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Codename: Scarlett—Life on the Campaign Trail by the Wife of a Presidential Candidate
ISBN: 0826404375
Codename: Scarlett
Jeanne Simon, wife of Senator Paul Simon of Illinois, discusses the ups and downs of life on the presidential campaign trail for the 1988 election in her book entitled Codename: Scarlett, taken from Senator Simon's codename assigned by the Secret Service. Mrs. Simon candidly discusses campaigning strategies and analyzes the electoral process, specifically the role of the Iowa caucus. The book was published by Continuum International Publishing.
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TRANSCRIPT
Codename: Scarlett
Program Air Date: July 23, 1989

BRIAN LAMB, HOST: Jeanne Simon author of "Codename: Scarlett." If you had to advise a candidate or candidate's spouse in the future about campaigns, what would you suggest to them that they avoid?
JEANNE SIMON, AUTHOR, "CODENAME: SCARLETT": Are you being serious now, Brian?
LAMB: Yes.
SIMON: Avoid getting in too late. Avoid not having enough money. Those are the things that are really hurtful. We waited too long to get into the campaign. We didn't have enough money. I think that money is still a very important part of a campaign. But among the positive things I would say -- suggest to the candidate's spouse that she always pack an extra supply of underwear and cosmetics for all the times that Northwest Airlines is going to do away with you luggage -- lose it along the way. That you always have a firm sense of where you are so keep that schedule firmly in hand and know where you're going. And be flexible. Keep a sense of humor about it.
LAMB: What does fatigue do to you in a campaign?
SIMON: It can really kill you. You're up early in the morning; you go late at night; seldom you get a chance for even 40 winks because you know the campaign must go on at all events. And you wind up sometimes on the late night television program or radio looking tired and sounding tired and maybe making some egregious mistake. That's bad. So we say to ourself, well, we're going to take one day off a week. We periodically would say one day off a week Paul and I will be together, but it never worked out. Never, never worked out.
LAMB: Never?
SIMON: Never. Occasionally we all got together as a family and then it was a great time. But as far as planning, you should really plan to take a little rest in there. I believe that Jimmy Carter and Rosalind always had a firm rule always be home on Sunday. And they went back to Georgia.
LAMB: What were some of the things that you worried about during the campaign that in retrospect just didn't matter?
SIMON: How I looked on television perhaps. Who cares what the candidate's wife looks like. But I was very much concerned that I make the right impression because I was out there alone speaking for Paul. I wanted to look my best and do my best but you can't really be thinking on your feet if you're thinking, does your hair really look alright or why didn't I have another dress to wear for this appearance today. Those are trivial things really. In the long run they didn't make a bit of difference. I think I had to remember first of all to be myself and then let everything else fall in line.
LAMB: One of the things that you noticed when you read this book and we'll get a shot for our audience to see what the cover looks like.
SIMON: I love that cover.
LAMB: Who took that picture?
SIMON: My son, our son, Martin Hurley Simon, took that.
LAMB: Where did he take it?
SIMON: He took it on the deck of our home in Lacanda, Illinois and that's why we both look comfortable and happy and Paul does not have -- you notice -- the famous bowtie on.
LAMB: Steve, don't move the camera. I'm going to turn this right around so that folks can see the back of it. What's the difference here in these two -- .
SIMON: The difference there is that Paul is still smiling. He's still the candidate. I have collapsed in laughter because Martin probably said something really silly, and that's the way you should be in a campaign -- relaxed and happy. But we were home. That was good. That's the campaign photo on the front and that's the reality on the back.
LAMB: As I started to say, you write a lot in your book about the media and preparing for television shows and reading newspapers and accounts of what actually go on. How much of all that does the public pay attention to? The detail.
SIMON: Very, very little, Brian. I think the public in the long run, I finally concluded, is interested in knowing about the character of the candidate, and they put it together in many many different ways, but I really don't think the issues are what they decide what they make up their mind on. I think they want to believe that they can trust that man or that woman and they are looking for that answer. When they discuss the issues they say, is that the kind of a man I can look to for my grandchildren, perhaps? What is he going to do about family farms? Can we really believe what he is saying or is this just a prepared speech? I think all of those things go through their minds. So, in the long run, just the character has to come out. It has to be real. It has to be believable. And you can't fool the people in Iowa. I decided that. Because you have to go into their kitchens, their living rooms, their family rooms, and you have to meet them face to face. And they make that judgement not only once, Brian. They'd say, "Well, it's nice to meet you we'll be seeing each other again, you know." Ordinarily in Illinois we would think once would be fine. But they would like you have come back again for luncheon perhaps -- come back again, meet the family. And so they, over the process of a year, weigh that candidate very, very carefully.
LAMB: The reason I ask about the media and the interviews -- you wrote something about some of the interviews you had on the national networks. For instance, one with Mariette Hartley.
SIMON: Yes.
LAMB: Where you flew to New York to be on the CBS Morning Show, but you had someone on your staff that kept you up until 2:30 in the morning going over in detail what you would answer to a five-minute interview. Would you do that kind of thing again?
SIMON: I think so. I think it was very helpful. Although now I know about the technique. The technique is never to let -- I'm sorry to say, Brian Lamb -- let the television interlocutor say what he wants to say without having an opportunity to say what you want to say. So when Mariette Hartley greeted me in the morning I was determined that I should say -- and I do believe I got it out -- "Thank you very much, Mariette, I'm so happy to be here on CBS Good Morning and isn't it wonderful that Paul Simon is going up in the polls?" That's what I wanted to say. And I managed to say it. After that, everything went more or less smoothly. I imagine Mariette Hartley knew what I was doing and why I was doing it. But if I hadn't had that coaching, I would have said, "Well, good morning, Mariette. It is nice to be here -- thank you very much." And blah! You know. But I think you have to come on with your own message. And that's what I like to tell people candidate's wives. Be prepared to do your own thing in your own way.
LAMB: What did you conclude about the nation's media and that's a tough question because -- after it was all over, are they any good?
