BRIAN LAMB, HOST: Ray Strother, where did you get the title "Falling
RAYMOND STROTHER, AUTHOR, "FALLING UP: HOW A REDNECK HELPED INVENT POLITICAL CONSULTING": Well, you know, there are times when I feel like
I`m out of control. Early in my professional career, I was representing
people I wasn`t proud of. I was doing things I wasn`t terribly pleased
with. I was trying to invent a business that didn`t exit. And I felt like
I was in a freefall, a moral freefall. But I kept making more and more
money and getting more and more recognition. So I didn`t know it until I
wrote the book, but then I found myself falling up, is what happened. I
ended up in Washington, D.C., because of it.
LAMB: What was your business?
STROTHER: I`m a political consultant. And when I began political
consulting, it was called a political advertising agency, back in the `60s.
There was no such thing as a political consultant. So I was having to
invent on the fly and invent a profession as I went along. No role models
in Louisiana, where I was working. No role models. I didn`t know any
other political consultants. I didn`t know what they did, if there were
any -- and there weren`t many. And so I was sort of feeling my way
through, like touching a hot stove, withdrawing, touching it again until I
learned where it was cool and where it was hot.
LAMB: I want to ask you to tell a story from 1971, the Jimmy Davis
STROTHER: Oh, my God! The Jimmy Davis campaign was such an
experience because it was the last of the pure, old campaigns, the last
LAMB: Who was he?
STROTHER: Jimmy Davis was governor of Louisiana twice. He was a
country music singer who wrote "You Are My Sunshine." At least, he says he
wrote it. He actually bought it from somebody for $10, but that`s another
story. But anyway, he was a man who was very, very intent on making money,
and secondarily, intent on becoming governor. He was running again as a
very old man for governor, after he`d been governor twice, had made
cowboy movies and done all these things. And really, he was giving
We had this incredible band, hillbilly band. We had a guy named Eddie
Raven (ph), who was a young singer. He was 19 years old, later got to be a
big star. And we had this group of musicians, and we traveled around and
had a stage that looked like a butterfly. And the sides would fold down,
and when they folded down, it revealed a bass drum, a piano, amplifiers,
the whole thing. Then all you have to do is go to the courthouse steps,
plug in the stage and start a performance. And we gave three to five
performances a day. And contributions came in.
Louisiana was an oil-rich state at the time. There was cash
everywhere. It was amazing. I don`t know why oil produces cash, but oil
LAMB: You mean instead of checks.
STROTHER: Instead of checks, yes. There`s cash. There were $100
bills everywhere. Many clients paid my fee of $50,000 in $100 bills at the
time. So Davis was collecting money by the double fistful of $100 bills
that never appeared again. He`s dead now, but you know, the money
disappeared. It never went into the campaign. The checks went into the
campaign, the cash simply evaporated.
LAMB: Now, Jimmy Davis was the governor of the state of Louisiana
STROTHER: Yes, he was.
LAMB: For how long each time?
STROTHER: Four years each time.
LAMB: You got to tell the bus story.
STROTHER: Ah. The bus story`s a fabulous story. We had a -- we had
the typical country music bus. Had a bedroom in the back. Had a
refrigerator and a little stove in the front, and seats for about eight
people. And it was Davis and his wife and me and a couple hangers-on, a
nephew or something. And we traveled together. And Davis was a man who
would take full meals and wouldn`t stop for the rest of us to eat, if you
could understand that. And I was a kid, you know? And I was -- talk
about falling up, I was hanging on, is what I was doing at that time, just
trying to make a living. I was in my early 20s. I -- it was -- it was a
tough life. It was a tough go.
But I was a newspaper guy. I`d come out of the Associated Press. And
I was riding on the bus, and all of my old friends in the newspaper
business were complaining because Davis would not talk to them. He didn`t
want to talk to the press at all. So one night, we`re going from Alexander
(ph), Louisiana, to Monroe, Louisiana -- the most desolate road in America.
It looked like a strip through the stars through the pine trees and
there was a strip of stars above you -- dark, dark, dark, dark. And we got
into a great argument about the -- about him talking to the press, and he
said, Stop the damn bus. The driver stopped. He said, Get off. So I got
And I was happy to sit on the side of the road in the wilderness with
no cars, nothing but crickets and occasional alligators bellowing in the
background. And then a car starts coming down the road. You could see it
going over the hills, see the lights coming. And it was a guy named George
Dupuis (ph), who was a hanger-on, who followed the bus with a submachine
gun because he felt he was the protector of Jimmy Davis. He says, What you
doing standing on the side of the road? I said, I got kicked off. He
said, Well, get in. I got a truck -- a case of beer in the back. And I
got in, started traveling with him.
And after that, Davis never let me on the bus -- back on the bus. I
started traveling with the band, which was an incredible experience. I`d
never been involved in a group of people who had no idea of current events.
They didn`t know if Davis was a Democrat or a Republican. They had no
concept of anything except horses, cheating women, big hats, boots and
guitars. I mean, that was their sole interest in life. It was a really
eye-opening experience for me.
LAMB: Now, Eddie Raven, the singer, who`s still around, I think...
STROTHER: Oh, yes.
STROTHER: Big singer.
LAMB: Had a little problem with Jimmy Davis`s wife?
STROTHER: Well, Eddie was a 19-year-old kid that Davis had found in a
music store in Lafayette, Louisiana. And Davis had just remarried a member
of the former Carter (ph) family, Anna Carter. She was a lovely, beautiful
woman, still is a lovely, beautiful woman. She was considerably younger
LAMB: How old was Davis at the time?
STROTHER: He must have been about 75.
LAMB: And how old was Anna Carter?
STROTHER: She must have been 50, 55.
LAMB: This was in the `70s, in `71, yes.
STROTHER: Yes. So anyway, she was a -- she was a lovely, lovely
woman. But Davis is paranoid and very jealous, and he decides that Eddie`s
going to take advantage of Mrs. Davis. So he starts putting a padlock on
the outside of the bus, has a hasp put on the outside of the bus and a
padlock, so Eddie couldn`t get to Mrs. Davis. So it was my job to go tell
Eddie. And Eddie said, Me? He said, That would be like having sex with
the Virgin Mary! A member of the Carter family? Me? And I thought Eddie
was going to cry. He said, I wouldn`t do anything like that, Mr. Ray!
LAMB: So he literally locked her in the bus.
