...Betty Berneman (News Director/WWDB) was very smart, pretty and presentable and very liberal.
So what do I do.....
I get her seated in the East Room of the White House and her luncheon companion to her left is none other than President Of The United States, Ronald Reagan.
I was a few tables away...enjoying the scene which was put together smartly with invited members of the press from major cities in for lunch with the Prez. This was great Reagan type PR and they had one of these every few months. This was my second invite.
They made the regular White House press cool their heels out side the room looking in...just in case the Reagan said anything really earth shattering.
What did the President have to talk about with the lovely Ms. Berneman at his side? Football and movies...that’s what she said.
So...for her...nothing earth shattering or evening news worthy...but she really enjoyed the moment in the spotlight. She later became a big wheel at the VOA and may still be there...a happily married liberal working for Obama.
In Philadelphia a bit later I was invited to dine with former mayor Frank Rizzo in his home. I asked if I could bring Betty and he said “of course”. It was quite a meal and despite Betty’s inner feelings about Rizzo as mayor (he had been and was thinking about running again...hence the dinner invite) all went very well.
As we got up to leave Frank whispered in my ear...that I could have a position in his administration anytime I wanted it. That was the second time someone on high had invited me to change careers in favor of a high political position.
Alas...Frank didn’t run as the odds were long on him winning the mayoralty back. Just too much negative press during his previous term as Mayor.
As I said this was the second time someone had hinted that I could serve. The first was a man who should have become President...Wisconsin Democratic Senator William Proxmier.
“Prox” (press nickname) had appeared on my Milwaukee talk show a few times and we became first name friendly. I had some phone conversations with him in the ensuing months when he was being urged to run...and he said if he did he hoped I would be available....but one night my phone rang at home and the Senator...sounding quite tired and depressed said:
“I called to tell you, Stan, that I’ve decided not to run for President. I wanted you to know before the press got it. I just wouldn’t get the union support.”
The Senator had some rather bitter enemies because of his constant cost cutting efforts on Capital Hill.
I told him it was a disappointing but I understood.....and I added:
“Senator...you would have been a great President!”.
That seemed to perk him up a bit and he thanked me and said to keep in touch.
What might have been.
The saddest words in the English language.