SIMON: Sure they're good. They're terrific. There's none better. But I do think they concentrate on the trivia sometimes. I think they're more interested in the horse race than in the issues. I think they'd sooner see Paul bowling a line rather than ask him how he feels about urban education. But I guess that's what people are looking for. They're looking for little interesting tidbits. It's like just wanting to read the front page of USA Today instead of reading the Op-Ed page of the New York Times. They want it in capsules. And that's what TV gives them, is that little nine-second spread in the evening news. It should be more than that. I think there ought to be an opportunity for each candidate to have half an hour on national television to respond to questions from across the nation. I think that would be a better way of projecting his image, his personality, and getting those issues out. Every candidate ought to have that opportunity regardless of the amount of money in the treasury.
LAMB: What did you think of the debates?
SIMON: Oh, golly.
LAMB: Were they worth it?
SIMON: I don't think -- I think after the first few they got to be stereotyped. The answers were programmed. I could tell you not only what Paul was going to say, but every other Democratic candidate. I knew what their answers would be. There were very few surprises in the debates. Of course, we had the personalities coming through, and that's where Jesse Jackson was a star performer. Wonderful to see him perform and answer questions and do a little bit of horse play. He would always kind of adjust Paul's bowtie. One time he wore our little bowtie pin on his lapel. Those were the things that people began to notice. But when it came to answers I'm afraid the rest -- all of them were pretty well stereotyped.
LAMB: Let's talk about your book. Why did you write it?
SIMON: I started out, first of all, to keep a journal, Brian, because I thought this was a great experience, and I didn't intend to write a book. I thought this doesn't happen to too many families, too many women, and before I forget it I wanted to write it down. So I got a spiral notebook and wrote every night in lonely motels or airport waiting lounges. When Paul's publisher -- you know Paul has written a book on the campaign -- heard that I kept a journal, he said, "Would you write a sample chapter and perhaps you've got a book in there, Mrs. Simon." So low and behold Continuum Press gave me a contract. No one is more surprised than I am to find out that I'm an author. It's almost as good as seeing your name on a ballot.
LAMB: Where did you write it?
SIMON: I wrote it in Washington -- in Tillman Island on Chesapeake Bay. Paul and I had a wonderful vacation last year. We rented two motel rooms. He wrote in one hotel room with his typewriter. I wrote in another hotel room with my typewriter. In the evening of course we would suspend the work. But it's hard work to write. I appreciate authors ever so much more now. The discipline that required me to write that rather slim volume was tremendous. To make myself sit down at the typewriter and do it and to rewrite it.
LAMB: How did you decide that -- let's see here -- this would be 157-page book?
SIMON: I didn't decide the length at all. No one said it had to be so many pages and I never thought about pages as I was writing it. I took each chapter as a kind of an essay. I knew what I was going to write about in that chapter and then just let it carry on from there.
LAMB: Continuum?
SIMON: Continuum Press. A small publishing house in New York City that has published some of Paul's books before. Michael Leach is the editor -- I know him well. And it was good to know the person because I would call him up from time to time and say, hey, I think I need a little more time on this Michael -- because he wanted me to turn it in in December. Now, imagine the campaign was still going on. I really wanted to work for Michael Dukkas and all our Illinois candidates so I had to put the book aside, because campaigns are always more important. There's only one thing that's more important than the campaign and that's when your daughter is getting married right in the middle of a Presidential campaign.
LAMB: One of the chapters.
SIMON: Yep. And Sheila came first. Paul came second.
LAMB: How did you juggle the two?
SIMON: Well, it wasn't easy because I'd be calling her late at night from Des Moines airport and say, do you have the tent? Is it going to be red and white striped? And are we working on the barbecue, Sheila? And things like that. But Sheila knew that we were having -- that we cared for her very much and we wanted to have the kind of wedding that she wanted -- so we managed to get a few days every now and then. I'd go home and really work on it. Sheila was working. Sheila was campaigning. We were all campaigning -- all scattered all over Iowa, New Hampshire -- no matter where -- so it was a battle of wits to get it all done. But it all worked out very, very nicely. And her wedding was not a campaign event.
LAMB: One of the things that, of course, jumps right out at you when you look at your background is that you are a lawyer. Go back to the beginning. Where did you and Paul meet? Where did you get your law degree?
SIMON: Oh you want to go back to basics. Alright.
LAMB: Basics.
SIMON: Northwestern law school -- Evanston, Illinois. I'm from the North Shore of Chicago. I met Paul in Springfield. We were both state representatives. I represented the very conservative area on the North Shore -- Evanston, Wilmette, Winnetka, Glencoe. Paul represented the downstate area, Madison county. And we met under the golden dome of the state capitol. I always say to Paul when I met you and married, you were a mere State Representative, and see what I've done for you. Now you are a United States Senator. But it was truly a wonderful experience to meet a man who's interests were the same as mine -- civil rights, human rights, education -- and the fact that we were both dedicated Democrats certainly helped a lot.
LAMB: You grew up in a political family?
SIMON: Sure did. Yep. It's politics all the time.
LAMB: Maiden name?
SIMON: Maiden name Hurley. Irish. Catholic. It's a good background.
LAMB: When did you first know that you thought politics might be of interest to you, and you were going to follow the course of the law degree and then running for -- .
SIMON: I think when I started law school I had something in the back of my mind that said, this is the beginning. To be successful in politics and government you have to have a firmly grounded profession or a career. And certainly the law was very appealing. My dad was a lawyer. I have a younger brother who was a lawyer. But I could see that as an Assistant State's Attorney -- that was the first rung in the ladder and indeed, I spent four years as Assistant Presidential's Attorney of Cook County, and then four years in the Presidential Legislature. But the best thing that happened was I met Paul Simon in the Presidential Legislature.
LAMB: What is a Presidential's Attorney?
SIMON: Assistant Presidentials Attorney -- it's like every county in Illinois and presumably every other Presidential has one elected official known as the Presidential's Attorney that handles all the criminal affairs for that county. At that time there were 150 Assistant Presidential's Attorneys in Cook County -- now there are over 700. It is one heck of a big law firm.
LAMB: Civil rights?
SIMON: Civil rights.
LAMB: Why did you care about that?
SIMON: I cared about that because as a Catholic, a Roman Catholic, I belong to the Catholic Interracial Council on the North Shore -- before I was in politics. I could see for myself that we were not getting anywhere very fast. And long before I was elected I was working for interracial integration. But to meet Paul, who was really actively doing something out of it, again was a marvelous combination. He was working with Lutheran Human Relations in his area before I met him. And when we both came to Springfield we thought that this was an ideal way to put some of our some of our faith into practice by working for the Fair Employment Practice Commission -- for working for fair housing. Some of these phrases seem very old fashioned now, but in 1956, 1958, those were very important, and we needed them.