STROTHER: Locked her in the bus. I`d hear her crying in the back of
the bus. It was -- it was pretty gruesome.
LAMB: What happened in that campaign? Who won?
STROTHER: Oh, Davis came in fourth or fifth or sixth. I don`t know.
The person who won was Edwin Edwards, who became governor and served many
terms and now is in federal penitentiary.
LAMB: Now, while we`re on Louisiana, you also worked for Buddy
STROTHER: I did.
LAMB: Who was a Democrat, then a Republican.
STROTHER: Oh, yes. In `87, he was elected as a Democrat, as a reform
Democrat -- one of the brightest, most capable men I`ve ever known. I`ve
represented Buddy Roemer and Bill Clinton at the same time, as governors.
And Buddy Roemer was much better than Bill Clinton, if you can imagine
that. If you can think of how good Clinton is on his feet, how glib he is,
what a good mind he has, Roemer was better. He was an amazing man who got
bogged down in some personal problems and didn`t end up being the greatest
governor in the world. Plus, he had Edwin Edwards on the side, sniping at
him and making the legislature reject all his legislation.
But Roemer was a great governor, and he served four years to not great
satisfaction of a lot of people. And he got ready to run again. And I
didn`t see him in the four years he served. I don`t involve myself in
government at all. So I went to see him one afternoon. He was sitting at
a long table, his desk, which in the governor`s office is about an acre.
One piece of paper, one pencil on it, and one pen. And he said, Sit down
and help me. I`m trying to write a letter to get my wife to come back to
me. And I said, Buddy, you know, you`re talking to the wrong guy. So
anyway, at that point, he asked me to come back into the campaign.
Well, I moved into the governor`s mansion, and it was great living in
the governor`s mansion. You know, it`s like being governor without having
to be -- having to govern because you have -- and particularly Southern
governors use convicts for everything -- for cooks, for laundry, for
everything. And they use murderers who normally commit murders were crimes
of passion. So you know, they`re not dangerous people. They`re good
people who got drunk and slipped up once and shot somebody`s lover or
something. You know, it`s like that.
So -- but to live in the mansion was just a wonderful thing. You put
your shoes out at night, the next morning they were shined. There was a
dry cleaner`s downstairs. The cooks liked me and would cook big platters
of cookies for me, so when I went to bed every night, there were cookies
and milk by my bedside. It was -- I had people who drove me around. It
was like living -- I was living better than the governor because I didn`t
have any responsibilities to govern.
But after a few months of that, the Republicans began talking to Buddy
about changing parties. And I said, Buddy, you`re not going to do that,
because we were talking at that time about a presidential bid one day. And
he said, Oh, no! Of course not. I wouldn`t do that. You know, I`ve a
heritage as a Democrat. My father was a Democrat. My grandfather was a
Democrat. So it made me feel pretty secure.
So I was going back and forth, Washington to Louisiana, Washington to
Louisiana. I was flying my own plane at the time, so -- but I was living
in the mansion, basically, because he needed a lot of attention. The
campaign needed a lot of attention. Edwin Edwards was running against him
again. So I dropped into the mansion. I actually was going to Texas to
visit a client, and I was in my plane, so I flew into Baton Rouge because I
needed suits and ties and shirts. They were all there.
So a state policeman picked me up and took me to the mansion. I
walked in, and a guy named Harris Diamond (ph) literally tackled me at the
door and said, What are you doing here? I said, I live here. He said, You
can`t be here. I said, What do you mean, I can`t be here? I have shirts
and suits upstairs. I`m going up to the get my shirts and suits. He said,
You stand right here and don`t move. And then he went in the dining room,
and I say Mary Matalin and a whole bunch of Republicans sitting around a
big table. I said, Oh, God! Buddy`s talking to the Republicans.
So Buddy comes out -- Roemer. He takes me into a little side office.
He said, Look, don`t worry about a thing. He said, When the president of
the United States calls -- and it was George Bush calling. When the
president of the United States calls, you have to listen. He said, You
have to show him the courtesy of an audience. He said, But I`m not going
to change parties. He said, Don`t you worry about that. I said, Well, you
make me feel better. He said, Now, go and do what you got -- have to do,
and don`t worry about me. So I went up and got my suits, went back out to
my airplane, took off and went to Austin, Texas.
Picked up the paper next morning with my breakfast. I stayed at the
Four Seasons. I turn through the paper, and there`s a little story,
"Louisiana governor changes party." That`s the first I knew about it, and
it just shocked me. So I called him. I said, I don`t know if I can
continue with you, Buddy. I`m going back to Washington. I`d never
represented a Republican in my life.
So I went back to Washington, and he called me. He said, Raymond, he
said, you`re my friend. I said, I am, Buddy. He said, If I went to
prison, would you bring me cigarettes? He was a chain smoker. I said,
Sure, I`d bring you cigarettes. He said, If I had a disease, would you
donate blood? I said, Sure, I`d donate blood. He said, But if I changed
parties, you run? I said, Well, you know, you`re -- you`re making a
difficult case. He said, I`m still running against the Ku Klux Klan.
David Duke was a candidate for governor, who had been a wizard of the Ku
Klux Klan. I`m still running against a dark -- darkness and evil, Edwin
Edwards. He said, I was doing it as a Democrat, and I`m doing the same
thing as a Republican. What`s changed? He said, Nothing has changed.
Well, after about three or four weeks of this, he talked me into going
back to the mansion, and I went back and finished the campaign, which he
lost because he had changed parties. David Duke beat him.
LAMB: And David Duke`s in jail today?
STROTHER: I don`t know if David Duke`s in jail or just -- he just got
indicted. He was on the fringes of jail anyway. He deserves to be in
LAMB: One of the things I remember about Buddy Roemer, because we
cover the governors` conferences, is he always a had a book in his hand.
And you talk about finding him all the time in a room by himself, reading a
STROTHER: Oh, in our campaigns. In our campaign. Buddy believed
that media was everything, that the candidate was almost inconsequential.
And he would agree to go to one event at night and any debates that --
where the other candidates appeared, and one of event a night. And other
than that, he sat in the back of the campaign headquarters and read novels
LAMB: Where is he today?
STROTHER: Buddy`s in Baton Rouge. He owns a bank. He started --
some of his friends have started a bank, and I think he`s banking now. I
haven`t seen him since -- I`ve not seen him nor spoken to him since 1991,
when he lost the governorship.
