It was November 1988. Maine’s own George Mitchell had just been elected Democratic majority leader of the U.S. Senate. And high atop his to-do list was a sit-down with then-Republican minority leader Sen. Robert Dole.
“I said to him, ‘This job is hard enough under the best of circumstances. It’s impossible under bad circumstances,’ ” Mitchell recalled last week.
And so Mitchell and Dole agreed on a few ground rules:
Never surprise each other.
Never try to embarrass each other.
And finally, be as fair as possible to each other under whatever circumstances might arise.
“We kept our word for six years,” Mitchell said. “Bob Dole and I never had a harsh word pass between us – in public or in private.”
Ah, the good old days.
Click for the rest of the column by Bill Nemitz in the Maine Sunday Telegram.