LAMB: When did you decide to give up being a public official?
SIMON: I guess the day I married Paul Simon. April 21, 1960. I gave up being a public official. I decided I would not run again, but I never gave up an interest in government and issues and knowing what was going on in Springfield or in Washington. If I had given up altogether, that would have been a mistake. But with Paul it's been a partnership, a team. Simon and Simon, as I would frequently say along the campaign trail. I work with Paul in every campaign that he's been in, and every one has been a joy.
LAMB: I want to show the audience who you dedicated this book to and then have you tell us who all these individuals are.
SIMON: Martin, our son, 24-year-old photographer working here in Washington, D.C. Sheila, our daughter, 28 year old, a lawyer, Georgetown Law graduate, and to be a mother in February 1989. And my dear son-in-law Perry, who joined us in the middle of the campaign and who was indeed, like another child.
LAMB: And Martin took a lot of the pictures in this book?
SIMON: Martin took a lot of the pictures. Martin is a wonderful professional photographer, and I got so on the campaign trail if I was looking for the news in the evening I would look not to see Paul but to see Martin -- with the four cameras slung around his bag and all the equipment walking backwards in the snows of New Hampshire, filming Paul. We're standing on the deck of our home there and I think I wrote the captions for this -- everything was public. You just couldn't do anything during a campaign year without having a cameraman or somebody standing around observing. That was part of it.
LAMB: Here's a picture that -- .
SIMON: David Frost in our home. David Frost was a wonderful person. He really studied Paul very carefully before he did this interview. He interviewed all the candidates -- Republican and Democratic. And he came to our home -- transformed our home into a television studio but I spoke with him too for about 15 minutes -- very wonderful person.
LAMB: Did you speak to him together with Senator Simon?
SIMON: Together and then just the two of us. Just David and I spoke together. The usual questions.
LAMB: There's also a picture down here -- and I'll get it here in just a second -- of you appearing on a radio show.
SIMON: Right. I did a lot of radio shows in Iowa and New Hampshire. I got so very familiar that I kind of knew what they were going to ask, and I always was ready with a few more questions, in case they ran out of questions. So if anybody said, "Well, Mrs. Simon, is there anything more you like to say?" I could go on for 10 or 15 minutes.
LAMB: Did it?
SIMON: Radio stations are great. They always love to have a live person walk in as opposed to all the taped material that they get.
LAMB: And what kind of reaction did you get from them? Did it help at all in the campaign?
SIMON: Yes I think it did. People do listen to the small radio stations in small towns in Iowa. A very good reaction -- "I heard you on radio" or "I saw you on television." What would we do without them. It was absolutely essential that we do those radio and television programs. But this is my favorite picture of all -- greeting two elderly citizens in Keyacock, Iowa who were just sitting there relaxing in the afternoon sun and I hated to bother them and on the other hand, I really wanted to let them know who I was. And I had a bunch of folders in my hand, and they are receptive. They said they talked to me. I liked that.
LAMB: What kind of a technique -- and that's maybe not fair to call it a technique --may have developed into one you use when you meet someone so that it will be the most meaningful for both of you?
SIMON: I guess I don't have a technique. I want them to know who I am, but more important whom I represent. "Hello, I'm Jeanne Simon. I'm campaigning for my husband Paul Simon, the Senator from Illinois. I guess you've heard about him probably. Well, let me give you a little more information. You can read more about him. And if you have any more questions, I wish you'd give me a call." You know, something like that. Informal. Casual. And if they want to develop the conversation at that point a little more, fine -- if they don't, I say thank you very much and move on.
LAMB: What do they usually want to ask you?
SIMON: They usually look at me and say something: "So you're really his wife." As if I'd be fooling them -- and I love the people in Iowa because they are used to this. Every four years, you see, they go through this quadrennial exercise in free government. And so they kind of know what to expect. "Well, tell me about your family and your kids. How are they doing?" They want to see sort of the inside life. That was, I think ,what they wanted from me. I don't think they wanted any profound discussion of the issues. They'd sooner talk to Paul about that.
LAMB: What would you say the people that you meet in a place like Iowa during the caucuses -- issues versus -- and we talked a little bit about this earlier -- where do you get people talking about issues?
SIMON: Well, in Iowa, because it is a caucus Presidential -- you get people that come to the caucuses, are very much issue-oriented. Peace people, teachers, union workers, environmentalists -- each group that has a cause will come to the caucus. But sadly to say, there weren't enough people that really cared in Iowa. About 3 million people in Iowa. Do you know how many came out to the caucuses on the night of February? About 200,000. What does that say for the money that was spent in Iowa to attract these folks. For all the time that all the candidates spent there and their wives and their families. Only 200,000 people thought enough about the process to get involved that night. Course the caucus is a strange, strange way of doing business. You have to come out and stand up and say, I'm for Gary Hart, or Paul Simon, and you have to hold your ground. If you don't have an even 15 percent of the amount there you have to abandon your candidate and then line up with someone else or drop out entirely.

And so this process of winnowing down emerges over a course of a few hours and that's how they decide who will be the delegates and at the end of that, they take a straw pole. And that's what everybody wants to know -- the straw pole -- who comes in first. Unfortunately in Iowa, they're rushed to get on the 10:00 news. On the night of February 8, 1988, the Iowa Democratic party declared Congressman Gephardt the winner with only 70 percent of those figures in hand. If they had waited till it was all in and that might have taken another hour -- I don't know, I think it would have shown Paul -- I know it would have shown Paul a lot closer and perhaps, the winner. Bonnie Camel said in a televised interview -- she's the chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party -- "I don't know who the winner really was. Paul Simon may have been the winner in Iowa." Can you imagine how we felt to hear her say that? What a disgusting observation. I certainly hope that in the next Iowa Caucus that they really have a firm hold on the whole process of reporting and analyzing that. It's not fair.
LAMB: Is the Iowa Caucus any way to run a country?