LAMB: Let`s name all the people you`ve worked for.
STROTHER: Oh, my God! I can`t do that. It`s 300-something people.
I don`t even remember some of them.
LAMB: But start with the ones that everybody will recognize.
STROTHER: OK. OK. Russell Long, which is -- who actually gave me my
start in Washington, which is a wonderful story. Wonderful man. John
Stennis, Dennis DeConcini, Max Baucus, Lloyd Bentsen, Gary Hart, Paul
Simon, Bennett Johnston (ph), John Breaux, Jay Miller (ph)...
LAMB: Al Gore.
STROTHER: ... Al Gore, Bill Clinton. I could go -- I could go on and
on. Those are the ones that I think most of the audience would remember or
LAMB: OK, I want to then jump to almost current day and go to your
chapter in the middle, "Bill, Hillary, Al and the Gang."
LAMB: And your first sentence is, "I`m sorry I ever met Bill
STROTHER: I`m sorry I ever met Bill Clinton. The last sentence of
the book is, however, "I`m glad he was president." Now, it seems like a
dichotomy, but personally, it was very damaging to be associated with Bill
Clinton. First of all, as a media consultant, as a political consultant, I
had virtually no control. Dick Morris really called all the shots in the
campaign, and Clinton had absolute total confidence in Morris. And all I
was doing was basically making pictures, although I thought Clinton and I
were very, very good friends. I would go stay at the mansion, you know, go
to dinner with -- the two of us would go off and eat Mexican food, and he
LAMB: What year?
STROTHER: Oh, `90.
LAMB: So it`s a long time ago, 13, 14 years.
STROTHER: Yes, `91...
LAMB: ... mean to interrupt, but...
STROTHER: No. No, that`s fine. Just before he was running for
president. In fact, it was my chore -- or at least, the way I interpreted
my chore. From `84, when I started representing him, until he ran for
president, it was my chore to get him ready to run for president and
present him in a light that he would be presidential material. That`s what
I thought my chore was. And I think we did pretty well on that.
And our relationship ended the strangest way. I`d gone and I`d filmed
Clinton, and I`d come back and I was in my office. And I got a call from a
television station in Little Rock asking about a television spot number,
the way we identify a television spot. And I said, That isn`t one of our
numbers. I said, Are you sure? They said, yes. They said, Let me go
check again. They said, Well, it`s done by Frank Greer (ph). I said,
Frank Greer? I said, I don`t know what you`re talking about. So I called
Bruce Lindsey. I said, Bruce, what`s going on? He said, Oh, nothing.
Nothing`s going on. He said, Greer`s a great salesman. He came by with
Dick Morris and just asked to make one free commercial for us. And that`s
what you`re seeing. We`ll be back in business next week or the next.
Well, I`m still waiting. I guess I`m still under contract to Clinton,
but that`s the last I ever heard of any of them. It`s -- so I didn`t get
fired, I just got ignored.
LAMB: You talk a lot about the impact that Dick Morris has had on the
LAMB: Good or bad?
STROTHER: Bad. I think Dick Morris has been corrosive in our
business. First of all, he set a bad example for new consultants coming
up. It was -- you know, you can be a consultant for the money alone. You
can go out with both hands open and grab money. Also, you can control
people and you can switch parties and there`s no code of conduct or ethics,
and you can do anything you want to do. Now, saying all that, Dick Morris
is also one of the brightest political consultants I`ve ever met in my
life. He is truly a genius. I put him in with Bill Hamilton and Pat
Caddell, Peter Hart as true geniuses in our business. He just didn`t have
the compass that these other guys had.
LAMB: Where did he come from?
STROTHER: Dick was a from New York City, a rent-controlled apartment
overlooking Central Park. His father was a prominent New York real estate
attorney, and his mother was a publisher. So he lived a very privileged
life growing up on the streets of New York as an only child. Went to
Columbia University and began working in political clubs in New York to get
his background and used polling as his entree into the political business,
although he knew nothing about polling. He would hire people like Penn and
Schoen or someone to -- Dick Dresner. They would do his polling,
and he would go deliver the polls as the pollster.
LAMB: But you have an episode in here -- it`s not new, but you have a
situation where you had him on the phone and he was weeping.
STROTHER: Yes. Oh, yes, yes.
LAMB: What`s that story?
STROTHER: This is one of the -- this is a story that really
conflicted me. Toward the end of my relationship with Clinton, Clinton was
playing Hamlet. He couldn`t decide if he wanted to run for president or
run for governor. And he knew if he ran for governor, he had to say that
he wasn`t going to run for president. I mean, there was almost no question
about that. So he was conflicted himself.
And we had a heated argument one night -- not argument, but a big
discussion, about five of us in the room. It started about 10:00 o`clock
at night and went to about 2:00 o`clock in the morning. And Clinton has a
ferocious temper and finally was insulting to me. I felt insulted, anyway.
Plus, I was tired. And I`m not good after about 11:00 o`clock at night
anyway. I get up very early to write.
So I said, Governor, I`m too old to be spoken to like this. And I`m
going to go to my hotel, and in the morning, we`ll meet again when we can
civilly talk, and I`ll come back. And I got up and walked out, went to
bed. I went to my hotel and went to bed.
And about, I don`t know, an hour later, the phone rings and it`s Dick
Morris. He`s weeping -- Oh, my God. I said, What`s wrong, Dick? He said,
Clinton beat me up. I said, Well, he beat me up, too, I said, but I got up
and left. He said, I tried to do the same thing you did, but he beat me
up. I said, What do you mean, Dick? He said, He knocked me to the floor
and knocked me into a table, broke a lamp and was sitting on me, hitting
me. And Hillary had to pull him off.
And he said, What should I do? I said, It`s simple, Dick. Get out of
Little Rock immediately. He said, He owes me money. I said, Dick, I said,
he owes me money, too, but I wouldn`t go back to the mansion. He`ll pay
you the money. Clinton`s a very honorable man about money and all that.
That`s -- there was never a question Clinton was going to pay his debt. He
said, I don`t know. He said, I can`t do that.
So anyway, I knew at that point that Clinton was not going to sit and
have a civil conversation with me the next morning, so I got up very early,
went out and caught an airplane back to Washington. And Dick Morris went
back to the mansion. He and Clinton sort of made up. But then when
Clinton ran for president, he didn`t hire Dick Morris. In fact, he got rid
of all of us. Everybody who had been around him before was removed. I
don`t know if he did it or the first lady did it. I`m not sure, you know,
who did it. But we were all removed.
