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The Breaking Manager: 3 Plays
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Excerpts from Sander Hicks' unpublished interview
With Former Texas Attorney General, Jim Mattox

Interview Transcript 1/2/02

by Sander Hicks

Jim Mattox:

As Lloyd Bentsen said, "Politics in Texas is a contact sport." Rove clearly participates in that form. He causes a [political campaign] headquarters to be run by professionals. Volunteer staff are kept far from decision-making, because of the kind of down and dirty stuff they put forth.

The thing most notable in all probability is that Rove was doing public relations for companies like Philip Morris and other companies, while he was also working on Texas GOP campaigns. He had a direct conflict of interest, he was getting retainer’s fees from those companies, allowing those companies to funnel even larger amounts of money [into the GOP]. We continually felt [this] after looking at the [large] fees that people were being paid by Rove.

The big powerful law companies cover a multitude of sins.


RE: Bush on Drugs

Bush’s parenting style was also highly criticized.

It’s notable that Jenna Bush was discovered to be a pot smoker, and the story (and the irony) has gone unreported. [story in Salon]

Rove’s pattern is to get his candidates on one or two subjects and carefully script what they have to say. He isolates them from the press and public, reinventing them. Bush refused to answer questions about the drug issue. His kids were doing the same thing…they could be poster children for [the juvenile deliquency issue] he was attempting to portray at the time.


RE: Bush in Time of War

Bush is trying to be macho, he comes off as quirky, smart-alecky. It doesn’t come off to me.

[On September 11,] anyone else would have responded with some emotions. I saw immaturity and weakness. The public has responded with patriotism. Bush is making hay out of the tragedy. If Osama escapes, this could haunt Bush, might come back a real serious problem.

I want to give Rove credit—they are smart. They know how to manipulate the press. Bush knows so little that its relatively easy to keep him scripted. When I was Attorney General, we had an occasion to go meet with Reagan. There were 15 or 20 [state attorneys general] there, around mid 1983 to 85. Reagan’s handlers said he was glad to meet with us. There was to be a question and answer period, and the handlers gave us three questions we could ask. The questions were relatively immature. We agreed among ourselves to ask two of the questions, then get a Republican among us to ask a third question of our own. The first two questions had no meaning. For the first two questions, Reagan pulled index cards out of his inside coat pocket. The whole discussion was as if he was talking to the PTA, clearly not appropriate to the group he was talking to. [So we asked the scripted two questions, then] Bob Steffen from Kansas [not confirmed it was him, need to be fact-checked] asked the third question of our own—"Can we get a commitment from your administration on consumer protection enforcement?"

As soon as the question was asked, [Reagan's] handlers jumped up on stage, "The President must leave now the time is expired." They ushered him over to have pictures taken. And there were Republican Attorneys General who clearly were happy to have their picture taken with the President. But I said, "This guy is not running this place."

Jimmy Carter could discuss anything. Would not step back from any issue. Reagan was a figurehead, clearly suffering.

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