SIMON: Not really, but I can't think of a better way right off hand. Iowa is small, you see. You have to go into their homes. New Hampshire is also small, but Iowa is in no way representative of the country the way the Presidential of Illinois is. Iowa has very few minorities. It tends to be more homogenous, middle-class. In Illinois you've got everything. A microcosm of just about everything that's good and some of the things that aren't so good. And I think that would be a fairer example. But you'd have to spend a lot more money if Illinois were the first Presidential. With the Chicago television market, the St. Louis market, Decatur, Springfield, Carbondale -- I don't know.
LAMB: How much money did Senator Simon spend on his campaign?
SIMON: I'm trying to think, because I knew you had in the back of your mind -- it must have been at least $5 or $6 million. We wound up in debt, but we managed to pay it all back. It's hard, very hard to raise money.
LAMB: When did he get in the campaign and when was he out?
SIMON: Got in April 8, 1987 -- we got out April 7, 1988. One year of our lives. That's our life for one year.
LAMB: Did you change?
SIMON: It was a great year.
LAMB: Did your relationship between your husband -- how long have you been married?
SIMON: 29 years.
LAMB: Did it change at all as a result of this year?
SIMON: No. If anything, it deepened out affection and our respect for one another. I saw how hard he worked. He knew I was giving it my all. And as a family, I think we all pulled together -- and I thought that was a very important demonstration. Not to us, because we knew we love each other, but to our party ,to the people that care about us, it shows that we work very hard because we believed in Paul and we believed in the Democratic party and the principles that he stood for. And that's what it's all about. Do your darndest.
LAMB: What was the lowest point in that year?
SIMON: The lowest point was probably when -- look at Paul all alone in that motel room. I think that the caption on that picture really should be: do I get all this laundry done? Because there's a huge pile of laundry sitting there. I guess the low point was when Gary Hart came back into the campaign in December. At that time, Paul was ahead in the polls, doing very well. We were attracting more and more support in Iowa. Then the morning of December 11, Gary Hart decided to get reborn again. The next week the polls show Paul's lead cut in half. And after that, it was very hard to come back again to where he was. But ask me what the high point is.
LAMB: Go ahead and answer.
SIMON: January 30, 1988, the Des Moines Register published their assessment of all the candidates and they selected one Democrat and one Republican to endorse. They selected Paul Simon as the candidate of their choice in the Des Moines Register. This is absolutely the most prestigious endorsement you can get in the Presidential of Iowa. They not only compared him to FDR and Harry Truman -- they even said he was Lincolnesque. They said something like this: "Long ago the nation turned to a man from southern Illinois in difficult times. Perhaps this man is not as great, but perhaps the times are not as difficult. But this man is good and true and honest has a wonderful record. We think Paul Simon is the man to be President of the United States." Can you imagine how we felt getting that endorsement? Everybody wanted it. We had it. And at that point, the roller coaster went up again.
LAMB: One of the things I remember reading is that you were -- in the early days of the campaign -- concerned about a a reporter from southern Illinois who was traveling around with you -- worried that he would write a favorable article about you because the folks back home would read it.
SIMON: That's right. I wanted him to write the best possible. I wanted those folks in southern Illinois to see Paul really looking good. But unfortunately, the day we started out was Mother's Day and people were not coming out to hear candidates. On a Sunday -- a beautiful Sunday afternoon -- we had called for two or three meetings and the crowds were disappointingly small, and I thought that Tim Landis would write that up as showing small crowds. He didn't. Tim wrote it up in beautiful way. But I was much concerned -- always concerned about what the press will say or do. That is in the back of our minds at all times.
LAMB: Other than the campaign itself, what was the -- and I can remember reading once that you were upset when a reporter asked you about the fact that Martin was an adopted son.
SIMON: Martin is an adopted son, and he wanted to know some details. And I thought, this is none of your business. Why do you have to get so involved in our private life? That's the only time I said no to a reporter, because I do think the press is entitled to ask just about any question. But there are some places where you draw the line in the sand. That was one of them.
LAMB: What I started to ask you was what was the point where something happens -- specifically in the campaign that either somebody said something to you in a public forum -- that you walked away pretty low?
SIMON: I'm trying to think of occasions. I'm sure there were many of them, but when people would call up and say -- one caller on a call-in show called up and said. "Your husband is a nerd, Mrs. Simon, spelled n-u-r-d." Of course, Martin passed me a little note -- my son said, tell him he's a jerk spelled j-u-r-k. You really -- and if you can keep a sense of humor about it, you're all right. The minute you take yourself very seriously, then you're looking for trouble. And try and be flexible at all times. I think we've been in enough campaigns to realize that, but you still have to everyday tell yourself -- take it easy. The world is not going to end if you don't make a good speech or if you don't come through as you think you should. Yeah, you tell yourself that and then try and believe it.
LAMB: One of the cut lines on this photo here of Senator Simon sitting on the bedside -- the lead was that Paul was alone in a motel room. "We call each other every night to share the good news or disappointment of our days on the road." Were you able to talk every night?
SIMON: Just about every night. The last thing on Paul's schedule was where he could find me in the evening -- and so late, late at night he'd call. And you always like to hear good news, and Paul never told me any bad news. But I knew it would be extra good news if he'd say to me, "Do you have a pencil?" And I would say, "Yes, Paul, I have a pencil, what is it?" So he wanted to give me the results of a poll because I have no head for remembering figures, and he wanted me to jot it down in case I didn't see it in the paper the next day. So when he didn't say, "Do you have a pencil?", I got worried. Then I would have to come through with telling him something really neat that had happened that day, and perhaps embroider it a little bit to make him feel good. Morale is such a fragile thing. You have to keep hoping and be optimistic. But when you're all alone in a motel room and it reminds you of the Bates Motel in Psycho -- I put a chair up against the door in a couple of those places -- you get kind of a creepy feeling that you're out there all alone -- you really wish you were back home in Lacanda sitting on the deck or fishing or just taking it easy.
LAMB: Is it better to read the press or to ignore it as you go through a campaign?
SIMON: Oh, you can't miss out in reading it. I'd read every paper I could find. There were never enough political stories. I felt they have stories about everything else except this most exciting thing that was happening out there. A campaign for the nomination -- Democratic and Republican -- for the most important job in the United States and perhaps the most important in the free world, and people weren't paying enough attention. And why didn't the press write more stories? I couldn't understand it.