And Morris needed Clinton. We all need a big name. Clinton becomes
president without Morris, but Morris wants back in the White House. And I
don`t blame him. You know, that`s the -- that`s the key to everything.
You know, you get in the White House, and you become a superstar -- James
Carville super, Lee Atwater superstar, Karl Rove superstar. So he wanted
back in, but he had this problem that the press had written about him
getting beaten up by Clinton.
Well, what he -- what he did was, he wrote a book about Clinton and
blamed it on me, said that I`d leaked it to the press. Well, I hadn`t
leaked it to the press. The press had called me about it to have me
confirm it, and I wouldn`t confirm it.
In fact, I remember Tom Edsall (ph) called me one time, and he said,
Will you confirm that you were with Dick Morris and that Dick Morris got
beaten up? I said, No, I can`t confirm that. He said, You weren`t there?
I said, No, I absolutely was not there. He said, But Dick Morris told you
about. I said, I can`t confirm that. I said, If you write that I
confirmed it, I will say you`re a liar, Tom. And he`s a friend of mine,
you know. We play cards and everything together. And he didn`t -- he
didn`t report my name in any way associated with Bill Clinton beating up
But Morris did use that as a way to get back to Clinton, by blaming it
on me. And I -- and Clinton and I have never spoken again.
LAMB: You write about Mrs. Clinton in your book. What do you think
STROTHER: I think she`s brighter than him. I think she`s an
incredibly bright woman -- very ambitious, which you have to be to achieve
what she`s achieved and what she hopes to achieve, I`m sure. I`m a little
ambivalent, tell you the truth. It`s not -- I don`t -- I`m not angry at
anyone. I`m not angry at Bill Clinton. I`d love to sit down and have a --
have a cup of coffee with him and...
Hillary Clinton -- I don`t have any anger or feelings -- negative
feelings about Hillary Clinton. She is what she is. He is what he is.
Dick Morris is what he is. You know, we`re all driven by -- we all have
different drives, and the Clintons had this ferocious drive to succeed, to
be president. And she was part of that drive. You know, in summary, maybe
a little too ambitious for me, I guess. That`s because I -- that`s maybe
why I`m not terribly successful. I`m just -- I`m not ambitious enough.
LAMB: You call Al Gore in your book rude.
STROTHER: Al was a -- Al was a man who had never been told no. But
let me also explain that I like Al Gore. I did his super-Tuesday race for
president. I like him very much. I...
LAMB: What year did you do that?
STROTHER: In `88.
LAMB: In `88.
STROTHER: I was called in to do super-Tuesday. They were having some
difficulty in the campaign, and they thought I would be good in the South.
And I was representing Lloyd Bentsen at the time for U.S. Senate. So I
went to Bentsen and asked him. I said, Is it OK if I do this? He said,
Well, yes and no. He said, You can do it, but after super-Tuesday, you
must come home, back to Texas, and do my race. And my first loyalty was
Bentsen. Bentsen is -- was very important to me in my life, just
incredibly important, besides being a man I admire beyond comprehension.
So I went to work for Gore and was very successful with Gore. He
performed well for me. I think my television was good for him. I found
him very wooden, so I put him in human situations with oil, chemical and
atomic union workers in Port Arthur, Texas, where I`d come from, where I
still had some roots. So he talked to them, and I think I captured some
nice Al Gore in the thing. And we got along fine.
And the only way he was rude is -- Al Gore didn`t grow up like I did.
He`s never had to compromise, in many ways, except as a politician. You
know, he went to St. Alban`s. His father`s a United States senator. And
he would tend to be a little rude to someone like me, an underling. And
one time in particular, I`d shot some commercials, and they were in my
office. It was Saturday morning. And I had -- I always have a lot of
interns, college interns. And I had three or four interns, and they would
work on Saturday morning. And I was trying to sleep. I`d just come in
from shooting film with Al Gore.
And I got a call from this girl who worked for me. She said -- she
told me the reporter`s name -- I don`t remember who it was -- is here to
see the Al Gore commercials. I said, Well, you can`t do that. They
haven`t gone on the air yet. But the reporter came back again later, and
there was another intern, who said, Oh, yes. They`re in here, and went and
showed him the commercials. Well, they were to go on the next day or two
days later -- I mean, almost immediately.
But the next morning, there was a story about it in "The New York
Times," about Al Gore`s commercials, which is an awful thing to happen, you
know, just a great breach of confidence, I think, for a political
consultant to have that happen to them. And I don`t make any excuses for
it. But Al called me, and he was irate. He was screaming at the top of
his lungs. I didn`t know what he was talking about for a while, and
finally understood it. And later apologized, but he was -- he could be
very, very testy. He and Clinton both.
LAMB: Somebody said to me -- I told him I was going to interview you
-- that they had talked to an unnamed political consultant who said about
the book they were sorry to see you be critical of an industry that you`ve
done so well in. What`s your reaction to that?
STROTHER: Look, there is nothing -- there`s no industry, there`s no
individual beyond criticism. This industry is getting better and better.
The political consulting industry`s getting better and better, and I think
I`ve had something to do with it. I`m trying very hard. But you can`t
excuse lapses of integrity in any profession -- medicine or in law or
This was a -- this was an industry that started out and was very
small. When I moved to Washington, there were three media consultants, I
think, Democratic media consultants in town. Now there are hundreds of
them. And competition got very fierce. People got in the business who
shouldn`t have been in the business. And I`m not criticizing the industry.
What I`m asking for is I`m asking for them to have some ethical and
professional considerations. That`s all.
I`m very proud of the business. I was president of the American
Association of Political Consulting. I sit on the Ethics Committee now.
We`re trying to do something, and we`re winning. We started an academic
outreach program, where we bring college professors in and students to show
them that they don`t have to be wild men. They don`t have to be Ali Baba
and the thieves. They can be responsible people and make a living at this
So you know, I was -- I was sure that someone would -- would say
something, but this isn`t all sweetness and light, you know? This business
isn`t all good. There`s some bad in it. And what I was doing is, I was
writing about the business through my eyes. And you can`t just overlook
the bumps. You have to -- you have to talk about the good and the bad, if
you`re going to be objective, and I try to be objective in the book. The
book ends on a very positive note.
LAMB: How are consultants, political consultants, paid?
