' Tip opened it up, looked at it. It was only $900. This pattern continued. And Tip--Tip finally said, `Well, you know, who are the con--contributors? I'd like to thank them.' Curley said, `Ah, that's OK. Don't worry about that,' and sort of vanished from the scene.

And after the election, this businessman came up to Tip and said, `Well, you know, I'd like a little bit of help for this favor.' And Tip said, `Well, you know, who are you? I don't think we've ever met.' And he said, `Well, I contributed to your campaign. I contributed, you know, thousands of dollars to James Michael Curley on your behalf to raise money for television ads.' And Tip said, `Oh, well, let me tell you a story about that.' And--you know, `Curley used to come in, used to give me an envelope with $1,000 it, and actually, I'd open it up and it was only $900.' So--so, Curley was keeping 10 percent and the businessman laughed and said,`I know how much I gave James Michael Curley. You were the one who was working for 10 percent.'
LAMB: What was this experience like?
Mr. FARRELL: Which experience?
LAMB: Writing the book?
Mr. FARRELL: Oh. It was something I had to do. After 20 years in journalism, I was frustrating myself and my editors by trying to make every newspaper story "War and Peace." So I was ready to do it. It was a lot of painful interviewing, asking questions about sometimes personal things. And then it was a lot of sitting in a room by myself, which--all of which were all new experiences, especially the sitting. I mean, in a newspaper office, you're out and about. You're asking people questions. But not--the intensity of the experience is, I guess, what--what caught me by surprise.
LAMB: At that farewell address that Sil Conte gave there, also Tip O'Neill got up and gave some remarks. And we'll be able to see some of the characters you write about in the book and here is a little bit of what he had to say in his last address to Congress in '86.
Rep. O'NEILL:(From 12/9/86 farewell speech) Thank you. Father Monan--Father Monan, president of Boston College, the Reverend Ford, Lutheran minister who is the chaplain, it isn't true that I saw him walking through south Boston and he looked like a good Irish face and a Catholic priest that I picked him as chaplain. There's no truth to that at all. But I did elevate him to monsignor, and now he wants to be a bishop before I leave. Jim, you'll have to take care of that. Billy, my family, leaders of the House, the members of the House, and, oh, so many of my friends that are here today on both sides of the aisle.
LAMB: You see Jack Farrell, you see Jim Wright.
Mr. FARRELL: Roste there kind of slouching.
LAMB: Yeah. And Bob Michael and then we'll see next to him was Eddie Boland, his good friend.
Rep. O'NEILL:(From 12/9/86 farewell speech) And as I prepare to leave, I want you to know how grateful I am to all of you. Your remarks were beautiful. Thank you, Jim and Bob and Dan, Eddie and Sil, my closest and dearest friends that I have worked with. The parliamentary manner and the smoke-filled room manor, and a manor with which is best...
Mr. FARRELL: I believe that's his daughters in the back row.
LAMB: When you see all those--I mean, Jim Wright, we haven't seen him for a long time.
Mr. FARRELL: Yes.
LAMB: Had--had cancer of the tongue and the mouth.
Mr. FARRELL: Uh-huh.
LAMB: Eddie Boland's dead and Tip O'Neill is gone.
Mr. FARRELL: Oh, Eddie's still lives.
LAMB: Oh, he is?
Mr. FARRELL: Oh, yeah. Yeah.
LAMB: Oh, good. And he--and--I apologize to Mr. Boland.
Mr. FARRELL: So is Bob Michael.
LAMB: Where does he leave? Yeah, Bob Michael still lives.
Mr. FARRELL: Eddie's still up there in Massachusetts.
LAMB: And how much did you talk to him for the book?
Mr. FARRELL: I talked to him for about an hour and a half once. A typical Massachusetts politician, liked to--kept his personal secrets close to himself. Told me one very interesting story about when he had been picked by a bunch of young Turks to run against Jaime Whitten. And of course, Eddie was liberal. Whitten was from Mississippi, the conservative. He would have expected that Tip would have backed his roommate, his lifelong friend, a liberal, and instead Tip backed Jaime Whitten because Whitten had backed him earlier on in a leadership race. And Eddie told me that story and said he didn't speak to Tip for quite a--a while after that happened. But he--he—he realized what had happened, which is that it was a payback from Tip to the South, the Southern barons who had allowed him to become speaker.
LAMB: How old would former Congressman Boland be today?
Mr. FARRELL: He's got to be in his--in his 80s, if not in his 90s.
LAMB: Is there anything you missed that you wanted, you--people that wouldn't talk to you?
Mr. FARRELL: Millie. Tip's wife.
LAMB: Still alive?
Mr. FARRELL: Still alive. That would have been in--invaluable. I was able to recreate some of her comments from earlier interviews, videotapes and--and audio tapes that she had done, but that would have been a huge help. And there wasn't...
LAMB: Any reason why she wouldn't talk?
Mr. FARRELL: I don't know. I never got a--a satisfactory answer. There were--there are fragments of Tip's diaries that the family wouldn't share with me for what--for reasons that I never fully understood, so it's not the whole story.
LAMB: What was your biggest surprise?
Mr. FARRELL: I think my biggest surprise was the fact that in later years in private and as he did a little bit with you on C-SPAN, that he credited his great empathy to the fact that he had grown up in this motherless home. And that--in a--in a closed-door confrontation with the members of the Black Caucus and they said, `Well, what do you know about prejudice and discrimination and hard times?' And he had--he had instantly gone to that and said, you know, `I was shuttled from aunt to aunt and never had a--a life when I was a kid.'
LAMB: But he really made Ronald Reagan mad when he accused him of not being sensitive to people.
Mr. FARRELL: Yeah, the Reagan relationship was--I think it's been exaggerated both directions, that they either hated each other totally or that they--they really were good bud--bosom buddies. I think they respected each other and I think they liked each other. And the way I was--finally boils down to is they liked each other enough that they could hurt each other's feelings.
LAMB: This picture on the cover of your book was taken when? Do you know?
Mr. FARRELL: I would guess that was 1969, 1972, something like that. Sh...
LAMB: Our guest has been John A.--Aloysius--Farrell with the Boston Globe and is the author of this book, "Tip O'Neill and the Democratic Century." Thank you very much for joining us.
Mr. FARRELL: Thank you, Brian.


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