What are we looking at? Oh, isn't that a marvelous picture in Des Moines, Iowa on the day of the caucus. Snowy, miserable. The couple that I remember in that crowd was a couple -- a reporter and a photographer -- television reporter from Moscow. They were terribly puzzled about the whole event. To them, it seemed kind of crazy. This enormous crowd following Paul. We were going door to door at that point. And particularly they said, "What are you doing Mrs. Simon? You know what is your role -- the women in the U.S.S.R. just don't campaign with their husband." Well, I said I really enjoy it, number one. I really want Paul to get the nomination and those good things. Maybe with the spirit of glasnost and perestroika, they are more accustomed to that,, but they were genuinely puzzled, those Russians.
LAMB: This photo?
SIMON: Paul's looking at the bad news on the television that night which says Richard Gebhardt, 27 percent, Paul Simon 24 percent. Clearly number two. What I like, though, are the flowers on top of the television sent to me by Dan Rather. I will be eternally grateful to Dan Rather for cheering up Paul that night. Now it may be that he sent flowers to every candidate's wife. I don't know, but he sent them to me.
LAMB: Do you have any idea why he sent them? I mean were you close to him or -- .?
SIMON: No. We had talked that afternoon about the campaign in general, but I don't think I made any great impression on him.
LAMB: One of the things that you notice in this book on the back -- and I ask you the same question relative to the Dan Rather comment -- is right here you have an endorsement, basically, on the back of this book from another person in the media -- Judy Woodruff.
SIMON: Wasn't that wonderfully kind of Judy to do that?
LAMB: Too close to a politician? Media?
SIMON: Yeah. Is it wrong to have a television commenting on that? Do you think that's alright?
LAMB: No I'm asking you whether you think -- .
SIMON: I think it's fine. I think it shows she's a real person. She doesn't endorse Paul Simon. She said this book is what a campaign is all about. Judy and I know each other. We're friendly. We're not best friends. I know Judy and her husband, Al Hunt. I think it's a respect for a public person my husband that she wrote that. I also have comments by Barbara McAffey -- Senator Barbara McAffey.
LAMB: P.C. Hollings.
SIMON: And P.C. Hollings, who says I know what this lady went through. And I really cherish that from Petsy.
LAMB: It must be that you're so fascinating, we've gotten through this entire first 30 minutes and I've not even asked you the source of the title of this book.
SIMON: A lot of people -- and I'm sorry to say -- think I have written a spy novel. John LeCarre. Paul's code name from the secret service was Scarlett. And the publisher thought that was a marvelously intriguing name. But people think it's my code name. Secret Service didn't pay any attention to the wife or the family. They only look out for the candidate.
LAMB: Did you have Secret Service protection?
SIMON: No. Paul did.
LAMB: Should you have? Should the candidate's wife have?
SIMON: I think there are times when it would be very useful for the candidate's wife to have Secret Service protection. If you're talking to a large crowd, or if you're in a situation where people seem to be crushing in, or it's a little iffy yeah. But goodness knows, it's a expensive proposition just to follow the candidate. So I wouldn't ask for any more money. When I was with Paul or our children were with Paul the Secret Service looked out for us as well. But I carried my own bags. Secret Service would run and pick up Paul's. They'd shut the door, and I'd be trailing along behind.
LAMB: Here's a photo of you and the Senator in an airplane.
SIMON: Right. We're flying from Des Moines, Iowa to Manchester, New Hampshire the day after the caucus in Iowa. I got all the papers piled up and I'm saying, hey, we can work harder. We'll do better in New Hampshire, and let's forget that we won the Silver Medal instead of the Gold. Governor Dukakis, incidently, claimed the victory ,and he came in third. He got the bronze medal. We didn't even claim a victory coming in number -- you know, it's either first or nothing. But in retrospect we should have said hey, we got the silver medal.
LAMB: Where's this photo from?
SIMON: I don't know -- some diner somewhere. Martin took that picture because that wonderful man in the front, who couldn't care less about campaigns or candidates, was clearly bored out of his skull, while Paul is trying to charm everyone else. And everyone is looking at Paul and saying, "Aren't you great?" This man just says to himself, I wish they would go away and have my cup of coffee in peace. He probably didn't vote either.
LAMB: Is Senator Paul Simon any different behind the scenes than he is in front of the public?
SIMON: Absolutely not. What you see is what you get with Paul. Bowtie, horned- rimmed glasses and all -- he is a very genuine person on and off the camera. He would just as soon talk to a kindergardner as he would to the President of the United States and would feel that it was an honor to talk to each one of them in their own way. And I think that is the spirit of the campaign, too. Paul is a hand-shaking, let's-meet-people kind of person. He doesn't like to make set speeches -- very seldom wrote his speech. He likes to speak extemporaneously, and doesn't like to hear himself talk too long. When he does town meetings in Illinois, they are exactly that. People come and talk to Paul. Paul doesn't make a speech. They get up and say what they think is wrong or what could be remedied or what they think is good. Sometimes they come and thank him, which is always kind of a pleasure to hear. But this man is very comfortable with himself. He doesn't need the adulation the crowds give him. And the bowtie is his declaration of independence.
LAMB: And I don't think we've shown it but you are wearing --
SIMON: I'm wearing our campaign pin. This lovely little bowtie which people don't object to wearing. I really do hate to wear big pins that say, "Simon for Pres." But I think this is tastefully done and men can wear it.
LAMB: How many of those did you give away during the campaign?
SIMON: Handfuls. Hundreds. Dozens. And we'll be doing it again next year, as Paul runs for the Senate again.
LAMB: When he runs next year for the Senate -- this will be for what term?
SIMON: It will be for his second term in the United States Senate. He served as a Congressman for 10 years from 1974 to 1984.
LAMB: You write also about, I think, Mrs. Menitta?
SIMON: Mae Menita, wife of Congressman Norman Menita.
LAMB: And you write about Mrs. Solarz [D-NY]?
SIMON: Nina Solarz, wife of Congressman, Steve Solarz. Wonderful women who understood what I was going through and helped me very very much.
LAMB: Easier to make friend among families in the House than it is in the Senate?
SIMON: I think the Senate's a little easier. The Senate is more like a big family. I really know all of the 100 members of the Senate. And for those who have wives, I think I know them fairly well. The House, I know the ones who came in with Paul in the 94th Congress. I really got to know those women very well. We had a really a sisterhood. But after that, you kind of lose track with the comings and goings, because the House, after all, has 435 members.