STROTHER: The standard started with the advertising agency standard,
when we began. We`re paid a fee, and the fee varies according to the
consultant. At one time, when Bob Squier and I and David
Sawyer in New York were -- and a couple of other people were the only
consultants around, media consultants, we charged $50,000 and 15 percent of
the money spent on radio and television and -- and newspapers, whatever the
advertising dollars were, 15 percent. So therefore, if someone spent a
million dollars, we made $50,000 fee and $150,000 commission. We did the
production, the television production, at cost from invoices.
That`s changed. It`s gotten very competitive, and now sometimes
instead of 15 percent, the commission`s 10 percent. It`s negotiated with
the campaign and sometimes the fee is $25,000 instead of $50,000, and I`ve
known some people in this business, and that`s why I can be critical,
who`ve actually given business away to get campaigns so they can lobby
those same people later. You know, that -- I have a problem with that.
Also, I have a problem with consultants who get into government. I don`t
think we belong there.
LAMB: Are you still active?
STROTHER: Sure, I`m active.
STROTHER: No, I`m not full-time. I`m doing a lot of writing, and I
do a couple of campaigns a year, but I`m full-time of counsel to my firm,
LAMB: You were born where?
STROTHER: Port Arthur, Texas.
LAMB: What year?
STROTHER: In 1940. I`m 62.
LAMB: Where did you go to college?
STROTHER: Went to -- started out at a place called Northwestern
State, on a track scholarship. Looking at me now, you couldn`t tell, but I
was a miler and a two-miler. And I got kicked out of there for
demonstrating against the John Birch Society. I was told to leave. And so
I went to LSU, where they embraced me, and I got a master`s degree in
journalism there and English.
LAMB: Why are you a Democrat?
STROTHER: I`m a Democrat because I grew up in a union household. My
father had a 4th grade education, 3rd or 4th grade education. He was
always a little vague on that. And I was taught that poor people like us
were powerless and voiceless and our only recourse, our only possibility
was through politics, that if we could band together and strength through
numbers, elect people, they would have to listen to us.
And I was a Democrat because I thought the Democrats -- my father
taught me that Democrats stood for people like us, poor people. That`s
where Social Security came from and Medicare and Medicaid and a lot of the
programs that have made life possible for people like my father and later
for me. I`m a Democrat because I just think they care more -- they have
always cared more about people.
LAMB: You have a place in Montana. When did you get that? And what
do you do there?
STROTHER: I have a -- I have a couple places in Montana, but in 1987,
I bought some land in Montana on the Big Hole River. I`m a trout
fisherman. That`s one of my hobbies and the Big Hole River outside of
Wisdom and Wise River, Montana, is one of the great trout rivers in
And, I bought 40 acres there in 1987, was working on the Gary Hart
presidential race, was killing time, and I had my airplane at Red Rock`s
Park and Hart was announced and I covered the announcement.
I filmed it and after I filmed the announcement, I flew up to Montana
and just accidentally found this piece of land and bought it and built a
log home on it. That was in `87. Well, as of this last June my wife and I
also finished a full home in Bozeman, Montana, overlooking the university
LAMB: You talk about having your own airplane. What kind is it or
was it and -
STROTHER: I sold it. I had a horrific experience in Alaska and
decided I`d flown enough. But I had about 3,000 instrument hours of
flying. I had a Moony (ph) 231 - 252. I had a 231, then a 252. It`s a
new airplane I just settled but it`s a single engine plane that will fly
250 miles an hour at 28,000 feet and it was a splendid thing.
I enjoyed it. So I`m beginning to miss it again because I got out of
flying because I thought I was going to kill myself because I was getting a
little careless with my flying.
LAMB: I want to run some videotape. This is the - it starts with
Huey Long but if we just run a little bit of it I`ll get you to explain
what it is from earlier.
LAMB: Ray Strother, what are we watching?
STROTHER: You`re watching some footage of Huey Long. That`s at LSU.
These are just snippets I found in an old film archive in California of
Huey Long. What I was trying to do with this film was reestablish the
relationship between Huey Long and Russell Long, his son.
Russell Long had been in the Senate a long time. People no longer
knew that he was kin to Huey strangely enough, and suddenly Huey was an
icon again. T. Harry Williams had written a great biography called
"Huey" and it was good. Bill Willams said it would be good to
reestablish the link between the two men.
So, I found this archive footage and what was interested it didn`t
have sound and Long`s very able administrative assistant, a guy named Chris
Kirkpatrick (ph) in the attic of the Russell Building found some 78-speed
records that were very thick and brought them to me and the first one
crumbled in my hands.
So, I took the rest of them to Smithsonian, had them dubbed off. It
turned out it was the first campaign speech of Huey Long running for
president and in that campaign speech was this song.
And, what was interesting if you`ll look later it seems that Huey is
singing the song but he`s not. It was just a stroke of great luck that
when I played the record and played the film of Huey they looked like they
were in sync, just another miracle.
This film was very, very important. It ushered me into Washington in
a big way. In late 1980, Long said come to Washington. I want to show
this to my friends and he brought in the Senators from all over and showed
it to them.
LAMB: When I first looked at this, I thought that was actually
Russell Long because he`s in my era, you know, in the last -
STROTHER: They look so much alike, yes.
LAMB: This was a 30-minute documentary.
STROTHER: Thirty minute documentary, yes.
LAMB: And why did this make such a big difference in your career?
STROTHER: Well, it gave me attention. You know I was a southerner.
I was from Texas and Louisiana and there is a southern certain stigma to
being a southerner and there still is. People deny it but there`s sort of
a glass ceiling.
Because of your accent people think you`re probably barefoot and a
little ignorant and it`s hard to break into national politics out of
Louisiana. It`s very difficult and this film showed that I had some talent
and people looked at it and they said wow, you know. I`d like to talk to
this guy. So, immediately I was hired by Lloyd Bentsen and Dennis DeConcini
and Paul Simon and a host of others and it gave me my first break in
LAMB: In the middle of this documentary, I`m just going to take a
little clip out of it because you see something that I`m not even sure you
would see today. It`s a couple of guys sitting on a couch. Let`s roll it
and I`ll ask you about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Senator Robert Dole – R - Kansas: Saying something good about Russell Long isn`t
hard for me to do and the way he works for the people in his state I think
we all marvel at his ability to do that in the Finance Committee. I`m a
Republican. Pat`s a Democrat.
