Wednesday, February 26, 2014

the last book I ever read (Promises to Keep by Joe Biden, excerpt seven)

from Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics by Joe Biden:

Our first real money break was at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in Washington. In 1972 the committee was staffed by Nordy Hoffman, who had been one of Knute Rockne’s all-American down-linemen at Notre Dame. Nordy was a big, tough, and stubborn slab of a guy. Nothing scared him. And he didn’t think much of my chances. Years later Nordy would say the committee had handpicked me in Delaware; they’d done polling in the state, and my name kept coming up. But the truth was that when Jim and I first went to see him, he didn’t want to give us a dime. I was a bad investment. He didn’t want to waste time on races he couldn’t win. He started in on me right away. “Look, Joe, I’m sure you’re a nice kid, but I go to a dentist up in Wilmington and I’ve been talking to him and he doesn’t think you can win. You’re twenty-nine years old, and you don’t have a chance. Nobody in Delaware thinks you can win. I don’t think you can win. My dentist sure as hell doesn’t think you can win.” He kept going on about his dentist. I think Jimmy could see my jaw clench and my chin start to jut out. I stood up and started for the door. “Look, I don’t have to take this malarkey,” I told him. “I don’t need you or this committee. And another thing . . . I’m gonna win.”

Jimmy trailed out behind me, trying to get me to calm down, to go back and try again. Nordy followed us, too. He stopped us in the hallway and said he thought maybe the committee could do something after all. Nordy said he still didn’t think I could win, but I guess he liked the way I stood up to him.

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