LAMB: Do you think that Senator Simon will ever run for President again?
SIMON: I doubt it very much. A lot of people have suggested that, have encouraged him. But I think he's happy to be the junior Senator from Illinois. And with a little bit of luck and the help of God, we'll have another term in the Senate.
LAMB: What about you? Would you like to have another run at this?
SIMON: Not at the Presidency. Once was enough.
LAMB: Now, why do you say that?
SIMON: It's really thorough job, and I think there are younger men out there now. I think the right time for Paul was 1988. I think if you do it once and do it well, you don't have to do it again. I think we would have kicked ourselves if we hadn't tried that. We would have said forever, I wonder how we would have done. But now we did it. Gave it our best shot. Worked very hard for a year. We didn't make it, but there's no disgrace in failing, if you did the best you can.
LAMB: If you had it to do over again knowing what you know about campaigns, is there any way do you think that Senator Simon could win it? What did you do wrong back during that year?
SIMON: Maybe not wrong, but maybe stress. As we look at it, we think perhaps we should have talked more about Paul's position on the farm economy. Iowa was very hard hit with the farm failures, the low prices for crops and so on. And we were the only candidate out there who came from a rural area. Our small town in Lacanda, population 402, was by far the smallest small town of any candidate out there. We didn't devote enough attention to that aspect. I think that was important in Iowa. We talked about it, but should have talked more about the family farm -- more about the agony of the people that had to leave the farm -- about the women who had to take a job in town to help their husband keep that farm going, that didn't want to have that job in town. There was a very strong element out there of agony that we didn't we really didn't realize or appreciate.
LAMB: The two winners in Iowa were losers, didn't make it.
SIMON: Right. Two winners in New Hampshire made it, though.
LAMB: So does that again -- going back to what we were talking about earlier -- does that make the Iowa caucus somewhat irrelevant?
SIMON: I hope it makes it somewhat irrelevant because I think there should be a lessening of the attention that is put into the state of Iowa. I think they have had it as far as I am concerned with this massive amount of attention. Let's pretend that they're just one of 50 states in the future and not shower all this adulation on the state of Iowa. But it's fine if they want to continue to be number one. Apparently they've got a lock on that, but maybe another state ought to be in there. Let's pick out Indiana, Oklahoma, someplace out West. I think you know maybe have a lottery where two states every four years have an opportunity to be the big -- the key note. Two try-out states for the candidates. It does seem unfortunate, because Iowa now has people who are in the business somehow of working with candidates. We know those people in the different counties of Iowa -- who they are and how they operate. They're just about labeled out there. It's really not fair.
LAMB: You mean they're labeled as right now, if somebody is starting on 1992, they already know who the players are.
SIMON: Exactly. You know who to go to. Who to talk to. And some candidates are out in Iowa even as we speak.
LAMB: Already?
SIMON: Yes.
LAMB: How many candidates do you think the Democrats would have in 1992 based on what you hear?
SIMON: I think we're going to have several. I think we might have Senator Bradley, Senator Biden, maybe Chuck Robb, Al Gore -- that's four -- Jesse Jackson -- five.
LAMB: Michael Dukakis do it again?
SIMON: I doubt it.
LAMB: Of those that you name and from your own experience, are there people that you know in Iowa that are already lining up with those individuals?
SIMON: There are some that are lining up.
LAMB: Are they lining up because of ideology or because of the person they like? What is it that turns them on in Iowa?
SIMON: It's the personality that turns them on. That's my opinion. Joe Biden had a tremendous following up until the time, of course, that he left. It was Joe Biden's dynamic personality that got to them. I'm really convinced that people would say Joe Biden can win. I would say, please tell me why you think Joe Biden is so winnable as compared to the other candidates. Joe Biden, after all, came from a fairly small state, Delaware -- never really had to run in a big industrial northern state like Paul Simon, against a terrific candidate in the Reagan landslide year. And they really couldn't explain it, but they kept saying, well, we think he's the one to win. It was because Joe Biden's personality came through in his rhetoric, even without the Neil Ninnuck. Joe Biden is a terrific speaker, great intelligence. I think that did it and people liked that.
LAMB: Did it help or hurt that Senator Simon was known as the liberal?
SIMON: It certainly helped I think with a lot of people. After all, he came very close to being number one in Iowa.
LAMB: Is he the true ...?
SIMON: I think Paul is the true Democrat. Now whether you call them liberal, progressive or whatever, when Paul made his first announcement that he was a candidate, he said that famous line he said, "I'm not a neo anything -- I'm a Democrat." I love that. Paul was out to change the Democratic Party. He likes the Democratic Party and what it stands for, and he didn't want to adopt this modern, let's go along with the Republicans, let's go to the middle of the road. Paul is a Democrat like Hubert Humphrey and Senator Paul Douglas from our state, whom we admire very much, like Walter Mondale. These men from the Midwest are strong and tough and not about to change their principles or to modify their principles to fit a more cozy comfortable atmosphere.
LAMB: Before I forget it anytime in this process have you said to yourself, I like this. I remember what it was like to win. I was a ...
SIMON: Player.
LAMB: ... State Representative ...
SIMON: Yes! Yes!
LAMB: -- I want to do it again?
SIMON: State Representative?
LAMB: No, not just State Representative, any elected office.
SIMON: Sure, I'd love to be there again. It's very, very a heady thing to see your name on a ballot and to win. And what you can do from the legislative office is fascinating, and it's a real challenge. But I doubt that I'll ever do it again.
LAMB: And the process of getting to know people both in Iowa and New Hampshire as you traveled around and you were the wife of the candidate -- I mean, you've got your own background. Your law degree, you were a State Representative. How long does it take a lot of people to know that? And did they say offensive things to you like talk about clothes and ...