Senator Patrick Moynihan – D – New York: Well, you know, the Senate is the embodiment of the principle of the state in the American Constitution and it`s not just a
slogan, "State`s Rights to Russell Long," it`s the day`s work. There is
not a day goes by that that issue doesn`t come up in Finance and somehow
state`s rights often turns out to be the rights of the state of Louisiana.
Have you noticed that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAMB: Now, both of those gentlemen really weren`t on the same page
with Russell Long. What was -
STROTHER: Isn`t that a miracle?
LAMB: Well, what was Bob Dole doing endorsing a Democrat?
STROTHER: Incredible. What that is, is an example of what was
compared to what is. The Senate at one time was a completely different
institution. I learned about the Senate from these two guys, Moynihan and
Dole, of course, but from John Stennis and Lloyd Bentsen.
They were a group of people who admired and respected each other, and
Dole found out that I was filming Moynihan, walked by the room, said hey
would you like to film me saying something about Russell Long, that`s an
easy thing to do, and came in the room and sat down next to Moynihan, and I
saw that as a great opportunity. But it just shows the difference in the
violent partisanship that exists now and the camaraderie that existed in the
late `70s and early `80s.
LAMB: Which is more honest?
STROTHER: Which is better for America was the way it was not the way
STROTHER: Because it wasn`t all vitriolic. It wasn`t - you know
Alan Simpson told me something interesting one time. I was at Harvard. I
was a fellow at Harvard and he was the director of the Institute of
Politics and no one can deny his Republican roots. He`s as Republican as
you can get.
But he told me something interesting that I`ll never forget. He said
the reason he left the Senate is when they have caucus meetings they wanted
to talk about how to get Bill Clinton rather than what was good for the
country, you know how they could trip Bill Clinton up, how they could
embarrass Bill Clinton.
He said that`s not how you run America and I admired and respected him
for saying that but I think that also is an illustration of what`s wrong
with politics today in America.
LAMB: You did a commercial, a political commercial, about Social
Security. Before we show it, I want you to tell the story of how you got
STROTHER: Well, I was shooting Lloyd Bentsen commercials in Texas and
had a big New York crew together and Bentsen is a very precise man.
LAMB: When was this in his career?
STROTHER: 1982, I`m sorry.
LAMB: What was he doing then?
STROTHER: He was running for reelection in the Senate and he had -
his opponent was a guy named Collins, a Congressman, a Republican
LAMB: Jim Collins?
STROTHER: Jim Collins from Dallas. And, one of the issues was Social
Security as it had been for a long time and I had a commercial written that
was a very presentable commercial with Bentsen looking into a camera talking
about Social Security.
But it bothered me. There was no passion to it. It was a purely, I`d
say a commercial completely driven by numbers that I`d written rather than
their motions. So, it bothered me. For days it bothered me.
So, one night I came in from shooting. I was sitting at the bar at
the Hyde Hotel in San Antonio and I was drawing on a cocktail napkin and
all of a sudden I knew what I wanted to say. I knew how I wanted to
portray Social Security.
And, a college kid came in, an intern, and he said what are you doing
Mr. Ray? I said look at this picture and it was on a cocktail napkin. It
was a house with a winding gravel drive with a windmill in the back and a
mailbox in the foreground.
I said can you find that for me? He said for a couple of Lone Star
beers. I said well sit down. This was about midnight and I said I only
have an hour, hour and a half to shoot this because you don`t change
schedule for Bentsen. You don`t tell Bentsen - you don`t admit failure. You
don`t - I mean he was a very precise guy and things moved like clockwork.
So, I couldn`t make him wait half an hour so I knew I had an hour and
a half during lunch. Nobody could eat lunch but I had to shoot what I
wanted to shoot. So, next morning this college kid came and I was on
location someplace else. He said I found your location.
So, while the camera was setting up they drove me to it and it was
perfect. It looked like my cocktail napkin, a house in the background, a
windmill, a gravel drive, but no mailbox. I said well Day, the guy`s name
was Day Cable (ph). I said where`s the mailbox? He said it`s coming.
By that time a pickup truck comes up, has a mailbox in it, has
somebody`s name on it. They start digging a post hole. I said where did
you get that mailbox? He said down the road. I said that`s a federal
He said we`re not going to hurt it. We`re going to put it back but
then they were painting it silver. I said but the people come home, their
mailbox will be there but it will be painted. He said look how much
prettier it will be when they get home.
So, anyway, that was the setup for the commercial and then I had to
have two women, a woman, so they brought me two old women and I interviewed
them and gave them both $100 but kept one of them and sent the other one
away and gave her instructions. Do you want me to tell what? Do you want
me to say what I or do you want to watch the commercial now?
LAMB: No, you go ahead and tell us.
STROTHER: OK, what I told her was, I said look you`re a 75-year-old
woman, which she was, and I said you depend on Social Security for your
livelihood. She said I do. I said OK. Here`s what I want you to do. I
want you to go to the house, come out, walk up the drive to the mailbox,
look in the mailbox, look down the road as though you are looking for the
postman, shake your head, close the mailbox, walk back to the house.
That`s all you have to do. So, she did that and I couldn`t film it
but two times because we didn`t have any time. I had to rush off to Bentsen
and the resulting commercial ended up playing in about 40 states and it was
used by a lot of Democrats that year.
LAMB: How long is the commercial?
STROTHER: Thirty seconds, 29 seconds.
LAMB: And, again what year -
STROTHER: And a disaster was even associated at that point after I
went to produce it. I had a lot of trouble with this commercial which is a
great story too but it was a 28 second commercial. I didn`t shoot the
other Lloyd Bentsen Social Security commercial and gambled greatly because
he looked at me and he said - he trusted you.
If you worked for Bentsen, you had his absolute confidence or you
didn`t work for him. He looked at me and said you don`t want me to do the
Social Security commercial? I said no, I don`t, Senator. I think I have
something better. He said OK. I mean this is how Bentsen operated. But if
I wouldn`t have had something better I suspect I`d have been back in
Louisiana representing city councilmen.
LAMB: Well, let`s watch this 28-second commercial and then I`ll get
the rest of the story.
ANNOUNCER: What if the checks stopped? What if the Republicans
finally won their battle against Social Security? All that stands in their
way is a group of tough Democrats who understand and care. But the fight
will continue next year and the next. It`s another good reason to vote
LAMB: You say the Republicans have gotten better with dealing with
STROTHER: Yes, they`ve gotten a lot better. You know they`ve looked
at polls. Polls have changed everything. Polling has brought both parties
to the center. Everybody plays safe now.
