Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Lloyd Bentsen Had The Goods

"Throughout his business and political career, including more than a quarter-century in public life in the the nation's capital, Bentsen became known as a savant who could spot a trend before it became one." Cragg Hines, Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau

Yesterday I shared my personal feeling of loss at the death of former Senator Lloyd Bentsen. He was an imposing man, a dedicated public servant, a gentleman -- truly one of the good guys.

Lloyd Bentsen was sharp, shrewd, often prescient. He was a politician's politician, respected on both sides of the aisle for his abilities and his acumen.

Reading memorials about the man and his legacy, one more memory surfaced for me. A sidebar, but sometimes they're the best.

At the Democrat's Mid-Term Conference referred to in the note above, the major TV networks took up an entire floor of the underground parking garage in the Kansas City Convention Center for their broadcast trailers.

I was a press aide for Bentsen, who's office was running the convention. It was my job to provide the media with information and arrange interviews, so I hung around the garage a lot.

One day near the trailers I met a reporter from the Midwest, newly promoted to NBC News. He was older than I and a bit of a straight arrow. But he struck me as a nice guy and smart, so I put him together with Bentsen.

After the interview, the Senator called me and his top aide aside. "That boy's got the goods," he said. "He's going places. Let's make sure we stay in touch with him."

Lloyd Bentsen had an eye for "the goods." And of course his instincts were on the money. "That boy" was Tom Brokaw.

Not so surprising. It took one to know one. Goodbye, Lloyd. And thank you for having the goods for so long.

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