SIMON: It doesn't take me too long, if I think I'm being talked down to by somebody who wants to know my favorite recipe or something like that -- or "What is going to be your project, Mrs. Simon, if your husband wins?" I say, "Well, I've got several projects in mind that I've been considering. Civil rights restoration, the health and safety of coal miners, pay equity for women, child care with federal standards, getting the Helsinki Accord really working again." And they would look sort of stupefied as though, what is this woman talking about? But I wanted them to know that I had a mind of my own. That I wanted to help Paul, but that I also had my own agenda out there, which was certainly Paul's agenda, too, but those were the things that I would stress. But I was not about to give out recipes. One time Ladies Home Journal called up our daughter and said, "Will you please give us you mother's favorite apple pie recipe?" Well, Sheila had to confess that I'm not the world's greatest apple-pie maker, and I didn't have a favorite recipe. So she got her mother-in-law's recipe for the Ladies Home Journal. I got really tired of candidates' wives who put out recipe books. I did not want to do that. There's nothing wrong with giving out recipes, but it seems to me that was another stereotypical role for the candidates' wife.
LAMB: When the dust settles and the campaign's over, do you find yourself more friendly than you would have expected with the other candidates and candidates' wives and spouses?
SIMON: Yeah. I think we developed the realization that we're all out there doing our thing and doing our best and appreciating what the other is going through. Jane Gephardt, I know, was always very, very kind to our son and daughter and son-in-law,, when she would see them in Iowa. How are you doing, Sheila and Martin? She really really cared to know how those kids were doing. I appreciated that. And I know that Tipper Gore and Hattie Babbit and Jane Gephardt, who had young children, were having a very difficult time. You can't take these little kids with you, and you want to help your husband. But if you're with your husband, you're thinking about your children, and if you're with your children, you're thinking about your husband. So it was rough for them. Paul and I were very fortunate that our two children and our son-in-law were adults. They cared about the campaign. That they wanted to work as they did. And nothing gave me more of a thrill than to see Martin or Sheila or Perry stand up in front of a crowd and tell them about the junior Senator from Illinois. I just almost cried sometimes. They were so good. They had poise. They didn't overdo it. They responded to questions. They grew. I think they can handle almost anything right now.
LAMB: Are there people in the state of Illinois that are mad at you because you ran?
SIMON: There maybe, but they were probably mad at Paul because he was a Senator and a Democrat. So, yes.
LAMB: Are you going to have any opposition -- is Senator Simon have any opposition in the Democratic primary?
SIMON: Not in the primary -- not that we know about. There may be somebody, but we definitely do have an opponent on the Republican side -- Congresswoman Lynn Martin from northern Illinois.
LAMB: Often you see stories about politicians who are very -- in a public form they're at each other's throat but in private they're friends or they break bread together, whatever. Is that more or less always been the case, and do you find it to be the case today?
SIMON: I think that's true. We certainly know Lynn -- we know all the members of Congress from Illinois. We are friendly with them. And that's the way to be. You can -- like two lawyers arguing in a courtroom can come at each other very bitterly but walk out the door and have a drink together. And that's the way Congressmen act and Senators too. What you do on the floor of the House or the floor of the Senate is in the public interest, and you give it your darndest -- you make your best arguments and appeals -- but after that, we're all friends. We're all in this together.
LAMB: I guess I want to ask you then in that regard. Are the parties too close to each other ideologically in this country. In some countries, you have six and seven political parties and here they often say it's just five percent on either side of the line.
SIMON: Yeah, but we have liberal Republicans. We have conservative Democrats. So, although we only have two parties, we have, I think, a number of factions in each party. And let's be thankful that we only have two parties. Isn't it great that we don't have to look at a ballot with five or six or seven competing parties all struggling to put it all together? One of the joys of being an American is that wonderful ballot that we look at.
LAMB: In that regard, then, why did George Bush in your opinion, from being close to the situation, win in the last Presidential election. Did he win because of George Bush or because of the Party he's in or because of his ideologies.
SIMON: I think he won because of negative advertising and the failure of the Democratic Party to take advantage of some of the opportunities there to respond to some of the implications that were present in some of his advertising. The flag salute. The pollution of the harbor. We just didn't do a good job of campaigning.
LAMB: Would you have used negative advertising had Senator Simon been the candidate?
SIMON: What we would do would be to respond to negative advertising. And if you can't do it by being positive, then I suppose you'd have to think of it as negative. But the idea is to answer it as fast as possible. If that negative advertising is out there as long as 48 hours, people believe it. You have to respond no matter how ridiculous, how absurd, how insane the charge is. If you don't respond, people say, "Well, it must be true." So we learned that lesson in 1972 when Paul was running as a candidate for Governor of Illinois. Some charges were made against him that we thought -- as Michael Dukakis thought -- he would not pay any attention. If it's out there in the print, people say, "Well, I read it in the newspapers," implying therefore, it must be true. "I heard it on television, must be true." So the answer is to reply right away firmly and as fast as you can.
LAMB: Will that work?
SIMON: Yeah. It'll work.
LAMB: It will work?
SIMON: Sure it will work.
LAMB: In other words, if President Bush had been answered immediately by Michael Dukakis, he could have stopped it?
SIMON: It would have been a different ball game. Yes.I do admit though that Lee Atwater and Roger Ails are a pretty potent combination and rather deadly at that. They may have come back with some other equally insidious method of promoting George Bush.
LAMB: Why does it work?
SIMON: But look at that campaign. What do we remember about it as far as issues are concerned? Flags. Salute to the flag. That was about it. Willy Horton. Very, very nasty campaigning. Anyway, I think it works because people are not caring enough to see beyond those those negative advertising.
LAMB: Let me take the devil's advocate position. They're sitting around saying, "Well, it may have been terrible, but we're now in the White House."
SIMON: And we're kicking ourselves because for three times in a row the Democrats have gone down the tube. Can we do it again the next time? I certainly hope so. But we ought to be planning even now as to the kind of advertising management -- 50-state campaign that we will run. But above all we need a candidate who will articulate the Democratic Party's principles as well as his own agenda in such a way that the people will say this guy, this woman, this person is real. A real human being with passion who cares. Who can be a leader.
LAMB: You named Joe Biden , Bill Bradley, Chuck Robb Al Gore and Jesse Jackson -- that's five. Think there are going to be any more than that run?
SIMON: Oh sure. There's always going to be another one or two.
LAMB: Alright. Let's pretend for a moment ...
SIMON: Let's -- we've got five good men in there right now.
LAMB: Let's pretend for a moment -- is there going to be a woman?
SIMON: I would like to see Pat Schroeder very much. Let's put Pat Schroeder in the picture too. Now we've got six.
LAMB: Alright. Let's pretend for a moment that you're going to be the campaign manager for the next go 'round, and based on your experience, what are two or three or four things that you would recommend that any of those candidates do right now to get ready for 1992?