The Republicans are now very pro Social Security where they`ve always
been against Social Security. They`re now very pro Department of Education
where they were always against the Department of Education, and the
Democrats have done the same thing. Polling has taught us to play safe and
so both parties sort of moved to the center in the non-dangerous zone.
LAMB: Now, what happened to get this commercial on? I know there was
a crazy last minute deal there.
STROTHER: It`s one of the stories I should be in my grave someplace
from heart trouble. At the time - technology has changed everything in
this country. It`s amazing. What I`m doing in my office now I had to do
in the film studio in New York on Ninth Avenue until about `85.
I took the film, the raw footage, and rushed to New York with it under
my arm, and edited it. When you edit film, Brian, and you`ve probably been
around this too but you have a negative, a film negative that`s sterile and
it can only be touched with white gloves in a sterile environment.
So, you have a slop print made of that. It`s just a rough,
uncorrected print made of it and it has numbers. Then you lock the
negative up in a safe, secure place and you make commercials out of the
You literally tape it together and where you want it to dissolve, you
put a piece of masking tape to dissolve, and then you send it to a film
cutter, very highly specialized person and they take the original negative
in a sterile environment and they piece it together exactly the way you had
it pieced together on the slop print. I know it`s technical but it means
something in this discussion.
Well, I couldn`t get anyone to cut my negative and I had to go on the
air in two days and I couldn`t find anyone to cut the negative. And, I had
a woman named Noel Penrat (ph) who was a great film cutter and she had done
a lot of my work. She had done the Russell Long film and I tried to get her
and she said look, this town is filled with movies. They`re shooting
movies everywhere and every film cutter is busy. I have no time at all.
So, I said I`ll double your pay. No. I`ll triple your pay. No.
I`ll quadruple your pay. Yes. So, I took the negative to her and the slop
print and the next day picked it up, ran it to a television studio.
Now, what we would do then is we`d put the negative in a machine that
would transfer it to videotape so the commercial is now cut and all we have
to do is put in the "paid for" lines and the "vote Democratic" that you saw
on that. That`s all we had to do.
So, the guy threaded it through the transfer machine and turned on the
switch and it stopped. He said what? Went and looked and there was a
piece of masking tape on the negative that said dissolve. He said how the
heck did that happen? I said I don`t know.
He pulled it off and it left a sandstorm of white dots. So, he took a
Q-tip and some alcohol and started working on per dot per dot per dot and
the clock is ticking. It`s getting close to midnight. About midnight he
gets that dissolve cleaned up and turns the machine back on, same thing
Every place the film has been cut, every piece, and a 30-second
commercial can have as many as 20 splices in it, every splice had a
sandstorm where this tape and we were cleaning them all night. All night
we cleaned them, all night.
And finally, we got a commercial, got it cleaned and transferred it to
tape but all I could see and the viewers just looked at this and maybe they
didn`t see it, but it`s like a sandstorm. You can see these flakes of
white, or I can. Maybe other people can`t see it as readily.
LAMB: Right in the middle of this you can see it?
STROTHER: Right there. Yes, right there you can see it. I can see
it. It just drove me crazy and I said, oh my God. Bentsen is going to fire
me. You can see them, see them flash through the woman`s face. That`s the
So, I haven`t slept in two days, three days, and I get the finished
spot and I don`t have any choice and I get on a Delta plane from LaGuardia.
I make the plane by about 30 seconds. That`s when you could still do that,
beat on the door and they`d open it for you.
And, flew to Atlanta, and rushed from one terminal to another. This
was the old Atlanta terminal just before they opened the new one, went into
a phone booth that we don`t see anymore, closed the door, called the
campaign manager, Jack Martin in Austin. I said I`ve got the commercials.
I`m on my way. Have you got everything set up?
Well, we didn`t have portable video equipment at the time, you know.
The three-quarter-inch video machines weighed 100 pounds, so you had to
rent one and have a place, have it hooked up and all, so it was a big deal.
It isn`t like it is now.
So, anyway, I said I`ll be there. I gave him the time. He said OK,
Bentsen is coming in at 2:00 with Mrs. Bentsen to see it. I said great. Ran, got on
the Delta plane, got to about 20,000 feet in first class but I was asleep,
woke up out of a sound sleep, said oh my God.
I left the commercial, the negative and everything in the phone booth.
There was nothing. It was all there. Everything was there. I couldn`t go
back and recreate it. And so, I ran to the front of the plane and started
beating on the cockpit door, which now will get you shot because they carry
But I was beating on the cockpit door and the co-pilot came out and
this crazed man was standing there screaming he left the commercial for
Bentsen in the Atlanta airport, and he got on the radio and found it.
They found my commercial and I told them, I said tell them to send it
on the next plane to Austin, which turned out to be an American plane I
think. I don`t remember exactly through Dallas, which was going to arrive
ten minutes or 15 minutes before Bentsen was supposed to walk in to look at
I said tell them to hire a courier and I`ll give the courier $500 if
he gets it there in 15 minutes. So, I go to Austin. I go the Four Seasons
Hotel where they set up a room for us to look at this commercial, a
conference room, and the TV set is there and Jack Martin says where`s the
I said it`s on the way, Jack, and I told him the story. Well, Texans
kind of know not to show their whole card. He didn`t show any emotion at
all. He just kind of looked sadly at me like it was really nice knowing
And, I heard Bentsen coming down the hall, talking to Mrs. Bentsen, and
a guy stopped him, named Bristol (ph), George Bristol, who raised money for
them, photographer, all around good guy, stopped him outside and started a
conversation with him that lasted almost ten minutes.
Just before Bentsen opened the door the courier ran through, just
sweaty and hot, put the film in my hands, the tape in my hands. I handed
him five $100 bills. He rushed out. I put it in but I couldn`t watch it
because I knew the snowstorm was coming. I didn`t want Bentsen to - I just
didn`t know what to think.
So, I put it in. It ran. Bentsen, a very stoic guy, said run it
again. They ran it again. He said one more time. They ran it again. I
said oh my God. He stood up and said Raymond, great work, walked out and I
just sort of collapsed. It was a trying moment.
LAMB: At some point in your career you did a spot for Martha Lane
Collins governor of Kentucky.
LAMB: Was she governor yet?