SIMON: Well choose a consultant, first of all, that you really believe in -- who has your best interest at heart, whoever that person or firm might be. And to start working on your agenda. Analyze your voting record, going way back to the day you started and cast that first vote in whatever assembly you were a part of. And be ready to defend that. Feel comfortable with yourself. And to analyze the voting record of all the other candidates as well to see where you differ.
LAMB: Alright. Now this may be unfair. Who's the first person in the state of Iowa that you would call?
SIMON: I guess you call the Chairman of the Democratic Party in Iowa.
LAMB: Bonnie Campbell.
SIMON: Bonnie Campbell.
LAMB: Is she still chairman?
SIMON: She's still chairman, as far as I know. Dear Bonnie, here we are again.
LAMB: Second person to call.
SIMON: Second person would be the Governor or, no, the ranking Democratic official. The first person I think we talked to, however, was Congressman Dave Nagel. A wonderful ...
LAMB: He wasn't a Congressman then.
SIMON: He was -- yes, he was.
LAMB: He was?
SIMON: He was in his first term.
LAMB: Oh, that's right.
SIMON: And it's not that he endorsed Paul or -- indeed, he didn't endorse any candidate -- but he had a marvelous understanding of how the Iowa caucus works. And we really wanted to know what is it really was like since we hadn't been out to Iowa before. He came and spent a great deal of time with Paul and me -- with several on our staff, pointing out the different areas where he thought we could do well. People to see. And gave us a good feeling for the whole state of Iowa as he saw it. But I guess the person who helped us most of all was Brooklee Badel. Brooklee and Eleanor Badel. Now, Brooklee was no longer a Congressman. And dear Brooklee said, "I'll give you all the time you need. I will be here in Iowa." Wasn't that a generous offer -- because he had been there five terms? Five or six, I forget which now. Knew the Iowa so well. Knew the state, his own District and all the rest of it. That was a wonderful contribution. We could never find anyone quite so good as Brooklee Bidel.
LAMB: I can still remember our live coverage one night of an event that he was there, sitting right next to Senator Simon. I'm not sure if you were there. You might have been. Where he gave a speech and went through the crowd and it was one of those interesting evenings where Senator Simon let us put a mike on him so we could hear what his chit chat was with the people in the audience.
SIMON: Yeah Brooklee and Paul get along well. OK, now we've got it started -- the next stop ...
LAMB: When do you go there? Would you get on a plane right now and go out there?
SIMON: If you were really serious, you would spend every weekend out there as Congressman Gephardt did for at least two or three years before he made his announcement. He built up a cadre of friends in each county. People that he knew very very well by the time the campaign came along he knew that the woman in charge of whatever county it was that collected small animals, small china animals -- he would find one in a china shop and bring her a little gift and say, "Here's a dachshund to add to your collection." He was that smart of a politician that he would do these little things that ...
LAMB: Let me interrupt you a second, because we are running out of time. We're not going to have time to tell the audience the whole story on how they can win out there in 1992. Knowing what you know now, though, Congressman Gephardt won in Iowa, but lost in New Hampshire. How much time would you spend in New Hampshire versus Iowa?
SIMON: I'd spend a little more time in New Hampshire. Obviously, you have to cover your base there. And that is difficult. It's a lot of money to go back and forth. But the people want to see you on the ground in New Hampshire. It doesn't do much good to send in a surrogate a wife or your kids or ...
LAMB: You fly up there right now?
SIMON: I'd fly up there right now. It's close. You can get to New Hampshire from Washington in no time at all.
LAMB: Okay. Once you're up there, though, where do you go? Who do you see?
SIMON: You go to your friends. You go to the Democratic Party officials. You go to the people you know up there who helped you the last time and hope that they want to do it again.
LAMB: Back to what we talked about in the beginning. Were there things that you did back in 1988 that were a waste of time -- and you know now what works and doesn't work -- all the trips out there and back, all the trips to New Hampshire?
SIMON: No.
LAMB: Take a deep breath and say we're just not going to do it. It takes too much time. We get too fatigued.
SIMON: We should have done more of it. Forget the fatigue. Fatigue is what you expect to have. We should have spent more time there, if possible. The time we should have spent there was the time we spent raising funds in the rest of the country going to New York to California, out to Florida. Places where we had friends who'd say, "Well, we'd be happy to raise money for you but you've got to come down here and speak at our function" -- whatever it is. That's the tough part. We could have spent more time in Iowa and New Hampshire, but you have to spend time in Illinois too. And of course, Paul still had his job as the Senator and believe it, he did spend time in Washington. There were a lot of important votes and Paul was there to get them.
LAMB: Why do people give money to a Presidential candidate?
SIMON: I think hope springs eternal in the case of a lot of people and they think that they're part of the process if they make a contribution. And for people that have been supporting Paul for 30 years, it's an item of faith. People in Illinois think he's kind of an institution now. That's what it is. They really believe in him. They've seen what he's done and they want it to continue.
LAMB: Why do people, during those trips to New York and to California, give money to a Presidential candidate from Illinois?
SIMON: They looked at his record. They believed in what he had done. And we'd been there before. It's not that we were going to New York or Florida or California for the first time. Even as a State Representative, Paul didn't confine himself to his district in Illinois or to his county or to the state of Illinois. He's always been outgoing, outreaching. He was with Martin Luther King at the second anniversary of the bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama. It goes back a long way. That's the kind of the background that Paul had.
LAMB: You watched politics for a lot of years. Based on what you've seen in the past, do you think that President Bush will have an easy time being reelected in 1992 or is there a real shot for the Democrats? And if the Democrats are going to win, what kind of a candidate will it be?
SIMON: What a great question to wind up, Brian.
LAMB: All over after this one.
SIMON: I think that unless there is some great economic disaster or World War III that George Bush will be in a very good position to win a second term and that's why I hope that whoever the Democratic candidate -- he or she -- may be, comes out fighting and swinging very early on. I want to work for that candidate.
LAMB: Here's what the book looks like. "Codename: Scarlett" by Jeanne Simon, a lawyer, a former state representative from Illinois and the wife of Senator Paul Simon Presidential candidate for 1988. Thank you very much for your time.
SIMON: It's been a pleasure.


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