STROTHER: No, no. She was running for governor.
LAMB: What were the circumstances?
STROTHER: Well, she was in a race against Harvey Sloan, the mayor of
Louisville, who was a fine public servant, a Democrat, handled by her
friend Doug Bailey (ph) who was a good friend of mine.
LAMB: A Republican?
STROTHER: A Republican but Doug would do Democratic governors and he
and Sloan I think had been college roommates or something anyway. But
anyway, Martha Lane was running. It was a very, very close race in the
primary. At that time, it didn`t matter about the general because once a
Democrat won in Kentucky in `83, it was over. The Republicans didn`t count
for much then.
So, we had to have votes from the eastern part of the state which was
coal mining region and coal, of course, the production of coal in Kentucky
and West Virginia is very big, a very big political issue.
So, we wanted to do a commercial in the coal mine so we arranged with
some unions and a coal mine to allow us to go into their mine and film a
commercial. Well, I had never been in a coal mine.
First of all, you had to lie down in this little tiny car that goes
about 40 miles an hour down a little shaft that`s about four feet tall and
you`re lying flat and if you`re claustrophobic, I am a little
claustrophobic, it`s terrifying.
Then you get to the coal mine and we stepped out of the car and the
coal mine is white, white. I said white coal? And they said no. As we
did we spray a retardant so it can`t catch fire. It`s a fire retardant.
And they had a machine with big teeth on it.
I said well you got to get me a new coal mine. So, they dug me a coal
mine. They dug about 20 feet of coal out and it took about, I don`t know,
one minute to dig all this out.
I put lights up and all and Martha Lane Collins is a beautiful woman,
just beautiful woman, and she was standing with two, I think two women or I
don`t remember the sexual makeup but some women and men, coal miners, and
they were pretty grubby looking as coal miners should be but she was
beautiful and sparkling and freshly made up and it looked bad.
I mean it looked too obvious. It looked too contrived. So, I told my
makeup person, I said go put some coal dust on her. So, she went on one
cheek put some coal dust and we shot a couple of hours in the coal mine,
wanted to make sure because it`s very difficult to shoot in a black
environment. I wanted to make sure I had everything, so we shot a lot of
And, we finished the commercial and the commercials were very pretty.
I was very proud of them. We focus group tested them. The focus group is
where there`s a mirror and some people hired or brought in and paid by the
pollster normally, randomly selected, to sit in a room and look at the
commercials and we talk to them and sort of see what they think about
Well, I was sitting on the other side of the mirror and I think Bill
Hamilton is the pollster, who is now deceased, was the moderator or leader
and he was sitting with the people and they`re showing the commercials.
When they got to the commercial in the coal mine, this woman would
nudge her partner and whisper and it disrupted the whole thing, and I said
what`s going on? Well, you always do two groups. You don`t just do one
group. You do two groups to make sure that there isn`t a leader or
somebody who takes command of the group and gives you a distorted view.
So, we did the second group. At that moment, the same thing happened
again. Women started talking among themselves. So, Hamilton said what
happened back there ladies? Why did you start talking among yourselves?
They said a pretty woman would never allow herself to be photographed with
coal dust on her cheeks.
Well, the commercial was wrecked. We spent about $20,000 making it.
It was wrecked. So, I went back in the files and found shots from one side
of her face, the side that didn`t have the coal dust. I could only shoot -
if you saw the commercial, you see the commercial being profile mostly
because she has coal dust on her cheek and we can`t show it.
LAMB: Let`s watch the one that didn`t run.
LAMB: Martha Lane Collins.
ANNOUNCER: Three miles from daylight, hard work, but these, these are
the lucky ones. They have jobs. Martha Lane Collins went into the mine
and she found worried workers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE:Some of them has been out of work as long as two
years. I don`t guess they even get unemployment or anything really. I
don`t even know how they make it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His insurance has done run out. He`s got three
small kids, you know.
ANNOUNCER: She`s developed a plan that will increase job
opportunities in mining, tourism, farming, manufacturing, and small
business. The Martha Lane Collins plan is available at her headquarters
because she wants you to know where she stand on the issues.
MARTHA LANE COLLINS: Everybody has hopes and dreams for their
families. You want to provide things for your families, for your children,
and we want to make that a reality.
ANNOUNCER: Martha Lane Collins, Governor.
STROTHER: You`re right about that. I didn`t know that commercial
existed. You`ve called my office and wanted a commercial sent over and
they used the first rather than the second version. It`s very interesting.
I did not know we still had the version with the coal on the cheek.
LAMB: Do you think it ever ran?
STROTHER: No. No, it never ran. The one that ran was the one that
shot her in profile where you could only see the clean side of the face.
LAMB: Whose voice was that? We hear that all -
STROTHER: Alan Blevis.
LAMB: Is he still around?
STROTHER: Yes. Alan Blevis did Bill Clinton, last time Bill Clinton
ran, and he`s still doing races. I was the first political consultant to
ever use Alan Blevis` voice for politics and he`s just a great, great
announcer. He does everything here and all over the place.
LAMB: Do you test these announcers for their acceptability?
STROTHER: You know I don`t really test them. I know the feel I`m
looking for, like I know if I want a Burgess Meredith sort of voice or if I
want a certain kind of voice. On the Russell Long film, I wanted a
documentary type voice. I went to a guy named Ed Rose (ph). So, I listen
to voices. Sometimes I listen to 100 voices to come up with the voice I
think is appropriate for the material.
LAMB: We only have a minute. Did you discover James Carville (ph)?
STROTHER: I didn`t discover James. James was an attorney and I hired
him to go to work in our political consulting firm in Louisiana and he
worked for us for a while and then he went off on his own. But discover
him, no, he was - James discovered himself.
LAMB: What do you think of his impact?
STROTHER: I think he`s made a major impact on the business, some
good, some bad. I think he`s made the media consultant more a star, media
star, than they probably need to be.
STROTHER: Well, I think we should be behind the scenes. I don`t
think we should govern. I think we should help people get elected and they
should govern. We should stay out of the way and I think when you mix the
two it`s probably bad for the process.
LAMB: What`s the worst thing political consultants do today in your
STROTHER: Govern. When they go in and help the candidate or the
elected person make decisions on how to vote, looking forward to the next
election, I think that`s really bad.
LAMB: Our guest has been Raymond D. Strother, political consultant.
His book is called "Falling Up" published by Louisiana State University.
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